Publishers know promoting books and authors on Facebook is smart, but it's a lot more impactful when there's high engagement from Facebook users. Why do some publishers earn 1,000 or more likes on a post while others may receive as few as 7? If you want to increase Facebook engagement, here are 12 tips you can deploy to build up your competitive advantage.
1. Interact. Ask questions or get the opinions of your community. When you ask for engagement, you often receive more of it because you are treating the communication on Facebook like a conversation. People won't engage with you on Facebook when the platform is treated like a soapbox. Consider asking questions with a positive spin like: What did you like best about this book or author? You can do a fill in the blank posts or conduct a poll. Talk on Facebook as if you are having a conversation with one person.
2. Set up goals. You will feel more effective on Facebook when your goals are clear. Instead of going for number of overall likes on your page (which doesn't necessarily indicate engagement), aim for improved website traffic, sales inquiries, and leads. Look for an increase of comments and shares of your posts -- all indications of increased Facebook engagement.
3. Share valuable content. Consider sharing author interviews (text or video), photos and bios, testimonials, book summaries, or compelling quotes from an author's book. Share book reviews or blogs from you or your authors. Content marketing is a powerful tool for driving readers to your site and introducing them to your books.
4. Host contests and giveaways. Host a giveaway or a contest on your Facebook page to boost engagement. Book giveaways are a great way to build buzz about a title and attract a new audience.
5. Be direct. Short text posts of less than 50 characters get the most interaction, BuzzSumo reports.
6. Share videos. Videos that are directly embedded get more interaction than videos shared from YouTube. (Maybe this is Facebook showing the love to its own platform and not Google's YouTube.) Videos are viewed more than any other type of post on Facebook. Use videos to interview authors, or share video clips of book signings or book readings. Facebook recently rolled out Live Video (similar to Periscope) and aspires to become the go-to Live Streaming app.
7. Up late? Post on your Facebook page. Or schedule posts with the late evening in mind. From 10PM on, posts get more engagement. This is due in part because people are unwinding for the day with their phones in hand, but it's also because not as many people post at this time so you aren't vying with as many posts for attention. Post late at night to take advantage of less traffic and competition.
8. #NotForFacebook. Yes, hashtags work on all social media platforms, but most people don't like to see them on Facebook. See if you get more interaction by leaving them out on your next Facebook post. Many Facebook marketing experts agree on #Nohashtags for Facebook.
9. Don't skip Sunday night. A few different social media sites report that Sunday nights get more engagement on average.
10. Use Instagram. BuzzSumo indicates that publishers can earn a 23% boost in engagement by sharing images to Facebook via Instagram as opposed to posting images directly to Facebook.
11. Use Facebook Page Insights. What is working? Facebook Page Insights will quickly let you know. You can see the reach of your posts, view demographics of who is engaging with your content, and monitor trends over time. Always use your data to assess how you are doing and adjust accordingly. While you obviously will want to do more of what works, and less of what doesn't, just talking about your wins with engagement can spark new ideas.
12. Enhance your page with apps. There are a seemingly endless number of apps that can enhance what you do on Facebook, like contact form apps, quizzes, and RSS feeds. Plus, Facebook itself is adding features all the time. Consider at least changing your custom tabs on your Facebook page to help you achieve your social media goals. Here's a great list of Facebook apps to enhance your engagement.
Use these methods to make the time you invest on Facebook worthwhile. You will likely find you get back what you give.
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. A nationally recognized speaker and online branding expert, Fauzia writes for the Huffington Post, MariaShriver.com and MindBodyGreen. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on the book, please visit: www.FauziaBurke.com.