Yesterday, I talked about how Facebook is not the great promotional tool we authors had been led to believe, and yet some people do exceedingly well on the site. The truth is, Facebook is a beast that feeds on content. It needs a never-ending source of funny, inspiring, informative, controversial, topical, and brief posts that engage users and keeps them liking, sharing, and commenting. The more a post is shared, liked, and commented on, the more visible the post becomes. (Facebook uses something called EdgeRank to keep track of all this, which seems similar to Amazon’s algorithms. Amazon, like Facebook, rewards those who are doing well with additional visibility. In the same way, rich celebrities who already have everything they need, get free perks just because they are rich celebrities.)
When someone interacts in any way with a post on a fan page, for example, it shows up the feed of their friends, but the originator of the content gets the credit. And so the content provider gets more reach, and because they get more reach, Facebook will ensure that this continues by letting more and more fans see the posts, which increases the page reach of the content provider. Because, of course, without content, FB will starve since its users will go where they can find funny inspiring, informative, controversial, topical, and brief posts — places such as Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or whatever the next big thing will be.
If you don’t have such engaging posts, then even if you have 1500 fans, only about 1% will ever see what you post. If you want to know what attracts attention, look no further than your own feed. What do you see that has been shared a hundred times, a thousand times? What have you laughed at, commented on, shared? Photos with funny, inspiring, informative, controversial, topical, and brief commentary, that’s what. (Well, you do unless you’re a curmudgeon like me, and then such content simply annoys you. If I see one more animal with baby-talk captions, acting like a human, I will probably scream so loud, it will reverberate through the center of the earth and cause earthquakes on the other side of the world.)
All this research the past couple of days into the workings of Facebook has given me a few ideas of what to do with my fan page — contests, questions, quotes from my books, even . . gasp . . . photos with captions.