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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pages, Schmages

All right Facebook overlords experts, I need your help and advice. What is the purpose of a Facebook (Fan?) Page? And how can I follow updates on a Page?

I've avoided Pages for the most part. The few I "Liked" were friends or organizations I was really interested in, but it doesn't do me any good if I have to visit each individual page to see what's new. 

I need news to come to me like on Google Reader or an RSS feed. Or at least make it a one-stop shop to get my news like 'Facebook regular'. That way I can scroll down and see what everyone is doing at a glance.

And then there's that other elephant in the room. As an author, apparently I'm expected to start my own Page. Scares the bejeebers out of me.

I mean, what if no one likes me? How humiliating! I'd be crushed. Spindled. Mutilated. I'd cry in my beer. And I don't even like beer.

See how devastated I would be?

I'd much rather hide behind this curtain here. Ooh, velvet.

To be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable with the 'Like' label. As much as I'd squee like a little girl if people liked me, it feels coerced. I am constantly getting messages from people asking me to 'like' them. Is that Kosher?

Marketing experts are always touting Facebook Pages for authors, but I've yet to read hard evidence on how it's useful. I'm not denying their claims. I just don't see it.

I'd be willing to suck it up and take the chance if someone could explain to me how his or her page has helped them reach readers. The whole concept boggles my poor mouse brain.

And I won't be insulted if you use little words. LOL. You know how hopeless I am with all things Facebook.

Do you have a Facebook Page? Useful or not? Do you visit Pages regularly?

We've had a rough week. Two Three storms blew through. The first one was the worst. A lot of trees came down in the town just south of us. But the next storm took out my internet tower--and then it turns out, fried my router.

The winds were howling so hard the trees were sideways. Now I know why so many people have storm shelters in their front yards. Unlike the bigger cities, there are no sirens to warn you of oncoming tornadoes. You're on your own out here.

Southwest of us, they're battling major wildfires. The winds are so fierce it's blowing the smoke into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It's ironic. One community lost 122 homes. We once considered moving there when a house we liked came up for sale. That could've been us.

The poor people in North Carolina are in far worse shape. Extensive tornado damage there and many lives lost.

Thanks to those of you who left comments or emailed to check up on me. I'm fine. Just no communication. Left me frustrated the first couple of days, but eventually I got used to my hermitage.


This week, the fabulous Marian Perera interviews me on my take of Science Fiction and Romance. I wanted to mention this earlier in the week, but with my tower down it was a little hard to spread the word. I'll be appearing on her blog tomorrow, Thursday, 4-21-11.

I hope you'll stop in and share your opinions.

Meanwhile, back to Facebook. Do 'Pages' work? Do you read them?


Darke Conteur said...

I'm with you on this, but the key in marketing is getting your name out there, right?

I have a FB 'fan' page, and a Fb page. I post any and all things related (links too) to my writing on the 'fan' page. All my everyday updates and funny crap goes on my regular page.

And if you make a fan page, I'll 'like' you. :D

Liz Fichera said...

Glad to hear you're safe, Maria. I wondered about you with the fires.

Regarding Facebook Fan pages, I'm with you on this one. I'm struggling with finding their effectiveness. It's a total promo page. I think I prefer the personal page because it's more fun and, seriously, I don't want to be talking about books all the time. They're is little that's "social" about a fan page, IMO.

DRC said...

Aside from Author fan pages, the whole concept of facebook pages is relatively new to businesses. For them it's trial and error. I work for an online retailer and we have a few facebook pages. One isn't doing so well but the other is flying, and we built a huge fan base in under a month - which was great for business.

Like DC said, it's about getting your name out there, making you and what you have to offer known to the general public. I'd do it in a flash. I wouldn't worry about people not liking you. I'm sure your 215 followers will convert to facebook - and that's just to start with.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Ah, but that takes even more time from writing. What will have to go in order for me to make scintillating remarks on my author page?

PS...Thank you for liking me. :grin:

Liz: Ref: talking books
And that's my beef too. I don't talk a lot about books on my blog either. (Honestly, there's really only so much you can say.) I'm relying on people enjoying my voice and picking up my books for the same reason.


DRC: How fascinating that one page is doing gangbusters and the other isn't! I'd love to study them side by side and see why that is.

