How to NOT Market on Facebook

The real secret to Facebook marketing is…DON’T market on Facebook. Facebook is not a marketing website, or an advertising website—though it can often feel like one. Especially with all the nonsense about paying for ads. But I promise Facebook is not a marketing website. It’s a social networking website.

Most authors know they need a business page, but they don’t know why, or what to do with it. So it sits there with 200 or so silent “Likes” and collects dust while the author screams into a vacuum, posting anything and everything about their books, until their lungs give out and they’ve convinced themselves that Facebook pages are useless. That’s because they haven’t learned to use that page as an individual looking for friends who just might like to read their books.

Socializing and networking sounds easy in theory. Socializing is just talking to people, right? Well, for some, it is easy and natural, but for most of us, this is downright scary. Talk? To strangers? What about? I talk, but no one ever comments back.


Photography by Stacy Garrett Alice in Steampunk Land

Let me introduce three words: High Concept, Niche, and Target Audience.

High Concept – This is anything that is already popular, viral, or widely understood. Joss Whedon and Grumpy Cat are all High Concept, but so are values like family, friendship, loss. Basically, anything you could use to break the ice at a party is High Concept.

Niche – Niche is one specific genre or brand. Like Fanta and Minute Maid is to Coca-Cola.

Target Audience –Target Audience refers to people who prefer Coke over Pepsi. Why is this important? Because you don’t want to waste your time trying to sell Coke to a Pepsi fan. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Know your audience”, but what does that mean, really? How are you supposed to know a bunch of strangers and what they like?

Well, that’s why you start with something High Concept, but also in your Niche. I’ll give you a real-world example.

I write urban fantasy with vampire characters. My first book released right around the time that the Twilight movies were ending. I had two problems. I didn’t want everyone to see me as a copy-cat trying to make an easy living selling Twilight fan-fiction, and, unlike Bella Swan, my heroine is a strong, take-charge, kick-butt little spitfire. Except no one knew who Ema Marx was. Posting about this awesome character named Ema got me nowhere because she was not High Concept enough to draw the attention of random strangers.

I needed to post about something that would draw interested readers. So I posted about Buffy Summers from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is High Concept. Just about every teen girl from the 90s knows the show and loves it. So, naturally, everyone who saw the post had something to say about it. The post actually drew in random strangers all on its own, because that’s what High Concept does.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer also falls well within my niche. It’s about a young girl who slays vampires. Things are not always black & white. She discovers a good vampire, Angel, whom she falls in love with. This is exactly the kind of urban fantasy story I like to write. It’s not a far stretch to go from Buffy Summers to Ema Marx. Also, those teen girls from the 90s are now adults, the same age group I want to sell my books to!

Posting about Buffy drew traffic to my page, enthusiastic traffic with opinions to share. I did not pounce on the first post and offer my book, I had to develop a relationship. That is done by communicating. It’s not hard to talk to people about the things you know.

After a bit of chatting my visitor (and many like her) “liked” my page without any prompting. Why wouldn’t they? We were having fun chatting about something we enjoyed. We were becoming acquaintances, and quite possibly good friends, over something we felt strongly about. Thanks to that high concept post, that bit of common ground.

Five to ten High Concept posts later, I dropped a hint that a few chapters of my debut vampire urban fantasy novel, Dark Heirloom, was available right here on Facebook.” (Followed by a link.)

Free chapters? By someone that loves the things I do? Where? These are the people that not only buy my books, but become big fans of Ema Marx. That’s the beginning of a real fanbase that reads, comments, and shares all of my posts. That first stranger (and about 1200 other strangers) are now my audience for future stories; all from conversations about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Three books and a web series later, I’m still finding new fans with this method. I connect with people over episodes of Being Human, True Blood, and Dracula. And you can do this no matter what genre you write in. The key is to be genuine in your High Concept posts. Don’t post about Joss Whedon if you don’t know who Joss Whedon is. Post about things you are already a fan of. If you’re already knowledgeable and passionate about the topic, then asking questions and keeping a conversation going is easy. Just make sure your High Concept post falls within your Niche, and eventually the conversation will trickle down to the topic of your book.



Author Bio: J.D. Brown knows that vampires exist because she’s dating one and no, he doesn’t sparkle. Unfortunately, he’s not immortal either (or maybe her standards are too low). A magnet for subcultures and weirdness, J.D. was that socially awkward girl with more fictional friends than real ones. As a child battling a hearing loss and a medical condition with no name, J.D. found comfort in books where strong women always saved the day and got the guy. An obsession with Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer lead J.D. to believe that her mutated chromosome made her something more, not something less. Thus her stubborn flare to persevere was born. A lover of fine cuisine, coffee, and shoes, J.D. never understood why shoe stores don’t serve Starbucks and soufflé. She resides in Wisconsin were she writes urban fantasy—aka vampires for adults—and has political debates with her dogs. She loves to hear from fans and is active on Facebook at: http://Facebook.com/AuthorJDBrown