Thursdays with Amanda: Dispelling the Top 5 Facebook Myths
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
Note: this is a professional Facebook page. This is a personal profile.
Every once in awhile I receive some questions regarding professional Facebook pages. You see, there are a lot of rumors surrounding the professional page, and many will claim that it’s self-sabotage to switch over (from personal to professional pages). But I entirely disagree.
So let’s take some time to dispel the top 5 Facebook myths when it comes to using the site for marketing and promotions.
Myth #1: The Professional Facebook Page is bad because it only shows your updates to 1/3 of your fanbase.
This isn’t necessarily true. Your fans have the power to choose how often they see your posts. If they want to view every post, they can select that option. If they only want to view the most popular posts, they can opt for that one.
But let’s get to the bottom of this myth. This statement is making the assumption that all of your posts in your personal profile are seen by ALL of your friends. This is not true. Go to your personal Facebook profile and think of a friend that you haven’t heard or seen much of lately. You know, one of those people that you wonder if maybe they’ve unfriended you. Now go look them up. Chances are, they’ve been posting quite frequently! But you haven’t seen their posts. Why? Because not only do you have the power to filter your feeds, Facebook sometimes selects which posts you view on your news feed and also which posts appear on the little scrolly thing in the upper righthand corner of your account. And sometimes, you don’t see updates at all.
In other words, not all of your friends are seeing your posts, just like you aren’t seeing all of their posts. So the argument that you are losing views by switching over to a professional page isn’t a solid one. No matter where you house your professional Facebook presence, you aren’t going to reach all of your followers.
Myth #2: You have to promote (which means spending money) any posts on your Professional Facebook Page that you want to gain traction.
This is absolutely untrue. The promotion option helps, certainly, and it guarantees that your post will reach all of your fans. But it is also possible to go viral without having to shell out any money.
I mentioned this last week on the blog, but I think it’s worth saying again.
A few weeks ago, I ran a promotion on my Agent Facebook Page. I offered to give one-liner feedback in exchange for the participants liking my page and sharing the post. I did not promote this post outside of Tweeting and Facebooking about it.
During this promotion, I went from 650 followers to 750. But my post was seen by 1,503 people. This means it was seen by all of my fans, and then some. It was shared 86 times and saw 145 comments.
A few days later, I posted something else (not contest-related) and that was seen by 1,909 people!
I didn’t pay a cent for these posts to be promoted. So it shows you what old fashioned word of mouth marketing can get you.
Myth #3: Facebook is targeting and bullying those who use Facebook professionally.
Again, this is not entirely true. Remember, Facebook was not created for small businesses or marketing and promotions. It was originally created for students to be able to easily connect with one another (you needed a .edu email address to create an account). It has grown to accommodate users of all ages and vocations and even businesses and corporations. However, its primary target market will always be the user who is connecting with friends, family, etc. So any time Facebook seems to bully its corporate side, remember that it is doing so to protect the average user.
This is why businesses are encouraged to create a page instead of a personal profile. A business page separates the relationship between business owner and guest/customer in a way that protects both parties. I mean how annoying would it be if you had to add “PNC Bank” as your friend instead of just being able to “Like” their corporate page?
So, if you have any ill feelings towards Facebook’s treatment of you as an author, please put it aside. They’re doing what they believe is best to protect the average user and prevent what could easily become a constant sales-pitch zone.
Myth #4: Facebook is being mean when they try to charge money for things.
Facebook is a business, much like your author career, and in my opinion they’ve done a good job of keeping it free. But just like you don’t give away all of your books to your friends and family, Facebook shouldn’t have to keep everything free. They need to be able to make money, otherwise they will stop striving to make it a better user experience.
Myth #5: Facebook sucks. Google+ is better.
To those who sing the Google+ love song, I ask: Would you ever delete your Facebook account? No. Why? Because that’s where everyone is.
You may prefer Google+’s structure and usage system better, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Facebook met a need at the right time and continues to be our #1 social media site.
So does it suck? No. Personally, I’m grateful it exists. I know it has helped me grow my agenting platform, and I’m sure it’s helped you in your author career, too.
When I can say the same thing about Google+, then is the time to weigh which one I prefer.
But for now, if you don’t like Facebook, then don’t spend your time there. It’s as simple as that.
I paid $20 to promote a post on my Facebook Fan page. It went supposedly went to my 2,200 fans and 8,000 of their friends. When I looked who it actually reached, most of the people were from countries where they don’t even speak English. (I now know that you can supposedly limit what countries and languages receive your posts — but it takes some digging to find this feature. I haven’t tried this out.)
Interesting. I didn’t know that, Randy. Thanks for sharing.
Love this post. I set up an author page but have done a LOT of waffling back and forth about where to send my website/blog posts. This year, I decided to MAKE my author page my connection, and to make my personal page no longer public. Then, when I post on my author page, I just share it on my private page about an hour later. It’s like a double-hit! Mwah-ha-ha!
I totally agree with all that you said! Facebook knows that people will stop using it if every time they see their news feed, they see irrelevant posts about what people ate for breakfast. It is in Facebook’s best interest as a business to make the user experience great by prioritizing content.
