Have you stuck with me on the Facebook For Authors series? You can check out the previous posts on the Promoting Your Books page if you need to catch up :). This post, we’re getting into some advanced Facebook topics: Facebook analytics, algorithms and insights. Many indie authors are hesitant to use Facebook because they don’t really understand how Facebook works. Let’s dive in and examine this now.
Facebook For Authors – Facebook Algorithms
It’s important to understand why you are posting, and what you hope to achieve with your posts. As we’ve discussed in other posts (Continuing Facebook For Authors – Posting Guidelines), it’s important to engage your fans. But many indie authors don’t understand what you need to achieve with your engagement – what difference does it make what I post? It’s all about Facebook’s algorithms. Here’s how it works (as best anyone can figure out, since Facebook isn’t talking)…Facebook uses algorithms to determine what you will see when you log onto your personal profile.
Facebook For Authors – What About Those Algorithms?
Here’s the thing that many indie authors don’t realize: Facebook has determined for years who and who doesn’t see your posts. Facebook uses what they call EdgeRank to determine what posts show up in your news feed. I’ve known about EdgeRank for quite some time, but Anne Chaconas at Novel Publicity did a great post explaining EdgeRank that you should read. The gist of it is this:
Every single post a page or a person creates on Facebook is assigned a value for every single person that is a fan or a friend of the page or person. This value is determined by three things:
- The relationship between the person and the other person or page. This is called affinity.
- The type of post it is (picture, comment, like, share, post). Different types of activity have different EdgeRank values. Facebook assigns greater value (or weight) to what it calls rich media, i.e., pictures, videos, polls, questions.
- How long ago this post was created, or time decay.
What this means is what you post and how much interaction your fans have with your posts (affinity), are what makes your posts show up on your fans’ personal profiles. Now do you see the importance of getting likes and comments for your posts? The better your EdgeRank, the more personal pages you show up on.
Facebook For Authors – So My EdgeRank Is Good, So What?
I’m glad you asked :). What this means is free publicity for you! How? When your post is showing up on the personal pages of your fans, all of their friends will potentially see the post as well. It’s like the old Faberge shampoo commercial – they told two friends, who told two friends, and so on and so on…here it is, if you want a trip back in time :). And, yes, it was Heather Locklear, believe it or not…
So remember, you want likes and comments to get a better EdgeRank, which gets you more free publicity (you can pay to promote posts as well, but that’s a topic for another time).
Facebook For Authors – Facebook Insights
I also want to cover Facebook Insights. When you log onto your fan page, you’ll see the Admin Panel. Here you have notifications of recent activity, new likes, and more. You also see a snapshot of your Insights data. It includes the volume of your own posts, total reach, and the number of people talking about this. You can check out each section for more information. It’s important to check this area often because you’ll gain insights into your page activity, and you’ll learn what things are most engaging your fans. I’ve created a video to give you more details on Facebook Insights, and you can also click on the question marks that are attached to each Insight area for a full explanation as well.
I hope this post has been helpful. I think you’ll find that if you dive into Facebook fan pages with a better understanding what you’re doing, your experience will be more positive than you once thought it could be (even if you hate Facebook :)).