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Author Topic: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...  (Read 19053 times)  

Offline JETaylor

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Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« on: November 08, 2015, 03:41:02 PM »
FB has been banning authors from posting in book related groups. We do not know what the actual trigger is, whether it's the timing between posting or if it is the exact same post on the various groups or the number of posts done in succession, but once you are banned, you are out of the water for 14 days minimum.  It's a 14 day black out from any group activity, and what is worse, when they ban the user from posting to groups, they delete ALL their posts from the beginning of time, not just the ones that may have triggered their algorithms.

This includes deleting entries in groups that that author created, even closed or secret groups.

So if you use this option in your marketing strategy, you might want to think twice or at the very least, spread out your posting throughout the day to gain exposure without risking being banned.

Unfortunately, I got hit with this while trying to advertise my new release coming out this week.  So any exposure through Facebook is completely gone.
Lesson learned and passing along so someone else doesn't get slammed at a critical time if they use this strategy.   
      

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Offline Cap'n Crunch

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 03:42:44 PM »
Could you elaborate on how you promoted this new release so we can see what's "too much"?

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Offline josielitton

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 03:46:37 PM »
Could you elaborate on how you promoted this new release so we can see what's "too much"?

I'd like to know that, too. How much is too much?

Offline JETaylor

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 03:50:41 PM »
I was a member of about 75 groups and I posted the Amazon link to the book along with the Tag line of the book and the release date for 11/10 and the pre-order price of $0.99. 

Another author posted in a number of groups for a boxed set pre-order for $0.99 and she was banned as well. I don't know the actual number of sites she posted to before they dropped the axe - but for her it was much more painful because she is the organizer of boxed sets and the groups set up for those with rules/expectations/tasks/all other boxed related information were all deleted by FB.

I know people who do this regularly and this complete black out and deletion of everything that has ever been out there in groups is a new and devastating tactic.

ETA - As far as the how much is too much - we don't know.
In prior cases, people had been able to post to over a hundred groups within the same day and if they triggered a ban, it was only for 24 hours.  Not two weeks. And in none of the prior cases of banning did facebook delete all group posts by the person, with no warning prior to doing so.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 03:54:17 PM by JETaylor »
      

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Offline Monique

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 03:53:22 PM »
I'm assuming all of these groups welcome promotional posts? How effective were those? Every group I've ever been in that allowed self-promo was a noisy spamfest. eta: I don't belong to any that allow it anymore.

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Offline JETaylor

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 03:56:20 PM »
I'm assuming all of these groups welcome promotional posts? How effective were those? Every group I've ever been in that allowed self-promo was a noisy spamfest. eta: I don't belong to any that allow it anymore.

Yes - or they have certain days they allow promotions and I'm pretty good at not posting when they don't allow it - like Paranormal Romance Guild only allows promo posts on Sundays.  I don't put anything on their group except on Sundays.

The groups I belonged to specifically welcomed author posts for releases and sales - a lot were for kindle users and kindle unlimited users looking for titles on sale.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 03:58:40 PM by JETaylor »
      

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 03:59:09 PM »
I'm assuming all of these groups welcome promotional posts? How effective were those? Every group I've ever been in that allowed self-promo was a noisy spamfest. eta: I don't belong to any that allow it anymore.
I'm not a member of any groups that allow promotional posts either. I can't figure out how posting links to other authors is a benefit. I think Facebook is trying to make it clear that if you want to advertise, you're going to have to pay for it. I expect them to get stricter as time goes on.

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Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 04:03:07 PM »
I was aware sometime back that Facebook didn't like multiple posts, but never saw it put in place. I'm guessing they've tweaked whatever system that allows them to discover instances of such posts (although they wouldn't have to look too hard...).
Most likely, it's all about forcing people towards paying for FB's own "Boost" service rather than allowing such free promotional activity.
Interesting that quite a few Fiverr services offer to post to FB groups for you. Wonder if they will get hit?
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Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 04:14:25 PM »
I have two author friends that I've known for years, that were both banned for the 14 day period. One writes devotionals and mysteries, and the other writes romance. The one said she used an outside source (Hootsuite) to post hers, the other was just posting to one group after another everyday from her extensive backlist.

All these posts were in reader groups that allow and exist for the purpose of finding reads.

Auto posting (from another source) will get you banned. My opinion is they want to push authors in to their paid ad options.
 
