Archive for the ‘Web/Tech’ Category

Thursdays with Amanda: The Beauty of Social Media

January 23rd, 2014 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 1 Comment

2014AmandaAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Today, it is on sale for $2.99…check it out!

It’s been snowing here like crazy (I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana). There was one snowfall in which we got something like 16″, and the snow has continued to come. Three inches here. One inch there. And we’re only halfway through winter.

I’ve been ridiculously curious about the total amount of snowfall, but couldn’t find the information anywhere. I mean weather sites seem to all be trapped in the 90s, and news sites are only interested in the here and now. So I almost gave up…until I decided to reach out to one of our weathermen via Facebook.

Curtis Smith has over 31,000 Facebook followers, but when I visited the page I found that he is fairly active on it. So, I posed my question. He replied in a couple hours and instead of providing me with a website I could use to get such information in the future, he invited me to come to him with my questions.

Oh, and for the record, we’re at 34.6″ so far.

________________________

Yesterday morning, I was doing the Health Care Juggle. After being on hold for an hour, I was told that I had called the wrong number, and so I was transferred. That person said that I had been transferred to the California office, so they transferred me again. Then THAT person said that I had reached the Connecticut office, so I was transferred a third time. That person told me I had reached the wrong department and they gave me a new number and transferred me, promising that it was right. It wasn’t.

In the midst of this, as I watched my hair turn gray, the seasons change, and wondered at how my phone battery hadn’t completely died yet, I hunted for the health insurance company online. If you’ve ever noticed, health insurance companies don’t provide many email address or simple ways to contact them. They FORCE you to use the phone, which most likely deters most people and ensures that the reps only have to deal with the most important of cases.

Despite not finding a good email address, I was able to find their Facebook page. And I let them know exactly what was happening and that I needed an email address just in case the latest transfer was in fact a dead end.

They supplied me an email address within 10 minutes.

The health insurance provider is Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

_________________

My phone has been doing this freaky deaky thing where it sounds like the person on the other end is hitting one of the numbers. And not just hitting it, but holding it down with their cheek for like TWO WHOLE SECONDS. I hate it.

For awhile I thought that my authors were simply clumsy. But after experiencing this with numerous people, I began to wonder. What was even more curious was that the person on the other end never seemed to notice.

Clearly, my phone has a problem, but I didn’t want to go into the Sprint store. I mean can anyone think of a worse way to spend a Saturday afternoon? So, I hit them up on Facebook. They dialogued with me, troubleshooting the problem as best they could until the only solution was that I visit a store.

Sigh. You can’t win every time, right?

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This is the world we live in. It’s a world in which people and companies that used to seem so difficult to connect with are a Facebook post away. I talk about this in my book, The Extroverted Writer, but it’s worth mentioning here…

If I can get ANTHEM to respond to me on social media…if one simple Facebook question can get my meteorologist to provide me with information that doesn’t really matter but is fun…if I can troubleshoot a phone issue with Sprint…

Shouldn’t I be able to connect with my favorite author?

Shouldn’t I be able to interact with them on Facebook or Twitter or SOMEWHERE?

Yes, fan mail is nice. It’s warm and cozy and meaningful. But today’s fan mail comes in the form of Facebook messages, Tweets, and blog comments.

So whenever you wonder whether it’s worth it to keep your Facebook page or your YouTube channel or your Tumblr going, remember…THE FANS EXPECT IT. And when they need it, they will use it.

And they will think it’s awesome.

Extroverted Banner

Redesigning My Website – One Author’s Experience (a guest blog)

November 20th, 2013 | Career, Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 12 Comments

When I mentioned to Chip that I recently had my website redesigned and sent him the link to check it out, he asked me to write a blog post and share my experience with you.

To give you an idea of where my site was when I began my redesign process with Aaron Robbins, I need to share a little about my website history. I began blogging in 2008, on a free Blogger blog at the URL mycup2yours.com. The platform served my purposes well (writing parenting posts geared toward moms) and I was happy with the functionality and design.

