As of mid 2021, Facebook is seventeen years old and has almost three billion monthly active users. You’re probably on it yourself. If you're not, most people you know will be.
There are three main ways people use Facebook.
A personal profile. Everyone who joins Facebook has to have a personal profile. You choose which information about yourself you present and connect with "friends" by sharing text, images, photos and videos. This is the most informal way of using of the site.
Facebook groups. These are special interest groups where you can communicate about a specific subject.
Facebook Pages. These are designed for businesses (or authors) to promote themselves, This is the most “corporate” or formal part of the site.
Further reading: What's the difference between a profile, Page and group on Facebook?
We have Facebook Pages for the majority of our imprints and we have Closed Facebook Groups for CI authors to connect, share news and experiences and look for mutual support. You must be a contracted (signed) author with us to join one of our groups.
See the Pages and groups here and connect with the ones relevant to you.
- We create 1-2 promo images each book we publish. These work well on Facebook, so use them.
- Visual posts get more views than text posts or linked articles. Try to minimize or not include any text in your images (book covers not withstanding).
- Post at the most effective time. Ensure socially active people can see your post in key markets in the U.K. and the U.S. Posting at 7 pm to 10 pm U.K. time is a good rule of thumb.
- Do not put up dozens of updates in one go – they will reach fewer and fewer of your fans.
- Share the love! If there are blogs or newspaper articles that mention you, if other people tag you in posts about your book, or even mention you on other social networks, then let people know!
- Tag people relevant to your post or people who you think may share the post – type @ and continue typing the name of the person you want to tag, select them from the list, and tap "Done" in the upper right corner.
- Hashtags only work on IG or Twitter; forget it for Facebook or any other platform.
Many authors are happy to use Facebook solely through their profile. However a Facebook profile is limited to 5000 friends. It is also supposed to be personal, and not used for business purposes.
Many of our authors maintain an Facebook Page. In theory, hundreds of thousands of even millions of people on Facebook can see your posts (but you'll probably have to pay for that).
- Create a Facebook Page using these instructions.
- When you create a new page, you can invite everyone you are friends with to like that page. Advise them to set your page to "see first" – which means people are guaranteed to see your posts.
- You may wish to share admin roles with others, so they may post on your behalf.
- Facebook artificially constrains who sees posts – if 1000 people like your page, then a very small percentage of them will see your posts. If you pay, your post will be seen by a lot of people, and you have some degree of choice as to who sees it (including people who haven't liked your Page).
If you pay to boost your posts is important that the post you choose to boost is well constructed so that you get the most engagement and reach.
Reach is the number of people who have seen the advert. Engagement is the amount of people who interacted with (liked, commented or shared) the post. If you have a post which is already getting a lot of likes and comments and you haven’t boosted it yet, then you should consider doing so.
Here a few tips for creating a great social media post to promote your book:
- Start your post with a question or a bold opening statement. You want something that the user answers in their mind or that stops them in their tracks. This is the key to effective advertising.
- If you use an image, make sure the picture doesn't contain a lot of text. Facebook tends to either refuse these posts or limit their reach.
- Use a review, endorsement or testimonial, so readers know that your book has been critically acclaimed and has value and worth. Don’t be afraid to add more than one – a large percentage of users have a herd mentality and if they see others think the book is good, there is a higher chance they will interact.
- Include short details about what the book is about.
- Include an Amazon link. This will bring the user direct to Amazon to purchase should they make the decision to buy now or find out more.
Here's an example of advertising copy for my book, Haunted, Horror of Haverfordwest
Dare you read? Reviewers are calling Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest one of the most frightening true accounts ever written.
Compelling and disturbing chronicle of what happens when ordinary people are subjected to extraordinary events ~ Fortean Times
One of the spookiest writers around, G.L Davies dares you to enter his latest haunted house. A couple are pushed to breaking point as an entity possesses their home. Terrifyingly real, this is a must-read for horror fans. Sequel to the bestselling A Most Haunted House (Bonus: Included as a new edit) Dare you step inside... https://amzn.to/2BImG1X
This chilling read will certainly start to worry the reader and will certainly have them looking behind them at some stage – Fred Batt, Most Haunted.
This is a modern paranormal masterpiece, complete with the original A Most Haunted House and a must-read section on explanations, this is possibly the most important paranormal account of the 21st Century – K-Town, Mysterious Radio
Once you have created the post, post it. You are now ready to boost it (please note, sometimes it takes several boosts to refine your audience). When you come to the boost page, Facebook will ask you what your objective is:
Send people to your website.
Get more people to interact with this post.
As you want to sell the book and for people to go to Amazon, we recommend you choose the former. Now, refine your ad – select People who you choose through targeting for your audience.
- Audience: Give your audience a name. You can reuse this audience in the future if you wish.
- Gender: Would you like to target men, women, or both?
- Age: The ages begin at 13 all the way to 65+. Who do you think would want to read your book? How old is your intended audience? Facebook gives you the analytics on Sex and Age when you boost posts, so it becomes easier to create effective future boosts.
- Location: You can then choose your location so you can get people in a particular area to see your post. This is a great tool. If you have a book signing or talk or if your book is set in a particular area then you can choose that specific local area. Have a play with this feature. You may be surprised how detailed it is. You can choose a whole city, county, country or countries! With towns and cities, you can change the radius of your post from 10 miles to 50 miles, if you wanted to include outskirts, villages or suburbs.
