My Marketing Thing

Bev Ryan of Women’s Publishing Network makes Facebook smile

Bev Ryan's smile cartoon

Like Kylie Welsh from Brisbane Woman (interviewed last post: Hobnob Angel, Kylie Welsh…), Bev Ryan founder of Women’s Publishing Network is a joy to be around. She has a smile that simply glows. It’s the kind of smile that is given with eyes, cheeks and earlobes – without any effort at all, it seems.

Bev’s natural warmth and genuine enthusiasm for bringing people together is contagious. So it makes sense that social marketing comes naturally to her. Somehow, that genuine smile has transferred nicely into digital life.

Bev claims that the timing of Women’s Publishing Network’s membership site move to Facebook – ready for launch in the New Year – was just a coincidence. But it is how the Women’s Publishing Network’s Facebook ‘entity’ has been set-up that has been truly artful. Here are some of the ways that the very resourceful Bev Ryan has taken advantage of the Facebook situation. On the site you will find:

  • A discussion board
  • Events listings
  • Blog sharing – create or add your own blog and add it to NetworkedBlogs
  • The facility for members to add photos, video links etc.
  • A book store – where members’ books are sold
  • E-news subscription

Here is my chat with Bev about how she got her head around it all.

  1. Do you use Facebook for personal purposes? (if so is that how you became comfortable using it?)
    I started using Facebook a few years ago as a way to connect easily with my daughter living in California. Even if we don’t connect personally I can go online and see what she is doing, and check photos etc. I was actually surprised that my four children were happy to add me as a friend. They were the ones to add me as a ‘parent’ to their sites so I was pretty happy about that.
  2. What made you decide to ‘move’ WPN to Facebook?
    When I first set up the free membership site for WPN in early 2009 I used Ning (see Bev’s Ning site: Women’s Publishing Group). It is so easy to use and provides a lovely connectedness for members when administered well. People have to find their way to the site to sign on though, and I was distracted last year so not a lot was happening there. In the last 2 years I have seen the great connections (and great business) some of the members of WPN are making on Facebook and I felt that media offers an easy way for new people to find us online.
  3. Are most people involved in WPN regular Facebook-users?
    When I sent an email to all of the members on the Ning site advising them of the move to Facebook, I did receive a couple of emails from members saying they don’t use it. I suggested to them that they opt in to receive my e-newsletter as an email and they were very happy to do that, as they don’t spend time on social network sites.
    Since then however, I have been more active on the Ning site myself and people are connecting very well: I may decide to keep both! Time will tell.
  4. How did you decide between setting up a standard profile page, a group profile, or a fan page?  
    I took the advice of Jeannie Barker who provides social networking services and is the President of the Gold Coast Writers’ Association (their Facebook page) She has done a great job of getting that group online, and she set up our group page for me.
  5. How did you decide what functionality elements to use (i.e. e-news subscription, shop, discussion forum, etc.)?
    I want a place where people can discuss aspects of self-publishing and help each other on the discussion boards; where they can ‘join’ my business by opting in to my newsletter; and I want to be able to promote and sell members’ books. I have yet to finalise that aspect of the site using Payvment: it isn’t quite as straight forward as I thought. I have set up the facility for my blogs on my own site to come through onto the facebook site as well, through NetworkedBlogs. Streamlining and connecting is a real timesaver.
  6. With Facebook being able to do all this, does Women’s Publishing Network need a website at all?
    Good question: no, it does not need another site at all. However I feel I will lose a small community if I take the Ning site away at this time, and I don’t want to do that. It is very special and very supportive – just what an online community should be. It is not about numbers – it is about like-minded people finding each other and enjoying each others’ company and input.
  7. How often to you use Facebook (per day or per week)?
    I go onto Facebook most days and comment here and there on my personal friend/family page, on my more ‘professional’ page, and am training myself to do the same on the WPN site now.
  8. Is Facebook something you immediately warmed to and got in the habit of? Or have you forced yourself to use it because so many others do?
    I find it easy on my family/friend page, as I feel I can relax there and be loose. I find the professional pages a little more challenging, and am still finding my voice. I want to resist the d&m clichéd things that are very common there – everyone is a philosopher of second-hand material it seems. I like the idea of sharing things I find that have substance and/or humour of value. Although I am always surprised when someone poses a simple questions and gets dozens of posts. I feel I have lots to learn!
  9. What other social media tools do you use?
    Apart from Ning and Facebook, I use Twitter a little, and LinkedIn seldom. My own website/blog is with WordPress. I discovered on the weekend that they are all linked quite well now so I have no excuse!
  10. Which social media tool is you favourite and why?
    I love my Ning community – lovely people, small and meaningful group, and lots of features on the site. I have kept the site fresh and clean in appearance and like it that way.
  11. Would you consider hiring someone to make Facebook comments on your behalf? 
    I may consider it down the track: I would first ensure we share a common philosophy and vision for the pages.
  12. For all the time you spend using social media, do you feel you get the same value (or more) in return? If so, how?
    At this point the monetary return is not tangible, but I know I am building value in many forms.
  13. Are you looking to advertise on Facebook?
    Maybe, when membership is larger (I pay money for the Ning site to keep their google ads away).
  14. How easy do you think it will be for those who aren’t familiar with WPN to come across your page?
    The more time I spend on Facebook and my other linked social network sites, adding value and helping others, the easier it will be. I want to build a community of good people rather than just attract hordes of faces.


Bev’s links 

Ning membership site:

WordPress site:




This post was written by Megan Hills (with the help of Bev, of course). Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who knew embarrassingly little about NetworkBlogs and Payvment prior to this interview. Find out more about Megan

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  1. Hi Megan
    Thanks for more info on facebook. We have announced a couple of events on facebook recently in response to some fund raising we are doing and have got some quite extraordinary responses. initially it was a little daunting to figure out but you can get through it step by step. Worse case scenario you can delete it and start again.
    It has helped us to connect to other people's networks with a view to raising more funds.
    Thanks for the follow up article

  2. Bev

    Thank you Megan for the lovely and surprising introduction: a timely reminder of how others perceive us.
    Bev R

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