Facebook Fan Page, or Nah?

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I’ve been low-key stalking authors and entrepreneurs on Facebook for a while now. I’m not ashamed to say that cyberly speaking I’ve been lurking in dark alleys, sitting low in my ride and hiding behind oversized newspapers. Which in and of itself should have been a red flag because when’s the last time you saw anyone read an actual newspaper in public? There’s an app for that. But, since no one can really see me, it doesn’t matter. Ok, so this little analogy has gone way off base. Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s worth it for an author to have a dedicated fan page on Facebook. Is it worth the hassle? Does it benefit the author and provide maximum exposure? And the ultimate bottom line: does it help sell books? Surprisingly, the answer is more complex than you might think.

LET’S START WITH THE BENEFITS:

Scheduled Posts— With a fan page an author has the ability to schedule posts for particular days and times. This means that they don’t have to actively post links to their websites, promotional sales, etc.  They also have the benefit of posting content at peak times without disrupting their personal schedule. For instance, an author that lives on the west coast, but has a large fan base on the east coast can schedule posts during the east coast lunch hour: a time when most people check their social media. If an author is a planner, they can schedule constant posts for weeks in advance. A definite plus when considering an authors actual job is to write amazing books, not juggle social media. But that’s a whole other post.

Advertising— Facebook offers advertising incentives for businesses. When an author chooses to create a fan page, they have the opportunity for targeted marketing. At a price of course. For a daily budget ranging from $5.00 to $20.00 Facebook will advertise your page or author website to people who have interests related to the author’s content.  A good example is a children’s book author who chooses to target her advertisements to women aged 21-35. The promotion can be a one time deal, or run continuously until the author chooses to stop.

Stats— On the fan page Insights tab the author has access to statistics that tell them how many people their content reached, how many ‘liked’ it, how many people clicked on links to other content (like blog posts), and overall engagement. There is also the option to boost individual posts by paying a fee. Something that can be really helpful when promoting a new book or event.

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NOW ON TO THE ANNOYANCES:

Interaction–With a fan page authors are limited in their interaction with their fans. Meaning that they do not have access to their fan’s page’s and cannot comment or like their status’. There is no news feed on a fan page, so the opportunity to engage with other people is limited to anyone that might comment on the author’s status. In my cyber stalking I discovered that many authors counteract this problem by having both a personal Facebook page and a fan page. They ‘friend’ all kinds of people and are better able to interact with them.

Unseen Posts–The business phenomenon that is Facebook is far from stupid. They’re not about to give away what they can get someone to pay for. Chances are that if someone takes the time to create a fan page, they’re looking for exposure and will eventually have something to sell. Therefore, if an author wants exposure, they’re sure going to pay for it. Without opting to use Facebook’s advertising, many posts from a fan page will get lost. News feed exposure is based upon ‘likes’. Posts with the most ‘likes’ appear at the top of users news feed’s. Therefore, if an author doesn’t have a huge and engaged fan base, many of their posts will never see the light of day. Facebook will make sure the author knows this by showing them on their handy-dandy stats page. Like I said, far from stupid. Again, smart authors counteract this by engaging on their personal Facebook page. When they’re ready to drop a new book, or offer a sale on an old one they can reach more people on their personal page.

Marketing/Engaging Using Personal Page–An author must be careful to remember that, once they decide to use their personal page to mix business and pleasure, they take certain precautions. Everyone that is a friend on Facebook ain’t friendly. Personal information like where the author lives, their spouses or children’s legal names, pictures of their homes or possessions should be shared with caution. It’s also important to remember that a published author has a brand, and status updates or posts should never conflict with that brand.

THE ANSWER:

I don’t have one. Whether or not to have a Facebook fan page is totally up to the individual. There are pros and cons to both having and not having one. Do some research and find out what works best for you.

And I’m pretty sure you saw this coming….Connect with me on my Facebook Fan Page!!!

