The Facebook Experiment

FacebookIf you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know that I’ve recently been commissioned to write a Marketing 101 column for First Draft, the bi-monthly newsletter of Sisters in Crime – Guppies. For those of you unfamiliar with SinC-Guppies, it’s a mystery writers’ association. Members include bestselling and emerging mystery authors, as well as unpublished authors seeking publication.

In the past, I’ve tackled Pinterest and Twitter with a focus on how they might help published and unpublished authors build their brand. My upcoming topic for the May issue will focus on Facebook author pages (not to be confused with a “Friends” page). Specifically, I’ll be zoning in on which posts resonate with folks, and which ones don’t.

To this end, I’ve sent a callout to fellow members of SinC-Guppies, and because it’s such a diverse group, I’ll be interested to see the sort of feedback I’ll get. But I haven’t stopped there. For the past few months, I’ve been posting a variety of writing and book-related material on my own Facebook author page. I like to call it my Facebook Experiment.

So what do I mean by writing/book-related material? Here are a few examples, and the results thus far:

Links to  articles and blog posts on the publishing industry: If it’s well-researched, written by a credible source, and offers new information on the state of publishing, I’ll share the link on my Facebook page. Two of my recent favorites include Finding Big Opportunities with a Small Press by Kendel Lynn, owner of Henery Press, and 5 Valuable Charts That Show How Publishing is Changing by Jane Friedman.

Here’s the thing. These types of posts get a few hits, and the occasional like or share, but the reality is, they don’t get a lot of action.

Author interviews: This is something I want to do more of, although it can be problematic, as often the links will often stop working after a time (in which case, I’ll remove it from my page). My favorite post is a CBC interview with Canadian mystery writer extraordinaire, Louise Penny. Click on the link to take a listen.

Blog Posts: This includes posts by other authors, as well as some (but not all) of my own. What I’ve discovered, however, is that the number of views increase when I post the link a few weeks after the original blog, vs. on the same day. Why, you ask? The answer: I have no idea.

Inspirational Writing Quotes: Here I try to find words of wisdom by a wide variety of authors, and I try to include a photo of the person I’m quoting (unless the quote is already in a “picture” format). These generally get a decent response, but nothing like the numbers in my final category.

Writing-related comics: Without question, the most popular posts on my Facebook page are writing-related comics. In fact, most (if not all) of my top ten posts have been comics—and by a wide margin. In each case, the number of views were four to six times higher than the number of people who have actually “Liked” my page. That means random folks are finding them through shares on Facebook or other social media platforms like Twitter or Pinterest. Let’s take a look at three of them (click on the image to enlarge it):

Snoopy-1

Vacation-1

Valentine-1

What does any of this prove? Maybe it means that Facebook visitors aren’t looking for any more than a quick hit of entertainment, inspiration, or amusement, versus a place to find news-related items and interviews. Or maybe it means I just haven’t built a big enough audience to accurately assess the data.

So for now I’m going to continue posting a mix of content, try to diversify a little bit more (for example, I’m thinking of including some book reviews). Hopefully, by doing so, I’ll gradually expand the number of my Facebook “Likes” and my following. In the meantime, stay tuned for my feature on The Facebook Experiment, with commentary from other writers, which I’ll post in early May on my First Draft page.

What do you like to see on Facebook author pages? Add a comment below, or contact me. Oh … and if you haven’t “Liked” me on Facebook yet, there’s a convenient link on the right hand side of this post!

2 responses to “The Facebook Experiment

  1. Thanks DA. I need to check into LinkedIn. I know FB is always changing the rules. I find it frustrating that as an author page (I don’t have a personal page), I can’t Like or Comment on other pages, I can only Share content from them. It’s very restrictive.

  2. I think results on Facebook postings are very variable and depend on the number of “friends” you have who receive your notifications. In addition, FaceBook changes the rules of what you get to see without any notice and followers drop off unless you re-link to them. But of course you don’t know who has dropped off unless you monitor your likes and dislikes, which would be tedious. I occasionally link to my blog but I find LinkedIn a better resource for that as it is a more professional entry point and used less often by those just wanting to connect….
    Great post, will “share”! 😉

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