|Please Like me. Now.|
I had no problem eliciting Interaction (I thought) until I established my Author Page on FB. I had noted Pippa’s frequent “arrghh!” moments about not receiving posts from people she was Following, but being a FB newbie, I didn’t understand what that meant. Then I set up my Author Page, which as FB is very quick to tell you, you should have if you are posting stuff about a professional endeavor (like writing/selling books). I got a bunch of Likes right away. I thought I was doing well.
But I noticed I was posting and no one was responding. No Likes. No Comments. The helpful information about traffic on my Page that FB is happy to provide told me my posts were only “reaching” a tiny fraction of the people who were Following my Page. Wha …? But, of course, I could pay to Boost my posts, if I wanted to.
How could this be? My personal profile posts go out to all my Friends, except, apparently, the ones who have actively stopped Liking anything I post. But the Evil FB Gnomes had decided within a couple of weeks who will see my posts and who will not? And those who have Liked/Followed my Page had no real say in whether they receive my posts or not?
After about a week of genuine confusion (Was I doing something wrong in posting? Was my computer screwing up?), I found the answer in a fellow Golden Heart sister’s FB post. She had resorted to the “cute toddler” ploy, using a pic of her grandson dressed as a garden gnome to get everyone’s attention. Then she recommended her readers just sign up for her newsletter to ensure they got the information they need about her books.
I asked her what was going on. She says you must have virtually instant interaction with your Page posts from a certain number of people to “convince” FB to send it out to others. She says the magic numbers are ten people within 30 minutes! (Of course, you will not find these actual numbers anywhere in the FB rules or Best Practices. FB merely says you must have Interaction to ensure your spot in the competitive News Feed. Yeah, like we couldn’t stand to lose a few of those “suggested posts”.) The ten people wouldn’t be so hard to get, maybe, but within 30 minutes? I’m sure I’m not the only one with friends scattered all across the country (and the world). Everyone is supposed to be hanging around their phones/iPads/computers just waiting for me to post? Or must I also leap into the Boiling Cauldron of Despair that is Twitter to tweet to everyone that I’m posting on FB so check your FB NOW, ’kay?
Now maybe my friend has it wrong. Maybe you just need some interaction. Still, it’s clear from the constant offers to Boost my posts that the fewer “reaches” I get, the more FB benefits. FB hopes I get desperate and cave to its offers in the end, paying to get the Gnomes to do what they are there to do in the first place—show my posts to the people who are Following my Page. Unfortunately, I don’t have the deep pockets of the corporate world that FB is trying to exploit to keep its juggernaut rolling.
I’ve often said my sales skills are so bad I couldn’t sell Girl Scout cookies in a high school cafeteria, so I knew promotion would be the hardest part of being successful at my writing. But seriously, must it really be that difficult to do something that should be so simple?
The FB Page duplicates some of my personal profile AND it duplicates some of my website. Still, I set it up to communicate easily with readers, if and when they should come, something that is not so easy to do with either of the other two formats. Now I need a newsletter, too? Jeez! And as a reader, I would feel overwhelmed by the constant bombardment to Look Here! Read This! Keep Up with Me! (I generally don’t interact as a “fan” with any of my writing idols. I don’t have time.)
Is it too much to ask to be able to focus on a few of the most efficient ways to reach readers? And to have Facebook cooperate in that effort, rather than constrict it every way possible in a not-very-well concealed campaign to extort cash from its professional users?
--Congrats to Pippa on her EPIC Award for Gethyon! What a great early Christmas present and a terrific way to end a fabulous year!
-- I've been hearing great things about Fortune's Pawn for a long time, Laurie. Guess it's time to read it, huh?