Monday, September 30, 2013

Social Media for Writers: Facebook Is Not Your Friend

When you post something to Facebook, only a fraction of your Friends or Fans actually see it. For your Personal/Profile page, it's been estimated that you reach about a third of your Friends. For an Author/Fan Page, you may reach 10 percent of your Fans. Want to reach more of your people? Facebook wants you to pay. (Yes, even to reach your Friends.) As with all social media, writers need to ask themselves: Is this a good use of my time? (It may not be)

This article discusses the ins and outs of Personal Profile Pages as they apply to writers and authors. A future article will discuss Fan/Author Pages and Groups Pages.

Personal Profile Pages: Where Your Friends Are

A Profile Page is your personal page, typically used to keep in touch with "Friends" and family. Many writers use their Profile for keeping in touch with readers. Either way, you need a Profile page to join, comment, and post links to groups. Groups are like online clubs for people with similar interests. Connecting with group members is one of the best ways to find potential readers on Facebook.

How Many Friends See Your Posts?

According to a recent study, when you post something on your Profile page, about a third of your Friends will actually see it. If some Friends "Like" the post or comment on it, 35 percent of your friends may see it. If no one Likes or comments, the percentage can drop to 29 percent. (This may be significantly higher than the number of people see Posts on an Author Page. More on this in future articles on this site.)

Profile Page Terms:

- Newsfeed: The constantly updating list of posts from friends and Pages that you follow on Facebook. Your Newsfeed includes status updates, photos, videos, links, etc. Friends can choose how much of your stuff appears in their Newsfeed. (and vice versa)

For example, go to a Friends profile and click the Friend button (top red arrow in screenshot below). You will see a list with the following options that prioritize posts from Friends:

- Close Friends: You'll see all of their posts in your Newsfeed. You'll also be notified of their activities when you log into Facebook. You can even be notified via e-mail or even text message. Click on Settings and you can specify what types of posts you'll see. Label someone an Acquaintance, and you'll see fewer of their posts.

Settings for a "Close Friend's" Profile Page, discussed above

Note: You can also prioritize what you see from Author/Fan Pages you've Liked. Below I've Liked actor Jack Black's Page. By default, I will see his posts in my Newsfeed (see the checked item in upper right-hand corner of screen below). 

By clicking Settings, I can choose whether I want to see All, Most, or Only Important Updates. By default, I will see Most of his updates. What "Most" means, is one of the sweet mysteries of Facebook. 

Note: If you have an Author page, these settings affect whether your Fans are seeing your posts.

Settings when I Liked Jack Black's Fan Page discussed above

- Notifications:  Click the little down arrow in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook Profile Page. The result will be the following list of options:

To adjust your Notifications: Click little down arrow in upper right-hand corner to produce this menu. Then click Settings.

 Then click Notifications and you'll get the page below. Here, I've chosen the following options:

- Under How You Get Notifications, "On Facebook" I've selected to receive "All Notifications, sounds off." Facebook notifies you different ways: The little globe in the upper right-hand corner (below) and with onscreen pop-ups (see arrow in lower left-hand corner in screen above). "Push Notifications" sends an alert to your cell phone. For the e-mail options, I've selected Most Notifications and receive a periodic e-mail letting me know my friends have added updates.

- Under What You Get Notified About, I've chosen to receive e-mails about "Close Friends Activity."

- Note: for some reason there is no general option for receiving updates to Author Pages I've Liked. I have to adjust these settings for each Page I Like. (See Jack Black slide above)

Notification options in your Settings menu dictate how you'll be notified of updates from Friends and Groups.

Paying Up

Want to reach more of your Friends? Click the "Promote" button under a recent post and you'll get the following:

Note: Paying to promote a post means it will appear higher in Friends' Newsfeeds, but Facebook does not list how many people will see it. Also, the post will labeled as "Promoted."

Profile Page Instead of an Author Page?

Some authors use a Profile page instead of an Author Page. Others use both. Some use a Profile page as their main base in Facebook and create separate Pages for their books. If you're just starting out, you may want to build up your Profile page before you consider an Author Page. (Also, you can convert a Profile Page to an Author Page at any time.) Better yet, you may want to focus on connecting with potential readers in Facebook Groups. (If these people like you, they'll ask to become Friends.)

Pros of using your Profile Page to promote your writing
- It is easier to add people than it is with an Author or Book Page
- You need a Profile anyway to post in groups.
- It appears that you reach more of your people than you do with a Author Page.
- It's one less page to manage and post to.

Cons of using a Profile Page
- In the past, you could only have 5,000 Friends. But additional people can "Subscribe" to see your Posts.
-Fan/Author Pages have analytical tools for measuring the popularity of your Posts, which types of Posts reach the most people, and some demographic info on your Fans (age, sex, location).
- Supposedly, Profile Pages are not for businesses.
- Some people consider an Author Page more professional.

Next Week: Facebook Author Pages

More On Facebook for Writers:

Book Marketing: Is a Facebook Fan Page Useful?

10 Quick, Dirty Facebook Tips for Writers

Attribution for top art (Facebook logo): By Veluben (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


If you find my book marketing blog useful, sign up to have it delivered to your inbox each week:

Enter your email address: