Facebook Fear and Wailing
Last week, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some changes in the way the social media platform will operate in 2021. This caused a giant stir among the author community because the changes will go a long way toward repressing the reach authors have to readers.
This isn’t the first time or even the fifth time a change in Facebook has completely overhauled authors’ marketing momentum. Changes to the way Facebook feeds page information unless you “pay to play”, the way that groups no longer give notifications the same way, the way they don’t do the same notifications of live videos – all of those changes happened before now.
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never been a fan of social media marketing. I think it’s because right as my Facebook page was growing and the “likes” were coming in, that’s when they added the “boost post” feature and shut down any kind of organic page reach. That really made me angry and it emotionally shut me off of Facebook. My thought was, if someone “liked” my page, they want information from me — I shouldn’t have to pay for THEM to see posts. I’ve never minded paying to reach OTHER people, but my fans should be my fans.
That was YEARS ago, and I’ve never warmed back up to Facebook. I use it, because I feel like I have to, but to be honest I’m kind of glad to see this big shift in attitude about the social media giant ever since the scandal over them selling user information to Russia and then all of the hubub during the U.S. Presidential election.
I used to have a reader group, but realized I didn’t really engage with my readers the way that other authors just seem to naturally do. So, I shut it down. I have my street team group, but I don’t live and die by it, and several members of my street team don’t have Facebook, so I have the email address of everyone on my street team and use email as the primary way to communicate with them.
I have the Successful Christian Self Publishing group on Facebook and MeWe. I do post there daily and there is great engagement there. They will stay as long as I’m on social media (though I’ll admit that I forget about MeWe). But this week, as I was building my “Monday Morning Motivation” posts to go to the Facebook group, it occurred to me that I’d rather have them going to this website.
I say all of that to say this: For YEARS I’ve been teaching that your focus of marketing should not be in social media. Social media ebbs and flows. The creators of the platforms aren’t in the business to provide you with a place to reconnect with old high school buddies. They’re there to make money – billions of dollars of money. Every time you can find a way to make organic reach happen, they’re going to find a way to monetize it. That’s just the way it is.
Where should you put your effort and energy?
I’m not saying that authors should abandon Facebook and other social media platforms all together. It’s fine to be there. Like I said above, I’m there. I just don’t believe that the majority of effort should be spent there.
We all only have so much time and energy in a single day. Your first focus should be on the following:
- Your website: This is where you control information. What’s there is what you want to be there in the format you want to present it. You should have a website that you have the power to update as needed that also contains a blog or a link to a blog. That said, should you feel the need to blog regularly? No! But, a blog is a great way to give out a quick news update, book release information, whatever. Information that you control, going out to people who want to hear from you. If you’d like to take a look at my website, you can do it here.
- Your newsletter: You need to have a newsletter, you need to grow your newsletter list, and you need to regularly send out a newsletter. Why? Because the people who sign up for your newsletter are saying, “Yes! I want to hear from this author!” Your email goes to their inbox. It’s right there for them to see it. You don’t have to pay extra money to make sure it falls into their feed. They signed up, you sent, they can open or not. It’s a beautiful relationship and one of which you and your reader are in complete control.
That’s it. Anything else should be extra. If your website is up-to-date, if your blog posts (as needed) are scheduled, and you’ve spent some time and energy cultivating your newsletter list or writing/planning your newsletter – THEN get on social media.
I’ve started a newsletter list for this website. For now, the only thing that will go out is a weekly digest of the week’s blog posts. In the future, we may or may not have a regular newsletter. You can sign up here, and when you do you’ll receive my Newsletter Growth and Marketing class:
Don’t let all of the fear and wailing discourage you. And don’t hand all of the power of your marketing to anyone who wants to use it to make money. Take control of how and when your news goes out. Then, the changes in social media will just be another thing you’re aware of, but not something that has a disastrous affect on your reach.
With nearly a million sales, Hallee Bridgeman is aUSA TODAY best-selling and award-winning Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real-world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy. Hallee has served as the Director of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, President of the Faith-Hope-Love chapter of the Romance Writers of America, is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the American Christian Writers (ACW), and Novelists, Inc. (NINC). An accomplished speaker, Hallee has taught and inspired writers around the globe, from Sydney, Australia, to Dallas, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, to Washington, D.C., and all places in between. Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.