I have something very sad to report. I am no longer using my FB fan page. I have 1,537 likes, but only 32 are actually interacting with it. It isn’t my fault. I know it’s not. Generally when I receive a huge influx of fans for whatever reason, I’ll see about 300 interacting with it, then it begins to drop steeply, despite my continuous updates on the page geared toward my fans (updates on my personal life, writing life, ect). Do you know how I know it isn’t my fault? Look up authors like John Green. He has about 614k followers, and only 54,000 are interacting with it. Big number, right? So what’s there to complain about? Do the math. That, I believe, is about 11-20% (to be frank, I can never remember my percentage formulas, so, math wizards, do the calculating for me). But that is far less than 50%. That is abysmal for someone as prolific as John Green, who has more likes than even Stephen King.
I’m going to bring in facts from this post–rather thread from AbsoluteWrite–to convince you that having an FB author page is a waste of time. A HUGE one, one that does a disservice to both authors and fans of their pages. And I’m going to tell you what you can do about this, and what I am going to do about it. Everything I’m about to write uses the above post to support my argument, so this is an argumentative piece, not an opinion-based piece. I will no longer be doing opinion-based pieces.
Read this post, too.
Facebook claims it is a free service, and it is–for those who simply want to have an account and socialize. However, things become more complicated if you’re a business owner, social media marketer, run a charity, or are an author/artist of some sort. If you have read the first link, you will see that people have spoken about their experiences with FB before it began to scam its users of fan pages. Before, all fans were able to see the posts these pages created, and these pages didn’t have to boost their posts for their fans to see this. Now that is no longer the case. If your fans are not interacting with your posts in some way, be it likes or comments, they will eventually never see what you post again.
Facebook wants you to boost your posts, so they can make money off of you. So now you’re probably thinking ‘Well, spending the money might be worth it if it means keeping my fans happy and engaged.’ Unfortunately, spending money doesn’t guarantee this at all. In fact, only a tiny percentage of your fans may see it. The rest may be bots who end up liking your page, as proven from the first linked post above, where one user spent money to boost a post, but received zero activity, thus leading up to the assumption that the only things that could have seen it were bots. After all, if you boost your post, someone is going to have to see it, and it may not be actual people. It’s like Weebly’s stats. The unique views stats are not accurate because many of those views could have come from bots.
As I’ve said, I can’t remember the formula for percentages, but probably 5% or less are actually seeing anything I post, and I am not about to spend money on boosting my posts. Those 5% or less are regulars on my page, people who actually enjoy my work, or people who just happen, by sheer luck, to be on when they see my post. So what do I think you should do?
If you don’t have a fan page, don’t even think of starting one. Concentrate your efforts elsewhere. I would go with Google+. I would also find groups on FB that are geared to both writers and readers and have them friend you on your personal pages, because you will always see their posts, whether or not you actively engage with them (and I hope you will, if you are able to see a post from them at the time you are on FB).
If you are an author with a fan page, basically, and I hate to say this, you should just ditch it. For about a week or two, ask your fans to friend you on FB. Probably do this three times a day. Then you’ll have a good grasp of how many people are actually able to see your posts. Those who have never seen your posts again are not missing out on anything, because if they were truly fans, they would look you up on the search bar to see any updates on your fan page. I do this with John Green. I will look him up to see what’s going on because I am a huge fan of his (and I will also do this with my publisher and a few other AEC authors, as well as Month9Books). John Green is probably the only author whose work I actively look out for. I frankly cannot wait to see what his next book will be. As with those who don’t have a fan page, concentrate your efforts on Google+, join non-promotional groups on FB, and instead join groups dedicated to readers and writers, and make friends there. Engage with them on your personal FB page when you are on and see a status from those people. This lets you know you care about them as people, and this will strengthen your relationship with that fan. Readers nowadays expect interactivity with authors now, and it is especially crucial for those building platforms.
So what am I doing about this? Google+ and FB groups. I am also going to let my assistant take over my FB page so it doesn’t disappear into obscurity (because I did work for those 1548 likes), but I will no longer be an active participant on it. I am frankly disgusted that FB would scam and punish those with pages, especially businesses, and punish those who have liked those pages.
I wouldn’t mind spending a few dollars for my FB author page if ALL of my fans could see everything I posted, but as FB is not doing this, I am moving on. And you should, too. Apparently this is a recent development, but I have seen it in the past with me. Masses of people will like my page, and 300 or 400 will be talking about it, but then those numbers start to severely dwindle, and I know it isn’t me, because it is even happening to big-time authors; however, these authors continue to receive likes, so it may benefit them a little, but those interacting with their page are often way lower than 50% of their actual numbers in terms of likes. Look up Stephen King. Look up any big-time author. Less than 30%. That is neither good nor fair. So big authors like that may benefit from having FB pages, but, even then, I think they’re better off using Twitter or some other strong social media that doesn’t scam money out of its users’ dollars, but actually puts those dollars to good use that benefits its users.
