FACEBOOK: Motivation, Innovation, Information

Sunny Frazier 4Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, dispels some of the myths that make Facebook so frightening to a newbie (like this blog owner) and makes it look easy.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

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A friend of mine has finally decided to tip her toe in the waters of social media. The problem is, she wants to make it harder than it really is.

. “I’ve been trying to learn how to make one. I know I need to have a blog. I have plenty to say. I don’t understand Twitter. Is that something else I need to have? Why does it have to be so darn difficult?”

Because you make it so.

The word’s been out for some time that Facebook is replacing personal websites. I still maintain one, or rather my webmistress does. She doesn’t work cheap and I don’t update often. I have it because I’m an author and people want to see what I look like, read my bio and peruse my book covers. I still look at websites of authors but primarily to write my “Coming Attractions” column for Kings River Life.

I don’t tweet. There’s nothing I want to say in so few words.

I don’t have a blog. Early on, I saw the pitfalls. At first there seems like so much to expound on. Then you run out of steam. You have to make a decision to continue to write or spend all your brain cells blogging. What eventually happens is you invite others to blog on your site, basically giving them publicity at your expense. Instead, I selectively chose two blogs to invest in, this being one of them. It’s like having a favorite chair in someone’s living room where you are always invited and the conversation is good. Thanks, Lelia!

What I told my friend is “Get on Facebook.” I know people who resist, who don’t find value in the site. I also know at least one person who is addicted. Like anything else, Facebook should be managed in a way that fits each person’s lifestyle and needs.

Here’s how I handle FB:

I open it up every morning. I make sure to post something daily. Since not much happens in my 24 hr periods, I usually post a “meme.” Took me awhile to figure out where everyone was getting these funny, yet telling, cartoons and sayings. I finally realized that by clicking on one, it has an arrow sending you to the next one. Or, I hit “share” on ones I particularly like and get them over to my page. I also learned to “share” privately on the pages of others to post things I wouldn’t necessarily want to tarnish my public image.

When not posting fun stuff, I post links to my blogs and health updates. My friends and peers have followed my journey through kidney disease and dialysis with unrelenting loyalty. I try to make the posts amusing and reassuring. I also seek to replace fear and misinformation with hope and education.

I scroll through to see how many “likes” I get, how many shares. “Likes” are more of an acknowledgment that the post has been read, a shorthand when no message is needed. About once a week I go on “home” where all my friends have posted, quickly run through a few pages to let them know I’m checking in. Sometimes I go to their personal pages to check things out. FB shouldn’t be a one-way street.

I’m very tactical about “friending.” When someone chimes in with a response to a blog I’ve posted, I will seek them out and personally thank them and friend them at the same time. When I promote an author in my column, I notify them via FB and friend them if they thank me. Hard to turn down a person who has done you a solid.

Photos. My friend is confused where they come from, how to post them. The little camera icon, I told her. All those fantastic pics of Europe from your trips. Personal milestones. Open up your life to us, or at least as much as you’d like us to see.

That’s the thing about FB. It really is less about promotion and more about building friendships. These cyber friends are real to me. I would love to meet them someday, but for now I simply like being part of their lives. With writing friends, it’s a way to follow their career and root them on. With personal friends, I get to see their kids grow up. With my sister, it’s all about cats (we don’t have kids).

How much time does this take me? Oh, about ten minutes a day, a bit more on the weekends. It’s something I look forward to as part of my morning. I check in the afternoon to see responses, before bed to wrap up the day. I go to sleep knowing all’s right in my world.

My advice to my friend: don’t fight FB, embrace it. You will find readers, supporters and eventually, fans. And so much more.

 

28 thoughts on “FACEBOOK: Motivation, Innovation, Information

  1. Very interesting use of fb. I’ll give that a whirl. I seldom go to my own website, actually, excepting for posting speaking events. I do use Twitter, however, for my writer friends advise that it is a must. I notice, at times, an uptick in sales through Twitter, it may be purely coincidence. But then, again, I got this message on Twitter.

