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As a freelance writer, you have a lot on your plate: from finding new clients to managing projects and deadlines, there's always something to be done. And that can get overwhelming.
I've been a freelance ghostwriter for 20 years, and I still get overwhelmed by all the things.
However, one important aspect of the writing business is marketing yourself and your services. That's where social media can play an important role in boosting your visibility and attracting new clients.
Importance of Social Media Marketing for Freelance Writers
Before we get into Facebook, let's talk about social media in general. Social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes to connect with customers and promote products or services. For freelance writers, social media provides a way to showcase their work, build credibility, and establish relationships with potential clients.
By using social media effectively, you can increase your brand awareness and reach more people than traditional marketing methods like email campaigns or cold calling. Plus, it's much more cost-effective than paid advertising.
Social media platforms like Facebook offer an opportunity for freelance writers to expand their reach beyond their existing network of contacts. By sharing your work and expertise with others online, you can attract potential clients who may not have found you otherwise.
Establishing Authority in Your Niche
Posting regular updates about industry trends or sharing insights about topics relevant to your niche can help establish you as a thought leader in the eyes of potential clients. This can lead to more opportunities for collaboration or referrals down the line.
Cultivating Relationships with Clients
One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it allows you to engage with potential clients in a more personal way than traditional marketing methods. By commenting on posts or messaging them directly, you can build relationships that may lead to future work opportunities.
Overview of Facebook as a Marketing Tool
With over 2 billion active users worldwide, Facebook is still the largest social media platforms available today. As a marketing tool, it offers a range of features that can help freelance writers attract new clients and promote their services.
Creating a Facebook page is an important first step for any freelancer looking to market themselves on the platform. This gives you a space to showcase your work, provide contact information, and communicate with potential clients.
Facebook's advertising platform allows you to target specific groups of people based on factors like age, location, interests, and more. Plus, with the ability to create custom audiences or integrate with services like your email list, you can help make sure your marketing is always getting in front of the right people. And thanks to Facebook's algorithm (which has been getting refined for the last 19 years), your message is pretty likely to show up at the right time.
This can help you reach potential clients who are most likely to be interested in your services.
Joining relevant Facebook groups is another way to connect with potential clients and industry peers. By participating in discussions or sharing your expertise, you can establish yourself as a valuable resource in your niche.
This is one of the primary ways I connect with potential clients, long before I send over any proposal or pitch. I join their groups on Facebook and start interacting with them, start getting to know them, and start seeing how they interact with their audience. This method might not work for every freelance writer out there, but as a ghostwriter, I've found this to be invaluable when it came time to mirror their voice for their projects. Plus, it was a way for them to start to get to know me before my proposal hit their inbox.
By using Facebook to market your writing services effectively, you can increase your visibility, build credibility within your niche, and connect with potential clients in new ways. In the following sections of this guide, we'll dive deeper into how to use Facebook specifically as a marketing tool for freelance writers.
Table of Contents
Using Facebook to market your writing is not only relatively easy, but it's inexpensive and (better yet) it's effective no matter what type of freelance writing career you choose.
Setting up your Facebook page
When it comes to marketing yourself as a freelance writer on Facebook, the first step is to set up a professional Facebook page. This page will be the face of your brand, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your services well. Here are some tips for setting up a great profile:
Creating a professional profile picture and cover photo
Your profile picture and cover photo are the first things people will see when they visit your page, so they should be eye-catching and professional. Use a high-quality headshot or logo for your profile picture, and choose a cover photo that shows off your writing skills or represents your niche.
Writing a compelling bio and description of services
Your bio should give potential clients an idea of who you are as a writer, what services you offer, and what makes you unique. It’s important to be clear about what types of writing you specialize in (e.g. blog posts, website copy, social media content) and any relevant experience or qualifications you have.
In addition to your bio, make sure to fill out the “About” section on your page with more details about who you are and what kind of writing services you offer. This section is also a good place to include links to your website or portfolio.
Adding relevant contact information
Make sure potential clients know how to get in touch with you by including all relevant contact information on your page. This might include an email address, phone number (if applicable), website link, or links to other social media profiles where clients can learn more about you. By taking the time to set up a great Facebook page that showcases who you are as a freelance writer, potential clients will be more likely to take notice of your services and reach out for work opportunities.
What About Using the New "Professional Mode" for Your Personal Profile?
To be honest, I have not made the switch for my personal profile to start using "Professional Mode". But, as I work and am friends with so many marketers and marketing coaches, I have seen a lot of people make the switch. And for some of them, it's been great. Others have regretted it. Which leads me to believe that this is like any other marketing tool out there: it's going to depend on your goals and your strategy.
If you're thinking of switching, you can read up on what Meta says about Professional Mode:
Why would I use professional mode?
Facebook Business Help Center
- Professional mode can help you become a creator on Facebook and build a public following. It gives you access to professional tools, including enhanced safety features, on your personal profile.
Go check out the entire FAQ they have posted, but what this tells me is that the Professional Mode is meant more for people who want to make a living on Facebook as creators—posting content, sponsored posts, affiliate links, having subscribers paying to view premium content, etc.—rather than for people who want to use Facebook to market their existing business.
