very hard hitting and rather clever piece and I had it all ready to post. Then something occurred to me.
The purpose of posting a blog and sharing the link to it on Facebook is to encourage my Facebook Friends (a) to read it and (b) to share it with a wider audience who may in turn share with others and so on, building something of a following and hopefully turning the blog readers into fans of my books. Then I realised I was wasting my time. Why am I wasting my time? I hear you ask.
Because my Facebook Friends, so far as I can see, aren’t sharing the links or the blog posts or anything else. I wondered why that might be. Of course a couple are sharing and I thank them, but what about the rest? Its an irony that if I was caught on camera doing something embarrassing or stupid it would be all over Facebook in minutes, but getting a link to this blog shared is much harder.
Social media marketing is an important part of commerce these days. Without it sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many others just wouldn’t exist. All I am trying to do, in my own small way, is to make best use of the marketing
channels that are available in order to raise awareness of my work. It’s the modern equivalent of a “word of mouth” campaign. I could pay Facebook £6 a day to promote my Facebook page, but why should I make Mark Zuckerberg any richer than he already is? I’m a pensioner trying to make a couple of extra bucks by writing novels; He’s the richest man in the universe (well, one of them anyway). So I don’t pay, but I do rely on my friends and family for a bit of a helping hand here. The following are some of my theories about why my links aren’t being shared, including the ones I dismissed.
The first theory to be dismissed was that my Facebook Friends don’t like my books. But I know that isn’t possible. That may sound arrogant or vain, but it isn’t. Its only possible to form an opinion about a book if you’ve read it first, and most of my Facebook Friends haven’t read my books. Amazon allows me to track the number of sales I’ve made and there just aren’t enough sales for my Facebook Friends to have all bought copies. So it can’t be a dislike of my work that’s preventing the sharing. Phew. I’m very relieved about that.
My second theory was that there is a dislike of sharing Facebook stuff. People are trying to prevent the proliferation of the sort of stuff that Facebook seems to attract and that includes my own modest efforts. But it can’t be that either.
Every day I’m asked by my Facebook Friends to “like” some business enterprise or other. I’m asked to “like” and to “share” all sorts of patriotic and political photographs and messages, some of which have been racist or sexist or some other form of “ist”. I’m asked to “share” dire warnings of death or destruction, most of which turn out to be hoaxes, along with
hoaxes about personalities or about Facebook itself. I’m asked to share sentimental messages or poems about fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Then there are the funny/interesting/awesome photographs and videos which may or may not be as funny/interesting/awesome as they purport. So people are happy to share all this stuff, but for some reason not my blogs and links, so that can’t be the answer.
Of course there are those who really never share anything and I respect that, however, you would be doing me a favour if you reconsidered.
My next theory holds a bit more water and gave me pause for thought. Many of my Facebook Friends have known me for a very long time. In some cases over forty years, and that doesn’t include my family members who have known me for much longer. Perhaps they don’t believe that Old Bob actually has it in him to write a book (or four books actually with more in the pipeline). There’s not a lot I can say to that expect “please don’t judge until you’ve tried one of them”. Did JK Rowling’s Facebook Friends judge her that way when she started out? Quite possibly, but I bet they don’t any more.
It’s an odd thing, but sometimes we think we know things about our friends and family and then we find that they can actually surprise us. I thought I knew about my youngest sister. She was good at maths and was starting to make a career for herself in accountancy. This is a profession that isn’t known for its creativity, except within the realms creative accountancy itself of course. Then one day she surprised me (and I suspect the rest of the family) by taking up stained glass design and manufacture. Then she started her own business based on that craft which enjoyed some success. She then went one step further and went to University to study art, has had her own showings at respected galleries which attracted good reviews and has sold several of her works. She now teaches art at that same university. Did I take her artistic abilities seriously? Possibly not. But I do now. You can read more about my artistic sister at http://www.emerge-art.com.au/exhibitions/brand/di_cubitt
The final theory I have also may have some legs. Maybe people aren’t sharing because they don’t know how important it is to me (and to other people like me) that they do share. So let me run some numbers by you. On Facebook I currently have 74 Friends, which of course includes most of my immediate family (apart from my Mum who would probably use a laptop to prop up the leg of a wonky table, bless her). However, between those 74 people they have 7,516 Facebook friends. Some have only half a dozen, of course but others have several hundred friends. Some of those will be friends we have in common: my fellow golfers, the guys and gal from 213, RAF Laarbruch, Royal Mail etc, so let’s take off a thousand to account for the combinations of friends in common that emerge from that. That still makes 6½ thousand potential readers for my books. That’s one heck of a sized market just there waiting for my friends to click on the “share” button. Based on those figures each of those 6½ thousand has an average of 88 friends each, so multiply that out and we get over 572 thousand potential readers. If we go again we get to over 50 million people, almost the entire UK population. Now do you see why this is important, and how powerful Facebook can be to me as a marketing tool? To you too if you have a similar enterprise going.
This is a plea and like most pleas it will fall on some receptive ears and some not so. But ask yourself what it will cost you to share. What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t really have an answer to that because it all depends on how you feel about sharing on facebook, but I can tell you what is the best that can happen.
The best is that more people become aware of my work and start to buy it. That provides me with evidence that I can take to a publisher to get my other books published and out to a wider audience. Would that be such a bad thing? It will certainly get my gratitude and appreciation, if that counts for anything. However, it means that you will have been part of soemthign important. That has to be worth soemthing.
And for those of you who still may be thinking that Old Bob can’t possibly be a writer, may I suggest that you take a closer look at my work before you make a final judgement. I can’t promise you’ll like my books, but you never know, you may be pleasantly surprised. If you do like them then please do tell your friends. They value your opinion.
Next week’s blog will be the one about political corruption – unless something even better comes along to change my