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.