This of it like this: do you want to be a freelance writer? Great: set up your business page. Do you want to be an influencer? Also great: go flip over your personal profile to Professional Mode instead.
Building Your Audience on Facebook
Identifying and Joining Relevant Groups for Writers and Potential Clients
Facebook groups are where Facebook really shines. Regardless of how anyone feels about Facebook or about Meta at large, Facebook still has the best community-building tools available on a public and free social media platform. And these groups can be a goldmine for freelance writers looking to network and find potential clients. But with so many groups out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. First, look for groups that are relevant to your niche or industry.
For example, if you specialize in writing about health and wellness, search for groups that cater to those topics. Once you've found some relevant groups, take some time to observe the conversations happening within them.
Look for opportunities to contribute valuable insights or ask thoughtful questions. Be wary of coming off as self-promotional or spammy in these groups; instead, focus on building relationships with others in the group.
Engaging with Your Audience Through Posts, Comments, and Messages
When it comes to social media marketing, engagement is key. This means actively engaging with your audience through likes, comments, and messages.
Make sure you're responding promptly to any messages you receive on Facebook - even if it's just a quick "thanks for reaching out!" message. In addition to responding directly to messages and comments from your audience members, make sure you're posting content regularly as well.
This can include anything from blog posts you've written recently to news articles related to your niche or industry. By consistently posting valuable content on Facebook (and other social media platforms), you'll keep your audience engaged and interested in what you have to say.
Running Targeted Ads To Reach New Audiences
While organic reach is great (and free!), sometimes it's necessary to invest in targeted ads if you want your content seen by a larger audience. Facebook offers a variety of ad targeting options that allow you to reach specific demographics based on factors like age range, interests, location, etc.
When setting up your Facebook ads, make sure you're targeting the right audience for your services. For example, if you specialize in writing product descriptions for e-commerce businesses, make sure you're targeting businesses that sell products online.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different ad formats and placements to see what works best for your audience. You may find that carousel ads (which feature multiple images or videos) perform better than single image ads, or that placing your ads in the news feed instead of the right-hand column yields better results.
It Doesn't Have to Be Hard to Build an Audience on Facebook
Building an audience on Facebook takes time and effort, but it can pay off in a big way for freelance writers looking to market their services. By joining relevant groups, engaging with your audience through posts and messages, and running targeted ads, you can reach new clients and grow your business on Facebook. Remember: be patient, be consistent, and always provide value to your audience!
Creating Content that Resonates with Your Audience
Writing Informative Blog Posts and Articles
One of the best ways to attract potential clients is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. One way you can do this is by writing informative blog posts and articles related to your niche.
For instance, if you specialize in copywriting for e-commerce websites, you could write blog posts on topics like "5 Tips to Boost Your E-Commerce Sales with Killer Product Descriptions." By sharing your knowledge through these posts, you not only attract potential clients but also show them that you have a deep understanding of their needs.
And of course, as you're writing these articles, make sure they are well-researched and provide valuable insights for your readers. Don't just write up fluff and share it with a good title. Try not to use jargon or industry-specific terminology that might alienate potential clients who don't have the same background as you. Instead, aim for clear and concise language that anyone can understand.
Sharing Industry News and Trends
Another way to create engaging content on Facebook is by sharing industry news and trends related to your niche. This shows potential clients that you are up-to-date with the latest developments in your field and helps position yourself as a thought leader.
For instance, whenever a social media platform releases a new feature or makes an announcement, one of the first things I do is go and test out that new feature and post about it, share my thoughts, or find out where people can learn more. Not only does this help any fellow freelance writers who are following me learn a bit more about how they might be able to use that feature for their own business, but it also demonstrates to any would-be clients that I am on top of the trends and can help them as well.
The Importance of Visuals
When sharing content on Facebook, visuals can make a big impact. This can include images, infographics, or even short videos related to your niche. For instance, if you're a travel writer, consider sharing photos you've taken on your trips or creating a short video showcasing some of the highlights from one of your recent articles.
Visuals are so important that if you don't have any images, photos, or videos, Facebook has built in two ways you can still incorporate those visuals into your post:
- Use one of the backgrounds built into the post-editor. There are about 30 backgrounds to choose from and depending on the length of your post, Facebook will format your text to match and stand out on that background.
- For longer posts, you can embed a GIF by clicking on the "GIF" button at the bottom of the post-editor.
The key is to make sure that whatever visuals you share are high-quality and relevant to the content you're posting. This not only makes your posts more visually appealing but also helps grab people's attention as they scroll through their feeds.
Networking with potential clients on Facebook
I said it earlier, but this is such a big point (and this article is so long that you're probably skimming and, therefore, could have skipped right over it earlier) that it needs to be said again: one of the most effective ways to network on Facebook is by joining groups that are relevant to your writing niche.
For example, if you specialize in writing for technology companies, look for groups related to tech startups, software development or digital marketing. Or, if you're like me and chose to specialize in social media marketing, you can find plenty of groups on social media marketing, digital marketing, and even smaller niches like Facebook marketing, Pinterest marketing, etc.