Over the next few years, as my blog began to grow and my passion for writing in the parenting genre became more serious, I changed the appearance of my site, added more selections to my navigation bar and more widgets to my sidebar. I admit, at the time, I didn’t really have a long-term vision for my site. (I was just tweaking it here and there.) I also bought the domain for my name and created my own website through WebSiteTonight for gennyheikka.com. While I wrote about parenting regularly on mycup2yours.com, this second URL was where I had my writing bio and information about the children’s books I had written.

Managing two sites turned out to be time consuming, so a little while later, I made a major change, switching from mycup2yours.com on Blogger to gennyheikka.com on WordPress, combining the two. So not only did I switch blogging platforms, I changed URLS and  years of blog posts at mycup2yours transitioned to gennyheikka.com.

It was a hard decision and one that came with complications in terms of SEO, redirects, and lost subscribers, but it was the right thing to do from a branding perspective. I wanted one place that readers could find me and all my work, rather than going to one site for my blog and another to find out about my books, speaking, and other writing.

All of that to say, when I looked at redesigning my website recently, the site I had was a combination of what had compiled over the years and what was pulled together as a result of that transition. I wasn’t sure what to keep, what to toss, or what functionality I even wanted. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted my new design to be clean, simple and welcoming.

I love how it turned out. 

genny

My homepage.

books

My books page.

resources

My resources page.

Honestly, I have Aaron to thank for how it looks and functions. I love the forms he put on my Speaking Page, and the video, audio, and photos he suggested for my Media Page, as well as the different ways people can connect on my site.

While I went into the website redesign process mostly focused on what my site would look like, Aaron asked questions that helped me dig deeper into things like why I write, how I’m impacting those who read my work, and how to best tell that story (all things that would impact my design, though I didn’t realize it.)

Some of the questions he asked me–that I’d encourage you to think about if you’re considering a new website–were:

Why do you write?

How would the world change if your point of view wasn’t available?

Who are the people already reading you?

Why are they reading you?

What needs does your writing fulfill in others?

What do you have of value that you can give away regularly?

I never knew there was so much behind website design, but I learned that going through a detailed process of answering these types of questions and making sure your website aligns with your answers makes your digital content much more clear, compelling and useful.

While I give the credit for my site design to Aaron, I do have a few nuggets of advice that I learned from my experience. If you are looking at redesign your existing site, here are some tips:

1. Ask questions before thinking about appearance (what do you do, and why do you do it?). Your answers will impact your site’s look, feel, and functionality.

2. Take time. A well-thought out website doesn’t happen overnight. My website redesign took about four months and it was definitely worth the process.

3. Look at other people’s websites and become familiar with what you like and don’t like about them, but then focus on your own unique site and what you want people to do or feel when they arrive there.

4. Choose a good designer that you enjoy working with. (Read more about Aaron at the end of this post if you are looking for someone. He specializes in authors, and I highly recommend him.)

5. Be open minded. Several times in my design process, Aaron introduced ideas for things I never considered for myself, but that I love, like forms for people to contact me for speaking engagements, a beautiful gallery for my book thumbnails, a media page with video, audio, and photos, and more. Looking to the expert is definitely a good thing!

If you want to learn more about designing your author website or building your online presence, you can also listen to Episode 16 and 18 of my podcast (Part-Time Author Podcast, free on iTunes), which are dedicated to these topics, and in which Aaron goes into a lot more detail.

And if you want to learn more about Aaron, watch his fun video below, or visit aaronrobbins.com. He has a heart for writers and loves working with them to tell the story of their stories.

Genny lives in Northern California with her husband and two kids, where she balances writing with motherhood and loves both. She’s an author, speaker, blogger and coffee lover. Her book for moms, Finding Mommy Bliss, is being released by Hallway Publishing in April, 2014.  

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 13

May 2nd, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Social Media Critique, Web/Tech | 5 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon andBarnes & Noble.

 

 

I’ve got a special thing going on over at my Facebook page…Submit your novel’s opening line TODAY and I’ll give free feedback! Check it out, and I hope to see you all participate.

