by Shawn Inmon
Do you have a Facebook page? Of course you do. Here’s the more relevant question: is your message getting out to your fans, or do you sometimes feel like you’re shouting down a well?
Life was easier in the early days of Facebook. You posted content and it was delivered to the walls of your fans. Then FB went public and monetized their platform, confirming the adage If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. Suddenly, you needed to pay money to reach your fans.
There is a better way, of course—beating the Facebook algorithms. Every professional page tells you what your “Talking About This” number is. What does that number measure? My understanding is that it measures the number of unique users who Like, Comment, or Share a post on your page over a rolling seven day period. The higher that number is, the more of your posts will be seen by your fans. My understanding is that the average TAT is between 5-7%. So, if you have a thousand fans on your page, the average TAT number is 50-70.
I shoot for substantially higher than that. At this moment, my FB page has 1,721 fans and a 721 TAT number, or about 41.8%. My goal is to keep that number constantly between 25-50%. Keeping the TAT number that high means that my posts go out to a substantially higher number of my fans without paying FB. I saw a traditionally published author last week who had over 40,000 fans and a TAT # of under 50. Abysmal. No one is seeing their posts, because FB believes that no one cares about those posts.
This algorithm, by the way, is a great reason to not buy “Likes” for your FB page. If you buy fans from a “Like Farm,” they will not interact with your page, lowering your TAT % substantially. It can become a FB death spiral—lower percent of fans respond, FB sends your posts out to fewer people, even fewer fans respond… you get the picture.
The question is, how do you build your TAT # up? It’s really pretty easy. Post engaging content. Ask questions. Interact with your readers. Don’t constantly push your books. Many writers seem to object to posting “silly jokes and memes.” That’s fine, but FB will likely choose to show their important posts to a tiny percentage of their fans. I post silly jokes and memes every day. They are the backbone of my FB page. They get a lot of likes, comments and shares. They also give people a reason to think of my page as a “destination page.” People tell me that they don’t wait to see my page pop up in their Newsfeed, but instead make the effort to come to my page to see what I’ve posted.
Questions are a great way to encourage interactivity. I ask things that fit with my books, or reading in general. Several months ago, I asked a simple question: “What do you prefer, books or ereaders.” That post got over 120 responses. I also asked “Do you read all the extra material in books, like the Acknowledgements, and Author’s Note?” Again, over 100 responses. It helped push my TAT #’s up and doubled as market research. By the way, a huge majority said they always read that material.
The mistake that most of us make is to make our page all about us. Our readers are so inundated with ads every day, if they perceive that you are giving them more of the same, they will tune you out. I tend to promote other writers on my page as much as I do my own books. Yes, I talk about my own books—a new release, a special price—but it makes up less than 10% of what I post about.
I also have a Book Club once every six weeks or so. No, not for my own books, for other people’s books. I give my readers three or four choices and let them vote on what they want to discuss. Then, at the appointed time, we all meet at my page and discuss it. This builds a sense of loyalty and community on my page, and of course, it increases the TAT.
I recommend that you look at your own TAT #’s, examine the content you’re posting, and think if you are implementing the best strategy and reaching the most people you can with your page.
Shawn Inmon hails from Mossyrock, Washington — the setting for his first two full-length books, Feels Like the First Time and Both Sides Now. His newest release is Rock ‘n Roll Heaven. By day he works in real estate with a side of public speaking. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Dawn, is a father of five, grandfather of five, and best pal to two chocolate labs named Hershey and Sadie and a slightly insane cat named Buddha. Learn more about Shawn on Facebook or his Author Central page.