There is an excess of hype about the success of book advertising on Facebook and looking at the sheer number of users on the platform the hype is valid. Facebook remains the world’s largest social media platform with over 2 billion monthly active users, many of whom use the site on a daily basis for both work and business. This number still continues to grow, with Facebook reporting a 14% audience growth annually. With such popularity surely Facebook should be the number one social media platform on which to promote your book? Dig a little deeper however and a different picture emerges.

Reaching users, even those that have liked your author page, is becoming increasingly difficult and no, it isn’t about Facebook changing their algorithm to better suit users and make sure we all have an amazing experience, regardless of what PR spin Facebook would have you believe. Facebook is a public company with shareholders to answer to and a bottom line to take care of. Unsurprisingly Facebook wants you to spend money on the platform and that means one thing – advertising. Facebook has made it very easy to advertise and reach your specific target market and Facebook advertising has been a winning formula for many authors. You can reach your target market if you are prepared to pay and the amount you will have to pay continues to rise. Algorithm changes mean that authors will have to spend more on paid ads than before to get the same number of views while organic (unpaid) reach continues to fall. Up until even a year ago, you could still achieve a decent amount of organic reach, meaning that people would see your page content without paid advertising. This is becoming less and less likely as Facebook continues to decrease unpaid organic reach in favor of paid advertising. Reports now estimate that only around 2 to 4% of unpaid page posts are seen by followers and some marketers claim that soon this will be zero. That means you could craft the most amazing attention-grabbing post out there but barely anyone will see it, unless you pay.

Facebook advertising isn’t all bad and surely you have to invest some money to see a successful return, right? A well-targeted adverting campaign can seriously boost your book sales but be aware that rising Facebook advertising costs means that the return is not always in your favor. Those authors that have been on Facebook for some time and have an established audience will continue to see positive results from their Facebook advertising spend but for new authors or those with a small fan base the investment may outweigh the returns. Look at your analytics both on Facebook and your website. Is your advertising worth the investment?

So, is it even worth having a Facebook page as Facebook tries to squeeze every last cent out of us? The answer is still a massive yes. A Facebook page shows up in Google searches, increasing your visibility and credibility as an author and acts a funnel to your author website and sites to purchase your books. Advertising can also help compliment your book marketing campaigns, during the lead-up to a book launch or to boost a limited-time price promotion.

My advice: if you are just starting out or have a small fan base then it’s best to wait before sinking all your money in Facebook advertising. If you are looking to grow organically (without paid advertising) then consider focusing your efforts on other social media platforms, your website blog and growing your email list.

Increase the visibility of your Facebook Page

There are still several things you can do to increase the organic reach of your Facebook page. 

Use Video, especially Facebook Live video

Video is big on Facebook with an estimated 100 million hours of video content being watched daily. Since the launch of Facebook Live, there has been a 700% growth in video views with people spending three times longer watching live video than they do recorded video and being 10 times more likely to comment.

Before you do a live video make sure to build up anticipation with mentions on your other social media channels, website banners and email campaigns. Interact with your viewers during the broadcast and save time for questions and responses. Facebook automatically records your live video so that afterwards you can post and promote it on Facebook, your other social media channels, your website and in emails.

Build reader communities with Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are online communities based around a common interest, making them perfect for connecting with your target readers. Some authors use groups to form a community of their most dedicated fans, their beta readers or their promotional street team. Before you establish a group consider what you want to achieve with your online community, what incentive you’ll offer members and how often you will monitor and post to the group. Unlike a page your Facebook group is not solely about you. It’s a meeting of like-minds rather than a sales pitch. Ideally, a Facebook group will be self-generating content as members talk to each other. This gives you the opportunity to listen to what your readers want and shape your promotions to fit their needs.

Encourage your readers to select the ‘See First’ setting for your page

People who like your page can opt to see your posts in their news feed by going to the ‘See First’ setting on your page. Educate your followers to take advantage of the See First option in their news feed preferences.

To set the ‘See First’ Setting for a page:

1. Click the down triangle in the top right corner of any Facebook page.
2. Select News Feed Preferences
To adjust your News Feed preferences:
Click Prioritize who to See First to make posts from a selected Page appear at the top of your News Feed.

Stay Up to Date

Social media platforms like Facebook are constantly changing. You don’t have to follow every trend but it pays to stay up-to-date on changes and be ready to adapt and adopt new techniques where appropriate.

Want to know more? Learn more about how you can make Facebook work for you in the 7-Day Social Media Bootcamp for Authors