 

Okay, diving into some more social media critiques:

1. Ardis Nelson provided her website and Facebook page

  • I feel there are too many options on your site’s navigation. Music, Current Projects, and Resources could probably be done without. They just don’t provide much to the reader, while they clutter the site and distract us from the book!
  • What incentive does the reader have for visiting this site? It’s very much focused on you, but readers are selfish! They want to know what’s in it for THEM. What will they get out of reading your blog. What will they learn?
  • Again, I’m not quite sure what readers get out of frequenting your Facebook page. Think about rewarding them for their time with tips, advice, interactive questions, giveaways, and more.

RECOMMENDATIONS: I’d try focusing less on yourself and more on your readers. By including them in the conversation, I think you’ll find your online experience will be much more lively.

2. Jo Huddleston provided her website and Facebook page

  • This is a funny comment, but the image at the top of your site is realllllly big :)
  • Think about eliminating some of your pages and tabs. For example “Mail” can be made part of the “Contact” page and “My Thoughts” seems to fit more naturally into your “Blog”
  • Until I get to your “Books” page, it’s not very clear what you write
  • For Facebook, you shouldn’t be using your personal profile. I encourage you to create a professional page where you can best interact with fans.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Your site could use a redesign, and it could be cleaned up. For maximum impact on Facebook, try starting a professional page. It’s a great way to interact with fans.

3. Well Rounded Home provided their Blog

  • I really like how this blog is organized! I never felt lost. Everything was clear to me.
  • I take it you don’t have a book you’re promoting? That’s fine! Just wanted to make sure.
  • I think you could post more pics of your home and family to your blog! I think readers want to see more of you.
  • Content on our blog NEEDS to focus on your goal of providing insights and help on parenting, homemaking, etc. Anything that doesn’t fall into these main categories (like a Kenny Chesney music Monday) should be left out. :)

RECOMMENDATIONS: You have the framework! Now fill this awesome space with content that hits home on reader expectations. And then promote the heck outta it.

 

What thoughts do YOU have on these sites? And how do you find content that fits your readership?

Get Published teleseminar with Michael Hyatt, Chip MacGregor, and Amanda Luedeke

April 1st, 2013 | Publishing, Resources for Writing, Web/Tech | 4 Comments

 

Join us (Chip and Amanda) and Michael Hyatt, bestselling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson, for a complimentary LIVE teleseminar on Wednesday, April 10 at 8pm Eastern Time (7pm Central, 5pm Pacific).

During this call you’ll have the ability to get your publishing questions answered by the three of us. You’ll also learn many of Michael’s insider secrets on getting published and building a platform for success.

The call will last about an hour. It’s free for all to join and there will be an MP3 recording / replay shared with all who register. When you register you will have the option to submit a question for us to answer

To register now, click here.

FAQs

Q: What is a teleseminar?

A: Think of it as a giant conference call. You dial in (or listen via streaming web audio), along with others and listen while we share and answer questions.

Q: How much does this cost?

A: It’s free. If you choose to access the LIVE call via phone, you may incur standard long-distance charges if you choose a dial-in number that is not local to you (there are multiple dial-in number options). Other than that, no fee at all.

Q: What is the date and time?

A: The LIVE call will take place on Wednesday, April 10 at 8pm Eastern Time (7pm Central, 5pm Pacific).

Q: How can I access the LIVE call?

A: You’ll have two options. Our call capacity is 3,000 total. Five hundred can access the call via phone, the rest via streaming web audio (listening via your computer). Access is on a first-come, first-served based on registration and which access option you chose. We will notify you prior to the call with the specific phone number and web address.

Q: I can’t make the LIVE call. Will there be a recording?

A: Yes, we’ll make the recording available to all who registered after the LIVE call.

Q: How do I ask a question for you to answer during the call?

A: When you register there will be an option for you to submit a question. We’ll also take a few LIVE questions during the call itself.

Q: Do I need any special equipment?

