Social Media / General Etiquette: Acceptable to ask a friend to invite some of their Facebook friends to follow your artistic website’s Facebook page?
posted by cotesdurhone to Human Relations (44 answers total)
Some background: I’m a writer of literature. For a decade, I’ve been operating under the radar, periodically sharing my writings with a small number of friends and acquaintances, periodically trying to publish in literary journals and so on, and doing almost no self-promotion. Since I haven't yet published a novel with an established publisher, and since my writings hitherto have appeared in a sprinkling of relatively obscure publications, virtually no promotion has been done on my behalf.
For the last several years, some friends and acquaintances have persistently been encouraging me to jump into the digital age and establish a web presence, so that I can interact regularly with a readership, get some recognition, maybe make some income via donations (or possibly subscriptions), and potentially plant seeds for future publication.
After much trepidation, about four months ago, finally decided to take the proverbial plunge, and released a literary website (which I'd been designing and adding content to for some time). The website is a hybrid of a personal blog and a magazine, both showcasing some of my own writings, and featuring quality writings and other media by Contributors, articles, rare songs, videos, interviews, philosophy, psychology, dreams, and other quality items of the literary, philosophical, and artistic persuasions.
I tend to post several or more items-- including one or two pieces by Contributors-- weekly. Since releasing the site, I've also been posting 5-6 days a week once or twice a day (occasionally more) on FB, Google+, and Twitter, and occasionally some other social media sites. The posts are either pieces that appear on the site, or worthwhile (hopefully) things pertaining to the literary: illuminating, informative, poetic, comic, tragic, usefully irreverent, or captivatingly absurd.
So, edging towards the question... The amount of time it's taken to build and design the site, work with a developer to make significant changes, do research (I was pretty green when I started, and still am), put together posts from myself or contributors, curate compelling pieces, read (and sometimes edit) submissions, respond to voluminous emails, post on social media sites daily, etc, as well as the money it has taken to maintain and design the site, have been considerable, much more than anticipated. And it's beginning to feel that all of this work is almost not worth it without some semblance of a readership.
But an obstacle to gaining a readership I've run into: For a literary (or other artistic) site, FB, for good or ill, is currently pretty much the only game in town for getting posts seen regularly by an audience. Pretty recently, in order to increase revenue, FB changed its parameters such that only a small fraction of a ‘business'’ page’s followers will see a post when it is made, a fraction that is reduced further by FB now only showing “trending” posts at the top of the newsfeed by default.
As my site’s FB page currently has around 150 followers-- which I was able to get by inviting FB friends through my personal page, and through a few (tasteful) "mass" emails, one sent on my behalf by a close friend, to follow it-- this effectively translates into something like 1-5 people simply even seeing a new post when it is made in their newsfeed.
For the most part, it looks like the main ways I can get more people to subscribe to my site's FB page's posts are:
(a) By paying Facebook and running campaigns. But because the literary site makes no money yet (if it ever will), and I'm an impecunious writer, and because, apparently, from all I've read, FB campaigns are poor at reaching the right audience and the amount of "likes" one gets for the price is abysmal, this option does not really make sense.
(b) Ask some friends, acquaintances, and maybe Contributors to invite their friends who might be interested in the site to follow its FB page
(c) I realize that there are some other alternatives, such as handing out 'business cards,' or participating in literary events, or getting people onto the site through 'organic traffic' or 'paid traffic' and having them find the FB page this way, and so on. So far these options have not translated into any "followers" (boy, I don't love this word-- "subscribers" seems more dignified). Performing artists, such as musicians, or theater groups, or actors, for manifold reasons, seem to be able to leverage these alternatives much more to get a "following" than a writer is able to.
I likely wouldn't have thought of Option B myself had not a few acquaintances asked me to do this for their arts and business pages several months back. I thought their pages worthwhile, and so felt totally fine about doing this, and was glad to show love to their projects and help them promote themselves and maybe make some more income. After this a distant acquaintance, upon learning of the site, apropos nothing suggested she invite some of her friends to "like" its FB page, which was great (adding maybe 5-10 people, which some might say is trifling, but my feeling is that even one very engaged person makes a huge difference in the fabric of existence).
So I began to feel that this method of asking friends to ask their friends to like the page could be a viable way of enlarging its readership.
I've asked about a half dozen people so far (those I consider friends or close acquaintances, and one contributor), and have had extremely mixed results, so now don't know what to think.
One person seemed put off by the prospect and said they didn't feel comfortable doing it. Another, who it turns out has a 'huge following on Twitter,' and a considerable one on FB (which I had no idea about), actually seemed almost offended by the question.
Three people seemed totally casual about it and quite happy to do it (pretty much same as my response to the people who asked me).
One friend, a classical musician whom I've been showing support to for years and years, listening to many pieces by her, going to many of her performances over the years, listing her prominently at the top of the Friends (links) section of my website, and so on, seemed to ignore the email I sent her asking if she could do this. A few months passed, I realized she'd never responded, thought maybe the email simply fell through the cracks, and in another conversational email asked her a second time. And again-- no response. Likely signaling (as she responded to other emails) that she felt uncomfortable somehow about it.
A person I used to be closer friends with, another musician, sent an email asking if I'd feature his band's latest music video on the site (and, implicitly, in social media posts). I said I'd be glad to. And by the way, if he felt like it, as it would help him and other contributors get exposure, and as almost no one is looking at the posts now, could he show some love and invite some friends who might be interested to "like" the FB page. He disappeared as well. Sent him an email asking if he still wanted to run the video. Haven't heard back.
So-- now don't really know how to look at this. Pretty conflicted. Definitely don't want to over-impose on anyone or come off as uncouth, or selfish, or obnoxious. As I mentioned, I'm pretty green when it comes to social media, so it's possible I'm violating or stretching some sacrosanct code of conduct I'm not aware of (although, in the rapidly changing digital world, all but the most basic ethical codes seem to change rapidly), or that in general the request is ethically and socially much more to ask than I realize. Incidentally, one interesting observation: the people who seemed glad to do it (as well as the woman who volunteered apropos nothing) are Eastern European, European, and Latin American, whereas the ones who did not want to do it or disappeared are North American (USA). Not sure in this case if this indicates any pattern or is just random; not enough "data" to tell.
Any insights, suggestions, and so on would be much appreciated. Thanks!
[Note: Please, no very snarky, naysaying, or dismissive comments, as can sometimes happen on AskMeFi. Please, only constructive insights and suggestions. Thanks again.]