Can You Monetize a Book Blog? – Part 3: Facebook Advertising + July Financial Report

Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Part 3: Facebook Advertising…

Can you monetize a book blog? That’s the question I’ve been asking in this series and an answer I’ve been trying to discover through my business. In my previous posts, I’ve praised the effectiveness of Facebook advertising, and decided it was time to do a post dedicated to the advertising platform.

For those of you on the fence about FB advertising for your shop, I will say that you can spend $30 and get over 100 new viewers to your website. A $30 budget for an entire month with the benefit of a potential 100 viewers feels worth it to me. And not to get all TV infomercial on you, but that’s $1 a day. That’s less than the cost of a coffee! If you want to be serious about your business, then invest in it.

Facebook Pages

Facebook pages are a means of advertising your website on the Facebook platform and gives you a means to communicate with followers on it. It’s also a great place to share posts that engage your fans and interest them enough to garner clicks to your website.

I have two pages. One for my blog where I cross post links to any new blog posts and share content from around the book blogosphere. And a Facebook page for my business LT Librarian Apparel which is where my shop is now located. It includes info about the business and all the products are available to view and purchase.

Lunch-Time Librarian FB Page | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

LT Librarian Apparel FB Page | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Note that you DO NOT need to have a Facebook Page to run a Facebook Ad.

Do you need a Facebook Page?

I would never say that you NEED something to run a business, because there’s always going to be someone who’s the exception. BUT, I would highly recommend creating a Facebook page for your business or blog.

The first reason is accessibility. You should have it because some users want to interact with your business that way. Secondly, when a user likes your Facebook page it is equivalent to them following your blog. Every time you make a post to your page, it’ll show up on their newsfeed. It gives you the sort of access to their every day life that would otherwise be reserved for announcements from their real live friends.

That being said, while I’ve had success with Facebook advertising, I have yet to see the benefit of a Facebook page, other than providing a landing base for anyone interested. I see traffic from Facebook advertisments, not pages.

How to create a Facebook Page

  1. Log into Facebook using your personal account. Facebook will not let you create a new account for yourself to associate solely with your business. I learned this when I created a Facebook Page for my employer and it wouldn’t let me make a business account. I haven’t experimented with creating a second false account, but I wouldn’t bother.
  2. In the sidebar of your newsfeed, at the very bottom, click ‘Create Page’Create Page | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  3. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PHYSICAL SHOP: choose Brand or Product. It may be tempting to choose local business or company, but that isn’t going to accurately represent your business.Choosing Category | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  4. Choose a category. For my apparel shop, I chose ‘Clothing’. If your page is for your blog choose ‘Website’. And if you provide editing/beta services choose ‘Product/Service’.
  5. Create an ‘About’ blurb for your page. Make sure that you use keywords in your description the same way you would with website descriptions. Also add in your website link. Because I run my shop off of Facebook now, my website link is to my blog
  6. Add a profile picture. I would encourage you to use your real picture and not a logo or other image. This is a personal business. People will want to connect with you on that level. If you have a team of employees, use a logo, but if it’s just you, use your picture. It also makes you easier to recognize for people that already follow your blog or social media. OR, as I did for my LT Librarian Apparel page, use a real life picture for your cover image, and a logo for your profile pic. As long as your picture is somewhere.
  7. Add to favourites. This is for convenience and I would recommend doing it so you have easy access to your page at all times.
  8. Set your preferred page audience. This does NOT stop people outside the audience from viewing your page. It creates a focus on a certian audience so that FB is more likely to suggest your page to them. For this, I have mine set to US and Canada, interests are: online shopping, books, shopping online – clothes, ages 18 – 40, English (UK) or (US). I sell my products internationally, but from my traffic reports I know that only something like 12% of my traffic is international, so I focused on the US and Canada
  9. Create Page

