A couple of weeks ago, I posted about why I’m not abandoning my author page on Facebook after the latest round of algorithm changes. I also promised to share with you what I’m doing to keep my page’s organic reach at a healthy 34 to 46 percent, which is well above the industry average of 6 percent. All set? Here goes.
- I post regularly: at least three to four times a day, and at least five to six days a week. Now, before you panic and tell me you don’t have time to post that often, are you aware that Facebook pages have a feature that allows you to pre-schedule posts up to six months in advance? By using this scheduling option, you can lump a week’s worth of posts together into one convenient evening in front of the television, or one quiet Sunday morning coffee, or whatever time slot works best for you. (Note that this feature isn’t available for profiles, however, which is just one more reason I recommend using a page instead). The key thing here is consistency. I’ve noticed when I’ve slacked off my posting schedule that my organic reach declines when I do post again, which means I then have to put more time and effort into rebuilding it. If you haven’t yet found scheduling, it’s in your status box–just click on the down arrow beside “post” and the option will pop up. (Notice you can also save a draft to come back and work on later.)
- I post at different times of the day but with a focus on my peak hours. If you haven’t already familiarized yourself with Insights on your page, that needs to be a priority, because you’ll find absolute gold in there. Under “Insights” in the bar that runs across the top of your page, click on “posts.” The graph that appears will show when more of your fans are seeing your posts. In my case, my peak hours are between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., so I schedule the bulk of my posts for that period. As you can see, my viewing audience
looks like Moby Dickstays pretty steady throughout the week (if you click on the image, it’s a lot clearer…sorry for the fuzzies 😛 ).
- I respond to comments. Even if I’m not able to reply to each and every person individually, I still take the time to read and ‘like’ his/her comments, because (a) it’s just plain good manners, and (b) people are more likely to comment again if they know you care. Remember that Facebook’s algorithms are watching for engagement: the more people who like, share, and comment on your posts, the more people to whom Facebook will feed the post (along with subsequent ones).
- I post a variety of material. Photos of my zoo (I have two cats, a very large dog, a rabbit, and a bearded dragon lizard), the occasional video clip of something random, funny things that happen in my day, life’s little challenges I think my readers can relate to, links to things I think might interest them, and so on. One of my best weeks for engagement was a series of posts I did asking for opinions on wedding decor and attire for Forever After, the novella I was working on at the time. People loved having a say in what my hero and heroine’s wedding day would look like, and I loved sharing the decisions with them. Again, use your Insights to track which posts are getting better engagement, and then create more posts like them. Likewise, if a post’s engagement bottoms out, you know that type isn’t resonating with your readers, so you won’t repeat it. (You’ll find this information beneath the graph I mentioned earlier.)
And there you have it: 4 key ways to increase organic reach on your Facebook page. In a nutshell, keep it fun, keep it engaging, be responsive, and be consistent. Remember that your Facebook fans are people: they want to know about you, and not just about your writing. So ask questions, solicit advice, share things that tickle your funny bone, talk about your interests outside of writing, and just generally be your likable self. Then, when you do have something momentous to share (such as the release of a new book), instead of climbing up onto a lonely soapbox to the sound of crickets, you’ll be sharing with a group of friends and potential readers who won’t just be happy for you, they’ll be happy to help you spread the news.
Because that, my friends, is what community is all about.
How about you? If you use a Facebook page, what are your tips for keeping your community engaged? Anything I haven’t mentioned here that you’d like to add? And if you don’t use a page, have I convinced you to give it a try? Leave me a comment below!
Oh, and here’s where to find me on Facebook, too. 😀