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#41 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 02:40 PM

 

We see a lot of complaining by authors about FB pages being "worthless" because FB limits your reach unless you pay, but we don't think that's a) true b) the right way to view FB author pages... and we wonder what someone like you -- who seems to be using their FB author page effectively -- thinks about that common complaint.

 

Firstly a disclaimer - I am the pin up girl for slackers everywhere :biggrin:  

 

I suck at social media. I blogged but never got any traction. I have a twitter account (linked to my FB page) and that's it as I find when you only check it once or twice a day you miss most things. I get a stupid number of hits on my website (a couple of thousand a month) and I should be targeting that better (it's on my to do list) but it nets me newsletter subscribers and I get the odd email through the page. 

 

The FB page is easier for me, I try and post twice a week and that's about the extent of my social media activity. I suspect because I never engaged in "like" trading I have more genuine followers who actually read the random stuff I post. I value each and every person who takes the time to comment or send me messages. I read somewhere that you need 1,000 genuine fans to sell 10,000 books and that is my mantra. One by one I'm working on hitting that 1,000 - I'm not even close, but hey it's a goal!

 

So many authors are using their FB profiles now that as I said, it has become white noise. When each person has thousands of friends, how do you get seen? When you accept all friend requests it becomes meaningless. I have 3k friends and probably only interact with less than 100. I have far more engagement on my page as those are people who sought me out. I suspect many of the complaints about reach with pages is because of like trading and also competitions where you had to "like" to enter, but people don't follow the page.

 

Could I do more? Absolutely. I know authors who allocate 2-3 hours/day to social media. They are very successful, manage street teams, make the best seller lists and I admire them because I know they work damn hard. I simply don't have the time/energy to do that. For me the best thing I can do is keep writing. I'm a slow writer and its better to spend an hour writing than an hour on twitter. I'm never going to be a huge success but I am slowly carving out my niche.



#42 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 06:39 PM

I would like to address the issue of FB page effectiveness as I think it's very topical. Just this morning I saw an author trying to start a movement to get authors to abandon their FB pages as they are "worthless" as her posts are seen by less than 1% of her "likes" and apparently others have similarly low reach.

To address the issue I think we need to back up a bit. For the last couple of years "like" trading has been rampant and the total "likes" seen as some sort of popularity competition or measure of success. Every day I receive numerous requests from authors to like their pages for books I have never heard of and that don't interest me. Goodreads has numerous threads and several thousand posts where authors are trading likes as though their lives depended on it. Authors run competitions to hit some arbitrary target - like my page and help me reach 1,000 likes, 5,000 etc. They offer great prize packs, gift vouchers and even kindles in exchange for likes.

Then people noticed at the beginning of this year that reach had dropped, dramatically in some cases. About the same time I read a blog post (and I wish I could find it now!) that said FB had added an algorithm to work out who saw FB page posts. Here's the thing - posts show up to engaged users organically and you have to pay to promote your post to all likes. And if you think about it, that makes sense. People hate their newsfeed being clogged with irrelevant stuff. Far better to show posts from those pages where people have commented or interacted in some way with the page.

I think that's worth repeating - your posts still appear for free to your engaged followers/"likes"

Padding the numbers is pointless, when people "like" your page only to trade likes or to enter a competition there is no real benefit. To the author who said her posts only appear to 1% of likes I really wanted to point out that was probably her core number of engaged followers. If FB decided it was only going to show posts to 1% of page likes then it would be across the board. I had a post yesterday that reached 53% of my audience. I think that reflects I have a higher number of engaged users compared to total likes.

I would be interested to know others peoples thoughts & experiences :)

#43 Darke

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 07:58 PM

How do you tell what percentage of your 'likes' are engaged?


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#44 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 08:24 PM

I determine engaged users by looking at who sees/likes/comments on my posts and page, which I assume is what FB factors in when they determine who sees a post in their newsfeed.

#45 AQCrew

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 08:50 PM

Then people noticed at the beginning of this year that reach had dropped, dramatically in some cases. About the same time I read a blog post (and I wish I could find it now!) that said FB had added an algorithm to work out who saw FB page posts. Here's the thing - posts show up to engaged users organically and you have to pay to promote your post to all likes. And if you think about it, that makes sense. People hate their newsfeed being clogged with irrelevant stuff. Far better to show posts from those pages where people have commented or interacted in some way with the page.

