The world's most popular social network recently began to filter content in users' news feeds. The result is that when you create a new post, it only gets sent to a small percentage of your friends. If those friends engage with your post (i.e. they like, comment on, or share them), then it gets sent to more of your friends. Because of this, your news feed is no longer a chronological ordering of all new posts.
This may work fine for people who use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, but what about those of us who maintain public pages?
Is Facebook still useful as a promotional tool? Should we migrate to any other social networks?
Enter Catherine Ryan Howard
Irish author Catherine Ryan Howard is one of the top authorities on self-publishing today. Her delightfully quirky blog Catherine, Caffeinated is full of great advice. I used her book Self-Printed as a constant reference while publishing my own book, 1000 Days Between.
Catherine is releasing an update to Self-Printed today. It's actually a complete rewrite from the previous edition. The world of self-publishing is changing quickly, and this book promises to give authors the latest tools in the industry.
I recently asked Catherine the following:
Two years ago, when the second edition of Self-Printed came out, Facebook was easily the top social network for authors looking to reach new fans. Does that still hold true today? How about two years from now – do you foresee any other social networks taking Facebook's place?
I do think Facebook is on the way out, especially for authors (as in, public pages). I blogged about it recently in some detail:
As for other networks taking its place, if there's any growing network out there at the moment, it's a visual one, i.e. Pinterest or Instagram. Now while I love using these, I don't think they're the best for authors. I think actually using them is kind of unnatural for authors, as in we have to bend and break in order to fit in there, seeing as we're not, say, graphic designers or bakers and can use images in a natural way to promote our work. So I'm sticking to what I know works and what I see continue to work in the near future: blogging and Twitter. Rather than trying to find ways to establish yourself on new sites, I'd say work on maximizing your use of those. You can't go too wrong then.
I think Catherine makes some good points. The thing I like about running a blog is that I own it. If I get booted from a social network, or if it goes belly-up, I could lose everything I've ever written on that site. But I get to control the future of my own blog. And for that reason, I'll continue to post the vast majority of new content here, and not on any external sites.
Here's where I stand with the social networks Catherine mentioned:
Twitter – I like the concept, though admittedly, I'm just getting started. I'll plan to tweet more in the future.
Facebook – I have a personal account, as well as a page for this website. I don't think I'll update my page much in the future (not that I've ever really used it). It's not worth the effort. I certainly won't pay Facebook to “boost” my posts.
What social networks do you use? Have you found them useful for promoting products? Go ahead and leave a comment below.
More about Catherine Ryan Howard
Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON'S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit www.catherineryanhoward.com for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!
“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results - The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.” – Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series
* I should let you know that Catherine gave me a copy of the third edition of Self-Printed. Last year I purchased the second edition and found it extremely helpful. I'm looking forward to reading her latest insights.
If you have a few extra minutes, you should check out these two videos by Veritasium. They go into great detail about Facebook's new algorithm for displaying posts, and why it's worse than useless to pay Facebook to “boost” posts:
Note: I don't make money when you watch these videos. I'm just a big fan of Veritasium's YouTube channel.