Let me say up front that Facebook is very useful in our small real-world community as it serves as a major way to communicate events and even sell (or give away) items.
But having said that, I should confess I’ve never been a huge fan of Facebook as an author.
And lately, I think it’s jumped the shark in its desire to make money. (At least for me as an author.)
So What is Jumping The Shark?
The beginning of the end. Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.
“It’s said to have been coined by Jon Hein who has a web site, jumptheshark.com, and now a book detailing examples, especially as applied to TV shows. It supposedly refers to an episode of the TV show “Happy Days” in which Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis, which Hein believes was the point at which the series had lost its touch and was beginning to grasp at straws.” Urban Dictionary.
Gardeners Like Videos
I know gardeners tend to like videos so (in a video) I polled my fans on Facebook
(I have just above 5000 Likes and 5000 Followers – or roughly 10,000 readers who may/may not see the video) about gardening questions they may have.
Facebook showed that video post to just over 1000 people (encouraged by 5 shares.)
This means 10% of my “fans” saw the post asking if they had gardening questions. I also note this was a large response by past traffic patterns.
I made two videos answering one gardening question in each.
- Video number 1 was shown to 357 people with no shares.
- Video number 2 was shown to 1505 people with 8 shares driving those numbers. (Note this was almost a record-setting number.)
A low of 3% and a high of 15%
It’s clear the second video views was driven by shares, but even so, it still only reached 15% of my readers.
While I intended to create a series of garden videos, I confess I ran out of steam with the numbers.
To be sure, Facebook dunned the hell out of me to invest in advertising to show the videos more often. Other creators will recognize the line, “Boost this post to reach XX readers for only…”
Facebook Is An Advertising Channel
I remember Brian Clark from the old Copyblogger site writing that Facebook was an advertising channel and not good for anything else (as an author or business.)
I find the hyper-local information about our community helpful but as for developing a fan-base or helping gardeners, I’ll be doing that on my own platforms moving forward.
And treating Facebook as an advertising platform.
The Only Possible Use I Have For Facebook Now
Is to establish a presence for name recognition purposes. I can link to my website author posts and if somebody stumbles over my page – great. And possibly as an advertising platform for my books.
Why “Possibly” An Advertising Platform
Fiction books are usually sold as series. At the moment, authors spend money advertising the first book in the series (often at breakeven or a small loss) hoping readers will buy the first book and then continue buying the others in the series.
As long as the series is profitable as a whole, the loss on the first book caused by advertising is worth the cost.
Gardening ebooks are sold as one-offs. There’s little in the way of a series “cliff-hanger” boost in sales. It is hoped if the first book helps the gardener, they’ll be more likely to buy a second to help solve another problem.
For me moving forward, Facebook’s utility as an author is clearly an advertising channel and I suspect that’s fine by Facebook.
But, let me pose a question.
If my intent is to sell books, am I better off:
- paid advertising on Facebook where fans don’t want to be sold to, but entertained or
- paid advertising on Amazon that’s built for selling books?
And yes, I’ll likely have more to say on this in the future but for the moment, Facebook is simply one more ad channel for me.