I think that's worth repeating - your posts still appear for free to your engaged followers/"likes"

If FB decided it was only going to show posts to 1% of page likes then it would be across the board. I had a post yesterday that reached 53% of my audience. I think that reflects I have a higher number of engaged users compared to total likes.
 

 

Great info -- and truly the heart of trying to discuss some of these points to death.

 

AWExley, did you see the metric of Fans- vs. Non-Fans that Mistress of Facebook (aka J Lea) recently unearthed?  

 

If not, go to your INSIGHTS --> POSTS (along the top where is says: Overview/Likes/reach/Visits/Posts/Settings) and then go down -- just above your posts -- to the drop-down that says: reach: Organic/Paid and change it to Fans vs. Non-Fans

 

Are you seeing that the majority of your posts are being seen Fans only?  What's interesting about this fan vs. non-fan metric is that nobody ever talks about it.... they only assume that posts are getting seen by a percentage of their engaged fans -- but really, that doesn't seem to be entirely true. 



#46 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 10:42 PM

 

Are you seeing that the majority of your posts are being seen Fans only?  What's interesting about this fan vs. non-fan metric is that nobody ever talks about it.... they only assume that posts are getting seen by a percentage of their engaged fans -- but really, that doesn't seem to be entirely true. 

 

Yip, I love tunnelling through all that data :smile:  What is interesting is that normally my posts are overwhelming seen by "fans" (90%+ of views/engagement)  - which is the basis for my assumption about FB algorithms showing posts to engaged followers.

 

But yesterday's post, which has reached over 600 people so far, is evenly split between fans/non-fans. I am assuming non-fans are where a non-fan sees a post on their news feed that a follower has commented on my page. If anyone knows for sure what counts as a "non-fan" view I would love to know.

 

It's also reassuring that nobody has hidden me from their news feed, so I can't be too annoying! lol



#47 AQCrew

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 11:16 PM

What is interesting is that normally my posts are overwhelming seen by "fans" (90%+ of views/engagement)  - which is the basis for my assumption about FB algorithms showing posts to engaged followers.

 

 

Ah, ha!  Yeah, after seeing your posts -- and the type of posts that you make -- as well as the high number of likes and comments you receive on each post -- we WOULD assume that the majority of your posts have HIGH fan vs. LOW non-fan percentages.

 

So in contrast -- we've been only posting customized book promos - each with different photo and different text (okay, get past the redundancy and spamminess of that... and consider this --->) we have about 1000 fans and each of our book promo posts has a 70-100 reach.  Not great, right?  But, that is evenly split between fans vs. non-fans.

 

Even on the posts that have zero likes/comments/shares with still a reach of 70-100 -- we STILL get an even split between fans vs. non-fans (we use #reading #fiction #ebooks a lot) -- and more often than not, we get HIGHER non-fan reach on these book promo posts.  

 

So obviously, you can still reach non-fans, even if none of your fans "shares" it with their own fan base.

 

We're pretty convinced our own non-fan reach comes down to hashtag use and how often non-fans click on the hashtags.  The more they click on the post (photo, hashtags, anything else), the more engagement, the more FB passes the post along to more non-fans.  

 

BUT there may be other factors yet to be discovered that makes a post get seen by people who are not your fans.  And one of those factors still "in question" is having your FB account linked to your Twitter account.

 

We're in NO way suggesting what we are accomplishing is a great thing.  70-100 reach compared to what you all are getting seems pretty anemic.  Although at the same time, the posts are acting like free ads, which is something that we're not unhappy about.  

 

That said, at the end of all of the discussion, we do want to understand what IS going on fundamentally with FB algos, so we can decide exactly how we want to use our FB author page and set our expectations accordingly.



#48 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 11:44 PM

Yes, if you crack how the algorithms work please share! Sometimes it seems we are all feeling a different part of an elephant in the dark and trying to figure out what the whole looks like...

