It was announced recently that Facebook’s algorithm is changing again.
Their goal is for posts by friends and family to rank highest.
That means if you have a Facebook page, it’s going to be even more difficult to be seen than it was a couple of months ago.
Experts estimate that 2-10% of your page’s fans will see the posts that you share.
And those estimates were before the changes came into play.
So what can you do?
Should you ditch your Facebook page?
First of all, I would say no, most definitely do not ditch your Facebook page.
When you find a post that does well, it is a glorious feeling. Not only that, but it’s still good for sharing information with fans, and paid advertising, should you decide to use it.
However, depending on your target audience, it’s probably not worth making your Facebook page a priority, because the ROI (return on investment) isn’t going to be great unless you spend more time on your Facebook page and less time writing (which nobody wants).
To put things into perspective, I have 121 likes on my author page. Out of those 121 people, an average of 50 people will see my posts. That’s classed as high, and that’s only because I share my posts to my personal profile, too. This is also where most of the likes and comments take place, which is why my page looks so quiet!
If you’re a small, indie author like me, there are some things you you can do to reach more people on Facebook.
Share to your personal profile
Your friends and family care about your writing, don’t they?
So then why not share your posts from your public page to your private one, to ensure that they see it?
This is something I do with the majority of my posts, and as mentioned above, that’s why they get seen by more people. The posts I don’t share — particularly the ones advertising things — get seen by as few as one or two people.
DO NOT ask for shares
This is one of my pet hates, and something Facebook actively tries to discourage.
It’s the internet equivalent of dancing naked in the middle of a busy city centre street.
It can help. However, Facebook’s algorithm will punish you for asking people simply for a share. Your post will reach more people if you give them a gentle hint instead.
Get friends and family to share
Friends and family should be your biggest allies. Ask them (privately) to share your posts. They can mention your page by typing @, followed by the name of your page.
You’re a writer. Being creative is second nature.
Facebook should be no different.
Be creative with how you post things.
For example, when I was promoting the launch of What Happens in New York, my posts regularly reached fewer than ten people.
I was using words like ‘launch’, ‘event’, ‘offer’ and ‘published’.
NB: Even if you’re not promoting something, words like ‘offer’ will still upset the algorithm.
Don’t just plug
Don’t just use your Facebook page for advertising yourself, your books, your events, or anything else to do with you.
Share memes, quotes, and articles you think your audience will like. We used this tactic for Restless Minds, and it became the most successful student anthology Nottingham Trent University had ever seen. It does work.
Have a consistent posting schedule. That way, the people that are interested in your page will expect posts at a certain time of day, and will be more likely to check it in anticipation.
If you’re likely to forget to post something, set yourself a reminder, or use scheduling software like Buffer.
Facebook also allows you to schedule posts in advance, and backdate them.
To do this on desktop, click the blue arrow beside ‘Publish’. You’ll be given three options: Schedule, Backdate, and Save Draft. Pick the time you want the post to publish (it must be at least ten minutes later). You can also schedule a time for when you want the post to be taken down.
Hold a contest
Who doesn’t like freebies?
Hold a contest and give something away, be it a copy of your book, a voucher for somewhere, anything you think will appeal to your audience.
Get people to like/comment to take part (you won’t be able to see everyone that shares your posts — it will depend on their privacy settings). The more people that take part in the contest by likes/comments, the more people who will see it on their timelines.
I begrudge paid advertising because I’m a cheapskate, but Facebook needs to make money. And the way they make money is by encouraging people to pay in order for their pages/posts/website to reach more people.
A lot of authors do this. Some say it’s successful, others say it’s not. I haven’t tried it yet so can’t comment, but if you have some money tucked away for marketing, it might be worth giving it a shot.
Posts using imagery will reach more people.
The only thing that ranks higher than images is video.
Use them as much as you can.
Whenever I post a plain text update, it’s usually only been seen by one or two people within an hour of being posted. It’s pretty disheartening.
If I post the same thing using an image, at least double that number will see it.
For a page as small as mine, anything I can do to ensure it reaches more people is a blessing.
The most important thing of all
One thing that marketing professionals say over and over is to aim for engagement, not likes. Having a page with thousands of likes is great, but if nobody is interacting with the page, what’s the point?
Aim on encouraging your readers to engage with the page via reactions, comments, and shares instead. Your page will perform better this way!
What tactics do you use to boost your author marketing on Facebook? I’d love to hear your stories too!