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Offline TheLemontree

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 04:43:39 PM »
To be fair, this isn't an "anti-author" thing.  It's one way that facebook is trying to stop every group everywhere from being constantly swamped with posts about everything from cheap brand name sneaker knock-offs to the latest fingernail decoration kit.

It's kinda inconvenient when we have our own wares to hawk, but I can see their point :)

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Offline MyraScott

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 04:49:23 PM »
I am curious to know how many sales you attribute to posting in dozens of FB groups?  How devastating is this in terms of actual sales?

Offline TromboneAl

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 05:09:05 PM »
I am curious to know how many sales you attribute to posting in dozens of FB groups?  How devastating is this in terms of actual sales?

I concluded that posts to those groups contribute very few sales. Once I tracked clicks. I posted to fifty-six groups, and I got 27 clicks.

And I noted this (100 units per Y division):



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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 05:39:56 PM »
If we can back up for a moment...

Are the posts DELETED or simply not being shown on the group? There is a big difference here. We all know Facebook has an ridiculous algorithm that only shows your posts to a certain number of people based on activity. Are the posts still showing on your own wall? It may be FB's algorithms at work. I suspect the identical post, cross-posted thirty or forty times, is going to trigger the spam alert...particularly if it isn't getting likes or shares.

Most of the time when I've heard of FB deleting posts, it has either been the group leader removing posts or simply FB's stupid algorithms hiding them.

Also, it could be another bug. Earlier this year FB had a bug where tons of posts that included links were being deleted because of a bug error in the preview code that pulls an image from the link to include in the post. FB is also currently having problems with some third-party services and erroneously flagging some links as malicious (there is currently an issue with Tsu where you can't cross post to FB because it thinks the link is malicious.

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Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2015, 05:46:38 PM »
If we can back up for a moment...

Are the posts DELETED or simply not being shown on the group? There is a big difference here. We all know Facebook has an ridiculous algorithm that only shows your posts to a certain number of people based on activity. Are the posts still showing on your own wall? It may be FB's algorithms at work. I suspect the identical post, cross-posted thirty or forty times, is going to trigger the spam alert...particularly if it isn't getting likes or shares.

Most of the time when I've heard of FB deleting posts, it has either been the group leader removing posts or simply FB's stupid algorithms hiding them.

Also, it could be another bug. Earlier this year FB had a bug where tons of posts that included links were being deleted because of a bug error in the preview code that pulls an image from the link to include in the post. FB is also currently having problems with some third-party services and erroneously flagging some links as malicious (there is currently an issue with Tsu where you can't cross post to FB because it thinks the link is malicious.

No, they're getting emails from Facebook telling them they are banned, and not to post from scheduling services. Or not to post to several groups in one day the same post.

Thanks edited to read FB not the 'zon.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 06:30:21 PM by Lisa Grace »
 
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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2015, 05:52:03 PM »
No, they're getting emails from Amazon telling them they are banned, and not to post from scheduling services. Or not to post to several groups in one day the same post.

I presume this should be "facebook" not "Amazon"?

Offline bpmanuel

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2015, 05:53:51 PM »
I never liked Facebook as a "branding thing," I find that sort of spam to be annoying. It's similar to Linkedin, where maybe a few years ago some groups actually had threads today people just want you to come to "their" personal blog.

Offline TheBehrg

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2015, 05:55:10 PM »
I'm assuming all of these groups welcome promotional posts? How effective were those? Every group I've ever been in that allowed self-promo was a noisy spamfest. eta: I don't belong to any that allow it anymore.

My thoughts exactly.

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Offline DarkarNights

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2015, 10:46:16 PM »
Lesson learned, don't spam post.
 

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2015, 11:06:37 PM »
To recap/clarify some things:

1) No one is being told how much posting is too much
2) FB has a "for sale" option in groups, which makes it seem like they are OK with people using groups to sell things
3) The authors who were banned (myself included) spend TONS of money in ads an boosted posts, so in essence, they are  p*ss ing off customers, not forcing them to use more ads, because it's group posting that helps us have enough money to make adds (which often operate at a loss because the royalty on a book share versus FB promoted post conversion just don't level out--it's more used when you are willing to spend more to make the sale because you need the ranking boost)
4) It's NOT spamming. It's people posting book posts to book groups. I know a lot of non-author readers in groups like these and they have told me that is often how they browse for books. They just wait for something that looks good to come up in their feed from a group. I've met some of my most loyal readers through groups like these--the saw my book, bought it, then friend requested me and some have become close FRIENDS of mine, not just readers, but people I hope to meet some day. Also: 1) You can turn off group notifications for groups you are in and only see the posts if you GO to the group 2) You can leave the group if you don't want to see the posts anymore also. Calling this "Spam" is a bit unfair. That's a but like if you went to a book fair where the sole purpose was for authors to read excerpts from their books, and you started doing just that and they told you to leave because you're spamming people. Come on.
5) Sorry, but since a lot of groups I am in are getting LEGIT spam (IE, porn videos and sun glasses) and FB hasn't handled that but is stopping the book posts from being posted, I find it hard to believe that "all spammers are being dealt with"

