In today's guest post, Jo Ann Kairys shares some terrific tips for using Facebook to promote children's books. This post is part of the virtual book tour for her book, Sunbelievable.
I resisted Facebook (FB) for too long. But, the sudden shift from children’s book author to entrepreneur/marketer forced me to pay attention. Now, FB is my favorite marketing tool! I love the opportunity to share my commitment to children’s reading and literacy, connect with other authors, and maximize exposure to my book's target audience.
While FB can be daunting—because what I really want to do is write—I’ve narrowed down my FB marketing to these 5 strategies:
1. Create a unique FB profile/timeline that reflects who you are. The timeline banner allows you to design creative, inviting headlines that showcase your work, highlight your story and brand your author personality. Make it an appealing display that invites guests into your world. You can change the banner any time—keep it fresh and imaginative with new images and updated profile photos. To set up a timeline, visit Facebook’s Timeline page. If you don’t have time to start from scratch, here’s a simple app that walks you through the process.
2. Create a FB Fan Page. This is one of the best ways to reach your targeted children’s book audience. The name (title) of your Page is very important. Are you best known for your author name or your book name(s)? As a new author, I chose to create one Fan Page for my company, and one for events. Books have a life cycle that tapers off over time, so it may prove more valuable to brand yourself by author name or company. For instructions on setting up a Page, go here. A simple tip is to create a vanity URL that shortens the Page name for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and visibility.
3. Connect with FB children’s book authors and groups. In just the past year, I’ve seen tremendous growth in FB-based children’s book projects that invite participation. For example: Picture Book Month, Picture Book Idea Month, 12 x 12 in 2012. Also take a look at Read Across America, Reading is Fundamental, Children’s Book Insider and Collaboration Space for Inspired Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators. I’m not endorsing particular FB sites, but am pointing out some authors’ marketing initiatives that have garnered positive attention from authors, parents, schools, and media around the world. It’s fun to comment and join the conversation.
4. Focus on engagement. Fill your posts with compelling data, news, and resources to build credibility in that arena—for example, children’s literacy or reading tips for parents. There’s a universe of mommy bloggers and daddy bloggers on FB interested in your content: the Mom Bloggers Club and Read Aloud Dad , to name a few. A fill-in-the blank question at the beginning of posts is a popular way to engage fans. “Your favorite children’s book is ___________.” Encourage comments and reply quickly (within one hour is best). Make it easy for people to get in touch with you by using a contact form. FB’s ContactMe app is easy to customize and install.
5. Aim for consistent, proactive growth. “Likes” help build fans, and promotions are an optimal way to encourage them. Children’s authors frequently offer FB book giveaways as a way to grow their fan base. For example, “From now until date one person will win a free name of book for simply “liking my Facebook Page.” Place such a comment on your website and FB Timeline. Surprise your fans with occasional “off topic” posts, and offer generous thanks for readers’ comments. Check your Page’s Insights metrics. I always see a spike in reader activity when I begin posts with exaggerated nouns and verbs, as in, “I’m so excited to share this good news!”
I love the way FB helps me network and grow meaningful connections. It’s a great way to share your story, and isn’t that what authors do best?
About the Author
Jo Ann Kairys is co-author and co-illustrator of Sunbelievable, a children's picture book and Mom’s Choice 2012 Gold Medal winner. After a successful career as a published author in the medical field, she now loves writing for young readers. Through storytelling, she hopes to promote literacy and a lifelong love of books.