The below is from Mark Cuban’s blog. He was thinking up ways you could use Twitter and Facebook as an incentive or reward:
I would create a new, private account on twitter and you would be the only approved follower. You could ask me anything and I would respond for some period, probably 24 hours. After which I would replace you with another follower. I could do the same on facebook. I would set up a private account and only friend this person. Using the wall, we could have an exchange about any subject.
I’m intrigued by how a successful writer could use this idea, either one-on-one or with small groups of readers: you could set up a Facebook page specifically for an ongoing meeting with a book club, for example. I was at a formal fund-raising dinner the other night, and it would be fun to see something like this — with Neil Gaiman or Stephen King or [insert name of desired author here] — presented at the silent auction.
Facebook fan pages perplex me a bit. I don’t think it’s effective to set one up under your own name, then send out invites to friends who are now expected to be your ‘fans’, or strangers who have no actual reason to care about you or your book (and are benumbed by all these invites in any case).
Just like I question the effectiveness of using an image of your book cover as your profile photo (although at one point I also did this). I can’t remember ever once finding this charming or persuasive; usually it’s a turn-off, like the only reason this person is friending me is to sell me on the book.
I do play with the idea of setting up a ‘fan’ page (can’t they change that name to something else???) for my work-in-progress, to use for feedback and research questions and general discussion on related topics. A facebook page like that could make — among other things — a fun sounding board. You wouldn’t need a lot of people, just a few with time and interest.