Once you've joined these groups, interact with members by answering questions, sharing knowledge and offering advice. This can help you build a reputation as a knowledgeable writer in that field. Another way to network is through reaching out directly to potential clients.
If you come across a business or individual whose content or website could benefit from your writing services, send them a message introducing yourself and describing your services. Keep it short and sweet – let them know how you can help them reach their goals through your writing expertise.
Following up with leads through Messenger or email
If someone shows interest in working with you but hasn't committed just yet, follow-up is key. Send a polite message asking if they had any more questions about your services and if they were still interested in moving forward.
Include any relevant information they might need such as pricing or samples of your work. Keep the tone friendly and open to further discussion.
**Note, I do not recommend cold messaging here. Just because someone happened to like your comment on a post does not mean they are ready for you to pitch your services to them. But if they've commented on one of your posts or responded to one of your comments expressing interest in working with you, then go ahead and message with your followup questions to initiate that process.
Collaborating with other freelancers or businesses in similar niches
Collaboration can be a mutually beneficial way to expand your reach as a freelance writer. Partner up with other writers or businesses in similar niches to offer complementary services that can help both of you grow your client base.
For example, if you specialize in copywriting, find another freelancer who specializes in graphic design and offer a package deal for clients who need both services. You can also collaborate with businesses by offering guest post opportunities or sponsored content on their website or social media platforms.
This can help you reach new audiences while providing valuable content for the business as well. Just make sure that any collaborations align with your values and fit within your brand as a writer.
Measuring Success on Facebook
Facebook is not just a platform for sharing your writing and building connections with potential clients. It's also a powerful tool for measuring the success of your marketing efforts. By analyzing engagement metrics and tracking conversions, you can gain valuable insights into what's working and what's not, allowing you to adjust your strategies accordingly.
Analyzing Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics refer to the actions that users take on your Facebook page, such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks. These metrics are important because they indicate how interested and engaged your audience is with your content.
To analyze engagement metrics on Facebook, navigate to the Insights tab on your page. Here, you'll find detailed information about how many people have viewed each of your posts, as well as data on likes, comments, shares and other interactions.
One key metric to pay attention to is reach – how many people are seeing your content. If reach is consistently low despite regular posting efforts then it may be time to adjust the type of content that you're sharing or increase ad spending.
Tracking Conversions from Leads to Clients
Tracking conversions involves monitoring how many of the leads generated by Facebook end up converting into paying clients. This gives you an idea of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in terms of driving actual business results.
One way to track conversions is by using Facebook Pixel – a code that can be added to your website which tracks user behavior such as clicks or form submissions after clicking through from a Facebook ad or post. Another effective method is manually tracking leads through Messenger or email correspondence where possible; documenting when someone first contacted you via Facebook messenger and keeping track if they convert into a client down the line.
Adjusting Strategies Based on Results
Once you have analyzed engagement metrics and tracked conversions from leads to clients it's important to adjust your marketing strategies based on the results. For example, if you're getting a lot of engagement on posts related to writing tips or industry news but that's not converting into leads, it may be worth pivoting to showcase your portfolio or services more prominently.
It may also indicate that your targeting is slightly off and you need to adjust who you're reaching out to. Additionally, if certain types of content are consistently performing well with high user engagement, consider doubling down on similar themes in future posts.
Measuring success on Facebook takes time and effort but provides invaluable information for optimizing your marketing strategy. By analyzing engagement metrics and tracking conversions from leads to clients while adjusting strategies based on results; freelance writers can take their Facebook reputation from good to great in no time.
Plus, there are some benefits to marketing your writing business on Facebook that other platforms can't offer:
Facebook allows you to connect with your target readers and clientele.
And by connecting with your target readers, you'll get to learn a lot more about them that forms and surveys just won't be able to reproduce. Your Facebook Page becomes a place where they can engage with you, get to know you a little better, and become your focus group.
Do you know how expensive it would be to build a focus group through a marketing agency? And even then, that would be temporary.
With Facebook, your readers stay connected to you for as long as you are active. For free.
Facebook keeps you human.
A lot of writers have a fear of doing any serious branding because they're afraid that if they do, their readers will no longer connect with them on a personal basis and will only ever see "the brand."
Facebook alleviates all that. Besides the fact that branding is still important if you want to succeed in getting paid for your writing, Facebook humanizes that brand by allowing you to create and showcase a brand personality (which, of course, is probably a lot like your own personality).
Facebook allows you to build a community.
We're going to talk about this a little bit more further down, but Facebook does more than merely give your readers a place where they can get to know more about you or learn about when your new books are being released. They can find that type of information out by visiting your website.
What Facebook does is allow you to build a community so your readers become your fans and your fans become your community. Instead of just being yet another author selling books, you become their friend. You're someone with whom they can share their days, their feelings, and truly take an interest in them.
Facebook is indexed by Google and other search engines.
Although it's not quite the same as having your own website, Facebook helps build brand recognition and is indexed by the search engines, both of which adds up to higher SEO factors for your website.
Everyone is already on Facebook.
