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Your Facebook Page and “Glee”

Because I will be teaching a social media class at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto beginning next month, I’ll be blogging a lot about social media in the coming weeks. Many of you commented on my post about Facebook Pages with questions, so Miles has graciously offered to write a follow-up post. Here it is:

How to Cultivate a Successful Facebook Page? Look No Further than “Glee.”

When thinking about your presence on Facebook and how to approach the buildout of your Page, there are two things you should consider before even signing up for an account—audience and strategy.

Marketing “experts” love to throw out statistics such as “500 million users” … “If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest” … Your eyeballs bulge and the dollar signs dance in circles around your writer-heads. You think, “Wow, that’s a lot of potential fans, readers … books sold.”

Truth is, it can be, especially with a well-devised roadmap and a clear understanding of who your audience is, and maybe more importantly, who your audience is not. To make this point, let’s look at television advertising and the thought process that goes into creating, then airing one. For our example, we’ll dissect at a 30-second spot on the popular show “Glee.”

According to Wikipedia, “Glee is a musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues.”

The show started airing in the United States in 2009. It immediately became a hit. Last season’s finale boasted 11 million viewers. Yes, that’s just a fraction of the nearly 150 million Facebook users in the United States, but not bad for a 1/2-hour show competing with hundreds of others during the same time slot.

Even more staggering is what a 30-second advertisement cost during that finale.

Ready for this?

Nearly $400K.

Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off of the ground, let’s consider another piece of this puzzle. The show’s fans, also known as “Gleeks,” are primarily teens and women 18-49. As a writer, you’re probably scratching your head and saying, “Why the heck do I care about Glee, its fans and the fact a 30-second spot cost more than I’ll ever make?”

Well, you should care, especially as it relates to how you approach your social media buildout—Facebook or otherwise. Again, strategy and audience. You need to think about both carefully before you create a Facebook Page, send out your first Tweet or sign up to write a blog.

If you’re one of the 11 million who watch “Glee,” pay close attention to who their advertisers are, or again, who they are not. The U.S. Army? Not likely. Black and Decker touting a new power saw? Their money would be better spent during Monday Night Football.

So who would benefit spending $400K on a 30-second “Glee” spot?

Chevrolet, who used that 30 seconds last season to sell their new Cruze Eco.

Again, “Glee’s” demographic? Teens and women 18-49. Why the new Cruze Eco? Affordable, safe and great gas mileage. The perfect combination for any mom in search of a new car for Sally or John’s sweet sixteen.

As a writer, consider how these same principles apply to your Facebook real estate. With audience/strategy at the forefront, let’s look at how this might play out. After all, going into Facebook with a “let’s see what sticks” approach will not likely get you far.

Let’s say you’re an author publishing a children’s book about a real kitty “cat burglar” who sneaks out at night and steals toys and clothes from the neighborhood. (Note: Yes, there was one in the news recently). You’ve created your author or book Page, now you want at least a few hundred of those 500 million who use Facebook to know about you and your book.

We’ll start by searching for “Cat Lovers” Groups (your audience). I just did and came back with dozens. Two of these have a total of 85 thousands fans.

That’s a lot of books.

No, not all of these 85 thousand will buy your book or even Like your Page, but think about the potential. As a member of a Facebook Group, the trick is becoming part of the conversation and being subtle about the sell (your strategy). If your postings are relevant, eventually, those who belong to that Group will become curious about you and your Page and may very well begin to migrate over. As your base grows, strategize ways to sell … promotions, giveaways, a book-club SKYPE appearance by you, the author.

Remember what I said in my interview with Meghan Ward last month:

“In spite of what many think, the primary focus of your Facebook Page should not be on marketing yourself (or your book). Think of it as an 80/20 rule. 80 percent of your wall postings should add value and build loyalty with your fans. Share tidbits, interesting ideas, free writing tips, and other no-strings-attached content. Use the other 20 percent to promote yourself and your book.”

Groups are just one approach.

Another is Facebook ads.

