I tell writers, “Facebook is tough.” Specifically, I am referring to Facebook pages. The organic reach makes it difficult to gain traction at times.
Like it or not, your posts organically reach just 2% of your fans’ newsfeeds.
HubSpot (an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform) agrees that organic reach on Facebook business pages (aka Facebook author pages) is dismal:
“In January 2018, according to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri, Facebook began to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”
“As a result, marketing content was poised to take a backseat to content by friends and family — a value that Facebook says it originally had, and that it’s trying to return to. What this means that of the number of people who have Liked your Facebook page, about 10% of them see your posts. This also means that if you want more of your fans to see your posts, you need to provide great content consistently and plan to have a Facebook advertising budget.”
However, worldwide, there are over 2.32 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2018. With that many users, it’s difficult to ignore Facebook.
And Facebook’s advertising feature is impressive and works exceedingly well and you can use it to boost your reach and find members of your reading demographic on Facebook. With its custom audiences, you can target just about any person, cause, and geographical region with your message.
So let’s take a look at some Facebook pages.
Facebook Pages Authors Need to Watch
There is a lot of variety in how these authors handle their Facebook pages. I like Anne Lamott, Isabel Allende, and Joanna Penn’s pages best.
Anne Lamott 509,111 Likes
In a recent post, she praised Brain Pickings and Maria Popova. How’s that for networking and helping others out?
In another post, she shared the titles of books she’d read in 2019. As you can see, she’s building great karma with other writers, which is something all authors should do.
A post of her reading from a book triggered 904 Likes, 38 comments, 142 shares, and 29,000 views. Wow!
Be sure to Like her page and emulate what she does.
Isabel Allende 1,072,187 Likes
Isabel Allende, a native of Chile, writes her posts in both English and Spanish. (Spanish-speaking social media users tend to outnumber other demographics.) In the past, she has shared historical images, birthday messages to the Likes of Gloria Steinem, and information about nonprofits.
I love Isabel Allende’s Facebook author page. She apparently writes posts herself and is very open about her life. On January 5 she wrote this:
As you can see, that post has 17,000 Likes, 3,800 comments, and 637 shares.
On December 21, she posted a picture of herself in a market in the town of Achao on the island of Chiloe. That post generated 4,500 Likes, 256 comments, and 235 shares.
Look at Allende’s posts, follow her, and learn from her.
Mark Dawson 28,656
Compared to Allende, indie thriller author Mark Dawson has fewer page Likes and a great following.
A recent post, Dawson decided to give away a free, signed book. That post triggered 22 Likes and 94 comments. In another post, he asked people to write a review of his books. That post just triggered seven Likes.
It’s worth following Dawson to look for his Facebook ads. They are stellar.
He lacks some engagement on Facebook, but I suspect he’s mostly there for the advertising potential. And having more than 28,000 page Likes is nothing to complain about.
The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn) 25,020 Likes
Her Facebook page has a great profile picture and banner image. She posts information about her podcasts (her podcast is one of the best for authors) and responds to comments her readers leave. Kudos to her!
I suggest you follow her on Twitter, Like her Facebook page, and subscribe to her podcast on iTunes. She knows her stuff and is willing to share her knowledge.
Nick Stephenson 21,302 Likes
Nick Stephenson, similar to Dawson and Penn, is another British, indie, thriller author. His profile picture reveals his sense of humor and his banner image is perfect in that it points to the sign-up link for his newsletter.
He doesn’t post regularly on Facebook. He posted a funny image of himself in green sneakers on November 9, 2018, and before that a post on March 2. I can’t find examples where he’s replied to readers’ comments either.
It appears that he uses Facebook for the advertising opportunities and focuses on other types of marketing, such as developing a VIP list or street team. He also created an author marketing webinar that he uses to supplement his writing income.
Among the three British, indie, thriller authors, Joanna Penn’s Facebook page is the best.
Let’s Look at Smaller Facebook Pages
Although these authors don’g have page Likes in the millions, they have active followers and it’s worthwhile to study how they use Facebook pages.
Meg Waite Clayton 13,405 Likes
Meg Waite Clayton is New York Times bestselling author of historical, literary fiction. She’s traditionally published. She does a great job of mixing personal posts with funny ones with other posts about her writing.
Her news about a new book being picked up by Harper brought her 350 Likes and 195 comments. She doesn’t have the following of an Allende – yet – but she’s present on her page. Her profile picture is informal, and her banner image shows a stack of new books.
