I’m back with another post in my mini Social Media Series. Today’s topic is Facebook and as always, I’ll start with my disclaimer by admitting I’m no expert (like at ALL).
This article is more about what I’ve learned about being on Facebook. Things that have helped or hindered me. Hopefully, some of this will be useful to you guys too.
What is Facebook?
Facebook is still the number one social media platform people think of when someone says, “you should be on social media!”
I personally found Facebook didn’t have the same easy-definition as some of the others. Instagram is a gallery. Pinterest is a bookmarking site. Twitter is micro-blogging. So what is Facebook?
It’s kind of a bit of everything. It is full of visuals, personal updates, photos, conversations and videos etc.
This may be why I’ve never fully taken to Facebook. I just never felt it had a clear definition.
What is your Facebook Purpose?
In truth, when I started on Facebook it was without a purpose. I’d been hammered with advice that as a business owner and a writer I really should be on Facebook!
So late to the game (like 2016 late), I started a Facebook profile. After receiving waaay too many friend requests from random guys, I made my Profile mostly private and looked into creating a Page.
This helped to keep my writer side separate and allowed me to connect with people who were mostly interested in me as a writer, not just as some lass online.
Now I’ve heard a lot from people who use Facebook for their Author Page. Some use it as a place for updates, others for the ads and some to join groups and gain information.
Think about what you use Facebook for. What you are getting from it? Maybe you’re on Facebook just for the personal side, keeping up with friends and family. Or maybe you are using it to keep your fans informed about your new book.
With all the changes Facebook has made, getting in front of your audience without paying for ads seems to require a lot more work.
As with anything, you don’t want to be losing time doing extra work on a platform that isn’t giving you any results.
Let’s look at some stats and data
Well, you can’t argue with the figures, Facebook has the most active users.
How many users are on Facebook?
Worldwide, there are over 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q2 2018 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 11 percent increase year over year.
(Source: Zephoria – 2018)
Where does Facebook rank?
(Source: Statista – Oct 2018)
How many businesses are on Facebook?
Over 70 million businesses are now using Facebook Pages. Some 20 million people use Messenger to communicate with customers and more than 5 million businesses are actively using paid advertising on Facebook.14 Jan 2018
(Source: Hootsuite – 2018)
Get started on Facebook
What’s the difference between a Profile and a Page?
A Facebook Profile is your personal account. When you sign up this is what you are automatically given and it’s for connections with friends, family, you know… personal stuff.
A Facebook Page is a business account and so works a little differently. Pages allow you to run contests, promote offers, use ads etc.
Now I know some people just use their Profile for as their Writer Page. Here’s why I think that’s a bad idea.
The most obvious is that if your writing is eventually going to turn into a business (e.g. you sell your book) then you would be violating Facebook’s T&Cs by using your Profile for business stuff. It’s against their rules to share content for profit on a profile.
It is good to keep things separate. You get to keep your more personal things personal. Not all readers and fans will be your friends and family, hopefully, you’ll have fans from outside that circle too.
In order to run your writing as a business, you need to market and Facebook Pages do give you that option.
Okay, let’s cover the basics. Keep your branding on point by having your Facebook Page be your author name. Whether that’s your real name or your pen name.
I personally suggest you avoid using a book or series title for your Page name. This means that you are locked in and that if you write another book/series, you will need another Page.
Now, Facebook does not limit how many Pages you can have. But do you really want to manage and produce content for several pages?
I can appreciate people like different genres so you might want to separate out. But remember, you are part of the product and it works best to keep things together. Also, don’t underestimate people. If they liked your sci-fi, they may want to stick around for your new historical romance!
Always try and make things easier and more efficient for yourself! (I appreciate the irony of saying this while having 5 email addresses :p)
Again, keep your avatar the same as all your other social media platforms. Consistency and branding will forever be my power words!
Facebook’s bio section on a Page is the “Our Story” section on the right-hand side of your Page (when you view from a desktop). This is what it looks like before you fill it in.
You get to share a photo and some information about your business. So, if you’re a writer, you can use this to add more about what you write and about you the author.
Here’s my current bio on my Facebook Author Page. I wanted something simple for the picture and something with a little humour for the bio. As Facebook is my least used platform, I am still working on making this all “pop” but at least it’s better than nothing.
Now, you can use your banner to match your other social media platforms, sticking with the branding or use it to advertise your book, throw in a book quote etc.
If you want to mix it up and have it different from the others, consider keeping the font or colour scheme the same as normal so that there is at least some branding.
What to post
As with Twitter, posts with photos or videos seem to do the best and stay on people’s timelines longer.
This visual content gets the best engagement over text-only posts. For those who do write text posts, keep them short. Apparently, we have little concentration and don’t care to read long posts on Facebook.
How often to post
There have been a lot of studies about how often to post. The optimum is apparently once a day and no more than twice a day otherwise viewers consider it a little spammy.
As a minimum, I recommend posting 3 times a week and don’t exceed 10 times a week.
The best thing to do is analyse when people are most active and use those times/days to post on.