A: No, nothing special needed. You won’t need to download anything to access the call. If you use the dial-in access then you simply make a phone call. If you use the streaming web access then you simply open a web browser, click play, and listen. We will send the instructions to you via email.

Q: When do I get access information after I register?

A: We will send you access information via email a day or two before the call and a reminder email on the day of the call.

Plan to listen in! We’d love to have you there.

Thursdays with Amanda: My New Marketing Book for Writers!

February 28th, 2013 | Books, Career, Marketing and Platforms, Resources for Writing, Web/Tech | 14 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

Have you enjoyed our Thursday chats on marketing, promotions, and platform-building? I sure have! But so many times it feels as though I’m cramming info into my posts or even breezing over content. And what’s worse, is it’s become clear to me that this site doesn’t exactly make it easy to dig through my old posts!

So, I have some exciting news! 

I’ve written a book ALL ABOUT how to use the Internet to grow an author platform! Here’s a peek at the cover:

From websites to Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest and more, I cover the essential topics, pulling from some of my best posts while also adding in plenty of new content. Whether you’re a social media newbie or guru, an unpublished writer or an industry veteran you’ll come away with actionable items that you can put into practice now.

THE EXTROVERTED WRITER: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform releases March 15 on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and Smashwords (for ePub version or all other ebook devices). For now, it will be only available as an ebook.

If you’d like to recieve a notice when the book is available, sign up for the newsletter here. (It’s not the fanciest newsletter provider, btw. So don’t judge me!).

Please share this post with your friends! AND if you’ve been a fan of Thursdays with Amanda and would like to offer an endorsement, hit me up at ExtrovertedWriter@gmail.com. I’m hoping to receive testimonies from writers in all walks of life, published or unpublished, who can testify that my Thursday with Amanda tips help make their social media platforms stronger.

Thank you all, and let me know what you think! Sound off in the comments.

 

 

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 11

February 21st, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 8 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

Continuing with the social media critiques! Again, I’m condensing my thoughts and BOLDING content that I feel hasn’t been said before.

1. Cindy Scinto provided her website, blog and a few Facebook sites.

  • The website is very cluttered. I didn’t realize you had a top nav at first, because there was just so much to look at…and consequently, I had a brief moment in which I feared I had stumbled on a spam site. So the main point here is the site needs to be cleaned up, the ads removed, and a clear call to action provided for the visitor.
  • For your blog, I’d say your blurb against Winepress publishing may rub new visitors the wrong way. So be careful with that. The blurb was the first thing I looked at.
  • As for the blog content itself, all of the three posts were content that I could get elsewhere…so speaking as a potential reader, this doesn’t give me a real reason to visit this blog again. I want original stuff!
  • I feel your Facebook pages could be combined. They revolve around books that are essentially the same theme, just repackaged. I feel your “heart like mine” readers are similar to your “regifted” readers, and so putting the two together would mean those who buy Regifted would maybe then buy Heart Like Mine and vice versa.

2. Megan Sayer provided her Website/Blog

  • I like this. Clean design. Clear purpose. Solid content. and photos!!
  • Clearly, this blog is more of a personal thing than it is a promotional tool…which is okay. I think at some point the fact that it’s a well-done personal blog can make it automatically turn into something bigger. So I’d suggest getting your words in front of others in the blogging community. Guest post on mom blogs and mom sites (like Babble.com) and then have a killer byline that pushes people to your personal blog. Or, make friends in the blog world! Attend BlogHer and other great events to rub shoulders with the best of the best. Basically, do these things and I think your blog could grow…that is if you want it to. Sometimes, it’s okay to have a personal space online that does its own thing.

3. Cynthia Hickey submitted her website and her blog

  • The website design doesn’t fit my browser. It requires me to scroll right, which will annoy some users. Also, the top image is a bit skewed and distorted. Also, the top nav has a funky design that is hard to read…I really hate to be so blatantly honest here, but the site looks outdated. Just the way the book covers are positioned and how the colors are coming across. I know you’re a published author, Cynthia, so if you want a great online experience, you may want to get this site redesigned.
  • Your blog is MUCH cleaner and therefore a happier place for viewers :)
  • It’s not updated very frequently, and the posts that are there don’t have any comments. So I think it may be time to either refocus or ditch the blog or roll out a totally new web presence.

