Why I’m Not Giving Up My Facebook Author Page

Taming the (3)So…Facebook changed its algorithms again this year. I know…big surprise, right? 😉 This time, it was in an attempt to weed out “overly promotional posts,” and as a result, I’ve seen a steady flow of writers abandoning their pages in favour of using their personal profiles instead. As you may have gathered from the title of this blog post, I’m not one of them.

“Why on earth not?!?” you might well be asking.

To answer that, let’s start by having a look at what the fuss is all about (this time 😉 ). First, there is no disputing that organic reach on Facebook is declining (organic reach is defined as the number of people who see your posts without you paying for the privilege). Facebook itself doesn’t deny this. This decline is happening for two reasons, according to Facebook’s Brian Boland: (1) the sheer volume of content means stiffer competition for real estate on newsfeeds; and (2) Facebook’s algorithms are at work behind the scenes determining what content is shown to each person based on their past engagement. (You can read the full explanation here.)

With this latest change threatening to cut organic reach even further, many people are throwing their hands up in defeat/disgust and walking away altogether, convinced they’ll have to pay to put each and every post out in front of their target audience.

“But isn’t that what will happen?”

Eventually, perhaps. But right now? Not at all. At least, not if we remember that Facebook is primarily intended as a social medium. It’s about building community, not about shoving a product down your followers’ throats. If your posts are creative and engaging, they aren’t just going to continue being seen under this new algorithm, chances are good they’ll be seen more than they might have been in past.

But wait. That goes against everything I’ve been hearing! How is that even possible?”

Bear with me, and I’ll try to explain.

Facebook’s algorithms are designed to like what your audience likes. A post that gets high engagement (likes, shares, comments) becomes popular, and in the algorithm’s teeny-tiny, computer-chip mind, if all those people thought that was a good post, then hey! Maybe these ones will, too. And so it pushes the post to an even wider audience.

“And exactly what good does that do me? I’m on Facebook to sell books, not make nice.”

Well, if that’s the case, the exit is over there…and please don’t slam the door on your way out. Because NO. You’re not on Facebook (or at least, you shouldn’t be) to sell books. You’re there to chat with readers, other writers, and all kinds of people who aren’t yet readers but who might be one day. And you do that by posting lots of different things: photos, questions, links to things that will interest your audience, giveaways…and the list goes on.

By doing this, by being an interesting person rather than a sales pitch, you’re going to forge a community. You’re going to grow that community. Then, when you do have something special to announce (such as a new release or a sale), you’re going to have all kinds of people behind you who are almost as excited as you are,  and who will be happy to help you spread the word.

“That all sounds good on paper, but does it work?”

In my experience, yes. Statistically, the average organic reach for a Facebook page has dropped to about six percent. I’m the first to admit that’s not a lot, and if I thought that number was written in stone, I’d be on my way out the door, too. But it’s not.

In fact, the average organic reach for my own page was 46.25 percent over the month of February, and is currently sitting at 34.65 percent for March ( and I can tell you exactly why it’s dropped this month…much of it having to do with neglect on my part 😳 ). And it doesn’t end there, because percentages like those also mean that I’ve seen far greater engagement with my “promotional” posts, an increase in reader feedback, and an increase in page likes.

In short, Facebook has become a critical part of my social media marketing strategy…all because I took the time to figure out what does work for that persnickety little algorithm. Want in on my secrets? Check back next week and I’ll have a few tips for increasing your own engagement (or just subscribe to the blog using the big red square on the sidebar).

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2 responses to “Why I’m Not Giving Up My Facebook Author Page”

  1. ratmom Avatar

    I don’t blame you. fb is constantly changing and who knows what the next changes will be. Maybe in the future it will be a great thing to have an author fb account because of another change they make. I found you on fb because you were a friend of a friend and I routinely take a look at authors my friends like. 🙂

    1. Linda Avatar

      And you totally prove my point, Mary…thank you! And welcome! 😀

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