If you’ve got a Facebook page, chances are you’ve noticed some changes in recent weeks – the number of people viewing your posts may well have fallen by as much as 50%.
Short version: when you log into Facebook, you probably want to see updates from friends, not brands. So Facebook invented an algorithm to judge how likely you are to see certain kinds of content (based on what you like, what you comment on, and what you and other people opt to hide) and it shows you more of that stuff.
Some people argue this is a deliberate tactic from Facebook to force brands into paying a fee so Facebook will promote their posts to more readers, but personally, I don’t completely buy it: Edgerank means it’s harder for you to reach Facebook users if they don’t already regularly engage with your content, even if you pay for promoted posts – but if they do engage with you as much as with their friends, then your reach should remain pretty steady, while promoting your content will achieve even greater viral reach.
So the secret is having a Facebook page with lots of fresh, interesting content that users are motivated to like, share and comment on. Simple, right?
Well, no it’s not simple at all! Facebook is a busy and crowded market, and it’s tough to stand out. Even with additional work, you might find your posts aren’t reaching as many people as they used to. The good news? it’s a lot easier to have a successful Facebook page if you follow our top tips, many of which come from the wonderful Cathy at NurtureStore, who presented at our last BlogCamp event in Manchester.
Thanks to Cathy, we’re gradually working on our own Tots100 Facebook page, although it’s still very much a work in progress!
Turn off Networked Blogs:
If you’re using a third-party application like Networked Blogs to share posts to Facebook automatically, turn it off. Facebook doesn’t like automated posts, and they are increasingly unlikely to show up in users’ feeds. If you do nothing else after reading this post, change your habits and start sharing your blog posts manually to your Facebook page.
Personalise your page:
Use simple image editing tools like Picmonkey to create a colourful, interesting header image that tells people what your blog is all about. Make sure you complete ALL the fields in the profile area, and keep your answers concise so they show on screen. Be consistent with branding – try and use similar language and images across all your social media channels to help readers recognise that this is YOUR page.
Facebook allows you to customise what appears in the buttons at the top of a page, underneath the header. Experiment with making images for these buttons and making them into links to your key content – you could direct people to your subscription page, for example, or your latest competitions. You can also add apps for photos, newsletters, Instagram feeds – almost anything! Make your page much more than just a place to see today’s blog post.
Pictures, pictures, pictures:
When you share a blog post URL on Facebook, the website will automatically generate a preview with a tiny image. Delete this, and instead upload your own photo (it needs to be 403px-450px wide – you can resize images easily in iPhoto or Picmonkey). Make it colourful and attention grabbing. Add the URL in the text above AND in a comment below – as this will make it easy for mobile users to click through to your blog. It’s very easy to make your own images and overlay a nice, attention-grabbing text headline using pretty much any image editing website or software – and this is such a simple way to boost engagement. Pictures don’t always have to be linked to posts, either – sharing a regular Friday photo of nature, or a Monday morning time-saving tip in action in your own family could also be a great way to build engagement.
Facebook now allows pages to schedule posts – so think about this carefully. Experiment and you’ll be able to see what are the busiest times of day – or night. Cathy regularly posts to Facebook at 2am using the schedule feature, to catch US readers when they’re online. We find many parents are online at 7am, because their children wake early – and it’s a good time to beat the rush when posting new content, for example.
Automate where appropriate:
While it’s not a good idea to automate posting to Facebook, you can use publishing tools such as IFFT to set up simple rules that share your photos – for example, with IFFT you can create a rule that says, “If I post a photo on my Facebook page, Tweet a link to it.” But don’t ever share your Twitter updates on Facebook – it’s annoying AND boring – double whammy!
Don’t just post new stuff:
Think of Facebook as a big shop window to the world. You don’t always have to post today’s post. You might create a picture with a nice heading that links to an old post that’s seasonal – Bonfire recipes, or Christmas crafts, for example. You might even create special events for certain weeks, where you collaborate with other bloggers (and their pages). Could you team up with some blogging friends and have a week where you all post present suggestions, and link to each other’s suggestions? Could you share an image for those posts, and perhaps use that to create a collaborative Pinterest board?
Ask readers questions:
A great way to boost engagement on Facebook is to use it to ask your readers questions. What would they like to see from your new recipes, have they ever experienced a dilemma you recently blogged about, what games do their children play in the autumn? Talk to readers regularly, and they’ll talk back.
Ask readers to help you:
Facebook is rolling out a new feature for users that allows them to opt into notifications for your page. If you visit a page you’ve liked, you’ll see a liked button at the top of the page – hover over this, and you MAY see an option called ‘receive notifications’ – this is a bit like adding someone to your ‘close friends’ list, and means you’re far less likely to miss an update. So if you are confident you’re posting great content that your users like, ASK them to tick this option on their Facebook account. This seems like a REALLY good moment to ask you to pop over and click this option for the Tots100 Facebook page. Off you go. Then come straight back, okay? (note – if you don’t see this feature yet, you will in the coming weeks)
Sharing other people’s content (and not just your own) on Facebook is a great way of building relationships with other users, and other pages – and hopefully they’ll return the favour in future. Don’t forget to tag people when you post their content, so they’ll know (and their friends will too) that you’ve recommended something they created. Try joining some Facebook groups with topics relevant to your blog, too. There are LOADS of collaborative groups on Facebook where you can pick up ideas and inspiration, and share your own experiences – and maybe pick up some new Facebook likers and blog readers along the way.
What are your top Facebook page tips?