Facebook: My New Frenemy

Oh Facebook, you’re like the girl who tells you she loves your shoes only to follow it up with: “If you like that style.”

Yeah, Facebook you’re my new frenemy.

As you probably know, Facebook has implemented a new promote button to fan pages and profiles. Here’s the simple version:

1. Any status update you put on Facebook is only seen by a percentage of your friends and fans.

2. However, for a nominal fee you can promote a status update so it is seen by more of your fans/friends and their friends.

My fan page has 952 fans. These are people who’ve opted in to hear news from me. I love these folks. They’re awesome.

On November 26 (a Monday), I posted a photo of a contest winner with a link to another giveaway I was having. According to the Facebook gurus, adding a photo increases your chances of being seen on a newsfeed.Β Four people liked the post and one fan commented on it. Ninety people or 9.4 percent of my fans saw the post. We can agree this is not a great percentage. However, if I paid to promote the post for $10, all of my fans would see it (potentially). Or I could pay $15 and reach at least 1,680 of my fans and their friends.

On November 16 (a Friday), I posted a quote from a positive review for Passion Creek with a link. I paid Β $15 to promote this post. Note: The amount you are charged to promote varies depending on how many fans you have and how many folks you could reach.Β More than 9,100 people saw this post – 7,975 of whom saw it because I paid to promote it. Of those, 231 liked the post, eight commented on it and three clicked the link to the review.

On November 25 (a Sunday), I used HootSuite to schedule and post a status update with a link to a Tumbler of men reading. Fifty-seven people saw the post. That’s 6 percent of my fans. No likes. No comments. That is the kind of result that makes very unladylike words spill from my lips. Why the difference? According to all those Facebook gurus it’s because Facebook’s algorithms rank posts from other sources that go to Facebook (a scheduler like HootSuite) at about the same level as pond scum.

End result? Facebook can still be a marketing platform for you but you going to end up paying for that reach – even if you’re targeting your own fans who want to hear from you. And you won’t just be paying with money. You’ll be paying with time by hand-posting status updates on Facebook instead of using a scheduling application.

Paying to promote gets your status updates seen by more people. However, if you’re going to go this route, I’d recommend using it judiciously unless you want to be paying out the wazoo.

Final thought? I can’t wait for the new My Space platform to send me my invite.

About Avery Flynn

Writer. Smart Ass. Lover of Chocolate. Bringing steamy romance with a twist of mystery to the masses, one hot book at a time.

46 thoughts on “Facebook: My New Frenemy

  1. Yes. It’s the Ford Pinto model. Sure the gas tank explodes and kills people. But fixing it costs more. Facebook won’t feel bad that their new model is killing users until a significant number yank their accounts. And they will bet on the inertia of current members, who don’t want to build yet another Web space and start all over again.

    Great post, Avery. Since I don’t have a marketing plan a yet, I’ll be watching these developments carefully. Thanks for the discussion!

  2. Avery,
    As I have a certain love/hate relationship with Facebook, I’m not sure how to comment. LOL. Since I don’t have any books being published and my fan base is nonexistent (except for my mom and a few friends) none of the marketing and platform stuff is important to me, but I know it must be annoying to the rest of you.
    I guess you’ll just have to pick and choose which posts are most important for your followers and pay. πŸ™
    I’ll follow you anywhere for free. πŸ™‚

    1. Awww, thanks girlie. However as a fan of quite a few pages myself it makes me a little nuts not to get updates. Dang it, I really want to know when Lori Foster is talking about her books!

  3. This is very interesting stuff!! I have used FB more for ‘chatting’ rather than marketing but that’s only because my first book only came out in October. But I wondered about the shift in posts that I have seen, and certainly wondered who sees mine. Thank you for doing that evaluation and sharing the results!!!

    1. And what a great book Crazy Little Thing is. Oh it made me giggle. πŸ™‚

      But the thing with Facebook is that it’s not just fan pages, but friend profiles as well. So there are friends I want to chat with that I don’t get to because I never see their updates.

  4. Wow — crazy stuff. Thanks for posting the breakdown of your numbers. $15 for YOUR fans to see YOUR updates? That is pretty outrageous. I can’t imagine this model succeeding, but I wish you the best of luck in navigating these waters!

    1. Yep, that $15 adds up pretty fast. I’ve read some blogs on this topic where Facebook wanted to charge as much as $200 per post to promote because a fan page had so many fans. That sure puts $15 into perspective.

  5. Hi Avery! I’ve been experiencing the same thing with similar results. *sigh* Guess we need to move our Facebook fans to our newsletters/blogs if possible??

  6. I’m taking a break from jury duty to say “Yay, Avery.” Finally, the truth about FB promoting. It’s a horribly expensive way to reach a few more people. I haven’t tried it, but might if I have something so earthshaking that it just has to go to the world. Or, like you, I’ll be waiting for my MySpace invitation. Maybe they’ll have better sense than try to turn a resource that they advertise as “free” into something we have to pay for. Le sigh.

  7. Thanks for shedding light on this phenomenon. I’ve been wondering what’s going on. To top it off, in the last month I had trouble paging through my regular FB page b/c of all the glitches and constant popups. So is MySpace the new FB?

