Use a Facebook Fan Page for Book Marketing

Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Fan Page for Comic Book School

About a year or so ago, I started to experiment with a Facebook Fan Page. It was an based in a desire to “meet” the people who were buying my books.

It was a little slow getting started, since it took some time for me to really understand how Fan Pages actually worked. As an author of very niche books, I am really excited about the passion and energy that people bring to the Fan Page.

Now that I have been running this Facebook Fan Page for a while, I thought I might share a few observations: Continue reading

5 Easy Tips for Using Google+

Google+ LogoWell, it’s official. Facebook finally has a real, serious challenger for their crown as king of the social media sites.

Google recently launched the Google+ social network. Geeks rejoiced (partially because it’s fun to play with new toys).

This isn’t Google’s first attempt at social networking. Far from it. They’ve had a few years of practice with stuff like Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Orkut. This time, it seems, they’ve come out with something that’s truly promising.

If you’re a marketer, you know that this will make it to a whiteboard near you sooner rather than later. Before clients start asking about it, you’ll want to know more about getting started with Google+.

Here are five really easy tips for getting started with Google+: Continue reading

5 Tips for Professional Networking on LinkedIn

Square version of LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn Logo

Because of the rapid growth of social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, many people are unsure of how they should draw the line between professional and personal communications. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but if you follow a few rules of thumb, you’ll do a better job of managing your professional brand.

First off, if you aren’t yet familiar with it yet, LinkedIn has become the hot destination for professional networking. It’s the ultimate social and professional mixer that helps people connect through career experiences.

Essentially, you go to LinkedIn to create a living resume. It may help you get discovered by HR recruiters or former co-workers. So it is essential for you to market yourself properly. Here are five easy tips for making the most of LinkedIn.

1. Be professional.
It’s strange to even say this, but you need to treat LinkedIn as you would any other workplace. Consider LinkedIn just another extension of your career, because for now, it kind of is. There are enough working professionals on LinkedIn that you must assume that everything you write is going to be seen and interpreted by some of your co-workers.

Separate your personal online life (e.g., Facebook) with your professional online life (i.e., LinkedIn). There is the “work you” and the “home you.” LinkedIn is the place for the work version of yourself. Continue reading

Cross Channel Book Marketing

Creating Comics book by Buddy Scalera

My new book Creating Comics from Start to Finish is just beginning to hit stores now. And despite the fact that I do this marketing thing every day for my clients, I’ve found it to be challenging to apply the same principals at home for my own projects. Crazy, right?

There’s an old saying, “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot.” That pretty much means the stuff you do at work is not the stuff you want to do when you get home. But a book being published is a timely event, and that time will soon pass, so I need to take the opportunity to market my book while I still can.

Initially, I was spending most of my efforts on my Facebook Fan Page, which had around 700+ followers and is now over 800. This group has been supporting my photo reference books, so they were most receptive of the new book. A good start.

Then I did a little bit of content seeding. I created a video flip through of my book, which I placed on the Facebook Fan Page, YouTube, Flickr, and even Amazon. I’m monitoring all of the channels through Google Analytics to see which drives the most qualified traffic.
Continue reading

Facebook Fan Pages Free and Fun

Facebook Fan Page Graph

The continued rise of Facebook means that all marketers — even those who have traditionally ignored social media tactics — are trying to figure out how to tap into this techno-social phenomenon.

One of the easier (and more affordable) ways to test the social waters is to set up a Facebook Fan Page. Plus, it’s free to get started.

I recently set up a fan page for my books (I’ve published three) and my CD-ROMs (again, three published). My books and CDs are resources that provide anatomy reference for comic book artists. Yeah, it’s a unique niche, I admit.

Setting up the “Photo Reference for Comic Artists Fan Page” was free and easy. If you were able to sign up for Facebook and set up a profile, you can figure out how to set up a fan page. For content, I uploaded sample photos from each of the books. It’s basically the same stuff that I have posted over in Flickr galleries and on my personal website.

Photo Reference for Comic Artists

So once you do that, you need to let people know about your page. Right now, I am promoting on the cheap. Basically, I shared the link with everyone in my Facebook Friends list who would be remotely interested in the page.

To my surprise, I got a dozen people on the first day, and then it quickly picked up from there. In less than two weeks, I had hit 200 fans. Not bad for word of mouth (WOM) promotion.

