We set up our author/writer/speaker Facebook page as we have been advised to do repeatedly by agents, successful writers, and conference speakers. We tell everyone we know, send out friend invites, and receive a bunch of Facebook LIKES. We put time and effort into posting regularly, yet the page doesn’t grow. What’s up with that?

So here’s the truth: just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll LIKE it. If you’re not seeing growth in the number of likes and followers after the initial round of family and friend contributions, there’s a good chance you’re making one or more of these five common mistakes. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for each one!

  1. Ignoring the reader. If most of your Facebook posts have the word “I” or “my” in them (i.e. my book is almost done; I will be speaking at They Love Me Church; my award-winning article will be featured . . . ) you’re making it clear to the reader that you are not interested in creating relationships, you simply want admirers who can be converted to purchasers.

THE FIX: While the reason you have a page is to get your name out and create a fan-base, the purpose of your page has to answer the reader’s question: “What’s in it for me?” With thousands of blogs and Facebook pages to choose from, readers only invest their time on those they receive benefit from. The purpose of your page has to be to motivate, entertain, inspire, educate, or some combination thereof. Self-promoting posts are necessary to get the word out about what you’re doing and to inform readers about your product, but they should be sprinkled sparingly amongst posts that benefit the reader.

  1. Not having sharable content. You cannot achieve substantial page growth unless people are sharing your posts. If your posts consist mainly of text, links from the internet, posts shared from other sites, and pictures with no words, you are not giving your readers something to share.

THE FIX: Create (or have made) attractive original posts that have content readers will want to share such as inspirational or funny sayings, motivational quotes, and fun facts.

  1. Lack of engagement. If you’re not letting readers know they matter and their opinions are valued, they’re not going to keep coming back.

THE FIX: Respond to comments, personalizing them when possible. Occasionally post a question (on a sharable picture or graphic, of course!) that asks for a response, an opinion, or provides multiple choice answers. More than 1000 readers commented on the post below in the first two days it was on my Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce site. Another post that did well was one that requested readers resolve the (totally made up) mayo-versus-mustard-in-potato-salad-debate. It might surprise you how passionate people can be about their potato salad preferences!

Example of a Facebook Engagement post

Example of a Facebook Engagement post.

  1. Inconsistent posting. The more readers engage with your posts by liking, commenting, or sharing, the more your posts will appear in their feeds. When there are lengthy lapses in between posts, your posts will show up in less feeds (have lower reach) due to lack of engagement. Appearing in fewer feeds further lowers the opportunity for post engagement. Once you have disappeared from the feeds of followers, it can be difficult to build up momentum again.

THE FIX: Post at least once a day. Use the post-scheduling feature to pre-schedule posts for days you know you won’t be able to get to it. I often take a chunk of time and schedule for weeks ahead. As time permits over those weeks, I can add or share other posts, but the pressure is off to show up daily.

  1. Not cultivating relationships with other page owners. Having individuals share your posts is good. Having other page owners share your posts on their established pages is even better because they usually have a broader reach than individuals.

THE FIX: Find other pages with content that compliments your theme. Visit their page periodically, leaving comments on posts that you like. When you find a post that’s a good fit for your page, share it. Leave a sincere note in their comment section about their post content and letting them know you’ll be sharing it on your page. Often, the page owner will be appreciative and reciprocate. Whether or not he does, you still have interesting content for your readers that took almost no effort on your part to provide!

Shel Harrington is a Family Law Attorney and adjunct law professor in Oklahoma City. In addition to her published law-related book and articles, she blogs about improving relationships at ShelHarrington.com. In her alternative writing world, Shel’s humor blog about aging, Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce , has an accompanying Facebook page with over 300,000 followers.