If you want to grow the readership for your blog, you need to write great content. But content alone is not enough. You also have to engage with potential followers via social media.
Which social media channel should you pick? Twitter and Instagram are popular among book bloggers but that doesn’t mean you should ignore Facebook. It can be a great way to reach new followers and to interact with them. So if one of the reasons you started a book blog was to engage with other avid readers, Facebook could be your answer.
Starting Out With Facebook
I started my book blog ivereadthis.com in 2013 as a way to stay connected to the Canadian publishing industry. Realizing I needed other outlets to promote my work, I created a Facebook business page to publicize my blog content.
I dutifully updated it every time I posted a new review, but I didn’t pay much attention to engaging with my followers.
Fast forward to just a few months ago when I learned that Facebook business pages are not as effective as getting the word out as I originally thought. In fact, only a small percentage of posts are typically showing up in your followers feed, based on how much they interact with you. So what to do?
Building An Audience With Facebook Pages
Every once in awhile (and more often during the pandemic) I’ll pay for a Facebook advertisement to boost my reach. Sometimes I will create an ad that invites people to ‘like’ my page, while other times I’ll pay to ‘boost’ an existing post to my followers.
Facebook advertising is extremely easy to set-up and does result in more engagement, it simply depends on whether you have a budget to advertise. The audience for my blog (and business as a whole) is women over 30, and in general they still interact with the Facebook platform regularly. If I wanted to target a younger audience, I’d spend my advertising dollars elsewhere.
If you don’t have money to spend on advertising but you still want to grow your audience on Facebook I recommend spending more time on the platform, joining other groups, commenting and following other businesses that are similar to yours; this advice can be applied to any platform you use as a reliable technique to grow your audience.)
Building An Audience With Facebook Groups
Creating a ‘group’ is another option to increase engagement.
For the past three years, Facebook has been pushing their users towards creating ‘groups’, which are semi-private pages that people must intentionally join.
A group is very similar to a page, but based on the new Facebook algorithm, members of your group are much more likely to see your posts than if they were merely ‘followers’ or ‘likers’ of your page.
There are multiple videos available online that explain the Facebook algorithm better than I have. This article by SocialMedia.com gives a very thorough explanation of how the algorithm works and what you can do to books traffic to your group. .
An Online Book Club was Born!
When the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions started to take effect in Canada at the beginning of March, I decided to start an online book club. I had been mulling over starting one for awhile, and when my in-person book club was cancelled I figured this was the perfect time.
I don’t have a lot of tech-specific knowledge so I decided the easiest way to host the club and facilitate discussions was with the Facebook live video tool.
Each month I make about an hour-long video where I ask the audience questions, and they respond in real-time with the texting function on Facebook live, then everyone’s comments scroll up the screen as I talk.
It’s not an ideal platform, but it allows people the flexibility to pop in and out of the discussion without interrupting others, and for those who can’t make the live taping, I post the video on the Facebook group after so they can watch it at their leisure.
Although the Facebook group is yet another platform I have to spend time cultivating, I find it hosts some of my most engaged followers. They are excited to know what I’m reading and consistently leave comments on my posts.
I also share my other initiatives with them because they seem genuinely interested in knowing more about my business, so I’ll encourage new members to sign up for my newsletter, visit my blog, etc. I grow the membership to my online book club by posting links to it on my other platforms: my newsletter, my Facebook business page, my twitter feed, etc.
Give It A Go
If your audience tends to skew towards people 40 and older, I’d recommend using Facebook as a way to interact with them. I find it very user-friendly, and because it has been around for so long it has a wide variety of capabilities (video, polling, stories, etc.).
Anne Logan has worked in the Canadian book industry for eleven years as a publicist, literary festival programmer, and book reviewer. She is the past President for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Calgary Reads. As the book columnist for CBC Calgary, she reviews books on air for radio and television. She hosts an online book club on facebook and reviews books on her blog ivereadthis.com.
Have you created a Facebook group or a page to support your book blog? Share your experience and your tips by adding a comment below. Don’t forget to check out the other articles in the A2ZofBookBlogging series page.