When it comes to promoting on Facebook, people seem to land in one of two camps: 1. Facebook is the king of social media and deserves the most attention, or 2. Facebook is turning into the place where the “old” people hang out, so our attention should move to wherever the audience is moving.
There is evidence supporting both of these positions. This post by Nicholas Rossis says numbers-wise, Facebook is still king with 1.55 billion users. That’s worth paying attention to. On the other hand, Facebook figured out a while ago that instead of delivering page content to page followers for free, they could hold page owners upside-down and shake until money fell out of their pants. That means the percentage of page followers who actually saw the content owners posted dropped dramatically unless owners paid to “boost” the posts.
Don’t give up your lunch money yet, though. There are ways to increase engagement that keep Facebook’s algorithms from cutting you off at the knees.
Side note first: this post isn’t about growing the overall number of followers quickly. I don’t have a huge number of followers on Facebook, but those I do have interact on the page quite a bit. That’s what this post is about, because less interaction = fewer people seeing your posts overall, no matter how many followers you have. However, increased interaction = more exposure for your posts, which could lead to more followers.
One more side note: I’m talking about official “pages” here, not personal Facebook accounts. If you try to use a personal page as an author page, followers have to “friend” you to see your stuff, meaning you can see their stuff. That’s more intrusive than most people like, so use an official page. Keep your personal page for friends and family and probably non-authory stuff.
And now, to the tips!
1. Make it fun.
Facebook algorithms are mysterious, but one thing I know for sure is if people like and comment on your posts, Facebook shows those posts to more followers and possibly to friends of your followers. Now, I’m sure you and your book/product are very fun and interesting, but if all you share on your page is about you and your book/product, followers will get bored because you can’t vary those things very much. So post things that are fun and have nothing to do with you. I follow several pages that post fun content, and I share their posts on my own page. That’s exposure for both pages, and I’ve heard Facebook lets more followers see the post if it came from a page with a big following.
2. Use graphics.
Remember how I said this post isn’t just about growing the number of followers? This is one way to prove me wrong.
Graphics can be photographs, screen shots, inspirational posters you made…anything, really. Writing a straight “status update” on your page won’t hurt anything, but it won’t be as “shareable” as a graphic would be. The screenshot of the post I shared in point 1 would have been much less engaging if the owner had simply typed “With enough coffee I can dress myself and use my grownup manners.” Yes, still funny, but I’m not sure I would have shared it. I “liked” the Sweatpants and Coffee page because someone I follow shared one of their posts and I thought it was funny, and they use graphics for every post.
My mom is a Christian Children’s Book author and has had a lot of success with using graphics to boost engagement and her page following (she boosted strategically, which I’ll talk about at the end of this post). She took snippets from her books or sayings she created and made posters that are quite shareable among her audience.
You can create graphics with Photoshop or for free online with Canva. I know there are others. Feel free to share any you’ve used in the comments.
3. Remember your audience.
I used to have my Twitter account and Facebook page connected, meaning whatever I posted on Twitter also went onto my Facebook page. Sometimes I knew what I posted on Twitter wouldn’t translate well to my Facebook following, so I’d go into my Facebook page and delete that post. That happened a few times a day and got old, so I disconnected them.
However, there is one weekly activity I participate in on Twitter that also did well on Facebook – #1LineWed. The idea is authors share a snippet of their WIPs that align with a theme (light, food, humor, whatever). I often scheduled my posts a day in advance and they’d appear on Twitter before I woke on Wednesdays (and before I could delete the posts from Facebook), and there would often be “likes” on the posts with those lines.
Why? My Facebook page is an author page. People follow my page because they’re interested in my writing, so it makes sense they would be interested in those lines. I said in point 1 that if you only share posts about yourself and your book/product, engagement wouldn’t be as high. But that doesn’t mean you should never share stuff about you – that’s what your page is about! My posts about good reviews or other book news usually have higher engagement rates than some of the random stuff I post. Followers knew they were following an author page and expect to see “authory” posts. Just intermix them with other fun stuff.
4. Make sure you’re interacting.
If someone comments on your post, like or reply at least occasionally. Especially if they respond with a thought-out comment, not replying makes you seem like a distant being that’s not really running your own show (which happens with celebrity accounts – they hire people to do this stuff for them.) But even with someone running his social media accounts, George Takei replies to comments once in a while. If people talk to you and you don’t talk back, they’ll stop talking.
A word on boosting
Facebook looks for certain words they think identifies an “ad” type post – words like sale, discount, buy, and limited time. A very small percentage of your followers will likely see these posts, so it may be worth it to boost them. You may also boost posts you think will be “shareable” (like my mom did) to get more followers. When you boost a post, it essentially becomes an ad, so you’ll get to see data about how many people saw it and from which demographics, which could be useful information for future advertising campaigns.
Alternately, if you don’t want to spend money on a boost, you could share your own page post onto your personal Facebook page. It will be your friends instead of your followers who see it, but if it’s something they’ll want to share, it’s worth doing once in a while. Don’t exhaust your friends with your page posts, though. If they wanted to see them all the time, they’d follow your page.
That’s it! I greatly enjoy my Facebook page, thanks to my followers. Click here if you want to join the fun!
Do you have other ideas for increasing engagement on Facebook? Share in the comments, and also share links to your pages!