Social Media Suicide? by Mae Clair

Yesterday, I was tinkering around on my Facebook author page and was nagged by the idea that it had been a small eternity since I posted on my—ugh!—profile page. It’s a persistent thought whenever I roam onto FB, like an overzealous gnat that won’t go away.

Gray tabby kitten looking at screen on a miniature laptop with words Facebook Status Update Overdue displayed on monitor. Piles of books next to and under computer. I knew when I signed up for Facebook in 2012 we weren’t a good match, but as an author, it was pretty much a requirement.  I honestly enjoy posting on my author page. The problem is those #@&!* FB algorithms. My posts don’t display in newsfeeds unless a). I pay for them or b). Fans regularly interact with my page.

*grumble*

I find it hard to interact with all of the FB pages I’ve liked, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy seeing posts from them. I’ve been trying to visit those pages more regularly so they show up in my newsfeed, but there are so many. It would be so much easier if Facebook went back to the way it used to be.

Whining aside, I tackled my Facebook dilemma with drastic action.

When I first signed up for FB, the idea was to friend as many people as I could and gain friends in return with the hopes of connecting and building rapport. The problem? I had close to 600 friends on my profile page but only strong relationships with a couple dozen (outside of immediate family and friends). There was so much content filtering through it was overwhelming.

Now, I know in the world of FB, 600 friends is a mere drop in the bucket. But to this highly introverted I’d-rather-read-or-write-than-play-on-social-media-person, 600 friends was intimidating. I’ve never been good in crowds, but I love chatting in small groups. So yesterday I trimmed my number of friends to 90.

I’m not sure if I committed social media suicide or took the first step in making Facebook work for me. I figured it wasn’t doing any good sitting there growing stale, and since Zuckerberg’s brainchild wasn’t going away, I had to do something.

A group of animals are together on a black background. Animals range from an Elephant, Zebra, White Lion, Monkey, Giraffe, Lemur, and Tiger. Text above image says "small groups. Great content."

There are other platforms like Twitter (which I love) where I can connect with thousands of authors, but I want my Facebook experience to be built around authors I’m friendly with. That’s all of you who follow my blog, a few others, and my immediate circle of family and friends. With the number drastically pared down, I’m going to timidly venture back onto FB and begin to share and comment more. Look out, you’ve been warned!

I’ve been inspired by a friend and author who does a great job with her FB pages (she has several) and she is absolutely brilliant with them. I won’t out her, but er….well, Pittsburgh is involved. 🙂

Anyway, I hope to see you on Facebook, now that I’ll be active on my profile again. And my author page isn’t going anywhere, so you can always find me there, too.

I’m hoping I did the right thing with that hatchet job (and haven’t ticked anyone off….I did make a post about it).  What do you think? Smart move or social media suicide?

Are you using Facebook’s Author App? by Mae Clair

I’m not usually a big fan of Facebook. Especially since the only way to realize any true benefit there as an author is to shell out $$$….but when I have paid for boosts or ads, I’ve always had good results. (Note to self: continue to use FB for ads).

On a side note—before I get to the main topic—if you are paying for boosts, make sure your next several posts don’t require a large reach. Rumor has it FB holds those posts back with the philosophy if you’ve paid once, you’ll pay again. Eventually, things will even out, but the posts that immediately follow any kind of paid ad or boost generally reach less of your fans. Time for filler and fluff.

But enough with FB bashing. I’m here to say they’ve done something pretty awesome for authors. Thanks to my dear friend Sandra Cox, I’ve discovered the Author App. Sandra has a fun website with daily posts that are sure to make you grin. She’s also got a wonderful collection of novels and novellas that range from mutants and vampires to cats, flower gardens and more. While you’re roaming the blogosphere, pop over and say hello. 🙂

And now back to the reason for this post:

I’m know I’m probably behind the times since Facebook and I co-exist as frenemies, but I wanted to share the Author App in the event some of you aren’t familiar with it either

It’s easy to install on your author page.

  • Click the link (provided below)
  • Select your page
  • Go to the app (it will most likely appear under the “More” tab at this point)
  • Add your profile
  • Add books
  • You can even add information on upcoming book signings!

screenshot of author app on Facebook page of Mae Clair, author

The screenshot above was captured from the app on my page.

Pretty nifty, huh? Each book gets its own little section, and the best part is all you have to do is add the AISN or ISBN and the app automatically grabs the related content. You can also arrange what order you want your books listed.

I did discover, however, that the app doesn’t like apostrophes or italics (basically anything that isn’t HTML compliant).

After my books uploaded, I went back and edited all of the apostrophes getting rid of the gobbly-gook. Now I’ve got a neatly streamlined page with books, purchase links, and star ratings. I added all seven of my novels, then rearranged the tabs on my author page so that the Author App is visible without click “more.”

screenshot of the Facebook fan page for author Mae Clair showing a spooky house with light streaming from the windows on a red background

See the Author App tab above? If you’d like to see how the whole thing works, visit my page and click on the Author App tab for the full effect of how your books appear. You also get an author profile. You can find my page at https://www.facebook.com/maeclairauthor/

If you haven’t visited my page before, I’d also be grateful for a “like.” 🙂 If you include the link to your page in the comments below, I will return the favor!

