Here’s a fun fact that will make you feel really old:
As of February 2013, Facebook’s been around for nine years.
Were you one of the first to join back in 2004 when it was exclusively for college kids?
I’m semi-proud to say I’ve been a Facebook user since late 2004, when my school (Florida State) was added to the elite list of colleges and universities allowed to participate in Mark Zuckerberg’s grand experiment.
In those days, we whispered about THE Facebook in class — daring to ask the cute boy in microeconomics if he was on the site so we could run home, get on the computer and send him a friend request (because there was no such thing as a smartphone unless playing snake in black-and-white on an old Nokia was somehow considered smart).
Now everybody and their mom (literally…and in my case, my Nana too) uses Facebook to connect with friends and family all over the world.
But what can it do for us authors?
A lot of authors I’ve run into don’t feel like it’s worth the effort to create a fan page on Facebook in the hopes of connecting with readers. They have their reasons, many of them valid, but I have to disagree.
Facebook is totally worth your time.
And I have 5 facts to back me up:
1. Facebook has 1.06 billion monthly active users
To put that in context, absolutely no other social media network has hit or come close to hitting the billion mark when it comes to active users. YouTube has about 800 million, Google + has 343 million and Twitter has about 200 million (keep in mind this is active users, not jut registered accounts).
That is A LOT of people.
No matter what your target market is, I would be willing to bet that there are a few of them in that 1.06 billion.
2. An average 618 million users log-in to Facebook each day
Do you check Facebook every day?
I do. I update my status, check in with friends and family, send Happy Birthday messages, comment on posts from pages I like, and check-in at certain events and restaurants.
And apparently another 617,999,999 people do, too.
That’s a lot of daily activity, and most of it is not a quick in-and-out check either…
3. The average user spends 20 minutes a day on Facebook
Unlike Twitter where users tend to pop in, tweet, and pop out, people linger on Facebook.
Twenty minutes might not seem like a lot time, but in today’s world where we all have attention spans shorter than the average Hollywood relationship, 20 minutes might as well be a lifetime.
That means people are taking the time to really read and interact with all the messages in their newsfeed, not just giving them a passing glance.
4. Facebook has over 50 million pages
(And it’s growing every day.)
The naysayers might feel that’s a reason *not* to use Facebook — because there are already too many pages out there.
But I say that’s only a reason to make sure your page is the *best* author page out there.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on authors who use Facebook for one of the workshops we’re putting together right now and I can tell you, the vast majority of them (and I’m talking trad published peeps, not just us indies) suck at using Facebook to promote themselves.
There’s nothing exciting or engaging about their pages, they don’t post regular updates (or only post updates about themselves), and they don’t use their page to actually interact with fans — which is the whole point!
I know you can use Facebook better than those people, which is why you can be in the elite crowd of those 50 million pages.
5. There are over 10 million apps on Facebook
Yes, probably half of those are some kind of Farmville knock-off, but there are apps for fan pages, too.
Lots of apps that enhance the features you can offer through Facebook — you can hold contests for your fans, livestream events, spotlight a fan of the week, feature a newsletter sign-up form, share custom content for fans-only, and so much more.
And as the number of apps rapidly rises, we’re going to be able to do even more to turn our Facebook fan pages into mini-websites that bring us new readers with very little maintenance required.
So what do you think — is Facebook worth it?
Have I convinced you to look at Facebook fan pages for your promotion?
If you already have a fan page, do you find it’s helped you meet new readers? Do you follow any other authors’ Facebook fan pages?
I’m really curious to know what you guys think of the world’s most popular social media network!