We introduce our fifth guest blogger of our monthly series on the 25th of every month, in celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, Kathleen Kaufman, published author and educator. Kathleen Kaufman is the author of environmental fiction and an inner city educator. She is well known in the social media community as a Facebook influencer and entertaining blogger. She can be found on her publisher’s website, The Way Things Are Publications, on Facebook and on her website.
Facebook marketing is a dirty word. No one wants to feel like they’re friends with a person who is trying to sell them a product, be it a book or a copyedit. The most successful Facebookers, the ones who have converted their page into actualized business, are not marketing, rather they are participating. It’s not as easy as it sounds; for one, you have to mean it. The simple act of being genuine on Facebook is easier said than done.
I am certainly not an expert on how to juggle professionalism and sincerity in a virtual world, but I have learned a few lessons along the way as to what not to do.
1. Mass Emails: I currently have approximately seventy-three messages waiting for me on my page. I have no intention of reading them, for the most part, because they are all invites to ‘The Best Opening Night Of The Best Play Ever!’ or ‘Open Mic Night At The Improv!” Thus, most of them are for events that are in Boston, Chicago, or New York. It becomes painfully obvious that the sender has no idea that I live in Los Angeles, and even more painfully obvious that I am just a number, a member of their growing horde, an inadvertent member of a fan club.
2. Gifts and Games: You can send flowers, virtual puppies, glass eggs and seasonal reindeer sculptures to name just a few on Facebook. You can, but please don’t. More than once I have gone to someone’s page, only to find it so cluttered with Facebook growing plants, Farmville updates, and virtual bunny rabbits that I never found a status update, or any kind of interaction from anyone that didn’t reside in Mafia Wars. It’s the Facebook equivalent of A&E’s Hoarders, it’s like a frightening little window into what that person has been doing with their free time. When you send them to me, I look like that person. Please don’t.
3. Comments That End With A Link: I may have just updated my status by saying that my tire is flat again and I’m sitting by the side of the 405, on my iPhone, waiting for help to arrive. If your response to me is this: “Hey, that’s too bad, check out my new poem at www.readmystuff.com‘ I’m pretty sure you don’t care about my tire. I’m also pretty sure that I won’t be reading your poem.
As far as what to do right? It’s easy, be yourself, utilize your friends talents and take advantage of the services they offer. I have found editors, fellow writers, publishers, educators, all willing to help me with questions, and manuscripts. I have been able to ask questions about coast guard ships and the amount of fuel it takes to get to Hawaii, and have had Navy officers from my friend list give me expert answers. Without Facebook, I would be lost. Likewise, I try to provide answers and advice whenever I have the opportunity.
So my advice about marketing on Facebook? Don’t. Build a genuine presence on any social networking site and they will come.