 

Alright…thoughts from the peanut gallery? Do YOU have a blog that is more for you than it is for your career? I want to know!

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 10

February 14th, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 17 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

If you weren’t a reader last fall, I offered to do free social media critiques. Around the holidays, I took a break from them…mostly because I felt I was saying the same things over and over. But I’d like to plow through the rest if I can.

So, we’ll be picking these up here and there, though I’ll try to offer more condensed critiques (since again…most of the social media sites I’ve looked at struggle from the same issues…and we can recap those issues once the series is finished). I’ve also BOLDED comments that I felt were newer and would appeal to those who are reading these posts in an effort to better their online efforts.

1. Laurie A. Green shared her website

  • This is a good example of a website for an unpublished author. You highlight your awards and how you’re active in the SFR community
  • However, there’s not much to look at, while there is a lot to read. Consider including some neat SF photos and such to break up the text.
  • There is a lot competing for readers’ attention on your top nav. Consider condensing a bunch of those tabs and try to focus on what readers will be drawn to, such as a clear link to the SFR Brigade site.
  • Lastly, your author photo comes across as a bit dated…I’d consider getting new photos taken :)

2. Laura Droege’s Blog is a blog by…wait for it…Laura Droege:

  • Lots of good stuff here…a writing sample, well-written posts, etc. However, I found I had to dig around to determine your genre. So consider making that more clear.
  • Also, try adding more photos to your posts. Otherwise, the page is just a bit cold :)

3. Ashley Mays submitted her website:

  • Oooh, this is super cool. Very professional and appealing! I pretty much love everything about your site and blog. However…why don’t you have more readers?!
  • I think it’s time to buckle down and draw readers to your blog. I like your idea of giving away stuff for free (critiques and such), but clearly you need a stronger marketing plan to communicate this awesome opportunity. I think you also need to position yourself as more of an expert on YA fiction and nonfiction (which you should be allowed to do, since you worked at Brio). I could probably go on and on, but the bottom line here is to figure out 1. what blog content connects the strongest with readers, 2. how to make the most of your offers, and 3. how to spread the word. Because you have 90% of the components in place. Now it’s a matter of driving people to your blog and then making them stay there by offering some sort of takeaway.

4. Laurel Wainrow shared her website:

  • My first thought is that the top image doesn’t really reflect your purpose…it’s nature-ish, that’s for sure, but I wonder if a more fantasy-based image would do better for first impressions?
  • You have most necessary components in place, but your content probably won’t pull new readers. If you’re okay with that, then leave it as is. I realize you’re using your blog for a specific Sunday challenge :) But if you want to pull new readers, you’ll have to find content that gives them some sort of takeaway, whether that be talking about new fantasy novels, shows, or movies, or offering some other kind of fantasy-based experience.

5. Katibriah Hills shared her website:

  • I like that you advertise your book on your home page, however if this site is going to be a hub for your writing career, then I’d adjust your “About Me” section to first talk about writing and then talk about personal stuff and family. I guess I just want to know WHAT you write before I know WHO you are, if that makes sense. You should also then give us more ways to interact with you. Again, you’re building a following here so that your readers will share your books with other readers. So give us stuff to be excited about.
  • I also want to note that your pictures load pretty slowly.

 

What do you all think? How do you find content that appeals to readers of your genre?

