It’s that elusive juggernaut of social networking called Facebook – a mystery to some, a second home to others (ahem, me) – but equally, ultimately, a fantastic platform for promotion.
Continued from my last Social Media for Comics article, 5 Tips for Promoting Your Comics on Twitter, here are a few tips on how best to use Facebook to promote your work and nurture your online relationships for biz betterment. Keep in mind that this is assuming you understand the bare bones of the site and how it works, but don’t really know some of the etiquette that comes along with using it for promotional endeavors.
5 Tips for Promoting on Facebook
1. Have a personal profile and a fan page – NOT a fan group.
“Groups” on Facebook used to be OK, way back in the good ol’ days before people couldn’t just add you into them at their whim, without your permission. They were invite-only. For me personally, it’s a huge source of contention and I immediately delete myself from those groups with a sudden distaste for whoever placed me in it. I shake my fist at you, groups!
This is in addition to your personal profile. I recommend keeping a public personal profile (you can always have another private page for just your close friends and family). This will allow you to accumulate fans and friends to invite to your fan page – notice how on the fan page it gives you the option to “Suggest to Friends” – this makes it easier to invite people with the click of a button. One personal page and one fan page will allow you to cover all the bases: a friendly face for your fans AND a place to promote your business.
I also recommend having at least one actual photo of yourself in your profile photos – people who only have artwork as their photos kind of creep me out, and minimizes the feeling of comfortable, personal interaction online (which is, in fact, possible!).
Here’s a fantastic step-by-step guide on “How to Build the Perfect Facebook Fan Page” on Techipedia.com.
2. Interact with your “friends” often to create relationships.
“Do unto others” works in this scenario (unless, you know, what you want others to do to you is unsanitary and/or illegal). Want people to pay attention to what you post? Make yourself noticed and interact with other people’s posts. Don’t hesitate to “like” a photo someone posts, comment on a funny/sad/stupid status update, provide brief advice to a posted conundrum. Take some time to scroll through your newsfeed to find posts you like from people you want to notice you. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey! I’m interested in what you’re saying. And, hey! I exist! Look at me!” Do this every day – and never, ever, EVER “poke” or post randomly on people’s pages, unless it’s to say “Happy Birthday” or a congratulations. Also, share articles your “friends” have written, funny pictures they found online, and give them credit on your own profile.
When your relationships seem appropriately nurtured, feel free to reach out to certain people (especially comics bloggers, no matter how small their audience) and private message them to offer them a sample of your work, or a link to your portfolio. Chances are they’ll be happy to take a look (as long as you’re not too pushy or creepy).
Unless you’re purposely keeping your news feed minimal, select “Most Recent” for your News Feed to make sure you receive ALL of your friends’ updates. Without doing that, you’ll only receive the updates of select people, minimizing your ability to expand your social network through interaction.
3. Don’t tag random people in your artwork and don’t post your work randomly on people’s pages.
If there’s nothing Facebookers hate more, it’s being tagged in photos that they’re not in. This includes promotional fliers, those inane photo montages of ‘top friends’, and anything else that can be categorized as “I’m not in this picture.”
Don’t tag people in your illustrations to get them to pay attention to them, and don’t litter people’s pages with uninvited posts of your work. This includes the, “Just stopping by to say Happy Wednesday!” with an attached illustration. They will automatically hate you.
4. Keep your status updates short, concise, of interest to your friends, and GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT.
Whether you want to believe it or not, the world is judging you. Write a novel in your status update, I’ll completely skip over reading it. Give me something I can skim in a second or two, and I’ll click through to that link you’re posting or that illustration you want me to check out. Don’t “LOL” (really. don’t.) or “OMG” unless you’re being ironic. If you have to use a dictionary, then for the love of all that is holy, use it.
As for content, in addition to posting your own stuff that you want people to see, post news and items of interest that will garner a response. For instance, most of my Facebook friends are comics geeks, and when I post something Batman-related, I’ll get 38 comments within the first hour – something about my favorite type of tea from Teavana, notsomuch. Share what you want, but be aware of what your “audience” is going to care most about.
5. “Friend” people who can benefit you. (GASP! DERP!)
Oh no, I said it! We’re all business here, people. It may seem obvious, but sometimes you need to take it a step further. You want reviews of your comic book or to get in front of the editor at a publishing company? Request their friendship. Do your research – find the names of editors or reviewers and search for them on Facebook. Request their friendship. And don’t harass them…ever. But interact with their posts occasionally without promoting anything.
And be aware and considerate – some people only use Facebook to connect with close family and friends. If the people you’re attempting to friend only have a couple hundred friends or less, or keep their profile pretty private, chances are they’re keeping their friends list down to people they actually know.
For some tips on using Twitter for promotion, click here for my article, Social Media for Comics: 5 Tips for Promoting Your Comics on Twitter.
Follow me on Twitter: @adrileya
Email me with queries: adri (dot) cowan (at) gmail (dot) com