Do the Number of Facebook Fans on Your Fan Page Matter?

An author recently asked the following question on the BookBuzzr Pro Authors Forum:

What kind of impact does the number of Facebook fans have on your book sales?

To answer this question let’s do a thought experiment:

Consider two authors of the same genre, both of whom are equally unknown to you. Let’s call the authors Joe and Jill. Joe has 24 fans on his Facebook fan page. Jill has 2000 fans. Assuming you’ve got just 5 minutes to investigate one of these authors’ books, whose book are you more likely to learn more about?

When I visit a Facebook fan page of an author whom I have not heard of, the first thing I glance at is the number of fans that the author has. While this ‘social proof’ may not be the sole criterion for making a purchase it is one of the important determinants for me to proceed forward about investigating the book or the author. I guess that I’m unconsciously asking myself the question, “Is this author worth my time?” and if a number of people seem to think so (as evidenced by the number of fans on Facebook, or the number of reviews on Amazon) then I will tend to dig deeper and see if it is for me.

Of course, there are situations where I have bought a book serendipitously … when I stumbled upon a book in a physical bookstore. But those situations are becoming more and more rare in the online world. This is because the Internet makes it easy for “birds of a feather” to congregate in a single place. However arcane the topic, if an author has any kind of following, chances are that they will have gotten together at one place (Facebook, Twitter, the author’s blog).

Now, this may not be a fair system. And I’m sure that there are several world-changing or hugely entertaining books out there that remain hidden gems because of a lack of social proof. But that is just the nature of the game. And until a better system comes out there, we’re likely to rely on the opinions of others to vet what we choose to investigate deeper.

What do you think? Do let us know in the comments section below.

 

 

Vikram
Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter

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  1. shawnlamb@allonbooks.com'Shawn

    There is some true to what you’re saying about the number of fans on Facebook, but it’s also part of the numbers game author engage in to become noticed.

    On various forums there are discussions and threads about ‘like’ or being ‘friends’ on Facebook to increase the numbers. I general don’t participate in this, wanting my ‘fans’ to be genuine and not manufactured. (I have over 300 by the way) I do reciprocate after checking out the individual who sends a friend request to my personal page. The FB fan pages for my books are all ‘likes’, so I’m not as picky on those.

    As for reviews on Amazon, that’s another game since authors can buy reviews and/or have to combat trolls trying to sabotage with 1 star and bad review. When it comes to YA – one of my genres – kids don’t write reviews, and on Amazon one must be 18 years and older to post. This places me in a catch-22, not many reviews, not much interest, but I have loyal followers and readers.

  2. juliarachelbarrett@gmail.com'Julia Rachel Barrett

    I don’t use FB to find new authors. As an author, I do have a FB page but I don’t do much with it. As far as I know, I have a lot of friends/fans, but I honestly do not believe FB has contributed to my sales in any meaningful way. In fact, I’m a fan of some authors on FB but I only became a fan only after I read their books.
    The truth is, the pressure to ‘like’ authors and become a ‘fan’ is actually annoying. And it’s constant.
    Because I find twitter to be a much better way to connect with fans and other writers, I’m considering closing my FB page anyway.

  3. VikramVikram Post author

    I agree Julia. However, it seems to depend on the genre and the quality of the Twitter followers / Facebook fans.

    But the point is … if you have a Facebook fan page, you want to ensure that you’ve got a sufficient number of fans on your page.

    Also, we’re partly addressing the issue of engagement with fans with our QuickQuiz widget.

  4. JudithBrilesAuthorU@gmail.com'Judith Briles

    I think I can agree that the number of Facebook fans do matter in advertising, although it may not be the only factor when it comes to your potential readers. Facebook fans mean the number of people who loved your work and in turn took their time to follow you and even like what you do. It means you are worthy of their time, so that may be one proof why others might also be interested to you.

    I may not be solely relying on my Facebook page since I have other social media to backed me up but I believe it does help.

  5. jkairys@comcast.net'Jo Ann

    Hi, I agree in principle that the more fans the better, but is it just a numbers game? If so, acquiring fans takes precious time from writing, and I always find myself wondering if the investment in fan-building is worth the trade-off. I don’t have an answer for myself, though I do like to “connect” with people who have a solid following. Not sure if it makes them more “popular” or more credible… maybe both. Anyway, I’m building fans over time, and I admit it’s satisfying to watch the numbers grow! Jo Ann

  6. thekellyrobinson@gmail.com'Kelly Robinson

    A large number of FB followers may not increase book sales, but it can be a potential factor in selling your book to a publisher in the first place. While it wouldn’t be the only criterion, it can be a big indicator of your platform to a publisher, so it helps a bit.

  7. fiona.taylor@gmail.com'FLT

    I think the content on the FB page would matter more to me than the number of fans, especially for a debut author. If the content was engaging and interesting, that would make the book look more promising. After all, Twilight has tons of fans, and I still thought that book was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. So, while I see your point and you don’t want to have three fans liking a fanpage, content matters a lot more to me.

  8. clint.lenard@gmail.com'Clint Lenard

    The number of fans definitely matters. As you stated, Social Proof, is what really matters here. Also, people are more willing to like a page with many likes just to ‘go with the flow,’ as weird as that may sound.