Okay, maybe not everyone, but Facebook is still the top social media app in the world. When it comes to shares, connections, and daily usage, Facebook dominates. So chances are, your target reader is already on Facebook.
And if you're not already on Facebook, then you need to get on there now.
But like I said, everyone is already on Facebook.
This is kind of a double-edged sword, because while your target audience is probably already on Facebook, so is every other author, coach, and freelance writer out there. Some of them even have more than one page!
Some of them have a page for every book, or a page for every service, or a page for their blog. Some of them have a page for them as an individual and then a separate page for their brand. Some even have pages for their characters.
So with so many pages, all of them vying to get into their readers' newsfeeds, how can you possibly stand out?
I mean, let's face it -- this isn't exactly like MySpace when you were able to customize your profile so it stood out and looked different, right?
Here are some tips to help you get started and stand out on Facebook.
8 Tips to Start Using Facebook to Market your Writing
1. Create your Business Page and fill it out completely
This is where a lot of writers fall flat: they will build out a business page, but then they'll leave entire sections out. Take some time and really go through every section of your business page and fill it out:
- Your name and contact details
- Your story, why you do what you do
- Your mission, who you're helping and how
- Your purpose, why does your brand even exist
2. Put together a content strategy
One of the biggest mistakes I see writers make is getting onto social media and immediately making a connection with other writers.
There is nothing wrong with connecting with other writers; networking is actually a very important part of what we do. However, you can't forget to connect with your target readers. And that means posting what your readers would want to see. Not necessarily posting things you like, such as writing memes and puns.
Unless your readers like writing memes and puns. But for the most part, those are going to attract more writers than readers - and while writers tend to be avid readers, that doesn't make them your target audience.
3. Make your presence known
Once you've developed a content strategy and got some content posted up on your page, it's time to go hunting.
First, look for other business pages that your target reader might also be following. Do you write self-help books? Perhaps they would be following other self-help authors. Do you write thrillers? Perhaps they would be following other thriller authors.
Check out those pages, follow them, and begin interacting with them. Like or react to some of their posts as your page, or even take it a step further and share a post to your page (remember to use the share button; do not steal their graphic or copy their caption and repost it as a new post onto your page).
Start building a relationship with these other pages, and people will begin to take notice.
4. Find and help your audience
Start joining groups where your target reader might be hanging out and start making friends with some of them. If a question comes up you can answer, answer it.
Take an interest in their lives even before they become your fans, and they will be more likely to do the same with you.
I'll grant you, this part is a little easier when you're a freelance writer with a niche or when you write nonfiction. Fiction writers might have a little bit of a difficult time finding places where they can join groups with their readers with the intention of helping them. But groups are still going to be a huge help.
Instead of joining a group to help readers, join a group to fan over them. Are they in a thriller author's fan club? Join in, have some fun, share some memes, and get to know them. Believe me, forging that relationship early will help.
5. Showcase your personality
Whether you take photos, selfies, or videos, giving your readers a visual sneak peek behind the scenes is going to help them form a much deeper connection to you rather than merely posting about your services over and over and over again.
Let them get to know the real you a bit.
But what about keeping your private life private? That's absolutely fine. I'm not saying you should be on Facebook spilling your deepest darkest secrets to everyone.
You can invite someone into your house without letting them see what's inside the cabinets in the bathroom, right?
6. Make it easy for people to follow the trail
If you're wondering how leaving a comment in a group can help you grow on Facebook without being spammy, it's all in the Facebook link trail, and it starts on your personal profile.
You see, we're all a bunch of stalkers on Facebook.
We see someone in a group who piques our interest, and we go and check them out: what do they do, where do they work, is this someone I can be friends with?
So make it easy for us to Facebook stalk you!
You have an area to add in your jobs, experience, etc. Make sure you use that area to link to your page. You can also link to all your other social channels, but your Facebook page is the big one.
The point here is that if we're in a group together and you say something that interests me, when I go to your profile, I should be able to find your Facebook page right there in your intro section so that I can follow it to your business presence to learn more.
7. Work on your Know, Like, and Trust Factor
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. So start getting people to like you.
I don't mean inviting everyone to like your page. I mean be the kind of person that your ideal readers and clients like to hang out with.
Do you prefer to hang out with people who are gloomy all the time, or people who are happy? Or maybe somewhere in between? Do you prefer to hang out with realists or idealists? Optimists?
There's no right or wrong answer - the best way to attract your ideal client and your target reader is to act like their ideal writer. Get them to like you.
Now, I'm not saying to invent a fake persona and trick them into liking that persona: it's got to be genuine if it's going to work at all. But emphasize the key traits that make your target audience like you.
8. Don't forget to engage with your audience
As people start liking and following your page, they're also going to start commenting on some of your posts. Make sure you respond to them.
Like any other social channel, Facebook works best when you're part of a conversation. So react to their comments, respond to them, and carry on a conversation.
In fact, Facebook's recent changes are making engagement and comments so important that a whole new industry is being born as we speak - perfect for freelance writers. If you'd like to learn more about being a social media writer, or any other kind of freelance writer, check out my free guide.
