Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Zephoria, a digital marketing company, in April published a post citing 20 valuable Facebook statistics. A few are worth noting here:

  • Worldwide, there are over 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
  • There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users

Regarding Facebook’s demographics, the following statistics are relevant in terms of book marketing:

  • 4 billion people on average log onto Facebook.
  • There are 1.74 billion mobile active users.
  • The Like and Share buttons are viewed across nearly 10 million websites – daily.
  • Five new profiles are created every second, pointing to Facebook’s staying power.
  • Facebook users are 76 percent female.
  • 7 percent of its users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • The highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 and 3 pm.
  • Every minute, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated,a nd 136,000 photos are uploaded.
  • One in five page views in the U.S. occurs on Facebook.
  • Since May 2013, 16 million local business pages have been created.

And according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S adults who are online us Facebook. That’s the biggest statistic of all and one that points to the popularity of Facebook, which is second only to YouTube in popularity, followed by Pinterest and then Instagram.

Use Demographics to Plan Your Marketing

What do all these numbers have to do with you as an author? Plenty.

When you’re ready to approach book marketing, and you’re setting up your social media presence, the last thing you want to do is waste any of your time on platforms that your readers don’t use.

For example, if you write crime noir that’s popular among the 40+ demographic, you wouldn’t want to waste your time on Snapchat or Tumblr. But, similar to Mark Dawson, a thriller author, you would want to spend time on Facebook.

The new marketing dictum for selling your books or anything else is this: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where your readers are. Remember that. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time. Focusing your energy and time on the social media websites where your readers network is your first rule.

Who needs to be on Facebook? Romance authors, some crime and thriller authors, young adults novelists, and anyone who is writing for any of the demographics noted above.

Knowing that you need to be on Facebook is half the battle in your marketing. The other issue is engaging with your readers.

[Read more…]

Analysis of 9 Facebook Pages & Profiles by Famous Writers

FacebookIncreasingly, I find myself telling writers, “Facebook is tough.” Specifically, I am referring to Facebook pages.

Like It or Not, Your Posts Reach 10% of Your Fans News Feeds

In a study by Group M Next, and reported at Social Media Today, Facebook brand pages (also called fan pages or author pages) have seen the penetration from organic posts (posts not supported by advertising) drop from 38% to as low as 9.62%.

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 consistently provide great content and plan to have a Facebook advertising budget.

You don’t need to budget thousands of dollars for your advertising, but you should plan on allocating at least $400 a year for those times when you promote certain items, such as the sale price on your book or webinar you will be teaching.

My Analysis of 9 Facebook Pages & Profiles

Considering the grim state of Facebook reach these days, I thought I would analyze the Facebook pages and profiles of famous authors to see whether they can penetrate their fans’ news feeds and if so, how well they perform. Here’s my analysis:

Doris Kearns Goodwin 14,051 Likes

Pulitzer prize-winning nonfiction writer Doris Kearns Goodwin has a huge fan base offline. I read her book No Ordinary Time about Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, and it was a dynamic and thoroughly researched masterpiece of nonfiction. She’s a regular commentator on news programs and is widely respected. In contrast, her Facebook page is disappointing. It appears to be managed by her publisher and is used primarily to promote her books and her appearances. In fact, the posts that I viewed were entirely promotion in nature. She receives few Likes or comments, and there wasn’t any engagement between the author and her fans that I could see. You might want to use this Facebook page as a guide to learning what not to do on your own Facebook page.

Christopher W. Gortner 1,440 Friends

Christopher W. Gortner has a Facebook page, but it’s his profile that rocks. He regularly posts a great mix of information, interacting with friends and readers, and sharing information about rescued animals, a topic dear to his heart. There’s no doubt that he manages the page himself. He responds to readers’ comments quickly and is fully engaged. When I met him a year ago, he recognized me from my Facebook comments and struck up a conversation with me. That’s how personal he is on his profile and in his life. He adores his readers, and they love him back. You may not be impressed by his Friends count (I don’t agree with that assessment but I’ve heard this criticism by others.), but you will admire how he handles this profile.