At that point, I had an audience. So I started uploading extra photos, like behind the scene shots that nobody has ever seen. As I posted pictures, people started giving it that thumbs-up “like,” which is a virtual endorsement. That resulted in more people signing up to be fans of the page. In the social marketing space, it’s all about relationships, so virtual approval is hugely important.

As a marketing channel, Facebook Fan Page is an free and easy way to begin spreading your brand message. Facebook even offers some rudimentary statistics and demographic information. It’s not very useful at this point, since my trends are just creating an initial baseline of information. At 10,000 fans you get access to more detailed analytics, but it’s unlikely that such a deep vertical like my books has that much of a broad-based appeal. But you never know.

Next month, I’ll try Facebook’s built-in advertising network to drive more awareness of the fan page. But for now, I am content recruiting fans organically, as they discover my page through their actual social network.

The next few weeks will be focused on posting new information and photos to get people engaged with the fan page. I’ll try running contest, just to see if people will participate. It will be at least six months before I get information about book sales, so I won’t know if this actually helps my long-term goal of selling books.

Stay tuned. More to come. Oh, and don’t forget to become a fan!

LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

TV Apps Kickoff – 3 Things You Need to Know

TV Guide TV app available through YahooThe 2010 Superbowl officially kicked off the Age of TV Apps. The technology has been around for a few years and is already available to many people. But Vizio’s TV app Superbowl commercial was the kickoff heard ’round the world.

So what are TV apps? In a most basic sense, TV apps are like the applications you download for your iPhone. Small, limited-use software that allows you to personalize your hardware.

New stuff that was once only available for your computer — and then for your iPhone — is now available for your television. If you have Direct TV or Verizon FiOS, some of this is already baked into your cable box. Obviously you can get TV apps on the Vizio TV, but also on many Samsung and Sony televisions as well.

You can already use things like Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook on your TV.

Here are three things you should know about TV Apps

1. The technical field is relatively open.
Sure, there are some key players like Yahoo who have already set themselves as leaders, but that can change.  Currently, Yahoo controls the application and administers the software development kit (SDK). Note: From our personal experience, Yahoo was somewhat slow in distributing the SDKs to developers. That’s unfortunate because that could irritate programmers who could create an open-source system that could render Yahoo’s TV Apps technology obsolete. If you have the desire to create apps (or even a completely new OS), the time is now. The tech is in place for you to build the next great widget, gadget, social network, or living room app.

2. TV apps will present design challenges.

Weather TV app available through DirectTV

TV apps will face several user interface challenges. The most notable is that most people don’t have a keyboard on their television remote control. Sure, you can pull one up on the screen, but as you can imagine, typing with a little remote-control button is a pretty poor user experience. If you’ve used a Wii remote to create a Mii character, you know how tedious it can be to type out a long name. Designers will clearly make the difference between apps that succeed or fail. The old design rules will need to evolve to take advantage and address the limitations of a 10-foot interface.

3. Content & marketing opportunities will need to evolve.
The iPhone and other smart phones forced content developers and marketers to rethink the way we package messages. Long-form had to give way to shorter, more relevant messages. If not for mobile communications limitations, Twitter would have never gained a foothold in society. Face it, a 140 character message fits better on a cell phone screen than, say, a PowerPoint presentation. People who mastered the Twitter format (including URL shorteners) emerged pretty quickly as masters of the medium. And the marketers quickly caught on with brand messages. That’s a long way of saying that the new language of TV apps is still in flux. If you want to create content or marketing messages for TV apps, try to figure out what works with this new interface.

If you’re already exploring TV apps, congratulations. You’re probably going to have a head start on this unique and exciting new communications channel. I look forward to seeing what you create.

LINKS, NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

Facebook Status Off Video

Y’know, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. This video captures the geeky goodness of our obsession with Facebook status updates.

Lots of us in this age online celebrity are obsessed with self-marketing and Brand You to the point of silliness.  I’m certainly guilty of trying too hard to be entertaining in my posts.

Anyway, watch this little viral video and have a laugh.

Of course, I’ll be posting this video to Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Have you updated your Facebook privacy settings? No, go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait.

I’ll wait, but the identity thieves and hackers aren’t waiting. They’re out there collecting all kinds of personal information about you.

Consider all of the personal information that you post to message boards and profiles. With some time and effort, people can gather some pretty significant data on you.