What time to post
Again studies say on average, between 1pm and 4pm are the best. As always, I say work out your own sweet spot for posting.
After analysing a few months of data on my Insights tab, my personal peak times to post are 2pm, 4pm and 6-7pm. Also, be aware of where your audience is.
f you are in the UK (like me) and you find you have a larger US audience, then your times may have to reflect that.
How to analyze
Facebook Pages have their own analysis called Insights. You have a Page summary that can be broken down in the following: Today, Yesterday, 7 Days and 28 Days.
Here’s a screenshot of some of the data collected. (Yeah, my stats aren’t great. I don’t use Facebook much as it’s my least favourite social media platform and I need to come up with a workable plan for it)
You also get data on your last five posts including Reach (paid and organic), post clicks and reactions.
So not a bad lot of data. It gives you some ideas about what is or isn’t working on your site.
This is why I always prefer Business or Page accounts on social media platforms. You get extra info so aren’t wasting your time doing things that don’t work without realising it.
As with Twitter and Instagram, you can tag people into posts. Do this only if you are sharing content you honestly think they’ll like and avoid doing it on “selling” posts as this is seriously spammy.
I’ve tagged people a few times when I asking questions or when I’m sharing blog posts that feature the other person. This allows a link back to them which they can share.
From what I’ve read, it’s best to stick to no more than 2 hashtags per post and don’t always feel the need to add them either. Posts without hashtags do well and posts with lots of hashtags, not so much.
As always, only use relevant and useful hashtags.
Facebook groups are like a forum were people can all share their links, photos, updates etc to the members of the group.
Groups are usually topic-specific and there are thousands for writers, authors, bloggers, etc so you can always find one or more that will cater to your interests.
Groups are great for creating community and building networks. Writing groups can allow you to find beta readers, gain knowledge from more experienced writers as well as connect with new people.
These groups can help educate, share stories, encourage and even allow promotions depending on their individual guidelines (always read these fully before signing up).
However, you always need to make sure you don’t end up spamming in the group. Also, depending on the size of the group, posts can be shunted down the timeline pretty fast.
I’ve had a mixed result with groups. Some are great, full of friendly people, organised and useful. Others have been a place that eventually fell to arguing, one-up-manship or even abuse.
When starting with groups, I recommend joining no more than 1 or 2 at the start to get a feel for them. If the group makes you uncomfortable or has a lot of animosities, leave it and find another. There are always more to choose from.
Some Groups I like
85K90 – This is the private group for those who do the 85K 90Day Challenge. Friendly and supportive bunch of people.
Author Like a Boss – Great content and full of support and insight into being an author.
Things to consider
While all social media has its fake accounts and phishing bots, Facebook seems to have the most.
This is another reason to have a Page rather than having everything on your Profile – with a Page you don’t have to deal with Friend Requests from possible fake or dodgy accounts.
From my experience, Facebook is pretty spammy at times. There always seems to be someone selling something or pushing something and I don’t just mean the ads.
Don’t join people to a group without asking them
I’ve had this happen a few times, were someone (usually someone who does NOT know me that well) will “join me” to a group without even messaging me to let me know. I don’t mean send me an invite but will just sign me up for the group.
Not sure why this is even a thing, but it’s frustrating when it happens and I almost always unjoin the group.
Invite people who barely know you to their group/Page
Again a number of people have recently started groups and I’ve been sent invites. Many of these are nothing that I would be interested in, they are not my interests/genres.
If you want to do this, at least take the time to have a conversation with the person, interact on their Page/Profile before you start inviting them to like your group or Page.
Use a Scheduler
It wouldn’t be a Social Media post without me harping on about Scheduling. Seriously, if you aren’t using a scheduler, why the heck not?! There is no way I would be able to run all my social media platforms if I didn’t use one.
I use Buffer for scheduling all my social media and I seriously can’t recommend it enough. It has made such a difference to my online work.
Some thoughts on Facebook
I’m still not sure whether Facebook is great for writers. For keeping up-to-date, I prefer using an author’s website rather than their Facebook. For interaction, I prefer Twitter and for enjoying their content I prefer blogs and Instagram.
That being said, Facebook has a giant reach and with Pages, can allow a writer to have their own Author Page or even create a Fan Page.
I said early on how this is not my favourite social media platform and truthfully I am still on the fence about whether to just close it down. I am planning on being more organised with my content because at the moment I am definitely not using it to the full potential.
I want to give it the benefit by actually using it well before I throw in the towel. I asked others what they thought of Facebook and here are their replies:
I think I much prefer twitter and Instagram to Facebook. It’s harder for people to find you on Facebook if they don’t already know about you compared to those platforms that use hashtags and the like.
Writer Facebook works because the groups can be localized on specific writerly issues or aims. Verses a Twitter hashtag that can be used for anything. Plus groups have moderators. As a personal writers platform I think Twitter and Instagram make you a lot more visible and interactive with your readers.
I believe the advantage of FB is FB ads. Unfortunately, don’t have any data to comment with yet. After I start a campaign, I will let you know.
What are your thoughts about Facebook? Do you think it’s good for writers?