EL James (50 Shades of Grey) 1.8 Million Likes

With 1.8 million Likes, the page is a great mix of fun, seasonal and personal posts. She does some marketing but in a fun way, such as showing a pint of beer with the number 50 on it or posting images of different covers for her books printed abroad. However, she doesn’t respond to comments. When she shared a video about a time lapse of a pregnancy, her fans shared it a staggering 17,699 times. She recently posted an image of the setting sun and the word “this ….” That post earned 143 shares and 13,137 Likes. If she would only respond to comments it would almost be perfect. Clearly, her fans don’t seem to mind.

Nina Amir 1,253 friends

Nina Amir includes a mix of business with fun videos, posts on Jewish holidays, inspirational quotes, and photos from the conferences where she speaks. It’s a great mix, and her posts always receive comments and Likes and she quickly responds to them. You will learn a lot about Nina when you send her a friend request; she’s not bashful about sharing her feelings, and when she does, her friends come out in force to cheer her on. Nina also has a Facebook page, Inspiration to Creation, where she shares inspirational messages, publishing tidbits, and information about her books. If you want to learn how to become profitable as a writer, you’ll want to Like her page and keep up with those posts.

Writers Digest 113,000 Likes

What I found interesting about this page (Okay, technically it’s not a writer’s page but it’s a page important to writers so I decided to include it.) that there are very few comments considering the number of page Likes, yet its information is widely shared. For example, a reference to an article titled Avoid Rip-Offs and Publishing Sharks received 120 Likes, 61 shares and four comments. A reference to an article about self-editing received 110 shares, 152 Likes and six comments. The best post I found shared a link to an article titled How to Write a Book: 3 Practical Tips. That post received 325 shares and 582 Likes, and generated 18 comments. This page is an excellent example of the power of sharing content that your demographic craves. When you anticipate the content your fans want to read, they will share it freely and widen your exposure. My only criticism is that whoever manages the page doesn’t respond to comments.

Anne Lamott 189,473 Likes

A recent post by her was nearly the length of a short story yet her fans shared it a whopping 13,245 times and wrote more comments that I could easily count. It was a personal post about her feelings about turning 60. Even when she doesn’t post for a week or so, she apologizes, and those posts can receive more than a thousand shares, thousands of Likes and more comments than I’ve ever seen on a Facebook page. She is deeply personal, and when she does promote her books, her fans come out in force, liking and sharing her updates. If you want to learn how to connect with your demographic on a Facebook page, this is one of the Facebook pages you need to watch very closely.

Mary Oliver 65,944 Likes

Mary Oliver has a simple banner image and a picture of herself that hasn’t been photo-shopped – something I appreciate. However, the Facebook page seems to exist for the sole purpose of promoting her books, readings and similar pursuits. She also shares sketched images of dogs and specials on her books. One recently published update simply included a link to a New York Times article about her and an image – no explanation whatsoever – yet it earned 1,877 Likes, 64 comments, and 492 shares. That’s impressive. The page appears to managed by someone other than the author who doesn’t take the time to engage with her fans, but they still love Mary.

Jane Friedman 827 friends

Jane Friedman is a megastar in the writing and publishing field. The former publisher at Writers Digest, she teaches digital publishing and online writing at the University of Virginia, is the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and is the founder of Scratch Magazine, a digital quarterly about the “intersection of writing and money.” Her blog receives more than 60,000 unique visitors every month. Don’t be unimpressed by the number of Facebook friends. She is very connected; on Twitter she has 188,000 followers and follows just 286 users. On Facebook, Jane Friedman is actively involved with her profile, sharing information about her keynotes, articles she discovers, and even a more personal tidbit about her affinity for the Sherlock Holmes series on Masterpiece Theater. Her profile shows active engagement and plenty of shares, comments and Likes from her friends. I know that I’ll be keeping an eye on her profile to continue my learning curve about Facebook and marketing.

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.) She shares historical images, birthday messages to the likes of Gloria Steinem, and information about nonprofits. Her tribute to Flamenco artist Paco de Lucía following his death garnered 15,555 Likes, and 1,438 shares. Her page is at times deeply personal, celebratory, and gracious and expresses her commitment to social justice and causes that are important to her. Very little promotion appears here and her fans seem to like it that way. We can all learn from her.

 Post by Social Media Just for Writers.

Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web


4 Sure-Fire Ways to Generate Engagement on Facebook

facebook-2First of a Two-Part Series on Facebook Posts

Do you ever struggle with your Facebook profile and page? Do you wonder why your status updates aren’t triggering the type of engagement on Facebook that you’d like to experience?

Let’s review one point before proceeding further. A Facebook profile is for people. A Facebook page is for products (books!), services, nonprofits, and businesses. I recommend that writers have a profile, which is a requirement to starting a Facebook page. Having a Facebook page will enable you to promote it, announce your readings, and inform your readers of upcoming workshops you’re giving. Technically, writers can’t promote their wares on their Facebook profiles.

I’ve always recommended that writers include captivating photos in their status updates as well as images that fit their niche. It seems to make sense that a picture of a beautiful scene would draw one’s eye, and once drawn, the Facebook friend or fan would then spend a few seconds liking, sharing and/or leaving a comment before moving on.

But lately I’ve seen posts that don’t include images perform well and so I’ve begun to experiment with them. The following examples of my posts are from my profile. In the second part of this series, I’ll examine the types of posts that perform best on Facebook pages.

This post included the image below and the following update: I just had to share this … can you see why?

woman with seahorse

I thought it was a lovely image with an interesting ambiguity: an angelic woman is floating through the air with a seahorse. It seemed mystical to me and I thought that my Facebook friends might leave a comment. They didn’t but the status update did garner 11 likes and four shares. It didn’t perform too badly in terms of engagement on Facebook that we can expect.

I kept the message on this next post short. I didn’t ask a question and my post lacks a call to action.

Picture #2 

Surprisingly, this image generated three comments and 12 likes. Honestly, I wasn’t certain what would happen and so those results pleased me. I chose this image because I loved the ingenious design of this library and I think others did as well.

Since I write about social media I thought I’d include this important update. In the past, my posts about social media haven’t performed well on my profile, though they do on my Facebook page.

picture #3

My experience proved to be right. This post generated one comment and one like, from the same person. Why? On our profiles, Facebook friends want to hear about the highlights of our lives, and not have to click a link that take them to a blog post. In my book, I compare Facebook to Nicholas Sparks because like his novels, Facebook profiles are all about sharing one’s drama, struggles, parties, promotions, and other personal items.

This is a stunning image, but look at how little engagement this status update triggered: just 3 likes. No comments and no shares. This is a clear indicating that great photos in and of themselves aren’t enough any more.

Picture #4

Images that convey a joke of some sort or that are funny do well on both Facebook profiles and pages. This image triggered 6 comments, 11 likes, and 2 shares.

Picture #5

One way to generate more engagement is to tag or identify people in your comments. That’s what I did in this post and it generated 3 comments.

Picture #6


I’ve discovered that the more personal I am in my status updates, the better the overall engagement on my profile. This is a personal status update that doesn’t include an image and it generated one like and 24 comments.

Picture #7


4 Sure-Fire Ways to Generate Engagement on Facebook

What did I learn from my experiment? I can draw the following four conclusions:

  • On your Facebook profile, personal information trumps beautiful images. Profiles are for friends and they want to hear about your life, your travails and your accomplishments. They also want to help so don’t forget to solicit their feedback.
  • Information about your specialty or niche will perform better on your Facebook page, not your profile. I’m a writer who specializes in social media. I love to post about books, libraries, social media marketing, and authors. However, those types of posts work better on my Facebook page where my fans expect me to write about social media and as writers themselves, appreciate quotes by writers. So keep professional interests on your Facebook page and keep personal information you’d like to share on your Facebook profile.
  • The image in No. 4 was beautiful, but it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t a picture that I’d taken on vacation or after a day at the beach. If that had been the case, more of my friends would have left comments. Images in and of themselves, despite the beauty they capture, won’t generated the engagement you’d like to have on your profile.
  • Facebook users love to laugh. Whenever I post an image that’s hilarious, whether it’s on my profile or my page, the engagement goes up. In the case of Image No. 5, there are six comments, 11 likes and 2 shares. Not bad. This is true for both your page and your profile; something truly hilarious that isn’t offensive may trump everything else, except for your profile when you ask people for their help.

socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer,  and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapterthe San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.