Monday 23 February 2015

Is it worth paying to promote a Facebook Page?

These days Facebook Pages for individuals don’t seem to get much attention, unless you pay to promote them. 

Why have a Facebook Page if you're a writer?:
  • You can separate personal content from general writerly stuff (although this can be done with a personal Facebook account by setting up groups)
  • Readers want the opportunity to connect with their favourite authors, and this is an ideal way for an author to allow them to do that, without needing to accept the reader as a Facebook friend.
  • If you're unpublished, you might as well learn how to use a Facebook Page now, so that when (when, not if of course!) you're published, you know what to do.
But how easy is it to get attention on a Facebook Page? Pretty difficult for an individual, especially if you’re unpublished. I imagine that authors with lots of fans gain Likes for their Facebook Pages from their readers, but for an unpublished author like me (as Anita Chapman Writer) and for recently published authors, Likes are mainly from Facebook friends.

My Anita Chapman Writer Facebook Page
The key is to post regularly, and to 'invite' your friends to like your page so the number of Likes isn't embarrassingly low. I didn't dare ask anyone to like my Anita Chapman Writer Facebook Page initially, but when I received requests from Facebook friends to like their pages, I realised that it’s the norm. Although I’d only aim to ask someone who I know quite well (or who has asked me to like their page ;-))

How to ask someone to like your Facebook Page:

You can invite someone to like your page, if they are your Facebook friend, by searching for their name on your page, underneath 'See Pages Feed' on the right-hand side of this screen shot.

Invite a Facebook friend to like your page
Facebook Pages for organisations seem to work differently from those for individuals, because there are more potential fans, I expect. I’ve been Social Media Manager for the Historical Novel Society (“HNS”) since August 2014, and since then The HNS Facebook Page has increased its number of Likes from around 2800 to 3635. During that time, I’ve posted around three times per day on weekdays and at least once per day at weekends. The content I share is mainly about history, historical fiction and events which may interest historical fiction readers and writers.

The best you can do as an individual is post often and share content that you think your 'fans' would like to read, plus content which fits in with your 'brand'.

Facebook Page Etiquette
  • If you set up a page, ask your friends to like it, but don’t friend someone just to ask them to like your page.
  • If you ask someone to like your page, like their page if you haven't done so already (some people don't even do this when invited, and I think it's a bit of a cheek...on a par with thanking someone for following you on Twitter when you're not following back).
My two personal Facebook Pages are Anita Chapman Writer and neetsmarketing:

Anita Chapman Writer:
About: Posts on writing, Italy, history, art, country houses. Writer & Social Media Manager for Historical Novel Society. Also freelance

Here I link to my neetswriter blog and post about the subjects mentioned above, which are connected to my novels.

About: Blog on social media for writers, with guest posts: Also freelance social media marketing

Here I add links to my neetsmarketing blog and updates about upcoming neetsmarketing courses; plus useful posts on the book world, and social media. 

Is it worth paying to promote a Facebook Page?

Recently, I carried out an 'experiment' on my neetsmarketing Facebook Page, and here are the results, with updates to show how it went:

I paid to promote the following post (by clicking on Boost Post, and selecting audience as 'People who like your page and their friends'):

4066 people reached
1 Share
48 Actions (meaning people who have liked, commented, shared or clicked)
Promoted for one day at £18 (meant to do for £14, but added another £4 by mistake-be careful, as Facebook keep asking you to add more cash, and I thought the initial payment hadn't been enough).

Then I paid to promote the whole page for 5 days at £3 per day, selecting writers and authors, UK and US. Perhaps playing around with who the advert goes to might change the results (although it didn't seem to go where I asked it to go). Promoting the page itself gained me 8 new Likes, but I don't think these Likes are from people who are interested in the content on my neetsmarketing page.

Then I paid to promote this fabulous guest post from Alison Morton (in the same way as for the above post):

2410 people reached
24 Actions (meaning people who have liked, commented, shared or clicked)
Promoted for one day at £13

So, from my experiment, I'd say it's worth paying to promote a post with a link to your website or blog, rather than to promote the page itself. Then you'll gain the additional benefit of extra hits on your website or blog. However, neither produced a significant number of new Likes of the page itself. 

