Monday 15 June 2015

Managing What You See on Facebook

Facebook has changed how you manage your News Feed since I wrote this post, so I shall add the updates, but in the meantime, here's an article which tells you everything, via Social Media Today (13 July 2015).

A couple of clients, and attendees on my course in April have asked how to control what they see in their Facebook News Feed, without unfriending anyone. Is there a way of hiding those updates they don’t want to see? I.e. from those who post perhaps too much political stuff, or too many ‘what I had for breakfast' pictures. Personally, I don’t mind photos of food, although posts around the UK General Election did get a bit much, and I raced through my News Feed that week. Clients have asked, 'What is the Facebook equivalent of muting someone you follow on Twitter?' (see this article in The Guardian for more info on that).

Hiding updates from my News Feed isn't something I worry about too much, as I don't accept Friend requests from someone I haven't seen online before. There are a few dodgy Facebook Friends floating around, and I do hear stories about them, so be careful. If you're an author, and worry that you're rejecting a reader, set up a Facebook Author Page so readers can Like that page for your updates instead. My next post will explain how to set up lists for your Facebook Friends, which can help you manage which posts your Friends see.
Here’s how you control what you see in your Facebook News Feed.

When I recently checked this for myself, I noticed that Facebook had unfollowed Friends/Author Pages without asking me, many of them good Friends, and Authors whose updates I wish to see. So I re-followed those Friends and Pages. It’s worth checking you’re seeing what you want to see.

Click in the top right corner of your Facebook page, on the triangle, then select News Feed Preferences:

You will then have the option to go through People, Pages and Groups. If you wish to unfollow, then click on the box which says Following, which will then become +Follow. I don't want to unfollow any of these lovely people:

For those Friends and Pages which Facebook had unfollowed for me, I clicked on +Follow to change them to Following.

How to unfollow an advert: 

I recently bought a pair of shoes online, when I couldn't get my size in the shop. For a week or two afterwards, Facebook displayed regular adverts of this exact shoe in my News Feed, in the exact colour I'd ordered, which was a bit of a cheek, I thought (and slightly Big Brother-ish). So I unfollowed that advert.

Of course, as a writer, you wouldn't want to unfollow Amazon, but here's how you would unfollow an advert, by clicking on the 'v' in the top right corner:

How to unfollow a Friend or Page, when checking your News Feed:

I wouldn’t want to unfollow the Social Media Examiner Facebook Page, as their posts are useful, but here’s what you’d do if you wanted to unfollow updates from a Friend (perhaps a request you accepted in haste) or Page, by clicking on the 'v' in the top right corner again:

Selecting Most Recent or Top Stories:

You can also select the order in which posts are posted from: Top Stories or Most Recent, when clicking on News Feed on the left. This is handy if you want to find a post from your own Facebook Page, to see what it looks like in a News Feed (perhaps if you've just boosted it):

There’s more detail on all of the above, and other stuff here, from Facebook

Added on 9 September 2015: My follow up post is now ready, Managing What Your Friends See on Facebook. This is useful for learning how to separate writing acquaintances and readers from family and friends on Facebook.

Another Post on Facebook: Is it Worth Paying to Promote a Facebook Page?

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Upcoming guest post:

Friday 5 June 2015

Sue Moorcroft on Balancing Writing with Social Media!

Sue Moorcroft is my guest today, and if you don’t know Sue already, here’s her bio:

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’, and is a creative writing tutor.

Phew! Sue spins a lot of plates, and I’ve invited her to write a post on ‘Balancing Writing with Social Media’, because she's so good at doing it. Sue produces novel after novel, and does all those other things mentioned above, but still maintains an enviable online presence. Sue knows her audience and provides updates on her writing progress, including information about research; and general updates on her daily life. Also Sue tweets, and updates her Facebook Page with links to those gem-like posts on writing and the world of books; ones you don’t often see anywhere else. 