New Update as of 2019: Facebook will begin ranking comments based on relevance
That's right: Facebook has started ranking comments on posts based on relevance. This is all in an effort to make everyone's experience while on Facebook more meaningful.
So what does this mean for you?
Simple: don't feed the trolls.
As you begin to get more popular, you're going to have some run-ins with people who are less than nice. They may leave nasty comments on some of your posts or your ads. You'll also probably attract some spammers and some other not-so-nice people.
Not to mention the occasional bad review that might pop up.
Now, if someone is being abusive, by all means report the comment and ban them from your page - no one should have to put up with that.
The problem with deleting comments, though, is that it doesn't matter how fast you are at deleting them - people can tell. And they'll begin to wonder why some comments are missing. So, make it a policy to only delete the abusive comments, but for all other negative comments, ignore them and they'll get buried (or, if they are about a customer service issue, then make a brief comment about moving to Facebook Messenger, and then move the conversation to a private forum).
That's right, if you respond to the positive comments, they will get ranked higher than your negative comments. So just keep responding to those positive comments and let the negative comments slide down into oblivion.
And train your community to do the same. Because once they are raving fans, they tend to get protective and try to fight the trolls. Teach them to, instead, like and respond to the positive comments so the trolls can get buried beneath, and you'll keep your page a much happier place without looking like you're hiding anything negative.
Here are Some More Tips and Guidance for Using Facebook to Market your Writing
Trying to figure out how to go about using Facebook to market your writing services is a bit like trying to figure out what the color nine smells like.
Even if you're trying to be diligent and search for the answers, then you have to deal with contradicting information. One expert says Facebook is dead, another expert says Facebook is the future. For very expert out there telling you that ads on Facebook don't work, there's another one telling you that ads will work.
So, I figured it was time to set the record straight about a lot of these different rumors and put together an actual guide you can use for putting together your marketing strategy for Facebook.
Let's start with the first question: which expert do you listen to when it comes to how to use Facebook?
There are actually quite a few. First, why not start right at the horse's mouth? If you want to get news about Facebook, go to Facebook.
Facebook has a newsroom they use to make major announcements, such as changes in policies, changes or additions to their features, and major changes to their algorithms.
Quick note: Facebook's algorithms are always changing. They change their algorithms every week and we almost never notice. However, some changes are bigger than others. And when that happens, they make a separate announcement about it.
Facebook also holds a developer's conference called F8 every year. And while this conference is primarily for developers (those people and businesses who are building tools and apps to work with Facebook's platform), it's still really good information every marketer should try to catch live - either in person or during their livestream.
In this conference, Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook leaders go through the issues affecting Facebook, their mission and what's driving Facebook forward, features and plans for Facebook and its family of apps (Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp), as well as what their focus and expectations will be for the next year.
You can bet that every change every week will be made for the purpose of upholding their primary mission:
"Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. That reflects that we can't do this ourselves, but only by empowering people to build communities and bring people together."Mark Zuckerberg
But what if you can't find a statement by Facebook, or if it's in jargon you're unfamiliar with? Then who can you turn to for information?
Your best bet at the point would be to stick with those brands, apps, and services who have built their entire business on and around Facebook:
These are companies that depend on their knowledge of how Facebook works because they depend on your success while using their services. If you are using one of these tools to schedule a post to Facebook and your business gets penalized for it, they won't stay in business for very long.
That's why these types of businesses work so close with Facebook - so they can bring you the best features and the best information so they can help you succeed.
Choose any other Facebook Marketing experts wisely.
There are a growing number of digital marketing experts, Facebook marketing experts, and social media marketing experts. However, not all of these marketing experts are actually experts.
A lot of people simply ran a business that did well and then chose to document what they did so they could help people duplicate their steps. And while those steps can help others succeed, a lot of times those types of formulas require a set of static factors with no variables.
Introduce new information, and they don't know what's going on anymore.
Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't know what they're talking about - but their information is skewed by their experience.
Take, for example, how many "experts" out there still promote the Facebook Like-for-Like strategy. It's a widespread strategy that definitely helped a lot of people grow their Facebook following. But it's not something a true Facebook Marketing Expert would recommend.
A true expert would explain to you that by participating in a Like-for-Like strategy, or a Like Ladder, you would be hurting your page more than helping it because you would not be connecting with your ideal clients and because it would be the opposite of Facebook's mission: building communities.
My general rule of thumb: trust only the ones who actually link back to their sources.
Not necessarily because you want to confirm that their information is correct, but so you can go back and read more. After all, if Facebook says one thing, different experts may still interpret that differently. By giving you a link straight to the report or video, that person is giving you the opportunity to go back and see or interpret further information within the original context.
If there's no link back to a reputable source, I don't fully trust it.
Now, let's take a closer look at Facebook's mission:
Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Does that sound like the mission of a platform that doesn't want you to do business on it?
I bring this up because there are so many rumors going around that Facebook doesn't want you to sell anything on its platform or in your groups. But I beg to differ.
Facebook wants you to sell your books on there. Facebook wants you to sell your freelance writing and editing services on there. Facebook wants you to have a Facebook business page that you fill with your brand's story where you can sell your swag, your books, your guides -- all of it.