 

I think any reach is worth it, when essentially using a FB page is free. I have no idea why people read my posts and its a constant amazement to me that I'm not just talking to myself. I forget about hashtags and need to experiment with that more, especially with #steampunk which should, theoretically, feed straight into my target demographic. I have a release coming up in a fortnight and I need to create a couple of different posts so I can judge the results. I'm happy to take suggestions as to what to try/target and report back on stats.

 

I also have my FB page linked to Twitter but have no idea if that is reflected in engagement? My gut reaction is no - how can FB monitor Twitter engagement? I do get a couple of comments on Twitter about FB posts, but nothing significant.

 

I wonder too if there are big differences between genres and age of the audience? It seems to be the NA erotica authors who are complaining about single digit (1%) post reach. Does that say something about that particular market? Is their audience moving to another social media site? Or are those readers "liking" so many author pages that the result is they see posts from very few? If you are a YA author would you page suffer if you audience is using Instagram instead?



#49 AQCrew

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 02:57 AM

I have a release coming up in a fortnight and I need to create a couple of different posts so I can judge the results. I'm happy to take suggestions as to what to try/target and report back on stats.

 

I also have my FB page linked to Twitter but have no idea if that is reflected in engagement? My gut reaction is no - how can FB monitor Twitter engagement? I do get a couple of comments on Twitter about FB posts, but nothing significant.

 

Our #FridayReads always do well.  Maybe it has nothing to do with that hashtag and it's purely a Friday thing, but we always see a bump.

 

I wonder too if there are big differences between genres and age of the audience? It seems to be the NA erotica authors who are complaining about single digit (1%) post reach. Does that say something about that particular market? Is their audience moving to another social media site? Or are those readers "liking" so many author pages that the result is they see posts from very few? If you are a YA author would you page suffer if you audience is using Instagram instead?

 

Yeah, the whole NA erotic romance scene is a hot mess.  



#50 Darke

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:20 AM

Yeah, the whole NA erotic romance scene is a hot mess.  

 

And not in a good way, right? :cool:  


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#51 AQCrew

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 11:03 AM

Okay, something extremely happened yesterday with Friday's FB post:  we got a 174 reach in a 24-hour period, which is a record for us.  Again, normally, we're in the 70-100 range.

 

What's interesting is that the post was a book promo post in the same style as ALL our other book promo posts.  So why did this one take off more than all the others?

 

Here are a few suspicions:

 

1. It was a brand new picture.  It WAS a great picture -- for sure.  But it was also new, never before used... does anyone else recycle their photos?  Maybe FB's algos know when you're reusing photos and limits your reach accordingly.  We've had this suspicion for a long time, so it's not just a random guess.

 

2. Posting frequency.  We actually hadn't posted anything for days and we only made one post yesterday.  Does FB algo's limit your reach THE MORE you post?  It kinda would make sense...and we've also had this suspicion that the more posts we make in the day, the lower our reach is...

 

3. Increased number of likes, comments:  We got three likes -- presumably from our fans -- and we normally get one or none.  We had 118 fan vs. 56 non-fan reach, and we did watch this metric most of the day.  The fan reach outpaced the non-fan reach from the beginning, and we got two likes very early on in the day.

 

Regarding our engagement, we had 4 clicks on the actual photo link and 10 other clicks (we assume on the hashtags), so we continue to believe that's how we're getting our 56 non-fan reach because it's consistent with the amount of non-fan reach that what we normally get. 

 

4. Friday: Friday is always a good day for us -- both on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Right now, we think #3 is the most solid explanation, but the others are hard to dismiss as well.  We just got one share, so let's see how much more juice it gets today.



#52 Jeanne

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 01:00 PM

I think there may be something to the posting frequency. If I space my posts out a few days, I get a bigger reach than if I post more often. It's possible FB algo is holding back the reach if you post too often. A way of preventing spam?

 

Friday is good for you, huh? When I check my most successful posts, they seem to fall on Mondays. Hmm.

 

Jeanne



#53 AQCrew

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 01:14 PM

Yeah, but there's a caveat to the posting frequency theory.  

 

We suspect if you have an engaged fanbase who is consistently liking and commenting on your posts, you're not going to see any difference on this front because your fans are liking and commenting regularly, so FB algos are going to say: okay, her fans want more posts... let's serve them up more posts.