Clayton is someone to follow and watch.
Molly Fisk 1,869 Likes
Molly Fisk is a poet. Her profile is of a book cover (yuck), but her banner image shows her in the sun, smiling, and her arms wide open, as if embracing the day. It’s effective.
Fisk has an active Facebook profile and posts regularly on her Facebook page. If you’re a poet, you’ll want to follow her and connect with her profile, as well.
Jordan Rosenfeld 2,241 Likes
Jordan Rosenfeld posts a lot on her profile and keeps up her Facebook page nicely. She’s terrific at replying to comments.
If you don’t know Rosenfeld, she’s an author in her own right and writes books about writing, edits, and coaches authors. I recommend that you follow her because she knows her stuff and you can learn a lot from her.
Barry Eisler 12,062 Likes
Barry Eisler is a former intelligence officer who writes killer novels. He almost posts daily to his Facebook page and sometimes posts multiple status updates in one day. He also responds to comments.
A post he wrote about two op-eds from the Economist triggered twenty-eight Likes, five comments, and two shares.
His book The Killer Collective ranks at No. 1 in four categories, ranks at 16 in a fifth category, and out of the top 100 authors, he ranks at No. 1 again. The book is an Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.
So, this guy sells a heck of a lot of books and is engaged with his audience. Emulate him.
Don’t Do What EL James Does with Her Facebook Page
Yes, EL James is wildly successful. But has she forgotten the readers who made her famous. I don’t know for certain.
EL James 2.3 Million Likes
The author of 50 Shades of Grey has a wildly popular Facebook page.
There are some problems with this page, however. Her profile image doesn’t reveal her face. It’s just a picture of her bent over a sheet of paper with a pen. That’s a rookie mistake.
The other issue is that she doesn’t reply to comments. Now, with 2.3 million Likes there are going to be a lot of comments, but it seems that her publisher could at least hire some assistants to help with the page.
See this complaint from a fan:
The posting is also irregular. So you can look at this Facebook page as an example of what not to do, even when you’re rich and famous.
In the past, I did see some fun marketing. For example, the author showed a pint of beer with the number fifty on it. But I’m not seeing anything imaginative now.
Facebook Pages for Author Services
If I were you, I would Like all of these Facebook pages and follow them closely. Of course, it would only make sense for you to follow Lisa Tener’s page if you were writing nonfiction.
Goodreads 1,111,183 Likes
The social media network for readers, Goodreads has an active presence and posts regularly. Its post from January 1 asked readers to pledge how many books they would read in 2019. The response? The update brought in 6,000 Likes, 911 comments, and 1,714 shares.
It recently ran a darling picture of socks with this printed message, “Sorry I can’t. I’m all booked.” That post triggered 986 Likes, 47 comments, and 131 shares.
Writer’s Digest 288,421 Likes
What I found interesting about this page that there are very few comments considering the number of page Likes, yet its information is widely shared. For example, a post about literary agents garnered seventy-three Likes, one comment, and twenty-two shares. Another post about comics and graphic novels received forty-three Likes, three comments, and twenty-four shares. But whoever manages the page doesn’t seem to respond to comments.
I include this page because Writer’s Digest offers excellent courses and it’s a unique organization to follow to increase your skill set.
BadRedhead Media 18,081 Likes
Thompson posts regularly. An update from October 25, 2018, received 502 Likes, one comment, and four shares. Follow her on Facebook to learn more about marketing and definitely follow her on Twitter, where she has 155,000 followers for her handle @RachelintheOC. She knows her stuff.
Every Wednesday at 6 pm PST she hosts a #BookMarketingChat. Take part in it if you can.
Lisa Tener: Bring Your Book to Life 2,694 Likes
Tener serves on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course (and its women’s leadership course), where she teaches medical professionals to write for a trade audience, how to get published, and how to build an author platform.
Some of her clients have gone on to be bestsellers and even appear on the Oprah show and Oprah’s OWN network. Other nonfiction authors choose the indie route or go with small publishers, and many of these have won prestigious awards, including the Nautilus and Stevie Awards.
Whatever your goal might be, Lisa Tener can work with you to help you achieve it. She’s someone to watch and follow. I suggest you sign up for her newsletter to keep abreast of her offerings.
I hope you find the analysis helpful and either met new authors or will start to follow authors who can teach you how to be successful with your Facebook page just by following their examples.
Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
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