Facebook allows you to take their 500 million users and isolate them by country, language spoken, age, gender, education and—most importantly—by their interests.

Don’t promote your cat burglar book ad to a “I Hate Cats” Group. Yes, they do exist and one of these Groups has more than 29 thousand followers. This is obviously not where you want to spend your advertising dollars—or is it? Maybe the idea of a cat being a nemesis would appeal to this Group. In this case, you might add this as part of your targeted audience.

In addition to buying ads or joining Groups, there are dozens of obvious and more creative ways to promote your new (or pre-existing) Page:

• Add a “Like” box to your blog and/or website.
• Add your vanity url to your e-mail signature. To make it more attractive, download an image of the Facebook logo and hotlink to it. Use that same vanity url in guest blog postings and other pieces you publish online.
• Work with IFrames to create customized internal pages and an attractive landing page that makes the first-time visitor conversion fast and easy.
• Take advantage of some of Facebook’s new Page features such as your Page being able to “Like” other Pages. This is a terrific features for those a little shy about interacting as yourself on another’s Page. Now, you can do it as your book or author brand.

Big brands have already shown that Facebook is an effective means by which you can—and should—engage your base. Now, writers, musicians, filmmakers and other you-are-your-own brand individuals are starting to figure out how to utilize this social media tool to grow and engage theirs.

As I said in my interview last month, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even if your fan base if 40, engage as if it’s 40,000. Eventually, it will be.”

With a well-designed Page, a defined/isolated audience and a clear/concise strategy, your chances at Facebook success are much better than Black & Decker trying to sell a power saw during “Glee.”

By the way, just checked out Glee’s official Facebook Page. More than 12 million fans. Take a look at some of the cool ways in which they’re engaging them.

I’d bet you can incorporate some of these into your own Facebook strategy. 

milesmaria is a publicity, communications and media company that works with authors, filmmakers and entrepreneurs to “tell their story.” For writing tips, social media how-to, the latest in publishing news and access to publicity experts who stay on top of trends so you don’t have to, become a fan of the milesmaria Facebook Page. You can also contact Miles directly at

7 comments to Your Facebook Page and “Glee”

  • You know what I find odd? That Pages liking other Pages doesn't go into the "(#) People Like This" count. I hope they change that.

    But, back to your post. 🙂 Thanks for the good advice. Your first post here was one of the ones that put me over the edge and let me to create my own Page. I don't consider it a "Fan" page so much as a separation of my writing self from my personal self on Facebook. But there's no denying that I hope someday to have books and things for my writing self to connect with fans about — so thank you for the advice!

  • Eesh typo. *Led me to create. Also I said thanks for the advice twice, but it never hurts to be redundantly polite, does it?

  • Deb

    Reading this article makes me feel like I might be losing out by being a Facebook hermit. I'll have to think further on this! :p

  • Thanks for your input, Kristan, and congrats on creating your Page. Agreed, I too dislike the word "fan," and Facebook seems to be moving away from identifying those who "Like" a Page as such. In fact, most are now calling these simply "Facebook Pages" and leaving out fan altogether. Will be interesting to see how the social media lexicon evolves over time.

  • Kristan – I also think it's strange that liking a page doesn't count as a like, but I guess FB assumes that page is connected to a profile that could also "like" a page and doesn't want to count two likes per person? That's the only rationale I have for it.

    Deb, I had a hard time making the decision to start a FB Page, and even now I'm reluctant to "unfriend" people on my Profile who aren't real friends (It feels awkward to tell them they can be "fans" of my site but I don't want to be friends with them anymore.) But I think it's the right decision for a writer for several reasons: It allows you to keep your personal and professional lives separate, Pages have stats, Pages are public, so agents and publishers can view them (and I've heard that a publisher will insist you start one if you don't already have one once you get a book deal), and on and on.

    Miles, Thanks for the great post!

  • m++

    So is Miles saying "Don't fear the YA market people!"?

  • m++ If you put a comma between "market" and "people," I think yes, you could assume Miles is telling us not to fear the YA market. The YA market people, on the other hand, should be feared!