In fact, I think if Mark Zuckerberg had his way, Facebook would be the only place where you would sell your books.
It's even in their Terms of Service: Connect you with people and organizations you care about. We help you find and connect with people, groups, businesses, organizations, and others that matter to you across the Facebook Products you use.
Facebook wants you there, selling all the things, but it doesn't want you to treat Facebook like its a bookstore. Instead of posting promotion after promotion after promotion, Facebook wants you to connect with your readers on a deeper level.
There's another rumor floating around that you shouldn't use groups to sell your books. Again, this is wrong information. Groups are the perfect places to sell your books. In fact, Facebook even has a group type you can choose specifically for selling and will grant you features other group types won't give you, such as a separate sales feed and the ability to put in a price.
In fact, you should build groups for your readers. In the algorithm-driven world in which we live, having an exclusive spot where they can engage with you will help you sell more books.
What Should you Post into your Groups for Promotions?
What you post into your groups is going to be completely up to you. I recommend putting together a strong content strategy that is going to make it easier to connect your brand's personality with storytelling and information about your books.
Readers are not going to form an emotional connection with your books before reading them. But they can definitely form an emotional connection with you. And you can help them form an emotional connection with your characters.
You can also help make your readers part of your writing journey. But having a group, you can offer your readers the exclusive chance to:
- Receive a free copy of the book in exchange for a review,
- Alpha read your manuscript to look for plot holes and structural flaws, or
- Beta read your manuscript to look for spelling error and typos.
People get very excited about being involved in your creative process. By included them in some of your creative process, they'll be more vested in your group and your books.
All by following Facebook's advice and creating a community to bring your readers closer to you.
New as of 2019: Facebook Group Admins are Responsible for the Content Posted into their Group
There's a rumor going around that if members of a group being posting things that go against Facebooks terms of service or community standards, that the admins of that group will be put at risk of losing their accounts on Facebook.
Facebook has never said this. So this rumor just needs to die.
What Facebook does say is that "We can remove content you share in violation of these provisions and, if applicable, we may take action against your account... We may also disable your account if you repeatedly infringe other people's intellectual property rights."
If you violate Facebook's Terms of Service or Community Standards, you may face consequences.
Now, there is a new feature in groups wherein Facebook is working to make sure these communities are safe spaces and the people in these spaces feel comfortable. Therefore, when you log into Facebook and check your group, you'll see a new menu option called "Group Quality":
Let's take a look at these actions Facebook may take against your group if members are breaking community standards:
- They remove content that violates Community Standards.
- They auto-flag items that might violate Community Standards (so you can read and take action yourself).
- They lower Fake News in the newsfeed to limit its reach.
- They may turn on automatic post approval on your group (if you haven't done so already) to keep people from being able to post these violations into the group.
- If your group continuously shares Fake News, it will lower that group in the newsfeed and stop showing suggestions to people to join that group.
You, as an admin, are responsible for the content in the group -- but you are not held responsible for the actions of the members in your group.
You will not lose your account if some people in your group can't seem to follow the rules.
They might, but you won't.
Can you lose your group if people get flagged for violations?
Can you lose your group? Yes, it is possible that if your group is constantly sharing posts that are violating Community Standards, that the group will be shut down - this has always been the rule. This still will not affect your account unless you're the one sharing the offending content.
In fact, you can listen to Mark Zuckerberg make the announcement regarding group activity and the future of group administration right here at Facebook's F8 2019 (starting at 24:18):
We're very focused on making sure that our recommendations and discovery services aren't highlighting groups where people are repeatedly sharing misinformation or harmful content and we're working hard to completely remove groups if they exist primarily to violate our policies or do things that are dangerous.Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 2019
Read this part again: "if they exist primarily to violate our policies."
If the group exists to allow people to violate Facebook policies.
A few flagged posts is not going to place any group in danger of removal.
Here is a statement from Amanda Arevalo, a member of Facebook's staff and an administrator of the Facebook Power Admins Group:
When reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at admin and moderator content for violations, including posts by members that they have approved.Amanda Arevalo, Facebook Staff
Just make sure you communicate with your group members about the purpose and mission of your group, as well as the rules. Handle any issues as they come up, and help keep your group clean of harmful content.
New Rumor as of 2017: Facebook Reactions Having Different Weights
Ever since Facebook released their new post reactions last year, rumors and debate about what they mean have run rampant.
The most ridiculous of these rumors is the thought that using the sad or angry reactions on a post would somehow penalize that post, suppress it in the algorithms, or penalize the business who made the post.
Facebook's Sad and Angry reactions do not have negative consequences on the post.
In fact, just the opposite.
But if you don't believe me, let's take a look at the insights of a post, shall we?
Here is a post I shared last year on my page that picked up a lot of speed. Take a look at where the Sad Reaction is placed?
That's right - right up top with the likes, the loves, and even the laughs.
If the Sad Reaction was in any way negative, wouldn't it be listed down below, in the section marked "negative feedback"?
People will hit the Sad and Angry reaction when your post elicits a strong emotional reaction from them - not when they don't want to see your posts anymore.