 

Yeah, we go with #FridayReads on Friday.  But we do try to post Monday morning, too, because obviously everyone's back at work -- avoiding work -- by way of Facebook.  But we never miss Friday, and we always post either super early in the morning to catch all the American commuters, or by lunchtime EST.  



#54 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:17 PM

I have to disagree with AW about it being a good thing for FB to only show your posts to whoever they deem to be your engaged fans. If people trade likes, that's fine for them. They should also have to deal with the clogged newsfeed they get as a result. Isn't that what the top stories vs. most recent stories crap is supposed to be about anyway? I like pages that I liked because I want to see their posts, regardless of how often I like or comment on them. I liked a page a few weeks ago and have not seen one single post from them in my news feed, despite them having posted quite a few (which I know because I went to their page and looked). And I do acknowledge that posts are sometimes missed just because people aren't online at the time, but the majority of this page's posts were shared when I was online (which is almost all the time, to be honest lol).

 

There are quite a lot of people who may not want to comment on a lot or even most things, but that doesn't mean they don't want to see them. As a fan, I shouldn't have to manipulate FB to show me things, and as an admin, I shouldn't have to pay to get my posts in front of people who've already indicated that they want to see them.



#55 Jeanne

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:44 PM

Another experiment-- Yesterday's post (following my Monday theory) was my book cover reveal. The reach was 595 with 51 post clicks and 113 likes. I also picked up three more "likes" for the page. This was linked to my Twitter account, but I stupidly forgot to include any hash tags. Still, it was retweeted 3 times and shared 3 times on FB, so presume that extended the reach?

 

What do these numbers show? I have no idea, other than photos always seem to have a greater reach. Maybe folks just like looking at pictures. Who knows?

 

Oh, one other trick I've tried that seems to work well. I make the original post on my FB Author page. Then I share it on my profile. Oddly, I have very little overlap between my Author page and profile, so that seems to extend the reach as well. I think people on my profile are sometimes sharing my page posts with friends. Always a good thing! :biggrin:

 

I agree J. Lea Lopez in that I have no intention of paying FB to boost posts. I'll find my own ways (free) to reach people. FB is making plenty of money off of their ads.

 

Jeanne



#56 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:04 PM

I question how exactly FB determines your reach and engagement and how useful it is to me at all. On the FTWA page recently I shared a link. I saw right away that it was getting much better reach than our posts usually do (more than 100) and thought cool, nice. I didn't check that specific post again until today, when I got the weekly recap email that said our reach for the week had increased 3,000% over the previous week. I knew that most of the posts had been getting low to mid double digit reach at best and went hunting for what bumped us up. It was that link again, which had somehow reached more than 2,800 people. (The FTWA page only has 278 likes.) The breakdown looked something like this:

 

33 fans / 2,790 non-fans

ZERO likes or comments on our actual post

216 clicks - 42 link clicks and 174 other clicks

38 comments on shares

15 likes on shares

22 shares - and this is where it gets dicey

 

According to FB, there were 22 shares - 20 on our post, and 2 on shares. But that differs from what I can see. When I click to see our shares, it shows me two that say "via so-and-so" but not via From the Write Angle. Only one shows as being shared from us. (And of course I may not be able to see some shares because of privacy settings. But still...) The one share that actually says via FTWA was shared by a Marin McGinnis onto her page (that has 133 likes). On her page I can see it has one like, one comment, and 19 shares. When i click to see the shares, I see the same two "via so-and-so" ones that showed up when I clicked to see shares from the FTWA page. So are we somehow getting "credit" for shares that were made from her post? I've seen similar discrepancies in the clicks and likes and shares on other posts as well.

 

Obviously it's hard to tell because there could be shares giving us exposure but I can see them because people didn't share publicly... but it kind of looks like some of the shares that are supposedly accounting for our reach may have originated with us, but didn't actually get our name or page in front of all those 2.8k people. You know what I mean? Because when Marin McGinnis shared our link, it had our name attached to it. But when people share from her, it will say "via Marin McGinnis" and "via From the Write Angle."

