In one of my writer groups last week, a thread began about a mysterious Facebook function for authors. It started as innocently a Chinese whisper… “Has anyone heard of a new Facebook thing for authors?” But the conversation soon snowballed into,
“Yes! I heard people talking about this. Apparently Facebook have a promotional feature just for authors.”
“Better than a page for promoting books.”
“Where is it? What is it? I haven’t seen anything”
“I don’t know – I haven’t been able to find it. What’s it even called?”
“Not sure. It’s meant to be the best way to boost an author’s profile.”
I decided to investigate. I realised that I, too, have not witnessed anything out of the ordinary amongst fellow pen-friendly Facebook users. So if this magical feature for authors exists, first of all, what is it? Second of all, why is no-one using it? And third of all, should they be?
Going from the screenshot I saw in this particular thread, a search through popular blogs and forums produced nothing at all. I had no idea if this was a new feature, as suggested, or an older one that’s being overlooked and underutilised as a result. More searching online eventually led me to the Facebook for Media blog. Particularly, this post from June 2016:
As you can see though, it’s out of date. As in, the screenshots and instructions. Facebook doesn’t look like that or work that way now; it’s changed. Don’t worry though; I show you how it’s done now later in this article.
Either way, it would seem the “secret” promotion hack for authors being talked about is Facebook Notes. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t. Yet it was around in 2016. And way before that too. And it’s still around now. Its down phase, or phases as there have been several, seem to have come about because Facebook took Notes away then brought it back again several times. They’ve made it pretty cool now to be fair. Due to their experimentation with it, I would suggest still uploading articles to your blog, just in case. You don’t want to lose content.
But for now at least, Facebook Notes seems to be on the cusp of its latest resurgence. The more I look into it, the more it seems comparable to post versus email. Now everyone’s on email, no-one’s sending letters any more. Apart from the few who are, and they’re cleaning up. So let’s check this out in more detail.
What is Facebook Notes?
Facebook Notes is essentially the Facebook equivalent of LinkedIn Pulse or a publication on Medium. It’s Facebook’s option to upload written articles natively. Native advertising or native content, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is content that is shared directly to your audience on a certain platform via the platform itself, rather than an external one.
So native LinkedIn content is a written article published on Pulse (what used to be) or a video published via LinkedIn video function or a LinkedIn live…content published via the LinkedIn platform and directed at your LinkedIn audience. The social media platforms obviously favour native content. It keeps their users engaged, provides additional value and therefore reasons to join and stay, and it actively stops users from having to leave the platform to access content elsewhere. It looks like this:
What a creative way to use this feature. Yet Facebook Notes seems to have been buried and forgotten somehow… presumably because Facebook have focussed heavily on community and engagement through the development of its Groups function, Facebook Live and other video options such as the addition of captions to uploaded videos and Watch Parties. And of course, Facebook Ads, which, despite the change in algorithm earlier in the year, remain the most cost effective way to share content to obtain inorganic traffic.
I can see that, looking at it that way, Facebook Notes may not be deemed necessary by some businesses. Why spend time creating native content in addition to LinkedIn, a website blog and the coordination of other platforms that prioritise shortness (Twitter) and video and imagery over long-form content (Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok), when you can show a lead magnet to thousands on Facebook for £5-10 a day. What about the case for and against Facebook Notes for authors specifically then?
What can Facebook Notes do for authors?
Us authors, being writers, or at least promoters of what we deem to be great content, can demonstrate our author prowess by showcasing our writing. Whilst we can and do benefit from mixed media in our marketing, the best possible way to let people know what kind of author we are is to show them. Readers enjoy reading (duh), so if one of your objectives is to find more readers you don’t need to worry about whether or not written content is for them. It’s a given.
However, readers these days are bombarded with all sorts of advertising and promotion. Rather than trying to appeal to them only at the time at which they are ready to buy your book, which you have no control over, creating marketing content around your book gives them a taster of your tone, style and content which can influence their buying decisions. Sorry for pointing out the obvious! I do so because that is the benefit of Facebook Notes in a nutshell.
It is the opportunity to create and share book-related content natively on Facebook. And the Facebook algorithm prioritises content that attracts and keeps users on Facebook. So Facebook notes also provides you the opportunity to broaden your reach, as well as adding some variety to your Facebook content. You can include links, images and easily embed video into your Facebook Notes. Content on published posts is easily edited, too. You can publish notes on your page and/or your personal profile, so it’s an all round attractive and easy-to-use platform. The one thing you can’t do at the time of writing is boost Notes. Hopefully that will come:
With that said, Stats Digital say that “studies have shown that 70% of consumers say they’d rather learn about products and brands through content than through traditional advertising”. So there’s a lot to support the leverage of native content on any platform.
How to access and create Facebook Notes
Notes can be set up and used from your personal profile and your page. It looks as though it’s not available for groups. Here’s how to do it from your Author Page; currently the most effective way to enhance your profile as an author on Facebook:
Insert vid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7yaUcTjNvM
So once again that’s:
- Go to your page and click on Settings, top right
2. Click on Templates and Tabs, left hand side
3. Scroll down and click on Add Tab at the bottom on the right hand side
4. Add Notes from the list (mine was already added so it’s not showing below)
5. Go back to your Page and scroll down to see Notes now showing on the left hand menu
Once you have Notes activated, you can create your first one! How exciting.
- Click on the Notes tab you just created on the left hand menu of your page
- Click ‘Add note’
- Enter your content just as you would any other blog or article
- Click Save to come back to your note later or Publish for it to go into the public domain – it’ll show in your followers’ News Feeds and on the page you published under
- You can delete notes you don’t want around anymore by clicking on them and selecting Delete on the bottom left.
How can authors use Facebook Notes?
Now you’re all set up and creating native Facebook content, more potential readers are viewing your work and finding you, what are some of the creative ways you can use this feature?
Well of course, as the video shows, you can treat it as you would any other article or blog. But check out these ideas from other authors and influencers that Facebook shares in its original article – the same principles for creating share-worthy content still stand:
- Make it visual
The cover image you choose will be noticed first by scrollers.
2. Make quotes or important points stand out
Think social proof like book reviews, inspiration or shareable gems of wisdom from your book.
3. Format and style it
Make the most of the design features of Notes. You can wrap text around images, play with placement etc.
4. Address your audience directly
5. Tell a story
Your Expert Positioning Story perhaps, or the background to your book, like Usher does here as he tells his fans about his new release.
6. Share true moments, memories and reflections
Engage readers past your book launch and workshops by sharing photos and updates from your experiences. Letting people into your life and behind-the-scenes moments create trust and connection.
Hopefully this helps you get set up on Facebook Notes and provides food for thought on how you can leverage Facebook even further to grow your audience, promote your work and raise brand awareness. Let me know how you get on and sign up below for more tips!