Very interesting!

Krista D. Ball said...

I use my facebook fan page more like a discussion forum. I sometimes aska question and everyone answers, discussions, etc. I find that different people talk on Facebook than on my blog or on Twitter.

For example, the majority of my Canadian traffic comes from Facebook (as opposed to Twitter for my American traffic). So, being Canadian, I keep my Facebook fan page alive.

Raelyn Barclay said...

Glad you're okay.

I'm with you on the "like" label but you should be able to see page feeds in your news stream. If there's a way to organize them like regular accounts, I've yet to figure it out.

The advice I got about the author page is that you want to open it up when you reach about 300 friends on your regular/profile page. You can link your blog etc to the page just like you do your profile page.

Some pages seem to have interaction others just seem to be a place for the author to post their updates. Not sure if it's due to the author or whether it's the fans. I prefer the pages with interaction as they seem more friendly.

Either way, you know I'll "like" you :)

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: I am fascinated by the dynamics of what works and what doesn't. There are a lot of variables though. In the end, it's about reaching the right audience. You've given me a lot to think about.

Raelyn: It comes up on my news feed? I'll need to look closer. I 'liked' a chicken group but I have yet to see any of their updates, even though they're updating on their page.

Ref: Either way, you know I'll "like" you :)
Wow, I'm on a roll now. I have two people who like me. LOL. Thanks, Raelyn.

Eleri Stone said...

I just started a facebook page this week and I'm still trying to figure it out too. I've had a personal/family page for years and think it's great to keep in touch with everybody but the whole fan page business still mystifies me. Just feelin' my way through.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i really have no idea about the pages. And that sucks about the storms. We have more snow here, but it's not a storm or anything. Just cold again. Sigh

Anonymous said...

Maria.. i do have a facebook page, and i was able to find my friends from 20... yrs ago. That is neat about it, but the LIKE deal must be carefully addressed, because facebook, ANY AND ALL moves & click you make to TRACK your preferences, w the intent to sell info to businesses. Example: somebody LIKES a book sugestion, his preference will be saved on a database, for future "sharing" w a company. As with anything today, we need to learn where our rights end, and be aware of what we are exposing to the world via cyberspace. My name, location, date of birth, etc... is all fiction on facebook. I can be 18 again, forever. Mlima

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I usually go "like" pages for the same reasons as you, I really believe in the cause or I want to keep up with the author's updates. Other than that, I "like" pages if asked. ^_^

Angelina Rain said...

Maria, I would “like” your page in a heartbeat. Although I don’t understand the need for a facebook page. I had some authors facebook message me to inform me that they are at their 5000 friend limit and have created a facebook page as they can no longer accept any new friends. That I understand. But besides that, I see no need for that page.

Some pages do come up in the news feeds. I’ve liked a few pages where the author didn’t have a friend page. Some of their feeds come up, while others don’t. I think there’s something in the settings.

I’ve been contemplating making a page too, as I see everyone else doing it. If you make yours let me know. If it’s easy to make I might make one too.

Also, sorry to hear about all those storms. I’m glad you’re doing fine. Give the chickens and the doggies a hug from me.

Suzanne McLeod said...

Glad you're okay, Maria.

Like you I wondered about having a FB 'like' page, as well as my existing personal page. After all, I friend everyone back on my personal page, so it wasn't like I needed a 'like' one too. But it does have the notes section (not that I do much with it LOL!). So I made one, and have since discovered what I think is a good reason for one.

Not everyone wants to take part in the reciprocal 'friending' involved in a personal FB page, and have someone they don't actually know - i.e. an author - able to see their personal updates with their friends/family.

So the 'like' page lets them interact with an author, without worrying what they put on their own pages.

Some folk just prefer that distance. Others friend you and like you both, any of which is great by me :-).

As for updating it, I tend to put the same stuff on both, plus my blog is networked, so when I post it automatically posts on FB & twitter (have no idea how I managed that though, or some of the other technicalities of FB :-))

My two cents worth anyway :-D And of course, I'll come and like you *G*

Cate Masters said...

Keep those hatches battened down! Glad the storms didn't do more damage. It was scary the wide swath they cut, and how many people died.

