Seven Quick Ways to Connect With New Readers on Facebook
There is one overwhelming response in feedback we get from authors when it comes to Facebook: it’s frustrating. Their Facebook Page isn’t seeing the traffic or the engagement that they need to justify spending time there.
The truth of the matter is overall organic reach for Facebook Pages has drastically declined. When I say “organic” that means likes, comments, and shares that have happened without the help of paid advertising.
The reason organic reach has declined across the board for Pages is because Facebook is changing its algorithms all the time. Facebook is actually very guarded when it comes to the why and when they change algorithms. It may of course be them trying to make more money from ads. But there may be a more important reason that matters to us: Facebook users asked for it.
A few years ago Facebook did a survey where they asked users what they liked and didn’t like about the site. An overwhelming number of people stated that they were frustrated in seeing so many people using their Pages to promote themselves or their services. Now we aren’t talking ads - we are talking about actual posts that people were making. Too many people were using their Facebook posts as a means of advertising and self-promotion rather than using it to connect and engage with their followers.
So Facebook put the kibosh on that and adjusted it’s algorithm. A Facebook expert named Jon Loomer said it well:
“Users don’t like being sold to. If you share content with the primary goal of getting a sale, expect it to perform poorly in the newsfeed.”
Social media is not the place to sell - it’s a place to connect.
If you are constantly trying to promote your book on Facebook, you won’t see much traction.
But here’s the upside - Facebook is also selecting your content to be seen by people who will actually want to see it and who care about what you have to say. Even though the overall quantity of people we are reaching organically through your Pages might have gone down a bit, the quality of people - that is, people who have a higher interest in what you have to say - being reached through Page posts has increased. Because your driving force is to share and connect with your ideal readers, this is good news.
But how do you actually find and connect with new readers and not waste time on your Facebook efforts? Here are seven actions you can put into practice today.
Clearly define who you're trying to reach
This is the number one way to grow your audience on any social media platform. Like any business, you have to know who your ideal readers are BEFORE you get started. Not every Facebook user is going to like or connect with your book - you have to clearly figure out who you’re trying to reach in order to connect with your ideal readers.
And this is a good thing! Because when you have a smaller group of people to target, it’s much easier to reach them.
How do you do that? Here’s a starting point:
- Start by identifying the age of the person you’re trying to reach - and get as specific as possible. The more detailed you get the more specific you can be.
- List hobbies and interests of your ideal reader. If you’re just getting started and you aren’t sure, start with hobbies and interests that you’re interested in - you probably share many of the same interests as your readers. Once your audience starts to grow, you will get to know them more and can get more specific.
- Make a list of other authors that they are likely to be interested in or authors who share a similar audience as you. When you can talk about other books and authors that you like and respect, they will not only be able to relate with you and your taste in books, but they will also be able to put you into context of what the books you write are like.
Define your voice
This is important because how you communicate with your readers says a lot about you and your overall identity as an author. This really dictates what kind of readers your page will attract.
For example, if you were writing a Young Adult novel your voice would be more light-hearted and fun. If your reader is a 40-year-old professional it would be a bit more informational and formal.
So define your persona on your page and try to maintain a consistent voice.
Focus on the content you're sharing
Something we hear from authors quite a bit is that they don’t know what they should share on social media. Their content is all over the place and they waste a lot of time trying to come up with something to share. Now that your ideal reader is more clearly defined, this will help you know what kind of content to share with them.
Come up wth two or three different types of content that your ideal reader will connect with. For example, if your ideal reader is a 22-year-old female who reads romance novels, share quotes about love and relationships, ask them questions (like "describe your best first date in one word"), and share blog posts that offer more details about your key characters.
Keep these details in mind when you’re posting:
- Always keep your ideal reader in mind. Think about what is relevant to them.
- The more engagement you have, the more you will be seen in people's newsfeeds.
- If you ask questions, make sure they only require quick answers. The less time it takes for someone to respond to a question, the more likely it is that they will answer.
Create a schedule and stick to it
Don’t be a person who posts sporadically - you need to create a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is critical to creating a solid audience. That’s why tools like Buffer are fantastic - they help you create the consistency you need as well as save you time.
The great thing is that you already have the information you need right in your Facebook Page insights to know exactly when you should post. Load those ideal times into your Buffer scheduling tool and you’re good to go! We have a post that will show you how to find the best time to post on Facebook right here.
Find what posts connect best with your readers
Your readers and connections are a unique group of people - what works for one author might not work for you. That’s why it’s important to identify what posts create the most engagement for your page.
Again, Facebook provides you with the information you need to see what posts are connecting with your audience in the Page Post Insights. You can see what is doing well and what’s not.
And don’t be afraid to try new things like posting a video, holding contests or giveaways, or sharing photos.
Focus on Quality
The best way to attract new readers is to post content that is high quality. Think of posts that your ideal reader can’t wait to share with their friends and family - posts that speak directly to them and that is relevant.
I see the same common mistake authors make over and over again: many authors panic because they aren’t selling enough books so they start blasting promotional posts all over the place to try to push the sale of their book. This is the best way to drive readers away and lose followers by giving them a good reason to click on the "Hide" or "Unfollow" button.
Remember, potential readers aren’t going to buy and read your book just because you tell them to. They need to know that your book is worth their time and money. The best way to do that is through the content you share and by establishing a connection.
Invest in Facebook ads
If you want to target your ideal readers and build your audience with quality connections on Facebook, you’re going to have to invest in Facebook ads.
The good thing is that ads can be very inexpensive and you can get a lot of bang for your buck. But the big thing to remember is that we aren’t focusing on growing our numbers on Facebook. We are focusing on making quality connections. I would much rather have 100 quality connections than 1,000 random connections.
If you aren’t familiar with Facebook ads or need to know more about them, Amy Porterfield is my favorite resource for those questions. I’d encourage you to check out this post on Facebook ad targeting 101 as well as her guide on how to get started with Facebook ads.
We hope these seven tips will help demystify how you can reach more readers using your Facebook Page. And guess what - these tips can also be applied to your other social media accounts. It's important to remember, as in any relationship you make, that it takes time to establish trust. Create the consistency you need and stay the course - you WILL see results.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Pick one of these tips and apply it to your Facebook strategy today. You don't need to do it all at once, but commit to trying at least one. Once you start to see changes in your Facebook results, apply more and let us know what happens!