In 2020, lives around the world changed as we felt the far-reaching effects of the pandemic. These potentially detrimental effects were no different for authors. Live events got canceled. Conferences were rescheduled or postponed. Book signings became impossible with the new social distancing rules. From essential industries all the way down to the publishing industry, things changed drastically. Today, we are several months into the pandemic, and the effects are still felt all over the world.
But as authors, we can use this new normal as a way to boost the influence and impact we have on our potential readers. We’ve compiled this list of ways to help you fast-track your influence as an author by building an online community on Facebook.
1. You can create teams to launch your book virtually to a global audience.
This is something that many authors did before the pandemic hit, but now that social distancing has become a part of our lives, it’s more common to see multiple book launches in your social media feed. By going beyond the boundaries of a local launch event in your hometown, you can reach thousands of potential readers. A video can easily be broadcasted live in your Facebook Group, then you can download it to publish on your website, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Instagram profile.
2. Engage your readers regularly by posting polls, blogs, videos, and other interactive content.
Break the content of your book in three to five categories that you can post regularly about. By breaking it down into categories, you simplify your social media marketing strategy for each day (or week), making it much easier to generate unique and engaging content for your fans. For the members of your Facebook Group who haven’t yet purchased or read your book, this will give them some insight into who you are as an author and how your book can help them. In addition to learning more about you and your book, this will give your fans a needed distraction from the stress and turmoil they may be feeling in their lives.
3. Go live at least once a week to bring more awareness to your story or topic.
Facebook is a great tool you can use to sell more books, and now more than ever, you have a global audience waiting for your content. (Check out our blog post on “10 Tips to Sell More Books with Facebook Live.”) We recommend going live at least once a week to build a consistent pattern of live video content.
Before you start going live, be sure to promote every video in advance. But don’t just say “I’m going live”—offer group members a sneak peek at what you’ll be going live about with a tiny piece of the content you plan to talk about. This will give your fans a reason to join the broadcast, and if they have friends they think will enjoy it, they’ll also invite more people to join.
4. Ask thought-provoking questions in your community to promote engagement.
As your Facebook Group grows, you’ll need to keep people interested. Members of the group will want to participate in and engage with your content. Ask fun and interesting questions that can be related back to your content to get more people active in your community. So, for instance, if you’ve written a book about writing a screenplay, you could prompt members to post lines of dialogue from their favorite movie and ask others to guess what movie it came from. This does three things:
- Encourages other members to be social with each other
- Engages members with the content of your book
- Facilitates a fun activity in your online community
And all of these things will motivate your members to engage more and stay in your group longer. This is exactly what you want to happen in your Facebook Group.
5. Interview other authors inside your Facebook Group.
A community should be about more than your content. You’ll probably have several authors within your group who would love to take the stage with you from time to time. This will give your members a variety of content to engage with, and it also has the potential to pull fans from the other author’s community. We recommend doing this consistently, at least once a month, to give your fans something different to look forward to.
6. Use entrance questions in your Facebook Group to improve your marketing strategy.
When you’re setting up your Facebook Group, you have the option of setting up a series of questions that new members can answer before you approve their requests. One particularly helpful question you can add is to ask them to enter their email address if they’d like to sign up for your email list. (Give them the option to enter “no” if they’re not interested.) You can also ask them questions about the type of content they’d like to see you create in the group. This gives you a direct line to what your fans really want to see.
If you’re consistent with how you engage with your Facebook Group, you will see your online community grow exponentially as time goes on. Serve your audience well by offering them content with value, and they’ll keep coming back for more because they know what they can expect from the community.
What type of content do you feel gets the most positive engagement in your Facebook Group? If you haven’t yet created an author group online, what’s stopping you from building your own community of fans?
Kary Oberbrunner, CEO of Igniting Souls, is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals and organizations clarify who they are, why they’re here, and where they’re going so they can become souls on fire, experience unhackability, and share their message with the world. Connect at KaryOberbrunner.com.