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15 Tips to Boost Facebook Engagement for Indie Authors

Hootsuite, a popular social media dashboard, recently published a post about Facebook and some of the statistics cited there are worth noting. Facebook has 71 billion monthly active users and 1.13 billion daily active users. This is more users than any other social media network. Facebook has 57 billion mobile monthly active users and 1.03… [Read More]

Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

Hootsuite, a popular social media dashboard, recently published a post about Facebook and some of the statistics cited there are worth noting.

Regarding Facebook’s demographics, the following statistics (from the Pew Research Center) are relevant in terms of book marketing:

  • 82 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds online in the U.S. use Facebook.
  • 79 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds online in the U.S. use Facebook.
  • 56 percent of U.S. online users ages 65 and up use Facebook.
  • 44 percent of users self-identify as women, while 56 percent self-identify as men. These numbers surprised me since in August 2015 the Pew Research Center reported that the numbers were somewhat equal with women trending slightly higher than men.
  • 85 percent of Facebook’s daily active users are outside of the U.S. and Canada. India is second to the United States in terms of Facebook users, followed by Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico, respectively.

Use Demographics to Plan Your Marketing

Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

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 in the Hootsuite statistics.

Knowing that you need to be on Facebook is only half the battle in your marketing. The other issue is engaging with your readers.Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

Facebook, as I often tell authors, isn’t easy.

About four years ago, Facebook’s algorithm enabled about 32% of all posts from a Facebook page to appear in your fans' newsfeeds. Two and a half years ago, Facebook tweaked its algorithm again. At that time, about 6% of posts would appear in a fan’s newsfeed. It’s even more challenging now to generate engagement.

There’s another battle, too. Getting Facebook Likes. A combination of contests and Facebook advertising can help to address that issue.

The Battle for Facebook Engagement

Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.comThe final battle is generating engagement. What feeds Facebook’s algorithm is Likes, comments, and shares. The Holy Grail of the algorithm is shares. That means, of course, that when you write your status updates, you need to do everything you can to encourage your fans to share your content. The more you succeed at that task, the more your status updates will be visible in your readers’ newsfeeds.

For your fans to see most of your posts, you need to write status updates more often. For a Facebook author page, that means at least twice daily. I’ve developed a system for my page that I refer to as the meaningful and the mundane. In the mornings, I post meaning information. In other words, twice a week I share information about my new blog posts. The other mornings, I look for blog posts from other experts and authors.

Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.comIn the afternoons, I like to post humorous memes about writing or great quotes from authors. I include images with all of my status updates.

So what are considered shareable Facebook posts? Let me share my best tips with you.

15 Tips for Engaging Your Readers

Facebook expert Amy Porterfield once described Facebook engagement as, “… fingers click specific buttons. If a fan doesn’t engage with your post in at least one of five ways – like it, leave a comment, share it with others, watch it, or click on a link – it’s not considered engagement by Facebook standards. Period.”

Why is engagement important? Again, Porterfield has the answer: “See, the more often your fans engage with you in the ways listed above, the more often your posts will be pushed out into their newsfeed.”

What actions don’t count in terms of engagement?

  • When your fans read your status update.
  • When you fans view your images.
  • When your fans click on an image.
  • When a new fan Likes your Page.

So what are some good tips to encourage engagement?  Here are some of mine:Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

1 - Give away books and prizes.

2 - Encourage your fans to sign up for your newsletter by offering free books.

3 - Experiment with Facebook advertising for your promotions and targeted blog posts.Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

4 - Provide the type of content your fans want. If you write romance novels, post images of chocolate, romantic picnics, lingerie, etc. If you write cookbooks, share your favorite recipes, post images of your best home cooked meals, and share a menu for Thanksgiving. Each author will have options about their topics or genre.

Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com5 - Post more frequently. Post a minimum of twice daily.

6 - Write short (80 to 100 characters) posts vs. long narratives. Text overload is rampant these days so if you want your fans to read your post, keep your posts short.

7 - Include more personality. People do not buy books from brands; they buy books from writers, so don’t worry about sharing information that reveals more of your personality.

8 - Add calls to action. Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to purchase your new book. Just use that call to action sparingly.

9 - Vary your types of posts. Vary the topics, the length, the types of images you use, and the types of questions you pose.Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

10 - Respond promptly and tag commenters. Try to reply to comments as soon as you can and be sure to type their names in your response.

11 - Consider freshening up your cover image on a quarterly basis using Canva or PicMonkey.

12 - Host a Facebook Friday networking party that enables your fans to promote their books, blog posts, or other types of news. Get to know your readers and what matters to them.

13 - Drive traffic from other social media sites to posts you want to receive additional attention. This is how: When you click on the date stamp of your Facebook post, you will see that your post has a unique URL. You can drive traffic to that post by using that URL in a tweet, for example.Facebook Engagement Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

14 - Post images with every single status update.

15 - Experiment with Facebook Live, Facebook’s native live video feature.

What steps will you be taking to boost your Facebook engagement?  We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.


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3 thoughts on “15 Tips to Boost Facebook Engagement for Indie Authors”

  1. Although I have a Facebook page, I will be the first to admit I haven’t developed a campaign specifically around the goal of increasing likes or engagement. I do know the people who like my Facebook page receive my posts in their feed because I get occasional likes and shares. But most of what I distribute goes through my Hootsuite advance scheduler. I could stand to publish more (and shorter) posts on my own blog and distribute them out, as they are published, to Facebook. Lots of opportunities here but, like just about everyone else, I find Facebook’s algorithm updates dreadful since they have resulted in just a tiny percentage of your page followers seeing your posts. Ugh. Thanks for the post. Jay Lemming

  2. Jay: I understand your frustration. I admit that I too am frustrated at times. I urge you not to use Hootsuite to schedule your content to Facebook; Facebook will downgrade your posts’ visibilty in your fans’ newsfeeds. Also, don’t autopost information about a blog post directly from your website. Instead, use Facebook’s native content scheduling app. I hope this information helps.

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