Love it or hate it, Facebook is more important than the telephone as far as disseminating your work goes. If I may be permitted a small disclaimer; I never liked the feel of needing Facebook. I had it because all my friends had it and that continues to be the case, 10 years on from starting the profile with a .edu e-mail address. I think that what doesn’t sit well with me is how the way some people use Facebook has become the assumption, and to “have Facebook” means that you probably waste a crap ton of time on it. Well, that was never the case for me, until I started a webcomic.
Was that useful to you? Hearing my rambling about Facebook? It’s over, done, please, continue reading, let’s get practical here.
You don’t need a Facebook page
You don’t, really. You don’t need to use any social media. If your brand, identity or personality is offended by social media, shun it. But if you’re a practical person who wants your comics to reach the greatest number of eyes, then by all means make yourself a Facebook Page by following these steps.
Step 1: Have a profile
If you don’t have a profile you’ll need one. This has to be a real profile, or convincing enough. If Facebook finds that a page is moderated by a fake profile, then your admin access to that page is frozen. Don’t worry, your profile is not visible to the followers of your page. In order to administer your page you have to “switch users” to post as your page.
Step 2: Create the page
You have to go through a process of setting the page up. This stuff’s self-explanatory so I’ll leave you to it. Just know that you’ll probably want to end with a page that is a “Personal website” or an “Entertainment website”. If your page is a “famous person,” you’re getting ahead of yourself.
Step 3: Fill out the info
How much information about your webcomic do you want to share on your Facebook page? There’s a small ‘about’ section that appears on the main page, then there’s a ‘long description’ which users will later click to navigate to a new page where all this additional juicy info is.
I suggest that in your about section, you include a clincher phrase, something to make people curious. Then you should also mention your update schedule; on which days do you post new comics to your website?
Step 4: The header image
The photo or graphic that you choose for your Facebook page’s “cover image” is the most important part of the page, after a link to your website. There is a lot of information already out there about the optimal size for a Facebook cover photo, including this photography blog’s post, Facebook’s own suggesions, and this unnecessarily long list of Facebook page coer image dimension mock ups. I snagged the best one:
Now, playing around with your cover image is a lot of fun as it turns out. It’s hard to know what works better, but if UX eye tracking tests give any hint, it’s always best to place important stuff to the upper left (important stuff like a call to action: “visit the site for more”). I’m no expert in Facebook page cover images, but I’ve made enough to brainstorm a list of considerations that you might find useful:
- Your webcomics Facebook page cover image oughta showcase your style
- It’s nice to include new friendly messages occasionally
- Switch out a series of header images to keep things neat
- The cover image changes according to the device, but it’s really hard to create an image that comes out perfect for them all
- At least for my webcomic, visitors seem to react better to planetary bodies
- This image is the first that visitors see, so it’s your first impression
- Playing around with how the cover image interacts with the profile picture can be addictive
Step 5: Profile Picture
Your profile picture will not only appear in that little box, but it shows up on all your wall posts and comments. This should probably represent a main character, or a character of any kind. I’m not thinking very creatively here–you can do a lot better.
Here’s what maintaining a Facebook page means
How often should you post?
I don’t know. I think there’s a a fine line for some people between following you and un-liking your page. Post too much and you’ll scare people away. Post to in-often and you risk never reaching your public. If your webcomic updates three times a week, then you should be posting at least three times a week. If you make guest comics, post these. If others make guest comics for you or there’s content about your webcomic somewhere on the web, share it on your page. Share relevant stuff, and definitely share comics that you like so that you prove to followers that you’re not living in a bubble.
What time of day should you post?
I would say that it’s anyone’s guess, and your guess might be right. But Facebook has a billion and a half users… so yeah there have been studies. This infographic is pretty comprehensive. It’s from this link to Hubspot:
Make sure to confirm which time zone you’re in, and in which the bulk of your followers live. Once you have over 100 likes on your Facebook page, you can see Facebook Insights to find out a bit more about the demographic makeup of your public.
How should you post?
Sounds like a strange question, but it’s not. You can post a link with preview, a link with text, just text, an image, an image with a link and text, etc. If you post a link, Facebook should automatically render the preview with a big featured image. If the featured image isn’t pretty-looking, maybe you should figure out how to create a custom featured image to feed to Facebook from your website.
If you get a ton of followers eventually, then sharing a link might create spikes in visitors, which can crash your website. Another consideration involves engagement. I’ve noticed that my awesome public is more engaged with me if I share the comic directly to my Facebook page wall by uploading it as a photo. I include the link to its relevant post in the commentary, but Facebook is often an enclosed community–when someone’s on Facebook they would prefer if your webcomic update doesn’t force them to open your website.
Images are shared, liked and commentary on more than links, hands down. Especially in the beginning, when you want exposure over website visits, share the comic as a photo (unless it’s too long!).
What kinds of content should you post
Like I said it can be all sorts of different things (besides your own webcomic weekly update, of course). Here are some ideas:
- Other webcomic artists’ work
- Events like comic cons
- News stories about subject matter that you’ve touched on
- Guest comics others have done for you
- Guest comics you’ve done for others
- Dedicate Facebook-only single-panel hello or special day comics
- Status updates that have something to do with your webcomic
- Older comics from your archives (I do a throwback Sunday)
- Pictures of your creative process (like, your table and chair or something revealing like that)
Ways to integrate social networks
You can download a few “apps” onto your Facebook page in order to connect this to your Twitter account. The app will allow Facebook followers to see a feed of your most recent tweets.
Or, you can connect Facebook and Twitter so that when you post to one, it automatically posts to the other.
Set up automatic posting
Sometimes it can be time-consuming to always enter each and every social network that you post to. There are social network management tools meant for what has been dubbed the “community managers”, but you can use free versions of these for a limited number of networks. Hootsuite is sufficient I’d say. You log into Hootsuite and you can post to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ from its central location.
If you have a WordPress website, then you can use the Social Networks Auto-Poster. This you can configure to automatically send out new content to the networks of your choice, minus Google+. You configure it directly from the WordPress editor, so when you click ‘publish’, then you’re publishing the post everywhere. I use it for Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Delicious and a few others. It’s a great tool because it only takes one click of the publish button to publish to so many different platforms.
Growing your following
I think I’ll call this the ongoing section. I don’t know how to do this, and I’m certainly no marketing guru. What I do know to be true is that in order to grow a following it helps immensely if you’re extremely active on the social networks where you have high hopes. I don’t like to spend time on social networks. I appreciate each and every one of my followers, but I’m not a fan of following to be followed.
That being said, I think Facebook is good for webcomics artists to get in touch with one another. I like to make guest comics, which are totally unsolicited. Then I share these to those artists’ webcomic Facebook page walls, and let their followers make of it what they will. It’s a great way to show appreciation for your fellow artists, and to branch out and test whether their followers would be interested in following you as well.
I’ve never used the paid “Boost this post” option. I think it’s unfortunate that Facebook algorithms dilute your posts in order to make room for paid posts. Exponential growth is disastrous.
That’s all for now. I hope this post has been useful to you, and if you have any questions I’m here to answer them.
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