Thursdays with Amanda: How to Run a Successful Twitter Party

January 31st, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 1 Comment

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

So now that we know what Twitter parties are, here are some tips on how to make one a success:

  1. Set the parameters. When will the party take place? Who are the hosts? What are the prizes? What is the incentive to attend? Just like throwing any birthday party, baby shower or graduation open house, these questions need to be thought out beforehand. The more specific the answers, the better.
  2. Advertise like crazy. An entire marketing plan should be devised to advertise the party. You don’t want to just put it up on your blog and then Tweet it a few times and expect a huge turnout. Ask other bloggers to feature your official invite (have something like a digital flyer professionally designed) and create a retweet strategy that encourages Twitter users to share the news. (Maybe those who retweet your party invite Tweet get entered twice in one of the party drawings). Be creative, but be intentional. And don’t start advertising too far in advance. If the party is on Friday, begin advertising that Monday.
  3. Be a good host. This involves some organization and planning, but the idea is that you want to keep things moving. To do so…A) open and close the party on time, B) if a large party, don’t feel as though you have to be part of every conversation, but if a small party, feel free to greet participants by name, C) keep discussion moving, stay “on topic” and on time with your planned giveaways or featured guest interviews, D) don’t go dead on air–this means have the husband or the wife watch the kids during an evening party, and E) don’t plan for the party to go longer than 1-2 hours.
  4. Be an effective host. You may have the organization down pat, but these things will ensure that YOUR ultimate goal of both awareness and buzz will be achieved…A) always use the hashtag in all of your party tweets, and encourage others to do the same, B) consider offering a giveaway or some sort of incentive every 15 minutes, C) research common hashtags and keywords that you can incorporate in your party Tweets–this will help draw in lurkers, D) use these terms and hashtags in your Tweets for maximum impact (for example, if giving away an iPad, be sure to say “#free iPad” as much as you can), and E) plan or write some of your Tweets in advance so that you aren’t fumbling for the right words and hitting the character count limit.

There’s plenty more where this came from, but it’s a start. Any things to add?

 

Thursdays with Amanda: What is a Twitter Party

January 24th, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 6 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

Some readers of this blog have mentioned that they don’t really know what Twitter Parties are, let alone how to run one. So let’s unpack this very useful promo strategy and then next week we can go over what makes Twitter Parties successful.

A Twitter party is exactly what it sounds. It is an online party that takes place on Twitter.

Here’s how it works…

An author or a company or someone who wants to promote awareness or buzz for their product, sends out party invitations through blogs, forums, Facebook, etc. They give the party a specific time, as well as a hashtag, and they advertise prizes.

Those who want to participate (usually to win free stuff), merely need to log on to Twitter during the hours of the party and begin watching for that particular hashtag (they can do a hashtag search on Twitter, which will pull show them the Tweets that include that hashtag in real time, or they can set it up through whatever Twitter program they use to filter Tweets). But anyway, the idea is that people join the party using the provided hashtag.

The host(s) of the party will keep things moving along, chatting with participants and running giveaways and interviews with featured guests. The key, though, is that every Tweet must have the party’s hashtag within it. Otherwise, the Tweets won’t make it to the party-goers’ feeds.

Still with me?

Eventually, after an hour or so of fun and chatting and giveaways and interviews, the party ends and the hosts sign off.

Why does this work?

It gets people talking about whatever you want them to talk about! Let’s say the focus of the party is your book’s release. If you advertise enough and plan it out, you could very well have hundreds of people talking about your book via Twitter for 1 or 2 hours! During this time, you can give them links and ask them to RT things. This way, you aren’t only reaching them, but their followers as well. So it’s a nice way to get buzz. And if you really hit it big, your hashtag could very well begin trending on Twitter. That means that random people on Twitter would see it and possibly enter in on the conversation.

The downside is it can get expensive. But that’s why you have to be creative with your incentives. Don’t always give away gift cards and electronics. Invite experts in for a Q&A or use the time to “live stream” a favorite tv show, making Twitter comments on the show as it airs and then doing giveaways every commercial break.

I realize I’m just skimming the surface here, and we’ll go more in depth next week, but what questions do you have? Have you found success with Twitter parties?

 

Thursdays with Amanda: Dispelling the Top 5 Facebook Myths

January 17th, 2013 | Marketing and Platforms, Web/Tech | 23 Comments

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

 

Note: this is a professional Facebook page. This is a personal profile.

