If you’ve been reading the social media blogosphere these past few weeks, you might have noticed that nearly every social media blogger has complained about the same problem: the precipitous drop in our Facebook page posts penetrating our fans’ news feeds.
In other words, fewer of the posts you carefully plan for your Facebook page are visible to your fans.
A few weeks ago Facebook changed its algorithm, giving more weight to posts that trigger engagement in the form of Likes, Shares and Comments. Then on April 10, Facebook notified users of still more changes to the news feed. These improvements are designed to reduce the stories that users identify as spam or prefer not to see.
The new update targets three categories:
- Asking fans to like a post
- Frequently posting the same type of content
- Tricking fans to click a link by including misleading information in the post
Some people are giving up on Facebook, but that move would be shortsighted. Facebook remains the second most trafficked website (after Google), and it has more than 1 billion users, far more than any other social media network.
I tell clients that if they want their posts to reach more fans they need to follow a two-pronged strategy: provide the best, original content you can and allocate some funds – a few hundred dollars annually – to an advertising budget.
Organic Reach Is Still Viable
I am taking a Master Class with Facebook ninja Mari Smith, and she recommends these strategies for helping your posts receive more exposure among your page fans without the expense of advertising. (My comments are italicized.)
- Post more frequently. I recommend twice each weekday and twice on the weekend.
- Change up days, times. You’ll want to check your Insights to see when your fans are on Facebook. Experiment to determine whether you have better results during the peak hours or right before the peak hours when there’s less competition in your fans’ news feeds.
- Write short (100-250 characters) vs. long narrative. Text overload is rampant these days so if you want your fans to read your post, don’t write more than 250 characters.
- Include more personality. I’ve been deficient in this area. People do not buy books from brands; they buy books from writers so don’t be afraid to share information that reveals more of your personality.
- Be controversial at times. When Mari says this I know, she’s not insinuating that you take a stand on abortion or an election. Instead, she’s suggesting that you take a stand on an issue in your niche.
- Add calls to action. Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to purchase your new book.
- Vary your types of posts.
- Respond promptly and tag commenters. Try to respond to comments as soon as you can and be sure to type their name (tag them) in your response.
- Host Hangouts using 22 Social app. Consider podcasting and using Google+ to record them.
- Change your cover image. On a quarterly basis, freshen up your cover image using Canva or PicMonkey.
- Host a Facebook Friday networking party that enables your fans to promote their books.
- Drive traffic from other sources to individual post URLs. When you click on the date stamp of your Facebook post, you will see that your post has a unique URL. You can drive traffic to that post, especially if you have a call to action in it.
- Embed Facebook posts on your blog. Hover over the top, right-hand corner of your post and click on Embed. Then copy the html code and add it to your Facebook post. You’ll need to navigate to your WordPress website to add the code on the text (not visual) page of your blog.
Some theorize that in the future Facebook reach will continue to worsen until the day arrives when we’ll be forced to use advertising regularly. For now, however, use advertising when you have a specific objective in mind, such as notifying fans of a sale price on one of your books or when you introduce a newly published book. Until then, keep providing your fans with the best content you can.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web