If you need further proof, let me use my Tumblr as an example. I have 788 fans. Now, not all my fans are going to see what I post because Tumblr is a continuous stream. However, I can tag my posts, and strangers will see what I’ve written. A month ago, I wrote a post about first chapters. Just the other day I checked out how many notes it received: 351 (and I don’t think this occurred over an entire month, but a few days, and then stopped for whatever reason), and the majority of this was from strangers, along with a few of my followers, as a lot of my followers aren’t writers, so I’m going to try to do posts that also lure in readers that I’ve followed. This has happened to a previous post, and it was simply an inspirational post, one from Stephen King: over 500 notes. Do you see where I’m getting at? It’s the same with John Green. Over 500,000 followers, and he’ll receive more notes on his posts than followers.
In conclusion, I URGE you to read what I’ve linked.
18 thoughts on “Why Authors Should Not Have a Facebook Fan Page…Anymore”
How can you tell how many people are interacting with you on Facebook?
It’s just beneath the name.
Ah, there we go! Mine is more sad than yours.
Sadly, this is what a lot of us have noticed and discussed on FB. That FB is screwing us over. I don’t think I want to get rid of my FB page just yet. I have met a lot of bloggers and authors through there. But I think I need to personally, edit down who I like on Facebook to people I actually want to see all of the time. I keep missing stuff and it is annoying me so much.
You’re probably missing it because you’re literally not seeing them anymore. So, as I’ve said, I’m bringing all my fans to my personal page. There, I can better interact with them.
I am having trouble in finding your personal FB page. I like to keep tabs on just anyone. Yeah it stinks of having to jump thru hurdles and hoops. I have a twitter account, and google plus,
Just look up Amber Skye Forbes for my personal page. It’s the page with my book cover instead of my actual pic.
Thanks, I was referring to your personal facebook. I look forward in reading more of your posts.
I will say my facebook hasn’t helped me at all… but since I have one then whatever… but google+ just confuses me…
I was told that if you post links on your personal page (like links to blog posts and whatever), Googles SEO will help give that post a bigger boost than tags will. But I’ll delve into Google+ and write a post on how to use it. I’m pretty good with figuring out social media.
that would be much appreciated… because I tend to suck at figuring those things out… 🙂
I came to a similar conclusion when deciding not to do an author page. Nothing against those that do but I would rather have friends than likes anyway. Just the time involved in trying to get all these social media pages working for you is a factor as well.
I do tend to agree that actively posting to FB is s waste of time, I have to disagree that the FB page’s existence isn’t a waste.
Mine and a few friends, for example hate FB, Twitter, etc and don’t use them. No personal accounts (well, except FB since a private is needed to build and admin a page), but other things USE those services for us. Dlvr.it for some, WordPress’ publicise for myself and others.
The FB posts, the twits to twitter, the … what are things on tumblr called? Posts? All generate a measure of traffic back to the central location where those updates, comments, thoughts, etc. are posted. A few minutes to set up the account, then let a bot do the work – no cost, little time expended, and you still have a presence to interact with those who prefer, say, Facebook.
I’ve never noticed many folks who are fans of any particular social net feeling like there needs to be direct interaction on that site, links to a offsite page they can comment on seems to suit those with something to say, and a link to an update satisfies as well as having the update right there in a status message.
Why, I had no idea such a site existed. Thank you so much! Of course, even if a bot took over my FB page, it wouldn’t generate a thing, which is why I’m letting my PA take it over, and asking serious fans to friend me, but I’m definitely signing for divlr.it.
Well since you use WordPress I’d recommend the publicise function built in … it tends to be more reliable, but yeah … still know what you mean. If it weren’t for bots my FB/Twitter/Tumblr wouldn’t exist.
Google+ actually proved such a nuisance I don’t even both WITH a bot. Too much trouble for a service that, even working in internet support and surrounded by three hundred different styles of geek with my coworkers i’ve never met a soul that uses it!
Agree, agree, agree, I’ve ditched FB and gone to Goggle+. Not perfect but an improvement. FB was doomed the moment it sold out to Wall Street.
No one is buying into their model now. It’s only a matter of time before the bean counters see it’s not working and then???
A lot of my audience has left Facebook anyway, and my audience consists of teens. Granted, more adults by YA books, but I still need my teen audience, so I use Tumblr for that.
Facebook might end up going the wayside of Myspace, but I’ll still have one to keep in personal touch with my fans. Plus, I like the fact that you can create events, which is where I’ve gained most of my fans from. Hopefully FB won’t start screwing with those.
I knew something was up with the boost thing. I have personally never had a fan page but the ones I follow never seem to show up on my feed. It’s frustrating cause that was the whole point of being a fan.
Exactly. I mean, I’m trying to persist, because another AEC author gets feedback on her page when she wants to write a blog post, and I want just that! Even if it’s just one or two commenting, it could greatly help.