There is something that I see authors on social media doing all the time, and it drives me crazy!
You have probably seen it too or even participated in it yourself. I'm talking about exchanging a Like for a Like.
I've seen it in Facebook groups and I've also seen it on Twitter and Instagram. At first glance it looks like it could be a good idea, but it's really not.
Not sure what I'm talking about? It's posts like these:
“Let's all support each other. Leave the link to your Facebook author page below and let's all like each other's pages.”
Should authors on social media ask for Likes?
Okay, I get it. When you're starting from zero and you're a complete nobody, it makes sense to ask other people to like your page. But does it really make sense?
Perhaps for your first handful of likes, yes, it does. When you have no likes on your page and somebody lands on it, they're more likely to leave. This is the same reason why it's so important to have reviews on our book pages on Amazon. It's the social proof that tells other people that they can trust us.
So, asking a few friends and family to get the ball rolling by liking your page does make sense. But growing your fan page with likes from people who have no interest in you, and no interest in your books, makes no sense.
Zero interest = zero engagement
Those people with zero interest in you are not going to engage with your content. They're not going to like your posts, they're not going to comment on them and they're not going to share them with their networks. That signals to Facebook that your content is not performing well. And when your content doesn't perform well, it doesn't get pushed to more people.
Facebook's algorithms pay attention to what is performing well and content that performs well gets shown to more people. So you want people on your page who like your stuff, who are going to engage with it because the more people engage with it, the more people will get to see it.
Grow Your Author Platform
Discover the roadmap for growing your author platform
Why do you have a Facebook page?
Think about why you have a Facebook page in the first place. It may be to sell your books, though I explained in a previous post why social media won't sell your book. The better thing to do, which I hope you are doing, is to grow an engaged community of readers.
If you grow your tribe of loyal readers, they will support your book launches. They will go with you on your journey because they love your work and want to know what you're writing, what you're working on. Authors on social media grow that tribe by being social and engaging with fans.
If you are on Facebook to grow your audience of loyal readers, then it doesn't make sense to ask for likes from people who have no interest in you.
Why authors exchange Likes
I've racked my brain and tried to think, why are authors doing this? Why do they think this is a good idea? Why do I keep seeing this perpetuating through different Facebook groups and on other social platforms?
I believe the thinking must be that once you reach a certain number of page likes, somehow the page will take on a life of its own and you will start generating organic likes. Then real readers, the real people you want to reach, they will see your page and they will like it.
Well, as I've explained, Facebook doesn't work that way. Facebook will not show your page to more people because you've reached a certain number of page likes. It will show your page posts to more people when those posts start generating engagement. Once the content is performing well, then it'll be pushed to more people who also like your page.
If you only have page likes from people that are not engaging with your content and who have no interest in it, your page won't grow.
What to do instead
So with all that said and my little rant over, what should you do instead?
Focus on attracting real readers. Figure out who your readers are, where they are hanging out and get in front of them. Then offer them something enticing. Put a reader magnet in front of them that they are going to find exciting and interesting, and then lead them back to your platform. Lead them to your email list or lead them to your Facebook page if that's what you want to grow.
And share original content regularly. So create your own blog, your own podcast, or your own YouTube channel. Create content and share about that content on social media.
It may take time, in fact, it will take time to grow your audience. But if you are consistent and keep working at it, it will grow and you will attract the real people who are genuinely interested in what you do.
There is no reward for people that exchange likes with other people who have no interest in them. So, do the work, put your blinders on, focus, keep going, and you will start to see real likes from real readers.
If you want to learn a better way of marketing your book, of growing your platform, then download my free 7-step guide to growing your author platform. This guide doesn't say anything about exchanging likes or doing any kind of vanity marketing. It is all effective strategy. It does take work, it does take effort, but the payback is worth it, because you will see real results.