Years ago, when I decided to branch out and teach virtual classes regarding craft and social media, I knew I needed to live by my own mantra—We Are Not Alone. Sure I could kill myself learning every platform and maybe even do a passable job, but I am way too Type A for that. You guys deserved the best. So I reached out to those around me who were far better than I was, the experts I looked to on various subjects.
Sure, I do a good job on Facebook and am an expert on the basics, but if you REALLY want to up your game? Really want to know how to get the most out of Facebook, particularly the fan page? There is no one I could recommend more than journalist, columnist, speaker Lisa Hall-Wilson. She taught me what I know and I have a lot more to learn so believe you me, I am taking her class.
Lisa is here to talk about a subject we all face—being invisible. It does no good to be on Facebook or create content if we don’t know how to play the game. And trust me, a lot of it is a game. What is the best content? How do we use it? Grow it? Maximize it? How can we get a fantastic ROI off Facebook without living there?
Well, Lisa is going to talk about that today, so this is me shutting up now…
Take it away, Lisa!
I haven’t been around for a while. Life. Stuff. *shrug* Kristen and I have been chatting for a while about me teaching again, so I’m back! I miss W.A.N.A, and Facebook has changed SO MUCH since I last taught a class. How are you feeling about Facebook?
Finding it hard to stand out from the crowd?
Yeah, there’s a lot of people using Facebook to sell something. They’re all clamoring for attention and Facebook has to keep changing the rules to stymie the spammers and cheats. It’s harder than ever to get noticed. Hits you right in the feels. I get it. So lemme ask you…
How’s Your Organic Reach?
Is that too personal? Listen, I don’t teach people how to use ads on Facebook (though I run ads myself), because there’s lots of other people out there already doing that. Ads are awesome, and Facebook has one of the most targeted ad systems on the interwebs. There’s great bang for your buck, if you know your audience. I teach writers how to reach readers organically using Facebook.
Here’s the problem with writers and Facebook ads.
Ads only amplify what you’re already doing.
If you can’t get people to click through to your blog, comment/share/react to your content organically, your ads are unlikely to do well.
Ads only amplify what you’re already doing!
Facebook is S L O W
I know. It can be disheartening and frustrating. It’s also easy to get sucked in and lose hours of time you should have spent writing. Be strong! However, if you can get 5% or even 10% of your Facebook friends/followers to respond to a post organically, you’re onto something.
If you follow the W.A.N.A. way of building platform organically, the changes and tweaks Facebook makes to the way things look or the algorithm, won’t affect you. You’ll have the kind of platform that will grow your readership. With that skill in hand, when you can afford to pay for ads, you’ll already know what your audience is interested in, what they’ll respond to, and what value they’re looking to you to provide.
2 Reasons To Try Video
- Facebook has tweaked the algorithm to give extra organic boost to videos. So, either a Facebook Live video (where you live stream from your phone to your Facebook Page, Profile, or to a Group) or you upload a video created elsewhere to Facebook. (Videos shared from other sites are considered links and won’t get the extra organic boost) 135% more organic reach than photos according to Social Media Today.
- Facebook Live videos are watched 3.5x more than non-live video. This “serves to illustrate the importance of authentic, ‘off-the-cuff,’ and in-the-moment content with audiences worldwide.” (source here)
Now, I know that since Facebook rolled out the auto-play feature on videos, view stats can be deceiving. The salient point here is that Facebook really wants people to publish videos and they will reward you by showing your content to more people than usual organically.
Video is simply another storytelling platform. Don’t get freaked out. So, what should you post? I spent a couple of hours with Facebook and Google and checked out the video offerings from the biggest trad and indie published authors.
What Seems To Be Working?
Facebook Live videos have the most views (relative to the audience size on the Page). Fans seem to really love these videos. I wouldn’t say there’s an optimal length (based on my unscientific collection of data), but having something of value to say is important.
Most of the authors with the highest views were announcing a new book, meeting with someone their audience found interesting, offering value (non-fiction authors answering questions or giving advice), or glimpses of whatever locale the author found themselves in.
Brene Brown has this fun video of a full-out marching band she ran into at an event she was speaking at. Nora Roberts shared a live video of a giant ad her publisher created with her book cover projected onto the front of a building in New York.
Laurel K Hamilton posted a video of her opening a shipment of hard cover books of her newest release that had just arrived at her home “Book number 25” she says.
Marie Force shared a video with her behind-the-scenes team. Hugh Howey… He continues to tease readers with videos of dolphins swimming around his boat, jumping off cliffs (nearly naked), as he cruises the world writing remotely… We’re not going to mention Hugh Howey again. Agreed? His content can’t be duplicated.
None of those videos were professionally done. They were captured on a phone and posted without any editing. They were personal, behind-the-scenes, glimpses into the writer or the writer’s life. Fans love that. Instead of taking a photo, take a 16second video of that crazy rainstorm that held up your plane, those ruins you’re visiting for research, or an author you ran into at a conference.
James Patterson’s publisher created a splashy series of videos for his newest release. I have a feeling there was a lot of money spent on those videos. The video that got the most views? James Patterson spends 16 seconds telling readers why they should read his new book and the cover flashes on the screen at the very end. It was short, simple, engaging, intriguing, and well received.
Did it directly translate into book sales? I can’t say. But at only 16 seconds long, combined with Facebook’s autoplay feature, chances are good that a lot of people saw that video straight through and came away knowing the title of his newest book.
The plain fact is that all content is not going to be equal on Facebook, but the key is, the more we learn, the more we know, the easier it is for us to keep pace with and take advantage of this powerful platform. Facebook is slow, I already mentioned that. It has a lot of potential energy, sort of like a boulder sitting on the edge of a cliff. But we rock that boulder enough ways the same direction and over time? Once it gets rolling? That sucker is tough to slow down.