If someone doesn't want to see your post, they have four options that will tell Facebook they're not interested in seeing your content:
- Hide the post
- Hide all future posts
- Report the post as spam
- Unlike the page
So how can what seems like a negative reaction have a positive effect on your posts? Easy - emotional connection.
If you write up a post telling a story about how your favorite aunt got robbed, other people might feel sad that your favorite aunt got robbed. Or they might feel angry. No one likes or loves the idea of a favorite aunt being loved, right?
But the sad and angry reaction to the news that your favorite aunt got robbed is not an indication to Facebook that the person reacting doesn't want to see more of your posts.
They're just expressing an emotional reaction to your post. So don't get discouraged if someone hits that sad face - delight that you elicited an emotion! If people are cheering, crying, or yelling along with you, they are more likely to engage with you.
New Update as of 2017: Facebook is Putting an end to Engagement Bait
You may have heard in a recent announcement by Facebook that they are going to begin suppressing posts that include engagement bait.
What is Engagement Bait?
Engagement bait is any post, caption, or video that tells the audience how to react in an effort to game Facebook's newsfeed algorithm.
- Comment "YES" if you're a Cancer.
- Like this post if you agree.
- Share this post if you like sunsets.
Each of those is a type of engagement bait: instead of posting something meaningful and allowing your audience the chance to react to it genuinely, you've told them how to react in a way that will boost your post in the algorithm based on their fake engagement.
Engagement bait hurts the integrity of the algorithm because it forces content into the newsfeed based on fake engagement rather than on the meaningful connection Facebook is looking to provide.
But how can you invite engagement without it being considered engagement bait?
Even without meaning to, you might accidentally post engagement bait... for example "comment with how this character made you feel." The very mention of the word comment could be flagged as engagement bait even though you are actually asking for a real reaction to one of your characters.
So, in these cases, reword your question to invite reaction but stay away from direct requests:
- Instead of "comment with how this character made you feel" try "I love this character because...how did you react to this character?"
- Instead of "share this post if you love sunsets" try "do you know anyone who loves sunsets? you may want to show this to them!"
- Instead of "like this post" try "Gimme some love! Who's up for a sneak peek of my new book cover?"
In other words, aim for genuine engagement that leads to a conversation and a deeper connection. Saying "comment yes if you love sunsets" leaves you with nowhere to go - they comment yes and then what? Nothing. Conversation over. "Tell me how sunsets make you feel" leaves plenty of room for you to respond to their comment and spark a conversation.
Running Promotions and Giveaways on Facebook
Giveaways and promotions are a great way to really boost visibility and get your name out there, especially if you're a new author. But if you want to run your giveaway on Facebook, you need to review their guidelines to make sure you are staying compliant.
And let me tell you, a lot of authors are getting these wrong.
Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).Facebook
I mean, it really is right there in black and white:
- You can run a giveaway in an event, on your fan page, or in your group
- Forcing your giveaway into your (or someone else's) personal timeline by requiring a tag or a share to enter is not allowed.
How many times have you seen a contest or giveaway in which the rules stated "to enter, share this post"? Yea, too many.
That's breaking the rules.
Here's what you can require for your giveaway:
- Like / follow this page
- Like this post (although, this gets pretty close to that engagement bait that Facebook is doing away with, so you'll want to be more creative here)
- Comment on this post (again, this is getting pretty close to engagement bait that Facebook doesn't like, so you'll want to use creative wording to get those comments and choose a winner from those who comment)
- Just about anything else, such as linking to a form for them to fill out, messaging your page, or sending you an email.
Should you Boost your Posts or Create Ads on Facebook?
Whether or not you should boost a post or create an ad campaign is going to depend on your overall goal and strategy of the post in question. Boosting and running an ad often get confused and used interchangeably, but they really are two different things that can give you two distinct advantages.
Boosting a post gives your post a literal boost in Facebook's algorithms
Essentially, you're paying to make sure Facebook ranks your post a little higher in the algorithms than what it might otherwise see. You can choose your targeting to help make sure your post is seen by the right people within your audience, but beyond that the post is still restricted to the confines of your current connections on Facebook.
If you have a post you think could go viral (as in getting a lot of shares and exposure) if the right people saw it and shared it, then boosting it might just help get it there.
Boosting your posts works best when you are trying to make sure particular posts get seen by your audience. So if you are trying to get likes and shares on a post, then a boost is definitely the way to go.
Paid Facebook Ads run Outside the Algorithms Entirely
When you run an ad, you're paying for Facebook to show your ad to anyone on Facebook who matches your ideal audience, regardless if they are already in your network or not.
Facebook ads are not restricted by the confines of the algorithm at all.
If you are aiming to get new people to join your network, either by signing up for a newsletter, visiting your blog, or purchasing something, then an ad campaign is the way to go.
New Rumor as of 2019: Does Boosting a Post Have negative Consequences on Future Posts?
There's a new rumor going around that once you boost a post on Facebook, you get onto Facebook's radar and your organic reach will suffer - forcing you to boost future posts to even get seen. This rumor stems from a long history of distrust that people have with advertising practices: we always think they are out to get us no matter what.