 

So... in the case of the actual content being shared or exposed or whatever, I feel like this post is a big whoopty-doo-who-cares? Because it's not attached to us in any way, for the most part. If it's not our blog post or a meme that has our URL or name directly on it -- or in the case of author pages, if it's not our book link or blog link or branded picture -- having a large reach really doesn't mean jack. Does it? The chain of evidence, so to speak, doesn't get preserved past the first share. (If it even goes that far, since you can click to remove the "via" line.) So WTF am I even doing on FB? lol



#57 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:23 PM

Sorry, more thoughts... (all of this really makes my head spin, I'm telling you)

 

Links tend to do really well for me on my author page. But given the above example, unless it's my book link (which 99% of the time it's not) then I'm starting to think it doesn't matter. Pictures, can get a good reach, too. (Surprisingly to me, though, I've not gotten as broad a reach with images as I have with links.) And images that you upload yourself (that aren't the custom clickable link images Crew showed us how to do) retain the link back to your page. It will always say "so and so shared J. Lea Lopez's photo" no matter who they shared it from. Provided people don't save the image and then upload it themselves, of course, which also happens. At least that way there's always a link that can help people find you if they decide they like the image and want to see more of what you're sharing.

 

So what does this mean? I don't know. It's late and I'm tired but I've got all this going on my head so bear with me.

 

I did a photo meme for one of my FTWA posts that drove a lot of traffic to our site when someone tumblred (tumbld?) the image and it was re-blogged by a big name author. The meme also had our URL right on it, so people could find us if the images were shared without a direct link. How can we translate that to working for us on our FB pages as authors promoting our works and/or our brands? That's the code I keep trying to crack. I feel like picking apart FB's exposure algorithms is a shot in the dark at best sometimes. In AQCrew's case, though, since you're doing almost exclusively promotional posts on your page, that might be more worthwhile for you. If you can figure out how to get that broad reach it's great, because that content is directly related to you. Whereas I'm on FB trying to be friendly and get to know people and entertain them with things other than my books, and then hope that when the next book and the next book and the next book come out, they'll want to read it or share the news with people they know. But hey, maybe that's not a good way to use FB and I should stop lol. I don't know if I'm making sense anymore and I think I'm talking myself in circles, so maybe it's time for bed....



#58 AQCrew

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:26 PM

I question how exactly FB determines your reach and engagement and how useful it is to me at all.

 

33 fans / 2,790 non-fans

ZERO likes or comments on our actual post

216 clicks - 42 link clicks and 174 other clicks

38 comments on shares

15 likes on shares

22 shares - and this is where it gets dicey

 

So... in the case of the actual content being shared or exposed or whatever, I feel like this post is a big whoopty-doo-who-cares? Because it's not attached to us in any way, for the most part. If it's not our blog post or a meme that has our URL or name directly on it -- or in the case of author pages, if it's not our book link or blog link or branded picture -- having a large reach really doesn't mean jack. Does it? 

 

That's really interesting about the zero likes or comments on the actual post while still getting a massive amount of shares -- and consequently --> a massive amount of "reach".

 

We're struggling a bit with this concept -- what's the point -- because ironically our spammie book promotions get more reach and likes than any of our recent attempts to be more varied and have more personality  *couch, cough*... attempts at a more cuddley personality * cough* -- #fail*

But in some ways, this thread helps set up our expectations about why we're bothering to maintain our FB page and what we expect from each post and how to really compare posts and their metrics.

 

In the end, we're just going to keep going with what's fun (and yes... spammie book promo posts are fun right now), and hopefully it will all work out somehow along the way.



#59 AQCrew

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:28 PM

Another experiment-- Yesterday's post (following my Monday theory) was my book cover reveal. The reach was 595 with 51 post clicks and 113 likes. I also picked up three more "likes" for the page. This was linked to my Twitter account, but I stupidly forgot to include any hash tags. Still, it was retweeted 3 times and shared 3 times on FB, so presume that extended the reach?

 

 

That seems like some seriously impressive engagement numbers on a cover reveal.  Whatever you're doing, Jeanne -- keep doing it.



#60 AQCrew

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:36 PM

Links tend to do really well for me on my author page. But given the above example, unless it's my book link (which 99% of the time it's not) then I'm starting to think it doesn't matter. Pictures, can get a good reach, too. 

 

Go to bed, BUT do think about this: why do you think you're links -- just links with no photos -- are getting such good reach.  We're in Jeanne's camp that it's all about the photo, so how are you making it work with just links?






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