One thing I would add is that if you post something at a day/time when a lot of your fans don’t happen to be on FB and/or there is a particularly large competition for the news feed, you MAY have to promote the post to gain traction. I had this happen just this week. Usually Wednesday morning is a great time when my fans are online and Facebook gives me a great organic reach. This week, in the first hour after my post, it had only reached 150 people (out of 3600!), even with 5% virality (which would normally be a high virality rate that Facebook rewards with strong organic reach). As you get closer to that average 3 hour window in which Facebook shows your posts, you can see if you are going to need to promote to gain traction. I don’t like to post later saying, “If you missed this…” so I would rather pay $2-4 dollars to get several hundred more people to see it.
Yes, timing is a big part of how many people see your posts. You’re right that $2-4 bucks isn’t that big of a deal. I guess for those who’d still rather not pay, they should either plan out their timing OR be willing to repost.
I didn’t know about that 3 hr window. Good to know. I did notice that my Friday night posts don’t get as many likes, but I assumed people would see them Saturday morning. How did you figure out that 3 hour window? I feel like FB has all these mysterious rules and I don’t know them!
It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but studies have shown that the vast majority of people who will ever see a post see it within 3 hours. It is a good rule of thumb for the lifetime of a post. It isn’t a good idea for most pages to post at night because by the next morning there are lots of new posts from people competing for space in the news feed and you lose priority for being several hours old with little nighttime engagement.
Looking at the stats for my reader’s website, Facebook
always tops the list of where the links come from. I wouldn’t do away with it! However, I just read a blog post this week about a writer comparing book sales generated from ads on Facebook and Goodreads. She found Goodreads ads the most
profitable by far. It seems when shelling out some cash, it’s best to zero in on a target of *readers* and not just friends or social media junkies.
Yeah, I haven’t heard any good reports from authors using FB ads. Thanks for mentioning that.
I don’t have a book to advertise yet, but I’ve used Facebook ads to build my fan base and it’s been very effective. The key is to target the right way though…Facebook ads allow you to target in all kinds of ways that can be effective for an author. I’ve identified authors of books similar to what I want to write and advertised to people on Facebook who have identified an interest in those authors. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll buy your book too, but it’s a very targeted approach!
I get the most view via facebook professional page in terms of social media outlets. Frustrating or not, I’m thankful for the free platform. Great points!
Very good info and advice. Thanks.
I always look forward to your posts on Thursdays, Amanda. Great advice as usual!
With my FB author page, I get about 130 people on average viewing my posts. And that’s with 185 people “liking” my page. What I think is so interesting is that about 30 of any of my post’s views are what facebook calls “Viral” instead of “Organic.” So only around 100 of my 185 fans are seeing my posts! lol
Hrm….maybe test posting at different times of the day? I really like the “viral” stats that FB provides. It’s fun to see how big of a reach you have.
I know Facebook isn’t targeted for businesses, but I’m actually glad for the amount of stats like that which they give!
Frankly, I don’t understand all of the anxiety and outrage. Yes, FB often does things that irritate me, and I have to learn and adapt to their new process. But at the end of the day I’m essentially a guest in someone else’s house, a privilege for which I pay nothing. NOTHING! I don’t have a natural “right” to employ Mr. Zuckerberg’s forum to promote my business, any more than he has a natural “right” to spend the night in my home. When I use social media of any kind, I exploit every opportunity to point people to by website or blog. In those areas, I control everything. And this, I believe, is as it should be.
People, the responsibility for your business success (or failure) rests with you and you alone. Deal with it.
Hear, hear! I wholeheartedly agree, and I always say something to this effect whenever I hear other professionals (usually writers/authors) complaining about Facebook. Buck up is exactly right!
Looks like I’m preaching to the choir today!
Steven, I, too, have never understood people complaining about services they get for FREE! lol It’s amazing how some people’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds, right?
Facebook isn’t one of my favorite places to be, just yet. I only have a personal page and am rarely on it. I’m slowly trying to work my way into the social media aspect of being a writer and am VERY glad to now know the differences between the personal and professional pages (thank you, Amanda…I had NO idea!). This way, when I’m ready to promote the book I will someday have a contract for, I’m hoping I’ll have a good handle on the reins 😉
The wording of some of these myths made me chuckle, especially #5. To be honest, I still don’t understand Google+. Facebook is my social media outlet of choice and where I have the most success connecting with people. My question is, when is it the right time to create an author page? I realize that I could do it anytime, but I’ve been content with the growth and interaction on my personal page and reluctant to mess with a good thing.
There is nothing saying you HAVE to create an author page and move over there, but as Amanda said, Facebook profiles were intended for the personal interaction with friends and family with whom you have established relationships. Straight readers would be better suited to your author page, where you can promote to your heart’s content and hold contests, giveaways, etc. The profile isn’t intended for that, so with the books you have to sell, any contests you’ll be running, giveaways or promotions, etc., Facebook *prefers* you do so on a professional business page.
Me? I have the author page for my readers, and I interact over there. Then, when a relationship has been formed, I invite them as a friend to my profile. That way, they are connected through both places. Those who don’t interact but are solely interested in book news have my page. Seems to be working nicely.
Hey, Evangeline! I’d say you could create a professional page once you have a deal on the table. At least, that would be my plan 🙂