Things to do after creating your Facebook Page

  • Add a cover picture to your page. You can easily create one using Canva and its Facebook Cover template. Note that in the template the profile pic covers part of the cover, but on the Brand/Product Facebook pages your cover picture won’t be covered like that.
  • Fill out your ‘About’ section as much as possibleAbout Section | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  • Make note of your ‘Username’ on your ‘About’ page because this is the URL for your page. Edit this if necessary to be as easy as possible.
  • If you have a self-hosted blog and Facebook/Etsy/Society6 shop, please for the love of God, create a subdomain and redirect it to your Facebook page.
    • When you run a shop on a host outside your own self-hosted domain, you have no control over what those sites do with your shop.
    • I use the subdomain shop.ltlibrarian.com. This means that if Facebook shuts down my page and I have to move elsewhere when I create my new store, my subdomain doesn’t change. So anyone that has my subdomain link will still have easy access to wherever I put my shop. As happened when I downgraded my Shopify and moved to Facebook selling.
    • If I use my Etsy, or Society6, or Facebook URL to link people, if that page disappears I’m left with my head in my hands. Which is exactly what happened when I printed 100 business cards with my Etsy URL, and then Etsy rejected my application and I couldn’t sell there. If I had used a subdomain then, those business cards would still be accurate.
  • Enter a long description on your ‘About’ page. This is where you can enter as much information as you like. I use this space to share my shop opening story
  • Add promo pictures if you have any so that people can see what the product looks like
  • Add any videos you have that are relevant. In hindsight, I realized it probably would have been a fantastic idea to film behind the scenes of my product photoshoot…
  • Add any additional pages necessary.
    • I used a Facebook app called Static HTML to create an HTML FAQ page that outlines all my policies and any questions I think people may have. Facebook doesn’t have anything great in place to make pages like this, which is why I ended up using an app.FAQ Page| Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
    • The easiest way to work with this is to create a draft on your website/blog and make it the way you want to look. Then copy the HTML code to the page.
    • For the CSS, go into your stylesheet (I have WordPress so I used the one in my theme) and copy all the styles for the headers and body text, and copy that over to the same html page. If you know you’ll have multiple HTML pages, then it may be better to use code that calls up your existing stylesheet. But I was lazy so I copied and pasted. I’m not a developer so I don’t always do things ‘by the book’
    • I had to do a few CSS magic things to get the aligning right for the image, so beware.
  • Add a sticky post! To do this, create a post, then select the arrow in the upper right corner of the post, select ‘Pin to Top’. For my own I did a post with my long description/shop story and pinned it to the top so anyone new coming to the page knows what it’s all about. It’s also great to add a picture because people are visual.

Running a Facebook Ad

Now you have your page ready to go and if you didn’t create a page, it’s fine, you can still run a Facebook Ad for your blog or shop site. Which means that if you have an Etsy or Society6 store you can still use Facebook to advertise it. Before you can run any ads, you need to sign up for the FB ads manager to set up how payments will be withdrawn. I have mine set up through PayPal, but you can set it up with any credit card to my knowledge. There are different types of Ads that you can run, but I decided to focus on the ones that would be most relevant to book bloggers and bookbiz owners. But the list of all available types is below.

FB Ad Types | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Clicks to Website

If you are advertising a website external to Facebook, this is the option you will use most often. With this, Facebook tracks how many times people click on your ad to go to the website. I’ve had the most success with this type of ad—-getting hundreds of clicks to the website in a single campaign. Whether these all lead to sales is another thing entirely, but in terms of getting traffic to your website it’s effective. I would recommend this for those selling products or a service, but I would recommend it less for those advertising their blog. If you’re promoting your book blog I think you’re better off using “Page Post Engagement” ads, assuming you have a Facebook Page. But if you don’t want a Facebook Page then this is the ad to go with.

You can use this ad to link to your general website homepage OR to a specific web page. For bloggers, I would recommend advertising a specific article. If people are interested in the article, chances are they’ll explore the website after. But if you direct them blindly to the blog, you can’t control the first article they see, and if it’s not your most popular then it may be harder to keep them around. For shop owners, people are used to going to a general page and browsing through the shop. I would only send them to a specific page if you’re advertising a specific product. E.g. when I was promoting my new Six of Crows line, I directed people to a collection with all the Six of Crows products.

  1. Go to the Ads Manager
  2. Select ‘Create Ad’ from the upper right hand corner
  3. Choose ‘send people to your website’
  4. Name your campaign
  5. Audience: People outside of this audience WILL NOT be advertised to. Try and be as specific as possible here. Use your website stats to help you see where most of your viewers are located.Audience | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  6. Placements: select all. And yes, if you use Facebook advertising you will simultaneously be advertising to people on Instagram. Be sure to connect your Instagram account for this feature. You can only connect 1 Instagram account to 1 page. Select all mobile devices, and make sure ‘only devices connected to wifi’ is DESELECTED. You want people to still see the ads even if they’re using data.Placements | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  7. Budget and Schedule: I would suggest spending $10 a day for 3 days. You don’t want to do a long campaign because you are more likely to annoy people and you thin out your reach. You will have better results spending more money for a shorter amount of time. I would suggest doing a start and end date to be sure that FB doesn’t charge you $10 a day continuously.Budget and Schedule | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  8. Otherwise, I leave all the default settings in place and press continue
  9. Format: choose between a single image and multiple images. I’ve had better results using a single promo image than multiple product images in the past.
  10. Media: you can use images, a slideshow (in video format) or a video. I always use images because whenever I’m on FB and I see a video, I scroll past it like “STOP WASTING MY DATA ON VIDEOS” unless it’s something like a Tasty video. Know your product. Whether it’s better served by a video or images is up to youFormat and Media | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  11. Page and Links: For the multiple images, you can choose which images to use here. This also is where you can connect your Facebook Page (if you have one) and Instagram account. After you put in the website URL, all the text will autopopulate based on the website’s SEO description. You can edit the text above the link by type in the ‘Text’ box. You can edit the text in the link box by typing in the ‘Newsfeed Link Description’. FB will give you a preview of what the ads will look like on all the platforms.Pages and Links | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  12. Click ‘Place Order’ and once your ad is approved it will go live either immediately or based on the date and time parameters you set
  13. You can, at any time, edit these parameters to try and improve you ad. E.g. if you did too narrow an audience and aren’t seeing results, you can edit to create a broader audience