The whole thing is pretty cool, don’t you think? So where exactly can you get this awesome app? Just click this link, and you’ll be set to go: https://apps.facebook.com/authorapp/

Thanks again to Sandra Cox for sharing this with me. Authors, were you familiar with this app?

My Frenemy, Facebook, by Mae Clair

I wish I could say I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but that would imply love and the most I can rummage up is a questionable like.  

Social media is an interesting beast. Like an octopus with many tentacles, Facebook is but one of many channels available for connecting with others in an online world.

As a writer, it’s a necessity for me to be there and maintain a presence. The second half is the hard part.  No matter what I do, how I slice and dice my day, I can’t seem to squeeze in an allotment of time for Facebook. Between a home life, day job, writing, blogging and reading, FB just isn’t a priority. I keep looking for the magic equation of time but haven’t found a solution. That’s a hard pill to swallow for someone with a type-A personality who is driven to conquer obstacles.

Frustated businesswoman

That’s not to say Facebook isn’t without benefits. I’ve made some great friends on the site that I wouldn’t have encountered elsewhere in the world of social media. And, yes, I’ve directly sold books as a result of FB, but I’ve also encountered a number of frustrating hurdles. Like these:

Automatic Blog Feed
When I first realized I could hook my blog to my FB author page (so that my posts appeared automatically), I was ecstatic. It was great to be able to share what I was blogging about on a daily basis. I could even connect to my friends page and share there as well. And–best of all–it saved me time from manually having to do a post each day. I kept a presence on FB and kept everyone informed about what I was sharing on my blog. Great, right?

Not so fast.  When Facebook became a publically traded company, a lot of things changed.

  1. My posts no longer appeared in the newsfeed of everyone who was following me. Now, if they really wanted to connect with my page, they had to add me as an interest.
  2. FB doesn’t like anything automatic. So the blog feed I thought was the be-all/end-all of social media ease had suddenly become a hindrance. Why?

Algorithms
Facebook places more emphasis on certain types of posts than others, meaning (depending on the type of post you make) a greater amount of your fans are likely to see it. Here’s the order

  1. Text
  2. Posts with photos
  3. Posts with links
  4. Posts with videos
  5. Posts from automatic feeds and scheduled posts (think Hootsuite as an example)

Those blog posts I was so pleased about, now got bumped to the bottom of the list. Not to worry though, because I came up with a solution. I disconnected my blog and began to manually insert my posts each day, using a photo from my blog.  Photos rank high. (Facebook is currently adding even more emphasis to them).  Smart move on my part, huh? Suddenly I was back up to number two on the algorithms list. Things were looking good…until I started thinking about the “likes” on my page.

Word cloud for Social networking potential

Page Likes
Like most authors, I enjoy having “likes” on my page. I want to connect with like-minded people who are interested in reading, writing and, who hopefully, are intrigued by my work as an author. I enjoy talking about those things and love when I have interaction from others. As I said, I’ve made some great friends there.

Interaction is the key. Because if no one (or very few) interact with your posts, less and less people (among those “likes” you have) see them. As a result, FB starts dropping your page further down the list of ranking. So if a horde of people “like” your page as a favor and never return to interact with it, those likes actually factor against you.

Of course I can pay to have my posts promoted, but I’m reminded that FB was created as a social site, not a business site. The majority of people there are out to share socially and have fun, not buy books.  

It’s better to create posts that engage interaction. Because the more interaction a post has, the more viral it becomes and the more people who see it.

Fan Page and Friend Page
Finally, we come to this…the burden of maintaining two pages. Do I understand the need for it? Yes, I suppose (said reluctantly).  I work in the real estate field. If I listed and sold properties which I don’t (I’m in marketing and IT), I wouldn’t want my business clients seeing the same silly and/or personal posts I share with my family and friends. There’s a boundary of professionalism that has to be maintained.

However, as a writer, most of my friends on my “friends page” are other writers. It would be nice if FB allowed the option of having a fan page without first creating a profile/friends page. Yes, it can be done, but then you’re severely limited in what you can do using that fan/author page. (Example, you can “like” another page as a business page but that like won’t show in the page count). It’s hard enough for me to maintain one page, but two? Seriously?!?! Is any of this starting to sound like work?

I didn’t expect to like Facebook when I signed up for it so you may think my opinions are/were bias. But I was certain I wouldn’t like Twitter either. Adamant, in fact. It turns out I love Twitter. It’s easy, quick (my favorite part), and I love the short conversations I can have with others. We’re all different in our preferences. For me, Facebook remains my frenemy, the challenge I have to conquer. My type-A personality won’t have it any other way.

How do you feel about it? Do you have a formula for balancing social media time with everything else in your life? I would love to know the secrets!