If you are an author with a pen name, Facebook groups can be a challenge. Especially if you’re trying to protect your anonymity. Facebook’s new groups for pages might just be the answer for authors looking to facilitate a deeper fan experience apart from their business pages.
There is no doubt that the competition for eyeballs on Facebook is getting fierce. According to data services like Social Bakers, we know that the larger your Facebook page gets, the lower your engagement rate is. Business pages are quickly becoming a one-to-many experience. Groups have always enjoyed a community environment. By their nature, they are more intimate as both members and moderators share the same status. They are conversational.
Many authors have success turning closed group members into super fans, using them for advance readers and street teams. And nonfiction writers can use closed groups to build mastermind groups, or support for online classes and services.
What This Means for Authors
Authors with pen names can now build groups with their business page names and post as that name. Before, authors with pen names could build a group but they had to post with their profile names. You will still have to use your profile name to join a group that isn’t your own, so that option is still closed for now as far as I can tell. If anyone has a different experience with this, I’d love to hear from you. Some of the details are still being ironed out.
What Will Happen to Engagement Rates?
This question remains unanswered. In a recent blog post, Kirsten Oliphant reported on an experiment she ran attaching a group to her business page. It’s a good read—access it here. She reported that posts she made in her group as her page got less engagement. This may happen, but you should run your own experiment to see what your engagement is.
We’ve known for the past couple years that groups are now subject to a restricting algorithm. The beauty of groups used to be that notifications always showed up on your profile. That is often not the case any more. Once a group reaches over 250 members, the default notification is highlights only. You have to personally toggle your notification settings to receive all posts from a larger group.
How Will Groups Change?
That is a good question that nobody can answer at this point. We know ads are coming. We don’t know what they will look like or who you’ll be able to target, but they are coming. If you connect your business page with your group, you will get an Insights dashboard that will provide you with feedback about your group. We know Facebook is running out of ad space and that engagement rates overall are going down. Your battle to get better engagement is now all about quality content that engages fans and less about numbers of followers.
What’s an Author to Do?
As I mentioned earlier, I think this is a good opportunity for an author with a pen name to put together a fan group if they so desire. Now having said that, groups are not for everybody. They are more hands-on than business pages and require more time. But many authors find that the depth of connection pays off. For some, it’s an easier way to manage advance reader teams and influencer groups such as street teams.
So the bottom line? Test-test-test. Always test. If you want a good step-by-step guide for setting up a group from a business page, Jon Loomer penned an excellent play-by-play to get you going. I’d love to hear about your experiments when you’ve got some results.
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