  8. Great post, Avery! Like you, I’m eagerly awaiting the new MySpace launch. Here’s a link if anyone else wants to sign up for an invitation to join: https://new.myspace.com/

    I have felt for some time that my marketing efforts are better spent interacting with readers on Goodreads and requesting reviews from romance bloggers. On a recent month-long giveaway on Goodreads, over 600 people added The Promise to their shelves. True, I haven’t figured out how to convert that interest into sales yet, but I know at least 600 of the 1,500 or so who entered the contest read the blurb and were interested enough to click “add”… that’s pretty amazing. The only cost to me was books and postage.

  9. I’ve always had the feeling I wasn’t using Facebook up to its potential and now I am convinced of it! I doubt that my paying would increase my booksales by a comparable amount, so I’m just going to ignore this, do what I’ve been doing, and wait for MySpace….

  10. GREAT post, and an eye-opener. Honestly, we can’t win with Facebook sometimes. They want us to use a fan page, not a personal page, if we’d like the option for a larger number of connections (no 5000 friend cap), but then they’re going to charge us for the privilege of doing what they’ve asked us to. It’s a double-edged sword. I barely use my fan page for that very reason, but then, I don’t have 5000 friends yet and so I can.

    What’s the word on having fans “add” you to their newsfeed or list you in a group? My understanding is that it still doesn’t ensure you’ll pop up in a newsfeed; rather the person can then see it *if* they click on and review their groups. It puts the onus on the Facebooker to look for something they’ve already liked, which in theory SHOULD pop up in their feed from time to time.

    Hm. Lots to think about.

  11. So this explains why this morning I signed onto my Facebook page and basically saw MY last six status updates and two from other friends. I mean, I like me and all, but that got boring real fast.

  12. Thanks for sharing your results! I was thinking about this last night and had a hard time envisioning a scenario that would show a strong cost benefit to ever paying facebook to promote posts. They are too likely to get lost in the clutter.

    Facebook has become cumbersome as it shifts from a social networking site into one with strong paid advertising revenue streams. Facebook is getting old. Heck, even Twitter is middle-aged by social media standards. I think there has to be something really exciting and new around the social networking corner. Maybe it is a MySpace relaunch, who knows? I look forward seeing what’s next.

  13. Great post, Avery. I’m pretty disappointed with the changes FB has made as well. The fees to reach people who have specifically opted-in to your posts is ridiculous. Can you tell us more about the New Myspace? Any link to apply for an invitation?


  14. Thanks for posting this, Avery. It’s helpful and timely too. My FB presence is minimal because I’m just starting out, but I’m doing a cover reveal tomorrow and was debating whether I should pay to promote the post. I’d love for my FB friends to be able to see the new cover. And, bc my #’s are low, sounds like it might be cost effective. Your post has convinced me to at least look into it further.

    I was surprised to see so many say they were waiting for MySpace. Once it gets up and running, if it’s offering the same reach as FB currently does, why wouldn’t it start charging too? (Eventually, after everyone has invested time and effort, moved friend/fan circles over, etc.) Bait and late switch. No fraud, just the same potential foul.

    1. I’m a strong believer in looking into all your options. I don’t know if MySpace will be the next big thing, but I know I’m ready to give it a shot.

  15. Great post Avery! I don’t know about anyone else, but it took me a long time to get a Facebook following. I’m now up to 313, and I’ve done everything I could possibly think of to get people to follow me. It hasn’t been an easy road. Now they want me to pay 15 bucks for posting my posts to my followers so they can see what I’ve posted? Capitalism at its best!

    I don’t have a book out yet, but I suppose when I do, I’d probably pay for some posts so everyone can see them. I didn’t know posting pictures would make me more visible, so thank you for sharing that information.

    As for Myspace-NO! I’ve been down that road. I have had a few problems with Facebook updating everything, but Myspace was so much worse when I used it years ago.

  16. Oh whoa is me! So much to learn…so much to decide. I’ve been reading articles about how to ‘market’ my book (which won’t come out til June) and making sure I’m ‘out there’. Twitter, FB, Pintrest, blogs/webs/… arrggghhh! Now we have to worry about what is actually getting us out there for the best price. I just want to write! “Waaaa!”

    Okay, sobbing is over, brain is fried but knowledge is good. Now I just need someone to write out a “To Do” list that works–details, I need details.

    Thanks for sharing, Avery! πŸ˜€

    1. “I just want to write.” God, how nice would it be to go back to the days when that’s all an author had to do. Of course, I do love to be in control of spreading the word.

  17. Fiddledee, I paid to promote a couple of my posts and I didn’t reach that many, but I only have 681 followers so I guess the overall reach wasn’t so much, I think the highest one only reached about 3000 people. I just sent my email to the new MySpace, but oh, the thought of learning something new. And I’m wondering if MySpace might think it’s a great idea to charge to promote too…

  18. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I currently have no books coming out to promote so I mainly use it as a tool to reach out and hopefully build an audience that may buy my books down the road, or to help friends promote, but Facebook is also a huge time sucker. And it is really depressing to think that all of that time is not really doing much to reach out to your audience because they aren’t even seeing your posts. Grrr…

  19. Thanks so much for the breakdown and information. Personally, I’m hoping that Facebook realizes the error of their ways and changes their policy sometime soon. (I’m such a dreamer, lol!) Thanks again for the helpful info!

  20. Remember New Coke? Someone should remind FB. I’m with you guys…if this keeps up, time to move on to MySpace (which, by the way, was almost dead.) Funny how stupid decisions can keep the dying from going under.

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