As far as an FB page, I started one out of fear, basically. I'd heard that the FB powers that be disapproved of marketing on a regular page, and randomly deleted author pages without warning. So a page seemed safer. Plus, I have an identity crisis in that I started out using my full maiden name, and now it's a shorter version, so at least people can find me now. :) The "like" concept's a little strange, but that's FB for you.

I thought page status updates showed up in the FB news feed? I always see myself there - a little strange, like catching your reflection as you pass a mirror, lol.

And I doubt you'd have to coerce anyone to click the Like button!

Maria Zannini said...

Eleri: I'll be interested in hearing your progress.

Sarah: I saw that you guys got hit with snow. Ma Nature needs to give it up and give spring a toe hold.

Mlima: Ref: My name, location, date of birth, etc... is all fiction on facebook. I can be 18 again, forever.

LOL! I like the sound of that. But I'd rather be 25.

Barbara: I guess I don't understand the protocol. I don't want to force myself on anyone. That's why I like the option of friending someone. They have the right to ignore me.

Angelina: I want to sit on this for a while. Maybe watch a few of my friends' pages and see what kind of response they get. Like MLima said, FB is notorious for tracking our every move. That's not something that endears me to them.

Suzanne: I have 'notes' on my regular Facebook page. But I noticed not everyone has one. I don't know why that is.

I wonder if there's a way for posts to automatically post on the page as well? I swear you need two Ph.ds to figure this out.


Cate: Back when I didn't know any better, my first thought was to start only the Facebook page. Somehow I ended up with just a regular Facebook account instead of a page. I kind of like it as is, but I'll take some time to consider the Page. I was afraid of needing new material for each and that was a drawback for me.

Linda Leszczuk said...

How did the little chicks weather the storms?

I have a personal page and a fan page but I'm not sure it makes sense for me since most of my "friends" from my personal page are the same people who have "liked" me on the other one (something to do with my not being published, I imagine).

I'll "like" your fan page, of course, so there's one more.

Sherri said...

Hey Maria!

Ref: Pages in your News Stream
I think it must be a setting thing. I realized after stopping earlier that some of the pages I've LIKED are there but others aren't. (I'll have to check that out in more detail.)

Ref: Notes
You can turn that feature on and off. I had it for a while, got rid of it, now I'm using it again for blog posts.

Ref: Posting to Pages
If you're talking about your blog posts, I believe you do it the same way as you do on your personal page through the linked accounts or whatever it's called.

If you're using TweetDeck you can post to FB, MySpace, and Linkin (maybe more) and I know there's a setting for FB pages.

My head is spinning, hope I'm not throwing you for too much of a loop!

Dru said...

I haven't read everyone's comment yet, but I would "like" you.

Jenny Schwartz said...

So glad you're safe, Maria, and your furry and feathered friends :)

As for Facebook. Well, I've slowly learned it's not the devil's playground (even if it does induce me to swear a lot trying to figure it out), and I have to put my hand up to having a Page. It's small, but it does have more functionality that a personal profile. You can add Facebook versions of web pages (so list your books or anything else you want). You can even have a welcome page. Now, all of this is a challenge to my non-existent tech skills, but at least I can see the purpose of it.

And I'd like your author page!

February Grace said...

Hope you're doing okay after all the storms!

I think some jump on the 'fan' page thing too early. I think that unless your book is coming out soon that there's not a lot of point in them, personally- because I think people tend to tune them out if there aren't big goings on posted to them. I don't mind 'liking' friends 'fan' pages but I do dislike doing it then being taken off their 'regular' FB page if I'd been friended there first.

FB is a blessing and a curse IMO. There are people who make it worth my hanging out there but a lot of it, especially stuff forwarded on by friends of friends, just starts to feel like noise and I scroll past pretty quickly.

Sorry this is such a badly worded comment, I'm really tired all of a sudden!


Marian Perera said...

Great to see you back, Maria! I was wondering what I'd do if your post went up but you were still AWOL.

Claudia Del Balso said...

Glad to hear you're okay, Maria.
How scary is that? I've been through hurricanes and earthquakes and they're extremely frightening. How are your pups doing? how about the chickens? I so worry about animals in natural disasters :(
Regarding your question about Facebook pages, I'm in the dark as well. One of my friends has a page for her business and she said that people can only like her page and they cannot befriend her :(
Be safe and I hope you guys don't have to see anymore storms.