Every once in awhile I receive some questions regarding professional Facebook pages. You see, there are a lot of rumors surrounding the professional page, and many will claim that it’s self-sabotage to switch over (from personal to professional pages). But I entirely disagree.

So let’s take some time to dispel the top 5 Facebook myths when it comes to using the site for marketing and promotions.

Myth #1: The Professional Facebook Page is bad because it only shows your updates to 1/3 of your fanbase.

This isn’t necessarily true. Your fans have the power to choose how often they see your posts. If they want to view every post, they can select that option. If they only want to view the most popular posts, they can opt for that one.

But let’s get to the bottom of this myth. This statement is making the assumption that all of your posts in your personal profile are seen by ALL of your friends. This is not true. Go to your personal Facebook profile and think of a friend that you haven’t heard or seen much of lately. You know, one of those people that you wonder if maybe they’ve unfriended you. Now go look them up. Chances are, they’ve been posting quite frequently! But you haven’t seen their posts. Why? Because not only do you have the power to filter your feeds, Facebook sometimes selects which posts you view on your news feed and also which posts appear on the little scrolly thing in the upper righthand corner of your account. And sometimes, you don’t see updates at all.

In other words, not all of your friends are seeing your posts, just like you aren’t seeing all of their posts. So the argument that you are losing views by switching over to a professional page isn’t a solid one. No matter where you house your professional Facebook presence, you aren’t going to reach all of your followers.

Myth #2: You have to promote (which means spending money) any posts on your Professional Facebook Page that you want to gain traction.

This is absolutely untrue. The promotion option helps, certainly, and it guarantees that your post will reach all of your fans. But it is also possible to go viral without having to shell out any money.

I mentioned this last week on the blog, but I think it’s worth saying again.

A few weeks ago, I ran a promotion on my Agent Facebook Page. I offered to give one-liner feedback in exchange for the participants liking my page and sharing the post. I did not promote this post outside of Tweeting and Facebooking about it.

During this promotion, I went from 650 followers to 750. But my post was seen by 1,503 people. This means it was seen by all of my fans, and then some. It was shared 86 times and saw 145 comments.

A few days later, I posted something else (not contest-related) and that was seen by 1,909 people!

I didn’t pay a cent for these posts to be promoted. So it shows you what old fashioned word of mouth marketing can get you.

Myth #3: Facebook is targeting and bullying those who use Facebook professionally.

Again, this is not entirely true. Remember, Facebook was not created for small businesses or marketing and promotions. It was originally created for students to be able to easily connect with one another (you needed a .edu email address to create an account). It has grown to accommodate users of all ages and vocations and even businesses and corporations. However, its primary target market will always be the user who is connecting with friends, family, etc. So any time Facebook seems to bully its corporate side, remember that it is doing so to protect the average user.

This is why businesses are encouraged to create a page instead of a personal profile. A business page separates the relationship between business owner and guest/customer in a way that protects both parties. I mean how annoying would it be if you had to add “PNC Bank” as your friend instead of just being able to “Like” their corporate page?

So, if you have any ill feelings towards Facebook’s treatment of you as an author, please put it aside. They’re doing what they believe is best to protect the average user and prevent what could easily become a constant sales-pitch zone.

Myth #4: Facebook is being mean when they try to charge money for things.

Facebook is a business, much like your author career, and in my opinion they’ve done a good job of keeping it free. But just like you don’t give away all of your books to your friends and family, Facebook shouldn’t have to keep everything free. They need to be able to make money, otherwise they will stop striving to make it a better user experience.

Myth #5: Facebook sucks. Google+ is better.

To those who sing the Google+ love song, I ask: Would you ever delete your Facebook account? No. Why? Because that’s where everyone is.

You may prefer Google+’s structure and usage system better, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Facebook met a need at the right time and continues to be our #1 social media site.

So does it suck? No. Personally, I’m grateful it exists. I know it has helped me grow my agenting platform, and I’m sure it’s helped you in your author career, too.

When I can say the same thing about Google+, then is the time to weigh which one I prefer.

But for now, if you don’t like Facebook, then don’t spend your time there. It’s as simple as that.