Facebook Update For Authors - June 2019

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Imagine my lack of surprise when today, I had an urgent message from a trusted source to hop on a webinar that was being conducted to hear all about the 'next' Facebook change for business. This is a quick email. Just wanted to let you know that the term 'organic reach' is about to become one that people whisper in polite conversation. Here's the word from Facebook.

Remove. Reduce and Inform. This is the summary of what's happening and ahead for brands on Facebook.

Before we begin, keep in mind, Facebook's new goal is a private community where conversation and engagement is happening in a secure space. The one space that doesn't afford the users that security is the News Feed. So, beta test number one for Facebook is yet another shrinking of the news feed reach and a more story focused news feed.

What does this mean? It means that your page's ability to get seen in the News Feed just got harder. Less than 1%, no matter what content you're creating, is going to get seen organically by your audience. Of course, if your page is producing content that encourages engagement, has a group where your members are engaging and you are consistently showing up in Facebook, you can increase that rate, but not by much. The shrinking of the organic reach is meant to force brands to amplify their content...boost it, or create sponsored posts. Ads.

Here's the big problem with that. As of today, I'm going to need you to STOP boosting posts. Facebook loves to entice you to boost posts, but their targeting abilities are nowhere near what you can accomplish inside the ads manager. This is because now boosted posts are only being shown to those you are targeting who are live inside of Facebook at the time you're boosting.

What does that even mean? It means, if you boost a post, the algorithm isn't scraping and searching and spending all its efforts trying to find you the perfect reader to click on your ad. Inside a boost post, the algorithm is just giving that post to users of Facebook who may, or may not be interested in the post you're boosting and are online at that moment. So, if your perfect reader isn't online when the boost post goes live, they're not getting served that ad and you're spending valuable money on people who most likely, aren't clicking on your ad or purchasing. The algorithm is only scraping those users who are online at that time. So, boosting...bad. Ads manager...good.

However (yes, I know, this email just keeps delivering the punches. Just wait, there are two doozies ahead) when you're creating ads, you've got to become savvier, because the FB ads manager is still my favourite way to spend ad money. But, it will no longer work to put a pile of cash behind a teaser graphic with 10 buy links. Create one ad for iBooks readers, one for Kindle, one for KOBO, one for locations, devices, ages, interests....I think you get it. Segment, just like in your emails. Tight targeting combined with testing, a great headline and copy that grabs your reader...and of course, an image that passes inspection (which is also getting harder AGAIN) are what will lead your readers to your ads. Did I mention testing? Test, test, test. Never shut off ads and walk away. What did you learn? What can you tweak? Do you want to get a taste for how you've been targeted and then understand the data that went into delivering that ad to you? Head to your newsfeed and check out the second post. Betcha it's an ad! Reply and let me know what ad it was? This ad is the most highly refined ad the algorithm can deliver to you. It's the ad it thinks you MUST see. So, are you going to be that ad for your readers?

Okay, here are some bulleted points to consider based on other new changes to Facebook's mandate and algorithm.

  • Facebook is no longer giving organic reach to brands that post giveaways or contests. Remember that 'doozy' I spoke of? This is it. Check out your latest takeover if you've done one this week. Those posts with giveaways and contests may have less reach than you're used to. Certainly, moving forward, you're going to have to get creative with the language you're using to indicate giveaways. Now, when it comes to takeovers, I skip them entirely. For me, and I stress, for me, they're not a money making piece to my strategy. But I know, they can work. It's just going to take A LOT more planning on the author's end to make them effective thanks to Facebook.

  • When a readers leaves your group, they can choose to take all their posts with them. So, if suddenly a reader decides to leave your group and they were a very active member, upon their exit, they are given the option to remove their posts, stuff might disappear on you. If it's a recent post, that would be noticeable. If it's not, shouldn't be a huge problem.

  • Remember that doozy again? Here's the other one. Facebook has begun monitoring content posted in groups in a more heavier manner looking for content that violates their terms. This one is potentially the hugest flag for romance authors as we are already at the mercy of the algorithm for ads with our content, but now, they will be scanning content inside your reader groups and automatically removing it. They will send you a notification, but, if you're the admin and you get too many of these notifications, they will shut you down, permanently. No ability to lobby to be reinstated. And the page that belongs to the group. Wow! Huge implications. Join our private FB group where I’ve hosted a live broadcast to take your questions and break down how to navigate through these changes. Click the button below!

  • Finally, likes are no longer considered an engagement piece on your posts, or they’re the lowest form at least. You need to teach your readers to go one step further. Reactions (those emojis or hearts) are ranked as the baseline. Shares are next. Then comments on a post in someone else's feed that was a share from your page. Then comments. Then video comments....the GIF!! The GIF is king in FB right now. I heard a keynote from Alex Chung, the creator of GIPHY. His stats were so incredibly impressive. Use these tools!

That's a lot to absorb. What I don't want to happen is for you to feel deflated. Frustrated, yes. Defeated, no! If you've hung out with me for a while, you must know I've got a favourite way to lessen the impact of social media changes. EMAIL. Never has your list been so important. But beside from email, Facebook is still very much a viable marketing tool. We just have to understand the algorithm and the rules and work within them to grow our reader base.

See you on the inside,
Holly

Want to get this type of info as it’s happening? The Socialvert Society, the first membership community in the romance writing world, has up to date, leading marketing information, bi-weekly lessons with homework, mentorship sessions and private group coaching. Along with access to the Romance Writer’s Marketing Academy full course, your $29/month membership fee can bring you clarity, growth and prosperity in your writing business! Want more information? Click the button below.