So, I have a friend. And this friend is a whiz/guru/rock star/ QUEEN of Social Media Advertising. Okay that’s probably taking it a smidge far, but suffice it to say she has worked professionally in the field for a few years and knows her stuff.
The topic of running ads and trying to get exposure for us/our books is a growing yet confusing topic. I’ve got a couple of books sitting in my kindle, a couple of podcasts on it, a couple of facebook groups GOING IN on ad revenue and ROI and buy through and….what?
So I asked my friend if she could break it on down for us and she was most delighted to do so! A few of my author pals had some specific questions to ask. If YOU have questions, pay attention to the contact info at the bottom of this post and shout us out a holla! This could possibly turn into post 1 of a few or a live chat if needed… let me know what sounds good!
I’ll let Vicki take it from here! WELCOME!
Hello everyone! Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Vicki and I have worked in social media for the past five years for a variety of clients across several industries. I know firsthand how frustrating social media can be, especially when you don’t know where to begin. I thought I would kick things off by going over some basics.
Facebook: This one is obvious, with nearly 2 billion monthly active users Facebook is quite possibly the biggest platform to promote yourself on social.
Twitter: Connect with your audience and participate in Twitter Chats. Twitter is fast paced but sharing your insights can help you make a name for yourself.
Google+: I can hear you now… “But wait, isn’t Google+ dead?” and honestly, you wouldn’t be wrong in that assessment! However, Google+ is huge for SEO value and search engine rankings and at the end of the day you want people to find you, right? Typically, anything you post to Facebook can be shared on Google+ as well. It’s really not a platform you’ll be engaging with anyone on, but it’s worth it to keep it maintained.
Instagram: Ah, Instagram, my favorite platform! With Instagram you truly get to have fun. Share some insight into your day to day life, your writing rituals, what’s inspiring you, local events…anything you can capture in a photo, share it! Hashtags are huge on Instagram, make sure to use them!
Tools of the trade
There’s a wide variety of tools for social media out there and you may be using some already. Here are some I have used:
Buffer: A small but mighty publisher, with support for every major social media platform Buffer is a great place to start when looking for a way to schedule and publish content. Their built in Pablo image creator is helpful when putting together professional looking imagery for your posts (and every post should have some sort of image attached…I’ll get into that more later).
Hootsuite/Sprout: Similar to Buffer, these two platforms also allow for scheduling and publishing, though they are bit more robust and offer monitoring as well. Meaning you can set up dashboards giving you a bird’s eye view of the activity on your social accounts. Play around with free trials and see what works best for you, everyone will have different preferences!
Canva: Not everyone can be a Photoshop wizard and that’s ok! Thankfully Canva is here to help you create high quality, professional looking graphics with ease. The variety of templates is staggering, you can make images for Facebook advertising, social media cover images, Kindle/Wattpad/eBook covers and more! The best part? It’s free!
(Note from Author DL- Canva is the BUSINESS! Tho it is free, I subscribe to Canva for work so that I can add fonts and have more options. )
Snapseed: A super powerful photo editor for iOS and Android, perfect for taking your Instagram shots to the next level.
Google Analytics: Have a website? You NEED Google Analytics to get a full picture of who is visiting your website. If you’re running advertising that drives people to your site you’ll want to be able to track visits and Google Analytics is your best bet.
1. What’s the difference between a Facebook ad and a boosted post?
I could write a novel on Facebook advertising, and I’ll be putting together a more in-depth post detailing the different ad types Facebook offers, but this is a common question.
A boosted post provides you with a fairly easy way to increase reach and engagement on a post that already exists on your Facebook page. As you may already know, Facebook shows your posts to a very, very, small percentage of your followers. Putting a modest amount behind a fairly important post can help it be seen by your current followers and people who don’t currently like your page.
Facebook ads are more advanced and can help you achieve a multitude of goals – from driving users to your website, gaining more page likes, video views…just about anything.