Page Post Engagement

You need a Facebook Page for this one. This is what I use to boost any blog posts that I share via Facebook. You don’t even need to go into the ads manager for this. I like this one because it advertises a specific post, I don’t have to add any text because I already did that, and it can help increase views for a post I want people to see. For example, I use this sometimes to boost the ‘Can You Monetize A Book Blog’ series. I haven’t seen as much success for these campaigns as my last one got 18 post engagements total. But you never know if that’s due to the audience I chose, or the content of the article. This is what I would recommend for book bloggers if they have a page. Especially for any posts you have that are accessible to a large audience.

  1. Go to your Facebook Page
  2. Find the article you want to promote and click ‘Boost Post’ at the bottom of the postBoost Post | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  3. Audience: select an existing audience or create a new one.  People outside of this audience WILL NOT be advertised to. Try and be as specific as possible here. Use your website stats to help you.Boost Post Screen | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  4. Budget and Duration: I would suggest spending $10 a day for 3 days. You don’t want to do a long campagin because you are more likely to annoy people and you thin out your reach. You will have better results spending more money for a shorter amount of time. I would suggest doing a start and end date to be sure FB doesn’t charge you $10 a day continously.
  5. Tracking Conversions: I will talk about this at the end…
  6. Payment: select your method
  7. Click ‘Boost’ and you’re done! FB will show you a preview of the ad before you run it.
  8. You can, at any time, edit these parameters to try and improve you ad. E.g. if you did too narrow an audience and aren’t seeing results, you can edit to create a broader audience

Page Likes

I did this one on Wednesday to try it out as I haven’t previously been taking the time to increase my page likes. But now that my FB Page is also my shop, it makes sense to try and get people to engage with the page itself more often.

  1. Go to the Ads Manager
  2. Select ‘Create Ad’ from the upper right hand corner
  3. Choose ‘promote your page’
  4. Name your campaign
  5. Page: choose which page you want to promote
  6. Define your audience. People outside of this audience WILL NOT be advertised to. In this case, because I’ve run several ads before, I chose ‘previous visitors’. These are all the people that have previously gone to my website from Facebook and are therefore more likely to click the ad. I wouldn’t do this unless you have a previous audience of like 5,000+ because if the pool is too small, you won’t have as positive results. From there you can still edit the parameters to include or exclude certain people.Audience | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  7. Placements: select all. In this case, because you’re promoting a FB Page you won’t advertise on Instagram. Select all mobile devices, and make sure ‘only devices connected to wifi’ is DESELECTED. You want people to still see the ads even if they’re using data.
  8. Budget and schedule: I would suggest spending $10 a day for 2-3 days. You don’t want to do a long campagin because you are more likely to annoy people and you thin out your reach. You will have better results spending more money for a shorter amount of time. I would suggest doing a start and end date to be sure FB doesn’t charge you $10 a day continously. If you’re unsure about the campagin, then only run it for 2 days and see.Budget and Schedule | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?
  9. Otherwise, I leave all the default settings in place and press continue
  10. Media: you can use images, a slideshow (in video format), or a video. For the image for this ad, I went into Canva and selected a Twitter Post size image (not FB sized, because it doesn’t actually fit for this ad for whatever reason) and used that. Recommended image size is 1200 x 444. By default it will use your cover picture. But I previously used my cover photo for a campaign so I didn’t want to use it again.
  11. Links: All the text will autopopulate based on the FB Page info. You can edit the text above the link by typing in the ‘Text’ box. There’s a character limit, so if yours is getting cut off I would edit it. And FB will give you a preview of what the ads will look like on all platforms.
  12. Click ‘Place Order’ and once your ad is approved it will go live either immediately or based on the date and time parameters you set
  13. You can, at any time, edit these parameters to try and improve you ad. E.g. if you did too narrow an audience and aren’t seeing results, you can edit to create a broader audience

Website Conversions

Facebook has this thing called Facebook Pixel. It exists to track conversions. Conversions are actions people take on your website like putting items into the cart, buying an item, or viewing a certain page. FB even has a handy checker that will look over your website and make sure you installed the Pixel correctly. But the Pixel doesn’t work. FB told me that exactly 48 people did every action on the site including purchase goods, which they did not. I don’t know how other people have experienced it, but I find that the results are inaccurate. And if you’re not familiar with coding it’s a pain to put in place, especially for it not to work.

