This question, submitted by a participant in the April Intro to Facebook Workshop, was actually worded as follows:
Let’s start with the larger question: Does it makes sense for you to be on Facebook at all. This is less about how much you want to deal with Facebook then whether the people who you need to reach are online there.
As I’m sure you’re learning, it’s not enough to write a good book. Sales take work, starting with leveraging your existing extended network. If Facebook is going to make it easier for more people to find and buy your book, tackle it the way you’ve learned other important things in your life. Just do it. Learning how to engage that community of potential readers on Facebook is going to be worth your time — or at least a bit of budget to hire someone to help you do that. Start by brainstorming: What could you talk or show on the Page that would be interesting to those readers. Just “Buy My Book” isn’t going to do it.
As a general rule, social networks work best if you grow and engage your community there. That, in turn, works best when you pay attention to what’s happening on the page, update your community with new information and participate in conversation there.
That doesn’t mean that all authors are on Facebook or that every author who is there spends time with their page. So, instead of thinking in terms of black and white (should I or shouldn’t I), let me illustrate potential missed opportunity.
The Marketing of Likeonomics: A Lesson in Facebook Missed Opportunity, or Proof of Second Chances?
There is a book currently launching by Rohit Bhargava called Likeonomics. I heard of it just this morning because I happened to notice a Slideshare presentation the author uploaded over the weekend — an e-book of sorts that talks about how he created the book. Very interesting study in pre-marketing a new idea in anticipation of a book.
The Likeonomics Slideshare Presentation, titled, “How to Sell and Write a Book: The Unexpectedly Honest True Story of the Making of Likeonomics,” is below.
Thinking about the Facebook question, though, I looked for the related Likeonomics Facebook Page. The page was started some time ago but updates since have been almost non-existent. The best post so far was the one over the weekend that shared the
SlideShare presentation above. No surprise, then, that there are 233 fans on the page as I write this.
Why? There’s really no reason to join the Page. Not because you can only order the book — but because there’s no chatter about the issues of interest on the Page at all. And yet — look at all the interesting topics discussed in the Slideshare Presentation which could have been parsed as content for the Facebook Page.
Missing Numbers: 25,041 Slideshare Views vs. 233 Facebook Fans
Seems like there’s a missed opportunity to move people from one platform to another to continue the conversation and more strongly crowd source sales for the book.
Maybe the effort to build the Slideshare audience will propel conversation on Facebook without the need for the author’s own active Facebook Engagement.
Or perhaps the answer is that the Slideshare presentation is all that anyone will need to pull out their credit card and jump to Amazon.
Could also be the author has just been jammed until now and going forward plans to focus on the Facebook Page more.
We learn by doing. But we also learn by watching. I recommend that we keep our eyes on what happens when attention finally turns to the Likeonomics Facebook, if it ever does.
What do you think?
What it looks like to me is that an author who wasn’t that engaged with Facebook just found a creative — but different – door to get the book launch buzz going. Not by selling the book directly but by taking us “into the locker room” to see how the real story, and raising his Like-ability more.
So maybe the real answer to the workshop participant’s question regarding the worth of a Facebook Page left unintended depends on your goals for your business (or book), what marketing/sales alternatives you have at your disposal and whether those alternatives work well enough to achieve your goals.
Me? I feel like if you’re going to be on Facebook then… be on it actively. If you’re not, why should your Fans?
UPDATE: Read the comments below to get a better idea of Rohit’s strategic thinking behind the Likeonomics Facebook Page and how it relates to his main Facebook Page as a Personal Brand.