Having only recently learned to size my Timeline photos 403×403 square only to find that no longer works with the new face of Facebook timeline–or at least not all the time–I thought I’d share a few Facebook tips I’ve learned in the last few days, months, and years, often the hard way. Some of these are practical, some philosophical:
1. SIZE MATTERS: If you don’t want your personal timeline photos to be randomly cropped by facebook, size them as 640 x 480 pixels. On a page timeline, they still need to be 403 x 403. Headers for both personal accounts and pages should be 851 x 315 pixels. (Best loading if it’s less than 100 kb.) Profile pictures have to be at least 180 x 180 pixels, and will display at 160 x 160 pixels. For placement, this handy dandy chart comes from facebook. I found it hidden under an arrow on one of their help pages; the page link is imbedded in the picture if you want to have a go at finding it yourself:
2. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: The point of having a facebook page is to get folks engaging with you. Engaged fans will be more likely to pick up your next book, and perhaps even help spread the news. To that end, stop thinking about yourself for a minute (or an hour, or forever) and think about what’s in this for your readers. Ask for their input. Ask their opinions. Offer them something they want. Make them smile. Make them laugh.
3. GENEROSITY TRUMPS JEALOUSY: I’ve found one of the best uses for social networking in general and Facebook in particular is the opportunity it provides to connect with authors and others in publishing. Books aren’t like cars; almost no one reads a single book every 5 or 10 years, and the ones that do aren’t your best shot at gaining a good audience for your work. There is plenty to be gained by sharing fellow authors’ good news, including the possibility that they might share yours in return. And it always feels nicer to be generous than to be jealous. (Money-back guarantee on that!)
4. TO GIVEAWAY OR NOT TO GIVEAWAY, THAT IS THE QUESTION: There are a lot of rules to hosting a giveaway on facebook, but the bottom line is:
You must use a page app and you must notify the winner some place other than facebook. There are lots of these, and you can even make one yourself. I use binkd because it does a fair amount for a modest cost and I’ve already invested the time to figure it out. But I’ll warn you: it’s not intuitive. If you generally use a Chrome browser (which I do), do this in Safari. Some others that have various functions for various costs include giveawaytab, rafflecopter, and wildfire. (If you have one you love, please share in the comments below!)
You can “likegate” a contest — that is to say, set it up so it is only open to folks who like your page. Or folks who are willing to like your page in order to enter the contests. The easiest way to do this is through one of the apps discussed above. But..
Building followers can be a curse as well as a blessing. Yes, you might get more page likes through a contest, but if you can’t convert those new likes into engaged readers, it can hurt you in the long run. Facebook uses complicated algorithms to decide who sees what, and having a lot of page fans who don’t engage isn’t necessarily a positive. So when structuring a contest, consider what will attract fans who will be interested in your books (or other products) rather than simply attracting fans.
5. THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO WASTE IS WRITING TIME ITSELF: Facebook is only a time sink if you let it be. Trying doing your writing first, and going to your favorite social media sites only when you’re done for the day.
In the spirit of it always feels good to be generous, please share your helpful hints in the comments below. I’ll promise to share the ones I like best! And if this post was helpful to you, please share it with your friends. – Meg
Share the post "Five Facebook Tips for Authors and Others (or “Being Generous Always Feels Better than Being Jealous”)"