What works?

I’m still learning this myself, but I thought I would share some stats to help you out when choosing what type of ad you want to do.

Clicks To Website Ad – Single Image

Web Clicks Single Image | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Web Clicks Single Image | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Click to see larger: 544 website clicks for $34.53 spent

Clicks To Website Ad – Multiple Product Images

Web Clicks Multiple Images | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Web Clicks Multiple Images | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Click to see larger: 124 website clicks for $32.07 spent

Website Conversion Ad – NOTE: I had good results with this, but I’m skeptical of the accuracy because of what I talked about with Facebook Pixel

Website Conversion Ad | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Website Conversion Ad | Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

Click to see larger: 608 link clicks for $31.96 spent

And that’s all for Facebook Pages and Advertising. If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Updates @ LT Librarian Apparel: aka business re-thinks and changes

Shop Woot Pinterest Promotion: I found this while Googling for ways to promote my Shopify store. It’s a service that promotes your product from you and keeps promoting it until you get a minimum of 30 repins. Which is amazing. I’ll admit that I don’t do as much Pinterest promotion as I ought to, considering the power of it, so this is super helpful for me. From research, I know that Pinterest is one of the top ways shoppers use to plan purchases and I hoped for great results from this. I think I got a total of 2 repins. Complete and utter bust.

Product Photoshoot: I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, but things kept coming up and getting in the way. But finally, I was able to get out to High Park (for all you Torontonian readers…) and take product pictures with my very generous friend. I’m extremely happy with the way all the pictures came out! And my mom (graphic designer) was able to help me out with some Photoshop editing tips and tricks which I used to edit my FitBit out of a bunch of shots because I forgot to take it off. I refrained from using Photoshop to make my legs look smaller, but I did smooth out a little cellulite because I’m only human after all.

Photoshoot| Can you Monetize a Book Blog?

 

Shopify Downgrade: I downgraded my Shopify from a self-hosted website to a Facebook store. There were LOTS of issues in the conversion, but I mostly have them solved at this point. I decided to downgrade because I was paying a premium fee and not getting the sales to back it up. It makes no sense to pay $43 a month with no sales. So even though I don’t like the way the Facebook shop looks as much as the way my self-hosted shop did, it’s a much more affordable option. Also, with my previous success with Facebook ads, I’m hoping that being able to purchase directly from Facebook will entice users.

July Financial Report

Costs*

Facebook Ads (includes Instagram Ads) – $69.29

Shop Woot Pinterest Promotion – $ 0 (get 2 free promo credits)

Buffer – $13.52

Site Hosting – $9.32

Shopify Fee – $5.61

Photography – $ 0 (my friend did my photos, though I did treat her to lunch for it, should I put that as a cost? )

Photo Editing – $ 0 (I do this myself)

Tote Bag Giveaway – $ 29.12

Total Costs = $ 126.86

Revenue*

LT Librarian Apparel – $ 0

Total Revenue = $ 0

Profit* = $ -126.86

Profit since store opening = $ -692.67

The Big Costs

This month my largest cost was my Facebook advertising, which didn’t end up getting any sales sadly. I did another giveaway to help boost my followers on Twitter and promote the tote bags in the shop. It was perhaps not the wisest idea to make it international because the shipping is so much more expensive. I suppose if I were more of a criminal mastermind I wouldn’t have done a random pick, and chosen someone from the US. But I’m not that devious or unfair, so I didn’t. But downgrading my Shopify did really save me a lot this month.

Shop Stats

Remember the beautiful shop stats I had last time? Yeah, when I downgraded, Shopify locked that all and wouldn’t even let me see my previous reports  So I’ve included my Facebook shop stats since transferring to that platform. I actually haven’t even promoted my page yet! So I was surprised to see the amount of visitors that I did see. And Facebook is terrible at showing sources for traffic so I legit have no idea where these people came from… but yay?

FB Page Stats | Can You Monetize A Book Blog?

Click the image to see it full-sized

Read the first post in this series Part One: Starting Out + May Financial Report

Read the second post in this series Part Two: Branding + June Financial Report

If you’re interested in seeing what my shop LT Librarian Apparel has to offer, click the logo below:

NOW SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY

Lunch-Time Librarian Apparel

Would you use Facebook advertising or a Facebook Page? Why or why not?

What would you want to see featured next month? E.g. advertising, Shopify tutorial, etc.

 

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