Within these ad options is also the option to boost posts, hence the confusion. Boosting a post through the Facebook Ad manager will give you more options specifically with regards to targeting. You’ll also have the ability to craft a post within the ad manager itself, while not publishing it to your Page’s feed – this is called a “dark post.”
2. If using a content calendar that autoposts (co-schedule, buffer, etc) is it wise to trust their “best time” option when scheduling posts?
I’ve found that Buffer’s suggested times have been incredibly dead on. Buffer really seems to analyze your audience and their behavior, I’d trust their suggestions any day. At the very least, it’s a good place to start.
3. Right now I’m scheduling blog posts to go live on Monday morning. Day of I post across platforms (twitter, insta, fb) 3 times and then once per day every day after through Saturday at varying times using different graphics so the posts feel fresh. Is that too much? Not enough?
When it comes to scheduling recurring content promoting a blog/event/book release it’s best to make sure you aren’t spamming your audience. What’s spamming? Well, that differs for each platform.
Twitter for example, moves at breakneck speed. Your tweet at 9am is old news by 9:15. So posting several times a day (with different verbiage, don’t repeat yourself) is not only smart, it’s encouraged.
Facebook? I would typically keep it to once per day, to keep from looking spammy. It’s also important to incorporate relevant content that isn’t necessarily driving users to read your blog/buy your book. This helps keep your audience engaged without feeling like they only exist to be sold to. Working in other content (which can be an article you found interesting, some insights you had, a quote you find particularly relevant that day…) also helps keep your page from looking like a series of links to your blog. It makes it a little less obvious that you may be sharing Monday’s blog several times throughout the week.
When scheduling things, think about the pages YOU follow and what you like and don’t like to see. What causes you to get fed up with a brand/page and unfollow? Trust your instincts, they’re probably correct.
4. How much do keywords matter?
With keywords it helps provide SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value to your accounts. This doesn’t mean you should “stuff” your profile or posts with keywords, however. Use them in a way that’s organic and natural. Honestly a good tip is to think about how people may be searching for authors/new books and incorporate that language where relevant.
5. How effective are hashtags on FB?
Quite honestly, I don’t find Facebook hashtags effective at all. They’re essential on Twitter and Instagram, however.
6. Crossposting…good or bad?
I’m a big proponent of working smarter, not harder. If you have fresh content (a blog, an announcement…whatever) it’s wise to share it across all the platforms you’re active on. HOWEVER, make sure the posts are formatted for each platform, don’t just write one post and sent it out to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn…without making some edits.
7. Do you have any cheat sheet sites that you’d recommend users pay attention to?
- Here are a few helpful links to bookmark: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/ultimate-guide-social-media-image-dimensions-infographic
Also, the tools I recommended (hootsuite/sprout) have robust blogs.
*Note from Author DL- I recently started listening to The Author Biz podcast–– great interviews with indie authors, and super relevant topics of discussion. There is an episode on facebook advertising specifically that is a gold mine of information, and to accompany that, I’d recommend adding this book to your reading list:
If you REALLY want to dig deep into book marketing, search for the group 20Booksto50K on Facebook. It’s hyper concentrated on book marketing, not general writing questions. If you’re a new author you might want to lurk, but plan to put tactics into play once you have a few books under your belt. Good to start learning early on that being an indie author is about much more than writing books!
Thanks so much for offering insight to us, Vicki! Looking forward to digging into Facebook advertising with more depth… I WILL CONQUER FACEBOOK ADS! haha.
If you have more specific questions that you’d like answered in a future post, please drop me a line, or reach out to me via any of my social media profiles. Ya’ll know where I be! I’m author_dlwhite just about everywhere. I’m hoping to gather another cluster of questions for Vicki to answer in a continuous series of posts, so shoot them over!
If you’re interested in contracting Vicki for consulting purposes, one-on-one assistance and having her take a look at your profile, reach out to her on twitter at @VickiMarziale and she’ll contact you privately from there!
Thanks again, I hope these answers were helpful… if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send them through!
*image courtesy depositphotos.com