Chime in authors: Do you have a Facebook fan page? Do you find it easy to reach and interact with people using it? Would you recommend that a new author start a fan page or simply allow strangers access to their personal page? Any precautions if they choose to do that? Feel free to leave a link to your fan page in the comments!

Photo credit: dkalo / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: boltron- / Foter / CC BY-SA

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Facebook Fan Page, or Nah?

  1. I just posted a link, what, about an hour ago? It has been seen by 87 people, and liked by only one. (And she is one of my dearest friends!)
    I have roughly 135 FB friends, and just over 100 likes on my page, most of which are not my friends, more friends of friends than my own.
    Anytime a post does well, I get a message to boost my post with paid advertisement (the ultimate goal of FB Pages) and I’ve never used it.
    The reason I have one is so that when I post a link, it can be shared to two separate audiences. My friends are willing to comment and hold conversations on my personal page, but will not do so on public links. In turn, if I use my private page to host public links, suddenly strangers feel inclined to take up discussion and try to friend my private account. However, having the public link as the original allows my friends to share the link, and that does, in turn, create traffic.
    I hope I explained it well.
    In short, I don’t like my FB Page, but it serves its purpose.
    As for selling books? I don’t think so. I think the content and reviews of a book determine its success, and while generating an audience that likes your brand is certainly helpful, I don’t think FB pages demonstrate the actual audience at all.

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    • Thanks for such a detailed response Joey! I agree with your summation: the fanpage is not all that great for interacting, but it does serve the purpose of linking to people that are interested in your content.

      As far as the success of a fan page for selling books, I think it depends largely on how large the author’s fan base is. For authors with a large inventory of books written it can be used to promote those titles. I’ve bought more than a few e-books due to posted sales on an author’s FB page. While it may not the most ideal marketing strategy, it seems to be mildly effective for authors with a large following. And hey, EVERY sell counts when it comes to books!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a FB page for my blog, as you know ;). When Facebook made their big change in how those worked the traffic went way down and so did the people liking or comments. Now most of my posts only get one or two likes, if that. The reason I did it is that I currently write two blog posts every week for Writer Site and one for my family history blog. My friends get sick of these links posted on my personal wall and much prefer sticking to more personal stuff. I do love the convenience of the links being set up in advance to post, but the traffic it gets now is very limited.

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    • So true Luanne. To put it bluntly, it sucks! Not only do I hate the popular stories feature when it comes to my FB fan page, but I hate it for my personal page as well. I can be nosy and when I want to see how my friends are doing, I want to see it ALL, not just what has gotten the most ‘likes’. Super annoying.

      The direct link between blog posts and FB posts is pretty cool. I’ll give them that. I also use it for Twitter.

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  3. The more exposure a writer has the better it is, I would think. But you raise a very interesting point as to whether it’s worth the investment of time and money. I think we have to choose our social medias and hope we’re doing the right choice. 🙂

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  4. Great post! I think it depends on where you’re going to spend most of your time. A fan page could be worth it if you’re going to take the time to build it and grow it, but if not, the results could be disappointing. I actually get quite a bit of blog traffic through my author Facebook page (and honestly, I still have no idea how to work Facebook. I know. Embarrassing…) and I’m assuming that’s because people are sharing content. But I think if I took the time to learn how to maximize the benefits of FB, the fan page could work better for me. A great example of this is Bella Andre. She interacts with her fans on her author FB page. Granted, she’s more established but, hey. She started out indie. Rome wasn’t built in a day, lol. I say give it a try and see what happens. You never know!

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    • Thanks Quanie! I’ve had my FB fan page since shortly after I started this blog (almost a year ago!) and only have a little under 100 likes. I’ll keep it b/c it’s not hurting anything. I usually just update it whenever I update my personal FB page status, and occasionally I’ll feel ambitious and schedule a bunch of posts at random. Don’t feel bad about not understanding FB! I feel the same way about Twitter half the time, but I force myself to stick with it and I’m slowly getting better. Thanks for the tip on Bella Andre. I have a new author to stalk–or, er…observe for marketing strategies!

      Like

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