The New Facebook Ban Authors Need to Know About

12-29-14 The New Facebook Ban on Promotional Posts - How it affects Indie Authors by Frances CaballoLast week, Nina Amir sent me an email with a link to the AuthorLink.com blog post about the new Facebook ban on promotional posts on fan pages. She wanted me to know what I thought about the ban.

In case you didn’t see it, the blog post, titled Facebook Promotional Ban Spells Trouble for Authors, said that the new Facebook policy that takes effect on January 1st will be a problem for Indie authors.

AuthorLink is talking about the new ban on purely promotional posts created on fan pages that goes into effect in a few days.

ClickZ Explains the New Facebook Ban

This is how ClickZ explains the new Facebook ban affecting page owners.

In order to keep its users happy, Facebook says, it will introduce “new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

According to the platform, it’s not just ads that users find “too promotional.” In fact, a lot of the offending content takes the form of posts from Pages users have liked.

What qualifies as “too promotional”? Facebook explains that this can include posts that encourage people to buy a product or install an app, posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context, and posts that just reuse the exact same content from ads.

As the new guidelines take effect in January, Facebook audiences will see fewer such posts in their News Feeds. And since the competition in the News Feed is becoming fiercer, businesses that continue to use promotional page posts will see organic distribution drop significantly over time.

AuthorLink Defends Its Position

I’m not worried about the new tweaks on Facebook, but AuthorLink is. It explains its position here:

As we see it, this move can only punish indie authors and small businesses that lack big bucks to buy paid ads. Sock it to the little guys.

We understand that Facebook wants to make more money. Don’t we all. But a ban on promotional posts is like snatching a candy bar back from a starving artist. Surely the brains at the top of this multi-billion-dollar organization can figure out some other creative way to make a dollar and satisfy stockholders.

I’m an Indie author, and I’m still not worried. Let me explain why.

Facebook’s Changes, Tweaks, Bans and Updates

Since last summer, when Facebook tweaked its algorithm for the umpteenth time, fewer of your fan page posts have been appearing in your readers’ news feeds.

How many of your posts do you fans see now? About six to eight percent of them.

Of course, this number is also determined by the amount of engagement your posts trigger. The more often a reader likes, comments on or shares your posts, the more often they will see future posts.

With the algorithm change of last summer and this new policy on promotional posts, Facebook is prodding you (and me) to purchase ads. Yes, if you purchase a Facebook ad you can promote your books as often and as much as you’d like.

What this means for Indie authors is that we need to focus more on content marketing and less on promotion.

Social media is wonderful and it levels the marketing field for Indies but sometimes Indie authors can turn social media into broadcast media by focusing too narrowly on book promotion.

Instead, let’s focus on nurturing our relationships with our readers. Let’s focus on curating great content. And let’s write blog posts on topics that our readers love to hear about.

Let’s use social media to write and promote content that our readers will find so valuable, they’ll navigate to our websites, learn about our books, and buy them.

In other words, don’t worry about this new tweak on Facebook. There will be more tweaks – you know there will be – and maybe one will come along that will make you mad.

Now, tell me what you think.

Further reading:

Avoid Social Media Time Suck

Blogging Just for Writers

 

Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Spot on, Frances! The true underpinning of social media engagement is nurturing your relationship with readers by sharing content, not selling books. With good sharing the book-buying will come naturally, without a lot of promotion. Also, as you point out, organic engagement is already down to 6-8% – it’s hard to see how a further dampening has much real world effect on the numbers. As with much of the hue and cry about business moves by the Evil Empires (Facebook, Amazon), much ado about nothing.

  2. Ultimately any efforts to impose such ban would mean Facebook wants people to spend on advertising. It is right that mature social networks are no place for organic engagement. Truly speaking, this gives us a great opportunity to try other platforms and even build new ones. Is there any entrepreneur here who is listening?

  3. Totally agree with you especially as I’ve got many indie author friends who use social media as broadcast media. I simply hide them from my newsfeed. Create content. Thank you for the post.

  4. I heartily agree with you, Frances!
    Over the last several months I’ve noticed nothing but book promotions by some independent authors, (not Redwood Writers members.) These appear on different pages promoting independent authors such as Amazon Book Clubs, etc. Some are just flat promotional. Frankly, I have grown tired of seeing nothing but promotions from some authors….Makes me wonder if indeed they have a life outside of promoting their books.

  5. I don’t post much on Facebook due to the lack of engagement. As you have pointed out, it’s no good writing anything, good or bad, if no one gets to read it. Like most people I don’t sell many books and so I don’t have any money for advertising. I’m still to be convinced advertising works. So I will be one of the many looking for alternative avenues. Writers are fortunate in that they have Goodreads, but where do musicians go?

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