WARNING: Facebook Changes Ahead! What Authors Need To Know

I know that this might come as a shock, but there are more changes coming to Facebook. (Note the sarcastic air of that statement. ;)) Yep, it’s happening again - there are changes coming to Facebook’s algorithms specifically for Pages.

Chances are you’ve noticed that your posts are not reaching many of your fans on Facebook. On average, only 3%-6% of your fans actually see each of your posts. Yikes!! And that number might get even lower if you don’t pay attention to the following information.

Facebook announced that starting January 2015, they will be limiting posts that are “too promotional”. The reason? Facebook recently surveyed hundreds of thousands of their users regarding how they feel about the content in their newsfeeds. The answer? They want to “see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

What does this mean? Well, a user’s Facebook news feed controls the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads based on engagement, hiding ads, etc. BUT what hasn’t been monitored closely are the posts made on Pages that are purely promotional.

To put it simply: if Facebook sees your Page as being too promo-heavy, you will see a “significant decrease in distribution” for your updates.

You might be asking yourself, “Aren’t most Facebook Pages promotional in one way or another?” Yes and no. You need to know where that fine line is drawn so your posts will reach your readers. So let’s take a look at what Facebook is talking about.

 

 

THREE TRAITS OF AN OVERLY PROMOTIONAL POST

It breaks down to what you’re promoting and how you’re doing it.

When Facebook conducted their survey, this is what they found users didn’t like seeing in their feeds. They have three common traits: 

  1. They exist only to get you to buy and/or install something 
  2. They exist only to get you to enter a contest or a promotion without any context
  3. They use the same content that they use in their ads 

Here's an example Facebook used: 

What does this post want you to do? Watch the show and buy the DVD from their store. This post was only used to advertise their show and product. And that's a big no-no. 

If you're asking yourself, "So what about ads?" I'm glad you asked because the answer is rather interesting. 

According to Facebook's survey, users don't mind when ads are promotional. But they DON'T like it when posts are promotional. 

Think of it this way: let's say you meet someone, you give them your email address or phone number, thinking that they were cool and that you'd like to get to know them better. But every time they called or emailed you they were just trying to sell you something. Annoying, yes? 

The same goes for fans who discover you and your books. They "like" your Facebook page because they find value in what you have to say. They want to get to know you, more about your writing, and interact with you. They don't want to be bombarded with advertisements to buy your book. 

 

HOW TO ENSURE YOUR POSTS GET VISIBILITY AND REACH

Does this mean you can't share with people that you have a book available or a special promotion? Not if you share it with some context

For example, a post that says: "Click here to buy my new book! It's the latest in my series of helpful tips and tricks. I know you will love it! It's only $5.99 for a limited time so buy now!" This is pure promotion and what Facebook doesn't want you to do. 

Rather, try something like this: "A struggle for many authors is finding the time to market their books online and how to do it effectively. When I was starting off, I found it incredibly difficult to navigate my way through the do's and don'ts of online marketing. That's why I've put together this step-by-step guide to help guide author's through the process...." 

Creating context, sharing personal experiences, or providing a back story is a great way to insure your post is not too promotional. 

Remember, your Facebook Page isn't a vehicle to just push the sale of your book. It's a place to make connections with potential fans, maintain conversations with them, share information, and build a community. If you mainly use Facebook to push ads that are disguised as posts, be warned, there will be a big change coming in January! 

TAKE ACTION NOW: In the comment section below, let us know what questions you might have about this new change. Does this change encourage you to use Facebook more or focus on another outlet? We'd love to hear!