Indie Authors: How to Harvest the Epic Marketing Power of Facebook

by | Sep 1, 2016 | Book Marketing Basics, Social Media for Authors

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Do you know how much time people are spending on Facebook each day? 50 minutes, according to a recent New York Times article. 50 minutes! Instagram and the Facebook Messenger app are included in that timeframe, but you can bet that the lion’s share is still spent on Facebook itself.  It’s more critical than ever to make your Facebook Page work for you by pulling in sales as well as likes.

The biggest challenge I have with Facebook is that it’s constantly changing, meaning my Facebook book marketing strategies must evolve with it. I admit it – I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. When it works, it works well but when it doesn’t work, well… crickets. Whether you want to build up a strong following on your Facebook page, or simply want to boost your engagement, join me for a look at the hottest Facebook features.

Facebook Livestreaming

Facebook recently introduced Facebook Live. You’ve probably seen it in action. Whether as a little red icon when you go to post a status (particularly if you use a mobile app), or in your notifications when you see that a person or page you like is or was live.  In a nutshell, it gives you the opportunity to stream live video directly on your Facebook page. To start a livestream, open up the status bar as though you were going to write a new post and click the Live option. In earlier versions of the app, it was a head with little read circles. In recent updates to the app, it’s a video camera with the word “Live” or “Go Live.” Depending on which version you have, you will see one of these icons. Follow the prompts for your new livestream, including naming your feed, and selecting who you want to see your video. You can choose between everyone, or just certain audiences. Now, simply click the button to go Live and ta-da, you are now broadcasting live.  You can also save the video if you decide you want to share it later – whether to a YouTube channel, blog, website, or any other platform.

Facebook Livestreaming Tips

  • The ideal video length is 5 to 20 minutes.
  • A short catchy video title is the way to go. If you need additional description, you can add it in the comments.
  • After your livestreaming video concludes, update the post. Add a short narrative, a call to action and update the thumbnail to the best option – you can choose from 10 images.
  • Tags are important! Using the right ones will help new audiences discover your video, so add any that relate to your livestream.
  • Tag anyone you interview or chat with in the video to boost your views even more! You can also tag them under “edit video” (one note, mobile video editing isn’t an option yet, right now, it’s limited to your desktop).

Facebook Ads

The Facebook ad dashboard can be daunting. The choices seem to be endless, making Facebook Ads feel tricky. Check out the ideas below to amplify your existing practices, as well as to learn about some of the newer features you may not have started using.

Boosted Posts

Boosted posts are often the go-to for most of us because they are so easy. That said, they are the single biggest ad-dollar suck of all of the Facebook ad options. Why? Because most people use them wrong. When Facebook invites you to boost a post, it’s generally because the post is already considered engaging compared to the rest of your page. But, according to Facebook’s algorithm, it could do better.

Limiting the exposure of boosted posts is the secret to using them successfully.  Statistics show that boosted posts do better when they’re shared with fans only. While you’ll gain some new fans by boosting to everyone, it’s not as efficient as selecting a specific audience, meaning you’re spending lots of money on relatively low engagement. In fact, boosted posts are some of the most expensive ads you can run if you’re focused on ‘everyone’ instead of your fan base. Boosted posts from your timeline are automatically optimized for page post engagement …to your fans. Also, when you limit your ad exposure to a selected audience, in this case, fans only, you can also limit your budget. I’ve run hugely successful boosted post campaigns for as little as $15.

Ads That Drive a Specific Call to Action (like Newsletter Sign-Ups)

I see a lot of people doing Facebook Ads geared toward driving people to a Leads Page or some other sales page to sell product. This is actually often an expensive endeavor because the cost-per-click (CPC) is much higher when you’re driving people to a sales page. So what’s a budget-minded author to do? Drive folks to a blog post with a great call to action inviting your readers to sign up for something. The caveat here is you MUST have a fantastic blog post. Refer back to last week’s article on  How to Write an Epic Blog Post before you begin!

Facebook Ad Tips

In general, Facebook ads work better when you let them create themselves. By that I mean, when you don’t have to work so hard to create them.  Using casual language tends to be way more effective than a formal, structured ad. So when you’re running ads, especially if you’re driving them to a blog post, keep it casual, as though you were doing a status update.


I don’t recommend using Facebook’s stock images. Instead, consider using something really eye-catching. A lot of authors like to use their own image.  While that works great if you’re advertising to your existing fans. But, if you’re trying to build your audience or drive more newsletter sign ups, you’re targeting a lot of people who don’t know you, and your image may not have as much pull for folks who don’t know you. If you need some tips on building picture perfect images for social media, check out this recent post. It’s got some great suggestions for stock photo sources and image editing apps and sites.

Another suggestion for imagery is to use simple text with a color background. In some cases it works brilliantly. As a matter of fact, yellow seems to be the power color if you’re creating a simple color ad with text overlay.

Facebook changes constantly, which can sometimes make it feel like an untamable beast. But I promise, if you spend some time with these tools, you’ll really see the results. Watch as your Facebook page goes from “blah” to “wow!” seemingly overnight. Remember, users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook. Wouldn’t it be nice to grab some of that window for your marketing efforts? Good luck!

Next week, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can optimize your Facebook posts to get the most engagement.



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