I have two classes coming up in May and I’d love to have you join me.
Growing An Organic Platform On Facebook – May 6th
How To Write In Deep POV: Method Acting For Writers – May 6th
Take Your Writing To The Next Level by learning the advanced writing technique of Deep POV guaranteed to pull your readers into the story (and it works with any genre), grab them by the throat and not let go! This deeply personal emotive style of writing resonates with contemporary readers, if you’ve got the guts to “go there” with your characters. This is a difficult skill set to master, but it’ll change how you write forever – for the better.
THANK YOU, LISA! I’ve known Lisa since forever. She was one of the very first W.A.N.A.s and she is an excellent instructor. I hope you enjoyed this and remember that comments for guests count double in the contest.
What are your thoughts? Questions for Lisa?
I LOVE hearing from you guys!
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I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
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Growing an Organic Platform on Facebook $40 May 6th, 2017 Lisa Hall-Wilson is BACK! She is an expert on Facebook so check out her class!
Method Acting for Writers: How to Write in Deep POV $85 for this TWO WEEK intensive workshop with editor and writing instructor Lisa Hall Wilson.
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Lisa is a consistently worthwhile voice. Thank you both!
Thanks for sharing this information! I’ve been recently thinking I need to practice being on video more and get more comfortable with it.
Could you maybe consider doing a blogpost on non-video engaging Facebook content? I’d love to see your thoughts on photos, text posts, etc. as well.
I’ve written quite a lot about it here on Kristen’s blog and elsewhere. I should put together a list of links maybe for easier reference.
Facebook changes the algorithm so banking on photos always doing better than links etc is a little risky. The best thing is always post a variety of content and figure out what kind of content your audience best responds to. Keep in mind that Facebook wants to show pepole stuff they find interesting – everything is measured in how interesting you are. There will always need to be a mix of content that is posted only to make you look interesting to Facebook (and your audience). Questions are a great standby.
Great information here! Any suggestions for writers who have not yet published their book? I’ve been thinking about adding FB Live videos to my page, but not sure what I would say that would be interesting. Thanks!
Before your book is out the time to figure out your voice and what your audience wants to see/hear from you organically on social media. Building an audience on a Page is slow, so a video might help with the organic reach – if you can get people to engage. I wrote a post a while ago called “Readers Want To See Oz” that might be helpful. Whenever you would take a photo, consider a video when appropriate. http://lisahallwilson.com/2015/03/31/readers-want-to-see-oz/
Also – you could sign up for my class 😀
Lisa, thanks for your post about Facebook Live. During the piece, you mentioned “16 seconds” several times. I have a couple Facebook friends who’ve posted FB Live videos that ran a lot longer. I can’t believe FB would limit live videos to just that duration (OK, it’s twice the maximum Vine video length, but still). Was “16 seconds” just your way of saying, “Keep it short and focused?”
I don’t know if there’s actually a limit to how long a FB Live video can be. Yes, with videos that are in place of photos or announcements, keep it short and sweet. 16 sec is pretty short. Seen recommendating to keep it under a minute. Will largely depend on your audience.
I guess we really are becoming the stars of our own reality shows. Ha.
Hahaha – don’t let the fame go to your head 🙂
How I wish I liked social media!
We need a class on learning to like social media rather than despising it all the more because it’s something we must do.
I know, I know, but I can’t think of something I’d like less than further opening up my private life.
Kristen hated Facebook when we first met. I had to join Twitter to take one of her classes. Now she loves Facebook. Take my class – you might like FB too 🙂
I LOATHED Facebook and now you can’t get me off of it. I pretty much abandoned Twitter. Lisa ruined me.
Thanks for the info! 🙂
I continually have to remind myself to include followers in things that happen/are happening around me/or truly interest me. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to capture that moment with no make-up to plaster my face on Facebook, but to capture that once-in-a-lifetime moment and share it could be the ticket. Thanks for the discussion and offering new ideas to help us stand out in an already over-populated internet.
Kristen, the thing I love most about following your blog is that I always learn something. I never realized FB videos are great ways to share small, intimate moments with followers. Guess what I’m doing as soon as I finish posting this comment!
Thanks,Lisa & Kristen – great post. Off to film myself doing something interesting (once I’ve thought of something interesting to do!).
I’m quite comfortable on camera and don’t mind making videos but I guess I wasn’t sure what people would be interested in. But I know which of the blog posts that I share gets the most reach so I should really be making videos about those topics, shouldn’t I?
LOVE your blogs. Thank you.
You asked for suggestions: I’m doing my first book launch in three weeks. Do you recommend inviting the press? If so, what job title do I target at the newspaper? Sending a press release? I read ROTM, but don’t recall any advice addressing this topic. Any guidance is greatly appreciated.
I can get a guest to do that. What I teach is how to build the platform and network so that marketing people aren’t spinning gold out of thin air. Remember that any advertising or marketing is only an extension of what you have ALREADY built. But I know some great marketing people so let me work on that. Thrilled you enjoy the blog!
Your blog is one of the few things I always read every week. Thank you for another interesting and helpful guest blog. I’ve signed up for the webinar on the 6th, which will give me a reason to get out of bed after doing the Darkness into Light walk from 4:00 a.m.! 🙂
Excellent article, Kristen! Love Lisa’s suggestions. And yours, as usual. My blog kinda fell off the face of the earth a bit. Am getting ready to dig in again. Thanks again.
Thanks for sharing this. Facebook used to pull a larger audience than recently. I thought maybe the target audience moved to a younger social media trend. Love to see how and where certain target audiences interact with authors.
I’ve signed up for the webinar on the 6th, which will give me a reason to get out of bed after doing the Darkness into Light walk from 4:00 a.m.! ?