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Monday, January 27, 2014

Facebook's Shell Game and Some Questions for You

There's been a lot of grumbling about Facebook's shell game--whereby you may or may not see friends' updates.

I don't post on FB often. Aside from the automatic feeds for my blog posts, the only other times I post are for funny personal updates or when I find useful info my friends might like to see.

I try to avoid promo posts unless I'm offering something free or nearly free.

Lately, I've been getting emails and popups on FB asking me to run ads to increase my visibility. And that right there is why I won't do promo on FB. The bottom line is that Facebook limits who sees your updates. And how do I know more people will see my posts?

I have to pay to play and I'm not going to fall into that trap. I've heard several people say they've seen no distinct advantage (read: sales) from advertising on Facebook.

Still it bugs me when people can't see my posts--or I can't see theirs. Sometimes, Greg will ask me about a mutual friend's update, surprised that I never commented on it. When in fact, it never appeared on my timeline.

I like Facebook for little conversations and funnies, but that's about it. Ever since they changed the playing field, I feel they can't be trusted, which is sad because I enjoy chatting with my friends on FB.

How about you? Do you use Facebook for promo? Have you ever paid for one of their ads? Did it work?


Twitter: And just when I was ready to wash my hands of Twitter, I get an email from them telling me they have suspended the account of that fraud who was using my personal information.

It took them nearly two months, but that slime ball has been suspended. Thanks to all of you who wrote and pinged Twitter about that imposter. I can't tell you how much I appreciated it.


Design Freebies: While I won't be promoting my books anymore--other than static displays--I do need to promote my cover design business. I'd like to come up with some design freebies, but I haven't decided what to give away yet.

Maybe a widget or a blog icon. Maybe a bigger drawing for a web site header.

I'm trying to get past January and the heavy shadow of getting ready for Greg's retirement before I commit to anything. But I'd be interested in your suggestions.

What kind of design freebie would you like to score?


Angela Brown said...

Paying to play on FB: Did it a couple of times. Not again. May as well have tossed the money out the window. At least some random passersby would have benefitted.

Twitter: I...I put up tweets but I think we have a love/hate relationship wherein it loves that I hate it but can't seem to stop adding tweets (yeah, I know, I need some help with that lol!!)

Design freebies: for me, it's cover work. So like a big giveaway for an ebook cover would capture my attention. Or blogger background. I've had the masquerade up there for a while. May be time for an update.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I've been hearing about the FB hullabaloo, too. I don't know about the promo part, because I don't have anything to promote, but them not letting me see everything I liked and then choose for myself what to ignore is irritating. :shrug: But I still like FB better than most other social media outlets - like Twitter. I still like blogging best, but it isn't what it used to be. =o(

As for design freebies... I'm clueless. Sorry.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I look at how I buy books and Facebook ain't it. At least, not with the ads. Word of mouth on Facebook, now that's different. But it has to come from someone I know who has actually READ the book.

I'm part owner of a page on Facebook and I'm learning some tricks. Links are seen by (or would that be shown to) the least amount of people, whereas pictures are seen by the most. If you want to link to something (like your blog), show a picture and place the link it in the comment section. They might not click on your link, but at least more people are seeing it and it didn't cost you anything.

As for a freebie... You might want to ask on some of those self-publishing loops and see what authors would like.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I'm sorry to hear you spent money on them. I've heard that same lament from other people.

Re: masquerade header
You know, that header always made me think you wrote Regencies. LOL. Must be my age.

Maria Zannini said...

BE: I think what irritates me all the more is what they decide I should see.

When I stopped seeing my husband's updates they crossed the line. That's when I signed up to be notified when he posted.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Pictures are a good way to be seen, but there again FB has the upper hand. I'm careful about what I share because they've been caught bandying personal photos around. And then there's copyright. Does the person posting own the copyright?

I see stuff all the time where ownership is nebulous at best.

Mike Keyton said...

For me it's an idle distraction, a time-sink. Like you, I get irritated when I realise I'm missing friend's activities or comments, even close friends. I'm also increasingly annoyed by their 'photograph of the day' and other promos that randomly appear. But it's free and not an important part of my life so hey.

Twitter - never got the hang of it as you may possibly have surmised by paucity of posts.

Hope you throw a party when Greg finally retires - even if it's only a two-person one :)

Mike Keyton said...

Bugger: '...friends' activities.'

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: You're right. Being free, I don't have the right to grouse too much. It's just that I still recall the benign old days when we got to see everything on FB.

I remember back (which wasn't all that long ago) when I had to hide certain people because they posted too often. (There's only so much personal information I can take.)

I understand FB needs to make money but when it comes to people who aren't shilling, all those updates should be free for all.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

I've done shout-outs for my FB friend's new titles, and never got an acknowledgement. Very rarely gotten shares of my own announcements.

As artists we gravitate to FB looking to network, then don't take advantage of what even the basics of FB gives us.

We're our own worst enemies.


Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah, i don't get FB. I have convos with my sis who will say the same thing about a shared friend's update. It's weird and stupid

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't understand Facebook's purpose in not showing me updates. I haven't paid them for any promotion and have heard many conflicting thoughts on how well that works.

Rebekah Loper said...

