On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg announced some changes to Facebook. The idea was to better emphasize people-to-people communication and meaningful interaction. The result? Brand pages (and thus author and book pages) will see a decline in views and interactions—if they haven’t already.

Many people started to worry, including authors who rely heavily on their Facebook pages to connect with current and potential readers. But what do the changes really mean? How much do you need to adjust your approach to Facebook, and how much do you really need to worry about it?

We decided to look at what the experts say. Three points stood out again and again:

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Facebook’s goal is to create a more meaningful experience for all its users. If that means authors—like all who have brand pages—have to work a little harder to give their followers a meaningful experience, then it seems reasonable to play along.
  3. You might have to change a few things about how you approach Facebook posts. Don’t worry. The experts have compiled some comprehensive-but-understandable resources. We’ll link to a couple of them below.

Two Articles and a Podcast

“Recent Facebook Changes—Breaking It Down for Writers & Authors” by Edie Melson

Edie Melson, an author, editor, and blogger, covers the topic in this brief, easy-to-understand blog post. She gives a glimpse of Facebook’s history and explains the most recent changes. She ends with her initial action points.

Here’s one of her best lines:

Don’t panic. Although the changes coming are fairly drastic, we can look on this as a challenge. Our goal as authors should be to connect with our readers and advertising has never been a good way to do that.

“What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors” by Thomas Umstattd

Thomas Umstattd, an author, a speaker, and the CEO of Author Media, wrote this valuable article. Umstattd starts by briefly explaining the basics of Facebook’s algorithm—that is, how the website is programmed to decide which posts each user sees. Then he gives a great review of the 2017 changes—such as how the “reactions” to posts are worth more than “likes.”

Finally, he covers the changes new this year—such as how authors’ brand pages won’t take the same priority in users’ news feeds as they used to.

Umstattd, too, tells authors not to panic. In addition to his great explanations of what kind of posts will do well on Facebook, he gives a few key peices of advice, such as “Ask your readers to mark you as ‘see first’ so they can see your content.”

Umstattd also recorded a podcast with author James L. Rubart on the topic, titled “What the New Facebook Changes Mean for Authors.” You can check it out on their podcast website, Novel Marketing: http://www.novelmarketing.com/123/

The Takeaway on the Facebook’s 2018 Changes

Basically, while the recent and coming Facebook changes might seem catastrophic, they don’t have to be. Think about it this way: Facebook is trying to provide a more meaningful experience for its users. They may or may not have found a good way to do that with this winter’s changes. Only time will tell. But for now, as a content creator who ultimately wants what’s best for your readers, perhaps it makes sense to play along with Facebook’s changes, not with resentment, but with a shared goal: to serve your followers well.

On another note, this is a good time to think about two online promotional tools that aren’t subject to algorithm changes: an author website and an email list.