Today, though, Facebook is my second biggest source of traffic (after Twitter), and what’s nice is that people engaging with my blog via Facebook can often be new readers – friends of friends – and sometimes people who don’t generally read blogs.
So what makes a successful Facebook page for a blog?
Here are some tips based on my own experience, and I would also like to thank the amazing Emily from More than Just a Mother, who is the person who persuaded me Facebook might be worth bothering with, in the first place.
Tip 1: Get a Custom URL
When you first set up your Facebook page, it will have a really long, silly address – www.facebook.com/pages/fgldkgdfg. Get 25 people to ‘like’ your page, though, and you can change this to a ‘custom’ URL more like facebook.com/tots100. This is the time to call in favours from your friends and family!
Once you have the likers you need, just to go facebook.com/username and use the drop down menu to choose the page you want to ‘name’. You can then type in your chosen name and, if it’s available, its yours. But be careful – once set this can’t be changed so if you make a typo you’ll have to delete your page and start again!
Tip 2: Get a Custom Landing Page
When you land on a Facebook page, by default, you land on the ‘wall’ – this is the page where new messages, links to posts, photos etc live. It can be a little cluttered and confusing for a new visitor. It’s not a great first impression.
Luckily, Facebook makes it relatively easy to create a dedicated welcome page that will be displayed to people who haven’t visited your Facebook page before. To set a custom landing page, go to ‘edit page’ and then ‘edit wall settings’. Then change your default landing page to a new welcome page.
For example, new visitors to the Tots100 Facebook page, where we post photos from our events, along with videos, links to blog posts and lots more, will see a specific welcome page telling them a little about the index.
Tip 3: Use lots of pictures
Facebook is a very visual medium, and a wall that’s filled with text and tiny avatars will be boring to look at, and won’t encourage your visitors to stick around.
One of the things I’ve started to do with my blog posts is to post one or two pictures on a post on my blog, but then create a supporting album on the Facebook page, like this one, where you can see more images of my trips and adventures.
I also sometimes just upload a single photo from my day to the Facebook page, especially if it’s particularly funny, or cute. When people comment on your photos, their friends will see that comment – encouraging more traffic to your Facebook page.
Tip 4: Keep it Updated
Once visitors ‘like’ your page they will need a reason to stick around – this means you need lots of content on a Facebook page, and certainly it needs to be updated once or twice a week.
Make a point of adding your new posts to your Facebook page (this can be done automatically using Networked Blogs), and if you use a Twitter service such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can also easily share selected Tweets on your Facebook page.
Remember, not all the content on your Facebook page needs to be your own – you can ‘share’ content from your own newsfeed from other blogs, friends, websites and video sites – get into the habit of sharing things you think would be interesting to your readers.
Tip 5: Engage with your ‘fans’
With my Facebook page, I often find people will comment on a post on Facebook rather than visiting my blog – I make a point of replying to those comments, and ‘liking’ comments on our posts. Showing people you’re listening is massively important for any blogger, and on a Facebook page it will keep people reading and may turn casual visitors into loyal readers!
Tip 6: Try Competitions
Under the new Facebook competition rules, you can’t make ‘liking’ or commenting on your Facebook page a condition of entry, but you can still use your Facebook page to promote competitions and giveaways hosted elsewhere – like on your blog.
Tip 7: Join a Community
On Facebook you will find other ‘pages’ by other bloggers as well as pages from brands you may work with, or PR agencies. If it’s relevant, then consider ‘liking’ these pages and perhaps commenting on them from time to time – every time you reach out in this way, you’re reaching potential new readers. But don’t become a spammer – only comment on relevant posts and pages!
Tip 8: Involve your Readers
Facebook has great quick polling tools and allows you to ask questions – so if you’re thinking of writing about a particular issue or changing something on your blog, why not ask the opinions of your Facebook fans? Let your readership tell you what they want to see, and reference the results in the subsequent post.
Tip 9: Spread the news
If you have something great on your page, Facebook allows you to send a message to all the people who like your page. It’s not easy to find this feature but you need to click ‘edit page’ then ‘resources’ and ‘send an update’. Then you can type a message and it will be sent to all your Facebook readers.
Tip 10: Link from your Blog
Once you have a page and a custom URL, make sure you add a link in your blog sidebar that allows your blog readers to go and find your Facebook page.
If you’d like to know more about Facebook pages for blogs, then check out these amazing examples from UK Mummy blogs and Daddy blogs: