How does Facebook’s algorithm change affect my author page?
Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement on his Facebook page in January about changes in the Facebook algorithm.
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” he wrote. “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.”
What it really amounts to is that Today’s Facebook wants to be the Original Facebook.
I’ve been looking at this for the past couple of months, and it appears that this will affect every author who runs a Facebook Page. The organic reach from those Pages will not go as far as it used to, and it has already been trending down for the past two years. If you depend on Facebook to advertise your books and your brand, you absolutely, 100% must have an ad budget. While you may have gotten away with one prior to now, the new algorithm all but guarantees your content will not be seen without some kind of boosting.
The new algorithm will change your feed to include way more friends and family. You can now actually go in and pick your top 30 friends. It will also limit content from Pages you’ve liked unless they have a high organic rate of engagement – comments and shares.
If you don’t want to pay for ads, you must be deliberate in how you create posts. They must garner comments and shares, and to a lesser degree likes. Live Facebook Video is still money for organic reach – six times more reach than simply posting a video. “Engagement Bait,” which used to be all the rage, Zuck says is now a big fat no-go. So posts with “tag a friend” or “comment below” will automatically go lower on the feed. You can also post a notice on your Page asking folks to click the ‘See First’ button on the page, so they are still getting your content.
Is it worth it to continue to advertise with Facebook? The answer is yes – IF you enjoy being on Facebook. It is still a social media site with well over a billion users, most in the United States and Canada. But I would encourage you to look at new ways to use it. Try establishing a Group – Facebook assumes you want to be part of the group discussion and isn’t limiting those posts as of now. And definitely tinker with live video.
If you don’t enjoy Facebook, it will show in your posts and your engagement. If you are doing it because you think you have to as an author, I would tell you to remember this: you do not sell books on Facebook. You sell your brand. You build a following. How much time do you want to spend building a community of Facebook? If it’s at the expense of writing your next book, I would tell you not to bother.
Online advertising in always in flux. Five years ago I would have told you to have a presence on every site. Two years ago I would have told you to pick two and become very good at it. Now? I advise you to pick one you like and run with it, Facebook or not.
If you ever have any questions about marketing books, please feel free to visit my website and join me on my Facebook Group, Writer Nation.
Jennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work.
With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.