If you're an author with a new book coming out, it would probably be worth paying to promote a post on your Facebook Page, with a nice photo of the book cover and a link to Amazon. Even better, a Q&A/interview or blog post relating to the book, with the above.

Added 11 April 2016: 'Facebook's Changed The 20% Ad Image Text Overlay Rule' via Social Media Today.

I’m excited to tell you that Talli Roland will be a guest on this blog on 24 April, with a post about Facebook. I can't wait to hear what Talli has to say, as she is the Facebook Queen! 

My next guests, on 6 March will be 'The Romaniacs on Blogging and Using Social Media as a Group'. The Romaniacs have enjoyed much success with their blog and writing, and I look forward to reading their answers to my questions.

To find out about the social media training, assistance and promotion packages I offer for writers, independent publishers and organisations, go to my neetsmarketing website here.

The first post on my neetsmarketing blog was published in January 2015, my most popular post: My Beginner's Guide To Twitter for Writers


  1. Really clear, and valuable, advice, Anita.

    I'm looking for a way to share this on FB (I'm nowhere near knowing as much as you do!)

    1. Thanks very much Helen, glad you found the info helpful, and thanks for sharing on Twitter and Facebook too :-)

  2. Many thanks for this interesting and timely post, Anita. I've been thinking about boosting a post when The Highland Lass comes out on March 10th and will definitely go ahead with it. Will also boost my author page at some point. It seems the way FB wants us to go now! Good to get the information here.

    1. So glad you found the info helpful Rosemary. If I had a book coming out, I'd do the same. Best of luck with the launch of The Highland Lass :-)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your research and for such useful insights, Anita.

  4. A very interesting post, Anita. I am keen to hear what Talli says.

    About a year ago, I paid to promote an item on Facebook. My understanding was that FB would move it back to the top of the list throughout the day to catch new arrivals.

    I checked throughout the day, but didn't see it anywhere near the top so came to the conclusion that I'd wasted my money. I may have done something wrong, though; knowing me, that's a real possibility. :-(

    1. Thanks for reading Liz! I'm looking forward to Talli's post too. Not sure what happened when you paid to promote your Facebook post-I found that if I selected 'People who like your page and their friends', I got the best results as the post was seen by who I wanted to see it. Best of luck if you try again.

  5. I think I may well have done something wrong, Anita. I didn't direct it to anyone specific - they told me where to pay and how much, and I paid it. Another time, I'd pay considerably more attention to what I was doing. And I may well ask for your help!!!

  6. Thank you for 'boosting' me, Anita! I am very honoured. Like you, I do the odd one now and again, especially if it links back to my site. The one featuring my reader survey (which was all over the internet via other channels) was very satisfactory.

    Likes, shares, actions and boosts are all part of the mix on FB; useful occasionally, but not something to spend too much cash on randomly. I think used as part of a strategy, they can be very helpful, but it needs an expert like you to devise that strategy!

    1. You're very welcome Alison. It was an honour to have you as the first guest on my new blog, and thanks for revisiting and leaving a comment! Initially I was wary about spending cash on Facebook Page promo, but then I realised: neetsmarketing is a business so I need to invest a little to gain the attention I need to move neetsmarketing forwards. And I need to make a success of my own blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts if clients are going to take me seriously ;-) (and those that I manage for clients). I promoted this post on Facebook and the reach was far higher than previously, but there were fewer Likes. I expect success depends on the subject matter of the post. I've noticed that it's worth seeing if a post is popular before you pay, then if you pay, the success rate is high. I'll continue to experiment and let you know the results!

  7. I've been out of the loop for a couple of weeks due to hospital stuff. This was really useful though, Anita. Thanks for sharing. :) x

    1. Thanks so much for reading Sheryl, glad you found it useful. Hope your partner gets better soon-sending lots of love and thinking of you. x