Monday, March 3, 2014

Facebook for Writers: Gripes, Tips (Part1)

Recent changes to Facebook make the social media site even less useful to writers looking to promote their work for free. This article includes an overview of the changes, plus some tips on how to use them to your advantage.

Full disclosure: Because of these developments, I'm spending less time promoting my work on Facebook.

Next week's post will focus on free tips and tricks for getting what you can out of Facebook.

Recent Developments on Facebook that Affect Writers


1) It's Harder to Get Your Posts Under the Noses of Readers
Most of your friends, fans, and readers see your Facebook posts in their Newsfeeds. Facebook has been restricting what appears in Newsfeeds. Posts from Pages, such as your Author or Book pages, may not show up at all.

Note: I have 2,000 Fans on my Author Page. A typical post once reached 300 of my Fans. Now it reaches about 50. More on Facebook reach for writers.

2) Casual Users Are Leaving Facebook
By contrast, heavy Facebook users are being more active. Upshot: Those individuals who post a lot of dopey photos and live their lives on Facebook are more active than ever. Think about your audience and their usage of Facebook. This could be another reason why your posts are reaching fewer people.

3) Facebook Is Using Scare Tactics to Keep Mobile Users from Seeing Links You Post
My goal on Facebook is to entice people to visit my blog. As a result, I post links to my blog posts on Facebook. Facebook users who click on my links may receive a warning that says something like "This link might be malicious ... Follow it with care."

4) A Profile (personal) Page Might Be More Useful than an Author Page
For years, the conventional wisdom was that you needed an Author Page. But Facebook has added features, such as a Follow feature, that let people you don't know or friend see posts on your Profile Page. By dividing up your friends using the Facebook List feature, you can make certain posts available to the general public or just your closest friends. A recent post on Profile vs. Author Pages.

5) New Posting Rules: Facebook Prefers Pictures to Videos or Text Updates
Use large, horizontal images in your blog and your Facebook posts will appear larger in people's Newsfeeds and probably get more clicks. Use smaller or vertical images in your blog, and they will appear as thumbnails that will be easy to overlook. Another workaround, is to upload the picture image to Facebook and then add a link going to your blog.

This blog post used a small image. Here's how it appeared when I posted it to Facebook

This blog post used a large. rectangular image.

In this example, I uploaded an image to Facebook and then added a link to my blog. The drawback here: If people click the photo, it goes to the photo. In the examples above, a click on the photo sends people directly to my blog. Next week, more options for making your posts look better.

More on Facebook Changes and Social Media

Six Reasons Your Facebook Postings May Not Get Responses

Why Facebook is Not a Writer's Friend

Sick of Social Media? Other Options for Writers

Building a Platform: My Results in 2013

Art Attribution: Top Facebook image by Maxi Gago (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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