Ultimately, if people don't want this to be part of their marketing plan, that's fine. But let's not make things up or shame those because they use the tactic.

And you know, however you may feel about it, think about this:
Some of these groups have files that people can update. When this ban happens, the posts and files are being DELETED. Yes, deleted. Completely. Like even the pinned posts. So even if you think these people are spamming (which they aren't) what about the people who AREN'T spamming, who are just in the group to READ, and now files that THEY helped create and contribute to have been deleted because ONE of the contributors were given a ban? Sorry, but as angry as I may get at other authors sometimes, I would NEVER say that a READER deserves to be punished because of their actions, and if you think it's right that FB is blindly doing just that, then you are against the reader in that situation as well.

If you aren't familiar with the group dynamics and the purpose they serve and the way authors and readers often work TOGETHER in these groups, then it may be best to not comment on it. Just sayin. Do what you want, but some of the things said here could actually be construed the wrong way by readers who are lurking these forums and were ALSO affected by FBs actions.

Offline Anna Drake

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2015, 12:29:37 AM »
Actually, I think the paid FB ads are more like spam than are the group posts. With the groups you have to go to the group to read the posts. The paid ads come into my feed whether I want them there or not, and personally, I'm getting tired of seeing them.


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Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2015, 12:47:46 AM »
Actually, I think the paid FB ads are more like spam than are the group posts. With the groups you have to go to the group to read the posts. The paid ads come into my feed whether I want them there or not, and personally, I'm getting tired of seeing them.

You need to "train" you FB algo. Don't just ignore stuff you don't want to see. Click the little arrow and say it isn't relevant to you. After a while FB will show stuff more relevant. It learns.

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2015, 01:23:35 AM »
Sounds to me like its not aimed at authors.

Seems to be a general anti-spam function, probably automated. Post the same message in more than a few places at a time, its automatically spam and is deleted.

I turned all the author groups off. I got sick of seeing the same ad 3 or 4 times in a single scroll. Lately though,FB turned them all on again, and so I had to go turn them all off again.

As much as I wish FB was a useful place to put an ad, I seriously dislike seeing the same thing all over the place. So I'm actually ok with this spam filter.

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2015, 04:22:15 AM »
You'd think Facebook would leave it to the group admins to manage how they allow spamming.
I agree it's just another way to encourage paid ads on Facebook.
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Offline writerbee

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2015, 08:06:51 AM »
This is so weird! Why would FB ban posts promoting books on groups that are designed specifically to promote books??? That is NOT "spam" -- it's the purpose of the site. (e.g. Kindle Author Book Promotion, Indie Author Book Promotion Page -- I mean, the "promotion" is right in the title of the group!)
Not that much about FB rules make sense --  it's often murky, arbitrary, and ever-changing.
But this sounds like something FB is doing not to "protect" people from spam (no one is forcing people to look at a Book Promo page, after all) but to "encourage" authors to buy ads from FB.

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Re: Beware - if you use FB Groups to spread the word...
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2015, 08:34:59 AM »
Lesson learned, don't spam post.


What she was doing isn't spamming. She was following the rules of the group (post promos on certain days, etc), so if the group admin allows promos to be posted and an author posts a promo, that is not spamming. If a group admin has clear rules of not posting promos and you post a promo, that's spamming.

She started this thread to warn others that use this strategy (and they're a lot of authors that do this) to be careful, she wasn't asking for opinions on the strategy itself. Of course, this is a discussion thread, and threads take off in other directions, but a debate on that strategy should be on a thread asking about the pros and cons of the strategy versus someone who starts a thread to help others and is now being accused of spamming and questioning the effectiveness of a strategy she is using when she didn't ask for that.

It dissuades people from sharing information like this, if they're going to be called spammers and "why do you care, that doesn't work anyway" type comments.

So even though I don't use this strategy, thank you OP for the warning!


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