Okay, I don't only use Facebook as a marketing tool. I love catching up with old friends, looking at photographs, reading funny status updates, and playing Word Challenge. But I actually do use it as a marketing tool, and I see other book authors and freelance writers doing the same thing. So, here are a few ways that you can feel justified in all the time you spend on Facebook. :)
- Search for writers you know. Search for writing groups full of writers that you would like to know. Contact these writers and tell them that you want to be their friend. You could be looking for a support network of other children's writers, romance writers, mystery writers, or whatever type of writer you are. I have actually done this! And it works. I have several children's writers on my friends' list whom I have never met in person, but who help me answer questions, refer me to other writers, and provide me with marketing ideas.
- Use your status updates to market yourself. Are you having a book signing in a certain area where you have a lot of Facebook friends? Tell people about it in your status, such as "Margo is going to be at Borders on Lindbergh in St. Louis at 4:00 today." You can also use your status updates to encourage friends to visit your blog or make a comment on an eHow article or sign up for a free book giveaway on your website. Once you are on Facebook and connected with other writers, you will get a lot of new ideas on how to use your status to market yourself. Of course, you have to have fun status updates sometimes, such as mine last night: "Margo is eating graham crackers and Jello cheesecake at 3:30 a.m."
- Start a group. It is super easy to start a Facebook group. Go to your "Groups" page and get started. There is an icon on your home page in the Applications box that looks like two silhouettes--that's the Group icon. Click on it and get started. Groups exist for just about anything you can think of on Facebook, so why not start one about your book or your writing group or your magazine? Then invite people to join your group. Ask your friends to invite their friends to join your group. You can send messages to the whole group when you want to update the members about any exciting news you have or events you have planned. If you need quotes for an article or ideas for a blog, you can ask members of your group to help you. If you have an "open" group, then anyone on Facebook can join who does a search for your topic.
- Post an event. The Eventmaster on Facebook is a great tool. Again, on your home page, in your Applications box, there is an icon of a small calendar that says "Events" next to it. Click on the icon, and follow the prompts to invite people to an event. This is where having more Facebook friends comes in handy. If you are having a book signing, create an event on Facebook. Invitations will be delivered right to the your friends' inboxes. You can also create events for book launch parties, magazine issues, conferences, workshops, and speaking opportunities.
How do you use Facebook to help your writing career? Be creative and use Facebook to help launch and maintain your career while you're also laughing over your old prom photos and your friends' "25 Things" notes.