Last October, I went to Sue’s Short Story Workshop at the Guildford Book Festival, and I wrote about the evening in a neetswriter blog post: Keeping Up the Inspiration

Thank you so much Sue for writing this post for my blog. Over to you!

Balancing Writing with Social Media, by Sue Moorcroft

Wherever writers gather, physically or virtually, a common subject for discussion is how much time we should be spending on social media. Opinions range from ‘I can’t be bothered. It’s a time drain. I don’t get it.’ to ‘I have Xooo,ooo followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and I do four blog tours a day.’

Somewhere in the middle you’ll find me.
  • Firstly, I don’t think there’s any ‘should’ about how long I (or you) spend on social media. I like to engage with readers, writers, bloggers and other industry professionals, or just about anybody who may have something interesting/funny to say and will not offend or irritate me. But you might not feel the same, and so why not tailor your social media efforts to your available time, the results you attain, and your personal preference? Don’t let it be a burden.
  • I concentrate on Twitter and Facebook because they appeal to me and provide me with the most followers/friends. I do use LinkedIn and Google+ a little, too. I have a blog and I guest on other blogs (like this one).
  • Routinely, I turn my attention to Twitter, then Facebook, early in the morning. Then I get on with my writing (or planning or research or whatever that day’s task is). I return to Facebook and Twitter periodically during the day. If one of my books is part of a current promotion, or if I’m involved in an interesting conversation, I return quite a lot.
  • I don’t spend all my social media time bleating ‘Buy my books!’ I chat to people. I congratulate others on their achievements. I read interesting articles that others have flagged up. I discuss publishing with other writers. I pinch their social media ideas if I think they’re effective, I form and maintain business-friendly relationships with book bloggers etc, and I ask research questions (an underused facility in my opinion). I prolong friendly relationships with people I’ve met in the real world. In short, I network.
  • I see a value in building up a network of people whose posts I share and who will share mine in return. It widens the audience for posts I’ve written, my books when on special offer, and any good news I have, and all it costs is my time as I reciprocate. NB I try not to be a blood-sucking, self-interested user, ie cultivating only those people/conversations/contacts that are likely to benefit me and me alone. Some people’s social media strategy reminds me of a vampire looking for a neck. It doesn’t make me want to help them.
  • Social media has allowed me to form my lovely street team – the suggestion came from a reader, via Facebook, and we use a Facebook group to interact. (If you’re interested in joining Team Sue Moorcroft, do contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my website. You can read my blog on the subject here.
  • Very important to me is the privilege of interacting with readers. If a reader contacts me via social media to say that s/he has enjoyed one of my books, it makes my day. I always respond. Always. If I had to choose only one use for social media, it would be this one.
  • Do I think that you should have a social media presence? If you’re a writer, then, yes, I do think that you should. I think writers benefit from being visible, contactable, discoverable. Even if you’re awaiting your first traditional publishing contract I think you should have a presence – because many publishers and agents do Google you if they’re interested in taking you on to see if you have an audience and you can self-promote. And if you’re self-publishing, I’m positive that social media will help you sell your book effectively.
  • BUT, if I’m up against a deadline or fighting a knotty segment of my plot, you probably won’t see me on social media at all. This is an important point. I control my social media activity – I don’t let it control me. Unless one of my books is in a promo, of course … then I will find the time. It’s worth it.
Social media has got me engagements as a speaker and tutor, new readers, promotion, invitations to blog, invitations to be part of a promotion activity, research contacts, radio interviews and literary festival appearances. And work.

But if I wasn’t lucky enough to be a full-time writer I would have to cut my social media time proportionately. If I hated and detested the whole social media circus, found it intrusive and puerile, I would do the minimum. The balance between writing and social media is a lifestyle balance, like work/play/sleep or save/spend. It’s deeply personal and you should tailor it to yourself.

Thanks again, Sue for visiting my neetsmarketing blog, and for writing this informative, and easy-to-read post! (love the bullet points).

Sue’s latest book: The Wedding Proposal

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Twitter @suemoorcroft