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    • Really pleased someone tweeting my post! I wish I could be glib enough to contain my thoughts within their word count (which is weird because flash fiction is my forte). Thanks for the comment!

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  2. I’m with you, I prefer FB to Twitter, but I do Tweet and have found some succes there. Unfortunately, these days all the social medias routes are a necessary evil, LOL. And I only say that because it can be a time suck away from our writing. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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    • As I show in my article, it doesn’t have to be a time-suck. I consider housekeeping a major time-sucker, to be avoided if at all possible!

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    • Go to my page and steal a few. I usually post about books, writing, being unconventional and murder. I have an eclectic group of friends.

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  3. It’s taken me a while to figure it out, and I haven’t figured it all out yet. But I agree that it’s a very good way to build connections. To my surprise I’ve developed friendships with people close to where I live whom I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. I’m still learning, but yes, it’s fun. I too am now following your health updates. I learn a lot from these, and from a friend who recently had a cochlear implant after years of deafness. Interesting what FB can lead to.

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    • It’s amazing what FB can do. I think people just have to see the possibilities. As my titles says: Motivation, Innovation, Information. Let’s invest in each other’s lives. And, I thank you for every reply I receive from you on my page!

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  4. That’s interesting, but it’s like telling someone who doesn’t know what a key is or how an ignition works to go start the car and drive.

    Facebook remains a mystery to me. The pages switch from one to another without any pattern that I can see, and while I’m delighted to hear sometimes from someone I haven’t been in touch with in a long time, I don’t know how to respond. When I try, the pages start moving, apparently randomly, and I can’t find what I’m trying to work on.

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    • Really? You need to tame your dragon! I really haven’t heard anyone say that, except after comments FB now throws a few ads below (we just skip by them). To reply, you simply write something below your friend’s comment and hit “Enter.” Trick : put your friend’s name in the reply and it will “tag” them of your reply. Also, if you see a FB post in your mail inbox, click on it and it will take you right to FB.

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  5. Sunny, nice blog. I also find twitter helpful for me. I met Black Opal on Twitter! Making solid contacts there as well on Facebook but you’re right, writers should embrace social media not run from it.

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    • You have made the twitter option work for you! I’m glad you found Black Opal and glad to be on board with the authors. Peeked at your page, picked up some fun stuff! Love to know what my friends are up to!

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  6. I agree that fb is the one I get the most out of because I find it fun. It’s annoying the way the managers of fb keep making it more and more difficult to use, but for now it’s still fun.

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  7. Sunny, a nice simplification for those who are still holding back. I shared it on my FB timeline. I also have an author page and try to post often enough to keep people coming back. I like Twitter, though, and my sales have picked up a lot since I learned more about sharing stuff there. I link readers to my old blogs with info I think they might like.

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  8. I just joined FB a few days ago, haven’t done anything with it yet. Thanks to Sunny, I’m not quite so terrified now and may actually sally forth with a tiny bit of confidence 😉

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  9. I’ve just gone public on FB too. I figure, what do I have to hide? The more the world knows about me, the more I can know about the world. It really is all about sharing. Thanks, Sunny, for always reminding us of that most important fact.

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  10. My facebook personal page is my best marketing tool. That being said, 90% of my posts are fun. I’ll show cute photos related to my books, my research, my cat etc. I love the interaction between friends and their friends. My goal is for friends and readers to enjoy the on-line conversation. I only post about 4 times a week just because I don’t want to over share, but I always respond to everyone’s comments and that seems to help my posts get in their news feeds. But only do it if it’s fun for you because people can tell when it isn’t!

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  11. Excellent post, Sunny. My problem is one of self-control–I start reading the fascinating links in the news stream on ‘home’ and before I know it hours have passed. I’m going to start using a timer and just close the tab when the buzzer goes off.

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    • Ditto, Liane. Facebook can become addictive. I don’t know about Twitter. Most of the advice for authors suggests Twitter before Facebook. Thank you, Sunny, for stimulating this interesting discussion.

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