In 2007, when I was 19 and slowly phasing out of my mosher attire and in to something a little more ‘normal’ and MySpace ruled the new world of social media, I was told about a new thing called Facebook. “No one has MySpace anymore” I was told. “Facebook is what you want.” And so, my profile was created and I soon learned what all the hype was about. You could do so much more than MySpace. To be honest, I can’t even remember much about MySpace. I do remember you had to choose your ‘top friends’ to appear on your profile (that could be brutal for someone with anxiety..) and you could have a ‘profile song’ so anyone who visited your page could listen to it too. Oh, the view count! I vaguely remember something somewhere, either on your profile or another page, you could see how many people had viewed your profile. If you logged on and suddenly your view count had gone up by 20 then you felt like frigging royalty! Hello Miss Popular 😉
But unfortunately for our mutual friend Tom, Myspace was not to last. Facebook was too powerful. Its popularity soared and you actually began to judge people for not being a part of it. “You don’t have Facebook? WHY NOT? ITS AMAZING!”
Not only was it good for keeping up to date with friends, you could connect with family who lived in other countries, friends you’d not seen since First School, you could stalk that person you had a crush on and do some flirty poking (yes kids, you could poke people on Facebook). And the games! Farmville in particular was very addictive.
Small businesses have boomed because of Facebook. Having the help of friends to share your business ventures to cut down marketing costs has been such a blessing. Being an indie author without the power, knowledge and tools of publishing companies, Facebook is responsible for probably ALL of my book sales. Granted I haven’t even sold 1000 books yet but by sharing and advertising through Facebook I have created an, albeit small, fanbase.
Facebook has grown over the years and improved to keep up with the times. Through all the new social media phases (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest etc), it has survived. Or so I thought…
A year ago, I could promote one of my books on Facebook and have thousands of results. Maybe not sales, but it brought people to my Facebook business page and generated new likes, interactions, comments etc. I was never expecting a miracle, but I was happy with the results. If I do the same promotion now, I only get a fraction of the results. There was rumour of Facebook changing the algorithms of how posts reach certain people etc but there is definitely a change somewhere which is noticeable by small businesses such as my own. What is going on?
A conversation with a good friend recently actually got me thinking. She runs two very successful small businesses. Her popularity is growing and she gets most of her business from Instagram. Now I thought Instagram was all about photos, how could you sell your business on there? How could I even sell books on there? You can’t put any links in the comments, how can it work? Well, apparently is does, and why? Facebook is on the decline.
Its not a noticeable decline. Not that anyone in my generation would notice anyway. But (now I hate to say this, so I’m going to take a deep breath before I type it out…) the ‘young uns’ of today just aren’t signing up for it. “Its for old people” one was heard saying. OLD PEOPLE! How dare you! I’m only 30! Practically a teenager!! Ahem…
But if the young people aren’t signing up, that’s a whole generation just not bothering and who are more bothered about Insta and Snapchat. Is Facebook going the same way as MySpace? Do I need to adjust how I try and sell my work? I’ve always struggled to make the most of Twitter, it’s not the best place to sell books, but I’ll keep on going with it. But I need to retrain myself with Insta too.
At the moment with work, study and baby commitments I can’t really focus on writing my next book and so it might not be until later in the year that I put some effort in to getting any sales again. But I’m hoping that will work to my advantage. I can play around with Insta and see what works for me. I can hope that Facebook does something so fantastically amazing that the younger generations start to flock to sign up to it. But sadly, all good things must come to an end someday. And Facebook isn’t immune to the power of society.
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