But the truth is, organic reach is dropping anyway - regardless if you're boosting your posts or not.
Outside of a few anecdotal stories from a few pages, there is no evidence that boosting a post will decrease your organic reach even more.
Not one single expert or test has ever been able to confirm that boosting a post will negatively affect your page in any way.
And, to be honest, I'm not sure I can fully trust the anecdotes that claim they can. In every case that someone has complained of a drop in organic reach, there were simply too many other factors present to be able to attribute the drop solely to the fact that they boosted a post:
- The post the boosted got little to no engagement (most likely because it was the wrong kind of post to boost).
- Little to no engagement on a lot of posts even before the boost.
- No clear call to action.
- They participated in a Like Ladder not long before the boosted post.
I'm sure you get the picture; there are a couple hundred things that likely affect how a post ranks inside the Facebook algorithm. If you see a drop in engagement, chances are there is more than one culprit at play.
Again, this comes down to understanding Facebook's intent of giving you and everyone else a safe place to connect and engage with the people and organizations they love. If you constantly have to pay money for that connection, you won't stay on Facebook very long, will you?
It would be stupid of Facebook to risk losing the hundreds of dollars in revenue it receives from showing you ads everyday for the $10-$20 it receives from you boosting a post. That's just not good business.
Update as of 2017: Which is Better for Engagement and Reach on Facebook, GIFs or Comments?
Facebook has a new toy: GIFs.
And let me tell you, it has completely transformed my newsfeed.
- Show me a GIF of that face you make when someone tells you to "get a real job."
- Show me a GIF of the face you make when someone says writing is a waste of time.
- Show me a GIF of your inner child.
- Show me a GIF of your inner editor.
GIF, GIF, GIF, GIF, GIF.
But are they actually doing anything for your engagement and reach?
There's no actual evidence to support the claim that a GIF is better than a comment in terms of engagement or the resulting reach, but there are still some things to consider when you are putting together that call to action on your post:
- GIFs are easy to use and require virtually no time commitment, so more people are apt to comment with a GIF than they are to answer with a fully thought out sentence.
- GIFs are visual and can add a new context to the comment.
- Facebook prefers longer comments that hold more meaning, and rank longer comments that get reactions as more relevant.
So, which is better? My gut tells me that neither one is better than the other: what longer comments lack in quick and easy, GIFs lack in meaningful context.
However, you will still want to be careful of that call to action and avoid using GIFs as the new engagement bait.
New Rumor as of 2019: Sharing is Caring - or is it?
There's a new rumor going around regarding the validity of sharing your posts from your business page onto your personal timeline. According to this rumor, sharing a post from your business page onto your personal timeline is against Facebook's Terms of Service.
I have scoured every page of Facebook's Terms of Service, including their commercial terms, and see absolutely no mention of this anywhere.
What I have found is this:
On Sharing Content: Content you post to your Page may be reshared by other admins of the Page to other Facebook Products connected to the Page.Facebook Terms of Service
The original Terms of Service read "You will not use your personal timeline [Profile] primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes." And while I cannot find a nice, simple sentence still prohibiting the use of your personal timeline for commercial gain, the new terms of service do not contradict this statement in any way.
So what does all this mean? Simple: you can share some posts from your page onto your personal timeline, into groups, and into events and you will not get punished for it.
Facebook doesn't want to stifle your business, it just doesn't want your business to be centralized on your personal timeline.
So if you're an author and you released a new book and you're excited about that - go ahead and share that book from your page onto your personal timeline. If you're a freelance writer and you just landed a big contract - go ahead and share about that contract onto your personal timeline.
Just don't share everything you post to your page onto your personal timeline - don't make your personal timeline the home for your business - and you'll be fine.
In fact, here's a little tip I've discovered... If someone else shares your post from your business page first, and you reshare it, it almost triples your reach because your share becomes a second-tier share. So having a bit of patience and waiting for someone else to share that post first may be very beneficial to you.
Don't be Afraid to Pay to Play
While people continue making connections with more and more family, friends, and brands that they care about, their newsfeed is going to get smaller and smaller, and the competition to get in there is going to get stiffer and stiffer.
Facebook reports that just over 7 million brands currently advertise on their platform worldwide. While 7 million might seem like a lot, if you remember that there are over 60 million brand pages on Facebook as of 2017, you'll realize that this means less than 11% of all businesses on Facebook bother with paid ads.
Less than 11%.
So get that Facebook Pixel installed onto your website, set up those email marketing campaigns, and learn everything you can about targeting and (more importantly) retargeting your audience with Facebook ads.
Using Facebook to market your writing is a smart way to start creating your online presence and establishing your brand - but that's not going to make it easy. You have to be strategic, intentional, and active.
Did you enjoy this article? Here are some more posts on social media marketing you may like:
- Book Marketing for Authors 101: I'm Ignoring All Your Sales Announcements (And Here's Why)
- Create a Facebook VIP Group that Rocks (and keep it that way)
- Using the new Clubhouse App for Writers
- Please Get Rid of that Twitter Feed on the Sidebar!
- What to do when you get Overwhelmed by the Social Media Marketing World