Charlie said...

I don't have much to add on FB. I've been a pretty slow learner on that one. I would 'like' you though!

Glad you made it through the mother nature tantrums. Stay safe!

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: You have an author page? I need to get out more. :) Chickies are doing great.

Sherri: I'm glad you said something about Pages being on a news stream. I don't see them--or maybe I see them thinking they're Profile pages.

Jenny: Since I don't have a website anymore, I can see how a Page might be useful in that context. That would be a logical solution. Something to think about. Thanks!
Dru: Thank you, Dru. I have good friends!

Maria Zannini said...

February Grace: You mean people will unfriend you if you Like them? Now that's callous!

Marian: I was getting a little worried myself. LOL.

Claudia: Puppies are good as are chickens and scorpions. :) Knock on wood, the only natural disasters I've never had to experience are earthquakes and tsunamis.

PS... I always read you, Claudia. Just don't always get a chance to comment.

Charlie: This is our season for rain, but it's odd to have so many storms one right after another.

PS Thank you for liking me. :)

Renee Miller said...

I've been advised several times to get a fan page instead of a website, but fans of what? My mad article writing skills? *snort*

I think they're a great idea, if you can make them work for you. I don't see you being that annoying author who's all "Like my facebook page and I'll send you cookies!!" every single day, so go for it. You know who has a cool facebook page? Ted Dekker. It's really inclusive for his readers and always full of interesting stuff. That's how an author page should be, totally for the books and the readers.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: Dekker's FB page is awesome. That's what I'm talking about! His videography is amazing. I think that's what pulls a reader in. He shows you such fascinating glimpses of his life that you want to hang around.

I will put him on my study list. Thanks!

Renee Miller said...

You're welcome. One day I will have a page as cool. And I'd like your page, even if it wasn't cool. ;)

Madeleine said...

I confess I find Facebook utterly perplexing. I gave it a go, but found it hard to follow and I'm usually very computer savvy, but then I have been mega tired lately. Good luck with it :O)

Maria Zannini said...

Madeleine: My theory is that FB is slowly culling us from the herd. LOL. Hope you feel better. An island vacation maybe?

Jennifer Shirk said...

I haven't decided about a FB fan page yet either. Although I would "like" you too. :)
I like a lot of pages but I rarely see posts from them or "visit". But I do get email updates from them.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: I worry about not seeing updates from Pages. It kind of defeats the purpose of an interactive Page if I can't reach my readers. Thanks for liking me. :grin:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I have a fanpage for my novel and it has 60 fans. I'd bet you could get way more than that. Just invite your facebook friends to like it and stick a link on the sidebar of your blog.

I'm still not sure if this is a useful tool for marketing or not. You can use it to market through facebook by buying advertising buttons that will pop up on people's sidebars who may be interested in your book. So, that's something else to explore.

You can also link your fanpage to your twitter and when you post on your fanpage, the message tweets the same thing. I did that for a while, but it shortens the message if it's too long and pictures turn out dumb because they of course don't show up on twitter, only your text description does.

So it tweets, "Here's the bridge my character crossed to get to his ladylove." And your Twitter people are like, "Huh?" LOL

Shelley Munro said...

Great question, Maria. I have a fan page, but I've yet to work out how to use it properly. I prefer my normal page, which isn't all about business. It's more fun and social.

Maria Zannini said...

Amanda: Thanks for your input, Amanda! Maybe I'll feel more comfortable once I have a few more books behind me.

Shelley: I have this theory that we can interest more readers with everyday topics than we can with book talk. --of course, it's only a theory. :grin:

Jayne said...

Glad you are ok, Maria! The facebook question (and responses) are fascinating. I don't use facebook at all but wonder whether it's something I should be looking at, or not. Trouble is, blogging and tweeting take up time - facebook sounds like another way to pull me away from what I should be doing - writing stories!

Maria Zannini said...

Jayne: How are you?! Glad to see you're out and about.

That's the million dollar question, isn't it? How much time do you invest in (net)working as opposed to actually working?

The perfect balance is different for everyone.