The Facebook Experiment and What Doesn’t Work for a Writing Blog
June 13, 2014
I’ve always been interested in the fact that some writers will proclaim that to get visitors to their blog means that they will make money with their books. I would assume this to be true for writers who have a large following on Facebook should, in theory have plenty of book sales under their belt.
I decided to go and test out the theory that a writer needs to have a platform on some social media sites to earn some money with their blogs. I am always intrigued by the idea that a writer can have more than one platform and still have time to write.
Which brought me to my experiment, I wanted to see if all the promotion on Facebook can help an author with the sales of their book. My focus was on my own book so that there was one less worry about what might work and what doesn’t. My goal was simple, based on building an audience on this particular social media site, could my book gain more sales?
I worked with two specific parts for this “experiment”, one was my Facebook author site, which I promoted, and one of my Amazon.com links to my book in paperback and kindle. I wanted to see where people would come based on promotion to buy a book. The result? Nothing. I didn’t get a single sale in the three days I promoted the two things. Fortunately, I budgeted for this event, so there wasn’t a loss of income per say, but it was a bit of a bruised ego when there weren’t purchases.
My book is in a niche market, so I wasn’t to surprised that there weren’t high sales, but I was more surprised that there wasn’t a single sale. The number of followers went up, and I had to add a few more posts to the author page, but overall the main goal wasn’t reached.
I then decided to see what happened when you “promote a website” on Facebook. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I only spent about $22 for one day. I simply wanted to see if people would come and spend time on this website, and read a few blog posts.
I am a glutton for punishment, and it seems the nice thing about Facebook is that people want to just take a look and run. It wasn’t hard to imagine that if I had left this promote page on for more than a day, I would be losing a lot more money. I am sure that some writers will say I should have let this go longer and waited a few more days, but the experiment was not to see how much I could earn but rather what people will do once they are on a website. This doesn’t mean that I am about to quit Facebook, but it does mean I have a bit more to learn about what works. Or, what doesn’t work.
In my case, people didn’t do much on this website, they didn’t comment and they didn’t seem to find much of a reason to stay for a long period of time, or even to go and purchase a book I recommended or find out about the chances of them guest blogging. The reality is Facebook is a great social media site, but it’s not so great if you are a new independent author. People will like your page, but you have to be big or very interesting to get them to stay.
I’ve learned a few things about doing this Facebook experiment.
* I need to be myself, not a big time writer, but just be. I can have as much fun as the next writer, but I have to show it.
* Work with social media that works for me. Some people can, and do, have success on Facebook with their writing, and their websites. I am not one of them, but I need to focus on getting there, and just being someone interesting. It’s always good to have a Plan B, or C or whatever. I think that’s the biggest thing I learned about Facebook. I have things to say, but I have to work with this media differently than what I have on others.
* I need to find my groove. Facebook is not Twitter, and it’s not a blog, and people are there to connect, and not just to be shown more of my things. I think the most interesting part was looking at the most successful writers, and seeing their Facebook pages, there is a lot of comments and activity, and a lot of readers whom the authors engage. Finding my groove means that this will improve how people see me as a writer, and as a public figure.
* Sure, it’s been a while, but my blog needs to be updated, because the possibilities are endless when it comes to readers and what they love. The one thing I learned was that people need something to go and read. Experiences, personal stories, and writers are great, but there is more to what I am than just another indie author. I am me, and I have things to say. I also have things to improve on, and it showed with this Facebook experiment. It doesn’t work for a writing blog when you aren’t at all interesting to the people who follow you.
* I found that a short blog post is not the greatest idea when it comes to writers. It’s best to have a longer one that fits my style and my audience. This experiment showed me that what doesn’t work for a writing blog is letting people have “at” all the blog, I believe there would have been more success had I focused on one part of my writing website.
* It’s my blog, and my experiment did show that what doesn’t work on Facebook can sometimes work on other social media sites. What works for one and earns you money might not for the next, the same holds true with self publishing. This is the important part of doing experiments and seeing what didn’t work for my writing blog.
* I need to update how my platforms are run. This being said, mistakes happen, and it is my job to figure them out and fix them. In this case, I’m going back to point number one and working my way back from there. It’s not hard but it is a mistake to think I didn’t learn from this social media site. I am glad to have an author profile there, and do not mistake it for anything else, but I am also glad I learned that people need a reason to come and to comment, and not letting people do this was the mistake I needed to work with.
* I need to set goals. It’s one thing to have a machine tell you to get X number of followers, but if they don’t actively follow you, all the ways you can find success won’t matter, because really you don’t have a platform you just have a page. The same holds true with any other social media, and this includes blogs. It’s all about learning, and what doesn’t work for a blog is staying in one spot.