The last few weeks have seen many people from all over the world Liking and Talking about Sacred Tears on Facebook.

Today the page went past 21,000 Likes which for me was something I had not expected. Looking at the demographics of my fan base, the majority of the Likes have come from the sub-continent, the most coming from India although there is a healthy percent from Pakistan. Eighty percent are in the 18-24 age group of which twenty six percent are women. This is close to the percentage of women on Facebook. What’s interesting is there are a significant number of fans from Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan and the Philippines amongst other countries.

What, if anything can I ascertain from these numbers? Obviously over twenty one thousand Facebook users found the Sacred Tears book site interesting and relevant. I believe the book cover and it’s title is appealing to many fans. Some have even used the cover graphic as a picture on their own Facebook site.

What did surprise me however was the age group who were Liking the book. When I was writing the story I expected it to appeal to an older audience, an audience of baby boomers who have experienced famine and war and have seen great changes in lifestyle and expectancy over their lifetime. But Baby Boomers are a generational group that are not well represented on Facebook and while I still may be correct in who will want to read the book, I believe we are beginning to see a change in the attitude of Generation X and Y who want to learn more about the world they live in.

One thing Facebook does well is to let you reach just about any group of people you can imagine. But it does not come free. Facebook admits ‘we expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.’ Which to me means that Facebook wants us to consider paid distribution to maximize delivery of our messages in news feed.

It’s a big shift from the stance that Facebook have taken before. It has put out a three page document which repositions how marketers should think about fan acquisition. It wants us to use it as a tool for making paid advertising more effective. While free distribution of content is mentioned, it’s the third business benefit listed after improved advertising effectiveness and lower cost for paid distribution.

To be fair, Facebook makes it cheaper to deliver ads with social context and it seems that acquiring fans isn’t just about building a free distribution channel for content; it’s to make future Facebook ads work better.