- Demographics: What is your book about? Does it have a particular theme? Is it based on something specific? Who would read your book? What genre is it? Is there a certain sort of person who would enjoy your book? You will notice an audience swingometer below this section which points to specific, defined or broad. Defined is good and is the most effective. Play around with various keywords to get the demographics you want.
- Automatic Placements: Gives you the option for your post to appear on other platforms such as Instagram or Messenger. If you believe your audience/readership engage on these platforms that use them. If in doubt try it and see how effective the boost was and decide for the next campaign.
- Duration: One day boosting is only effective if you are using a large budget to reach a huge amount of people. A campaign stretching over a month(s) is more effective. As with any advertising, the longer you advertise the more chance your intended core audience will see the advert. I have found 5-day boostings incredibly effective.
- If you wish to promote to two countries, then run two different posts for maximum effect (unless you are planning a huge campaign spanning several weeks and several hundred dollar budget).
- Experiment with boosts, note the results, and build up a profile of your readers. You can experiment with trying to engage other age groups, interests, and behaviours and within two to three boosts you should see trends appear on who is interested in your book.
- Start on a modest budget ($25 to $50) and build from there. As you see the results coming in, you can reinvest back into advertising your books. Always remember to note down the statistics from each post to what works.
- Once you have created and saved your audience, location, and interests, set duration and budget you will then be given an Estimated People Reached number. This is how many people Facebook believe will see your post per day
- You will then have to set up payment details – credit card or PayPal. You can limit your spending in your payment settings as well as setting payment dates. Please note, if you fail to pay your Facebook bill, you may find that Facebook severely limits your user status and engagement with other Facebook users.
- Before your post is boosted, Facebook will check that it lies within their community and advertising standards. So avoid inappropriate language and images in your post. Even images of horror, partial nudity, people suffering distress or extreme paranormal events can be flagged as inappropriate and the boost rejected. Facebook will notify you if an image has too much text on it, and often refuse to use it.
- You can stop or pause a boost at any time, but please note that it can take up to 24 hours for the boost to effectively increase engagement and reach.
Here is a list of Facebook groups you can join that welcome all book-related posts. Share your book links, interviews, podcasts, blogs, videos with these groups and reach new readers.
Here is an example of Facebook boosting for Raising Faith: A true story of raising a child psychic.
The author and I had noticed a trend from a previous boost – a certain sort of person was engaging. We targeted them specifically for this post.
- Gender: Female
- Age: 30 to 65+
- Location: UK
- Duration: 5 days (Thursday to Monday)
- Budget: $25 ($5 per day)
- Interests: parenthood, motherhood, family, spirituality, mediumship, afterlife, clairvoyance, paranormal, eBook, kindle
The post reached 2400 people and 71 people clicked through, and by Sunday, the book was #1 in its Amazon category.
As a comparison, I ran the same post using different parameters.
- Gender: Both
- Age: 13 to 65 +
- Location: UK and US
- Duration: 10 days
- Budget $25 ($2.50 per day)
- Interests: paranormal, parenthood, mediumship, psychic abilities, eBook, kindle, clairvoyance.
This post reached 1400 users and had 31 engagements.
When I checked the analytics for my post, the main engagement came from UK woman aged 30 to 65.
This confirmed our judgement that boosting to a female-only audience was currently the most effective tactic.
As you might expect with a range of imprints focusing upon different books and markets and utilizing different publicity strategies, the extent to which Facebook is used is a judgment call between Publisher and Publicist. What follows is an example of how one of our imprints, Moon Books, made effective use of Facebook throughout the entire lifecycle of a book.
From its inception Moon Books has pursued a policy of developing a reader / writer community with Facebook at the centre. Naming the Goddess was a product of this policy. For the second part of the book the Publisher invited Facebook followers to contribute to a gazetteer of Goddesses. There was an enthusiastic response and the book ended up with eighty-five contributors. During the writing phase of the project, Facebook was used not only as a vehicle to attract contributors, the whole process ran through a dedicated Facebook group set-up to accommodate the project and articles were transmitted via Facebook messaging.
Facebook was also used to gather endorsements with the Publisher messaging well-known authors and commentators in the book’s field (not only did many contribute endorsements but we had to delay the book’s production as some people asked if they could contribute to it!)
Finally, the book has been promoted heavily using Facebook. Facebook remains a central element of Moon Books’ Social Media strategy, using closed groups to support, authors, casual writers and ebook readers. Other imprints have used Facebook in other creative ways to engage readers and promote their titles, insuring its continuing growth across all our publishing areas.
- If you make posts which see a high level of engagement (likes and comments), then this number will rise.
- Alternatively you can do what Facebook want you to do which is to pay them to guarantee people who like your page to see your posts. However you need to do this intelligently otherwise it could get expensive quickly.
- Facebook allows you to select a targeted audience, choosing demographics, interests, you can even choose people who "like" a similar author. You can promote on a limited budget, currently starting at £1/$1 per day.
- Have a clear target audience: twenty-somethings, YA, sci-fi, MBS, pagan, fans of fantasy and so forth, to build your reputation in your own subject/knowledge area.
- When boosting posts, you should be looking to boost posts that have already received good traction.
- Boosting posts that have no likes or comments will cost you more and will see less interaction.
- Look at your page insights, find the best-performing posts, and boost one or two of those per month.
- It's also best to use the Facebook ads manager as opposed to hitting 'boost' under a post.
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