In the past two years, authors have been going gaga over TikTok with some of them even declaring Facebook dead. This is ridiculous, Facebook is still the biggest social media platform in the world and they’re far from dead. In fact, last year Facebook poured billions into their newest product: The Metaverse, a virtual reality platform that they hope will bring back younger people. Facebook’s goal is to create Web 3.0, a type of internet that is so fully integrated in our lives that we are connected 24/7. None of Facebook’s competition are planning for the future in this way not Elon Musk’s Twitter, Google’s Youtube, let alone, TikTok. So Facebook isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

I believe giving up on Facebook is a mistake that may cost authors in the long run. Yes, a lot has changed and not all of it for the better but it’s dangerous to follow trends because you could end up wasting a lot of time as well as money. You can still use Facebook to market successfully, you’re just gonna have to put in the work. Look, even if you migrate towards a newer social media platform you’re going to have to start from 0 and according to most marketing experts, it’s easier and cheaper to maintain your current clients rather than attract new ones. As I mentioned before a lot has changed, but not all of it is doom and gloom, so, let’s discover what’s changed and learn how to navigate these new waters.   

Change #1: Large Followings Can Now Be A Handicap

Pages with large followings sometimes have the worst engagement rates. That’s because the algorithms score your content according to things like interaction, type of content (like video or text), as well as usefulness. Today, it’s not about getting likes and clicks anymore, those things that can be easily faked. Now, Facebook lets users train the algorithm to show them what they want by letting them snooze a page or hide it completely.    

That means page owners need to focus on reaching people who want to interact with their posts rather than just trying to rack up a large following. If you have a large following and no engagement that tells the algorithm your posts aren’t good and it will downgrade them. When you create a post, you need to connect with people.

Change #2: Native Content Is King

If you have a post that leads people away from Facebook, they will bury that post. According to Sprout Social, 86.5% of posts seen by users have no links in them. Facebook is serious about keeping people on their website so if you’re going to get any visibility, you’ll need to create content specifically for Facebook. The most popular type of posts these days are:    

  • Video
  • Polls
  • Contests
  • Unique images

Here are some examples of authors creating native content on Facebook:

Dean Koontz Facebook Video (Click image to go to video)

Change #3: Promotional Posts Are Punished

I’m not talking about paid promoted posts, Facebook loves those! I’m talking about normal posts (non-paid) with the words: buy, free or click, they’ll actually hide those posts. That’s because nobody likes seeing authors yelling, “Buy my book!” in their newsfeed. Unless, you have a sale or some sort of fun, promotional gimmick, it’ll be ignored or worse yet, hidden by users. So just like Facebook users are training the AI to see what they like, you are also training the AI to ignore your posts when you don’t create content people want to see. If you must post promotional content, marketing experts recommend sticking to the 80/20 rule. That means 80% engaging content and 20% promotional posts.

However, there are occasions when you should shout-out your book like author and sweary historian James Fell did here:

Change #4: Advertising Is More Visual

I know what you’re thinking: screw all this, I’m just gonna run ads and skip all this relationship crap, but guess what? To run effective ad campaigns you’ll need to have some sort of data to feed the algorithm. If you have no audience then the AI is flying blind and your ads will become very expensive. So there’s no getting around the social part of social media.   

Now that we know the facts, let’s make sure that when we do advertise, it’s successful. Over the years, video ads have been growing in popularity among marketers. Authors I know who run Facebook ads claim their photo ads have taken a nosedive while their video ads have seen an increase in clicks and engagement. I know you’re wondering, isn’t that expensive and hard to do? Well, no. Most of the authors I’ve talked to were taking images and using Canva or Animoto to put together simple videos. Some of them were even taking their TikTok videos and using them on Facebook. However, you will need to experiment and see which kind of ads work for you.

Change #5: Facebook Is Getting Tougher On Graphic Images, Offensive Language & Deceptive Wording In Ads

Speaking of ads, it’s important to read the TOS of Facebook before putting any money down on ads. Over the years, I’ve spoken to authors who have had their accounts shut down by Facebook after violating arbitrary rules. I’ve also seen authors get ads rejected or pulled because of sexual or violent imagery. In one of my author groups, an author had an ad rejected because of the words: Breaking News. A Facebook rep explained that it was violating their political and social issues guideline s. So when the author used the words: Breaking News, the ad was taking on a journalistic tone, meaning someone could take it as real news. P.S. the book was about werewolves and demons.

Change #6: Ads Aren’t As Powerful As They Used To Be

If you haven’t heard, in 2021, Apple implemented a privacy rule for apps which require apps to ask for permission to collect data on their users. There has since been a war of words between Apple and Facebook with CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling Apple’s new policy a threat saying, “We are standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere. The internet should be open. Apple is a threat to free internet.” While Apple’s CEO Tim Cook responded, “We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it is being used. Facebook can still continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App tracking in IOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first. Currently, both Facebook and Google are suing Apple over this new policy. Let this be a warning to those authors who are depending on Facebook ads to sustain their business.

In Closing

A lot has happened on Facebook over the past 4 years, and not all of it is bad. Facebook is now more focused on its users than they’ve ever been. This is actually a good thing if we want to build an audience that actually supports our work. Facebook is now forcing marketers to build relationships instead of going for shallow metrics. And building relationships is what we should be doing to build our business. Today, it’s not about who can shout the loudest and this is a good thing but we have to be willing to put in the work. Yes, it takes time to connect with an audience but it’s often worth it in the end. The people who connect with you will support your work and not just like your posts then forget about you 10 seconds later.    

Anyway, if you found this post helpful, please like and share.