Facebook is frustrating. I can't tell you how many times in the past month (or even week) when friends have asked "did you see this post of mine?" and I have to say "Nooo? I'll go hunt it down..."

Sadly, most of the friends who ask that don't understand that facebook IS hiding posts.

I rarely post anything on facebook anymore - maybe 3-5x a week. I used to get fantastic interaction both on my facebook page and my personal account, now it's practically zero interaction on the page, and hit or miss interaction on my own account.

And yeah, I refuse to pay any money. I think it's reasonable to just ask that the people I've mutually friended on there see everything I post. Since they're a 'friend', I'm just going to assume that they actually WANT to see my posts.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust them either. I know I'm missing a lot of posts I want to see. I have paid a couple of times to promote a post. It wasn't any more or less effective than other promotions.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: I didn't even have you on my FB list! Let's see if Facebook will play nice now.

I get a little bit of chatter on my updates, but only if I talk about my dogs. LOL!

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: Every so often I wonder why I haven't heard from this person or that one, and I check out their page only to discover they post regularly. Really steams me.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: It beats me. Maybe they think if they withhold something from us, we'll want it more.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: And you were another one I thought I was following on FB only to discover we weren't "friends". Jeez!

Fixed that. Thanks for friending me.

About the only sure way I know to see someone's updates is to ask for notifications. But that's not feasible when you have hundreds of friends.

Sometimes I wonder how many people I've lost track of due to FB's shuffling.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: Sometimes I'm glad I'm so cheap. I'm usually the last person to pay for something. :)

Jenny Schwartz said...

FB is so weird. I caught up with a group of writers the other day and we were discussing FB's rudeness. For people who spent a lot of time and even money building up their fan page only to now have perhaps 85% of their audience not see a post! Ugh.

I'm still on FB, but I've always been a grudging user of the service. Please, someone invent something better -- although I don't think it's Google+.

As for giveaways... hmm.

I'm not sure, but I'm wondering if those little postcard-ecard things that people share might work. Not so much a giveaway as a funny/cute thing people can share with your name and site in the corner. I noticed review bloggers share them everywhere: on their blogs, on FB, on BookLikes, Goodreads, etc.

It might only be me, but I'd love to win a "coming soon" graphic that could be put up in place of a cover.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: You are so clever! These are excellent suggestions.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Glad to help :)

Anonymous said...

I liked FB in the early days. I think it got too big for its britches. I'm with you and won't pay for ads. I get FB needs an income stream but limiting users access if they don't buy ads isn't the way to go about it.

I've never bought books based on anything on FB. I think I've won a few but even that has been limited by FB's contest rules.

I have an easier time with Twitter because it's easier to read on my phone. Even with that I have a love/hate relationship with all social media.

Glad that poser was shut down.

Shelley Munro said...

I find Facebook very frustrating and haven't paid for ads yet. I guess that now they're listed they have to show a profit and this is one way of adding to their income.

I've started using the groups a little bit with promo, and I do promo on my page interspersed with photos and updates.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: when you introduced me to it, it wasn't as demanding as it is now. If it had, I never would've stayed.

I enjoy it as a social network, but I haven't seen any benefits for the business side.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: It's funny that you bring up groups because groups have been more useful to me--at least with homesteading and design.

I've bought items 'the group' has recommended. I imagine it could have a similar effect with writing/publishing groups.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I feel THE EXACT same way about Facebook. It's fun to pop in here and there, but I don't post too often.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: I think at one time it was the author's friend, but now it's gone the same way as Twitter, only the FB architects were the ones who pushed it over the edge.

It's a shame.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'd kill for that website header. I've tried to do my own using my book covers and have decided I'm not an artist.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I guess Facebook is like any other company-- they want to sell stuff, and what they're selling is contacts. You pay, you get more contacts, or exposure for your posts. But in order for that to work, they have to take away the free exposure we were all getting before they started the paid posting system. One way to get more exposure without paying is to get more likes and/or comments on a post. These are the ones people will see more often. Sometimes it is all so tiresome!!!

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: :o) Duly noted. Web site headers can be simple or complex. They only get expensive depending on how many pieces of art I have to buy.

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: I think the 'likes' and comments rule is a bit of a myth. I have a friend who never fails to get a minimum of 30 comments on his updates, yet he's one of the people whose posts I never see. My husband sees his updates, but I never do.

It's a conspiracy, I tell ya. ;)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Urgh, so that is the reason. I post on my Author Page updates to do with my writing, as for my personal page I'm always putting photographs and snippets of what I've been up to whether it's at the beach or in the Outback. Geeish, so my friends, or some, or most of them aren't seeing the posts. That'd be right. I'm more on Facebook than any other social media site. Grrrrrr. lol...

LD Masterson said...

Facebook is a pain in the rear. But since I've yet to try my have at Twitter, I guess I'll put up with FB.

After I get through this current round of edits, I need to look at a total website overhaul. So a Diva-designed header would be divine.

Maria Zannini said...

Suzanne: I've heard, from people better informed than myself, that maybe 15% of your friends will see your updates.

That steams my noodles plenty.

Maria Zannini said...

I far prefer FB to Twitter. It just seems more friendly--even though most of my friends don't see my posts. Ha!

And wait for it--ANOTHER post about networking tomorrow. I couldn't help it.

Re: I'm your girl if you need a re-design. :)