Think about it for a moment. If you fully populate your profile, they may already have:

  • Your full name, including middle name
  • Your maiden name (if you’re a married & changed your last name)
  • Your birth date
  • Your hometown and current town
  • Your school and educational history
  • Your spouse’s information (or significant other)
  • Your employment history
  • Your religious and personal views
  • The names of your children and pets
  • Photos of yourself and many of your family and friends

Add this to the stuff you’ve posted online about yourself in comments and Wall-to-Wall posts….and you’re looking at a LOT of personal information on Facebook alone. This is more stuff than some famous people have published about themselves. And at least they get the side benefit of being famous (and sometimes rich!).

Let’s just remember that “mother’s maiden name” is sometimes a security question for financial institutions. As are offbeat questions about your personal life that, theoretically, only you should know.

If you want to make it even more creepy, go to Google Maps or Google Earth. Type in your home address. If you’re looking at an aerial photo of your house, then everyone knows where you live. And if you post when you’re on vacation on your Facebook status, you may be telling everyone when your house will be vacant.They’ll even provide directions for burglars.

So, yeah. Go update that Facebook profile and keep some of your personal life private.

Jackson Dies. Fans Flock to…MySpace?

In terms of media, Michael Jackson’s death revealed some interesting insights in social networks. No, it’s not that people on social networks — like Facebook, Twitter , digg, etc — broke the news to their friends. Instant sharing is at the core of social networking.

myspace_music_logo_1The big surprise? MySpace became a serious destination for fan outpouring. Yes, MySpace, the site that some industry experts have declared dead. Yes, MySpace, the social networking pioneer that just laid off 30% of their workforce.

The King of Pop died suddenly on June 25, setting off a firestorm of news and reaction. Post-event analysis reveals that sites like Twitter and Google were hobbled by the surge in traffic. Google thought the surge in traffic was an organized attack on their site.

SIDE QUESTIONS: If Michael Jackson’s sudden death had this effect on the Intertubes, isn’t it time for the government to review the Net’s infrastructure? What would happen in a larger global event? Could the Net handle it? And is it ironic that television (that “old media”) works just fine during major surges? Debate, discuss.

Back to MySpace
As news raged, something weird happened at MySpace. People started to “friend” Michael Jackson’s MySpace Page at an astonishing rate. MediaWeek reported that “the official Michael Jackson MySpace profile was adding 100 new friends per minute.” Um, wow!

As of this writing, Jackson’s MySpace page has 567 thousand friends. That’s a lot of friends for a “dead” network.

And while Facebook is the current kind of social networks, MySpace is still considered the social network place for discovering music. MediaWeek also reported that “MySpace Music was streaming an average of 100,000 songs every ten minutes in the hours after Jackson’s death.”

It’s frustrating thing that they don’t offer a comparison. That is, how many friends was Michael Jackson getting per day before his death? Don’t know. And how many songs were they streaming every ten minutes before his death? Again, don’t know, so it’s hard to give a good comparison.

Post Mortem Suprises
Michael Jackson’s surprise death revealed a lot about the way people use the web and social networks. Based on the follow-up coverage, it’s clear that this Internet-thingy still holds a few surprises for us.

Yes, Facebook continues to be THE social networking juggernaut. But we knew that already.

The biggest surprise for many of the “experts” out there? MySpace isn’t dead.

Converging on Convergence

As interesting new web technologies become available, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites I need to visit….just to keep them fresh. (There are some feeds and whatnot to streamline these services, but that just becomes another site to visit.)

Recently, I’ve been trying to leverage these services by incorporating features into my personal website. As web technologies pendulate toward the middle, I am one step closer to converging on convergence.

My goal is to make my personal website a little more compelling for people who come to check it out.

Examples:

  • This weekend, I added my Twitter feed to my personal website. It’s just a little piece of Flash code that I was able to drop right into my web template. Very easy and elegant. (Note: I tried to use the Javascript code, but it just kept breaking.)
  • I also added a Facebook “badge” to my homepage. It’s really basic, but it looks kind of nice.
  • Then I synched my Facebook with my Twitter. Sort of sounds dirty, doesn’t it? Anyway, now, when I post to Twitter, it automatically feeds into my Facebook “current status.” Nice.

You can check out my handiwork at: http://www.buddyscalera.com. Feel free to look at the code and see how it’s done. Very simple and easy to do, even for an HTML novice.

Eventually this blog will probably migrate over to my website too. I really like blogging here on WordPress, but I get frustrated when I can’t control my widgets or outbound links better. So, we’ll see.

Now, I am off to find new convergence tricks.