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Cracking Facebook - 12 tips for bloggers

Cracking Facebook - 12 tips for bloggers
I apologise in advance. This is a fairly long and dry read - but why not get a cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit and settle yourself down, cos you never know, it may help.


Why is it so hard to gain a following for my blog on Facebook?


It's often much harder to build up a Facebook following for your blog than on Twitter on Instagram. This is simple really; being frank it's because it's not done on a mutual 'like for like' basis. It's easy for bloggers to artificially swell their numbers if you have the time to follow lots of people, but is someone who follows 10,000 people on Twitter really going to read your posts? In terms of engagement and page views Facebook is an amazing tool and in my opinion, worth persevering with, even if can seem really hard work!

To get people to like your page there really is no secret; create and share content that people want to see. That is it.

Here are some things you can do to increase your reach. They're just things I've noticed through running my own little Facebook page; some might be painfully obvious but others maybe not. Anyway, take a peek if you want...

1) Firstly, invite your family and friends to 'like' your Page. Putting yourself out there might seem a bit embarrassing but look at it this way - who is going to be more interested in the lives of you and your family than people that actually know you? Unless you're entirely anonymous, which is very difficult unless you have a truly unique story to tell, then there is every chance they will find you anyway so you might as well be upfront and it should give your Facebook page a good kickstart. And tell them straight they need to like your stuff, goddamnit!

2)  If you can persuade friends or perhaps other bloggers to interact with your content straight away, i.e. click the link, like/react, comment, Facebook will show it to more people - but obviously that relies on other people and constant begging, so maybe be selective with what you ask others to promote.

A small 'comment pod' of up to 20 bloggers who commit to liking and commenting on 2 or 3 posts a week can really boost the reach of those posts.

A slightly cringeworthy tip is to 'like' your blog page content as yourself. Yes, your friends will think you're nuts... but at least they'll see it!

3) Sharing posts within relevant groups you’re in and to your personal page will increase the reach. Local mums' groups are a great place for parent bloggers to promote themselves if allowed (do read the rules first!) especially if you have a local angle. Don't do this relentlessly, and make sure you interact on other posts too, it's useful if you're already an engaged member of groups. Read the rules first because "link dumping" can get you blacklisted if it isn't allowed and if this happens a lot you can (apparently) be banned from posting in groups for a period of time.

4) When you post is very important! A post at 7.30pm gets a lot more interaction than something at 9am when everyone's on the school run - so if you autopublish on Blogger or Wordpress consider posting to you Facebook page manually at a different time. Your insights tab will tell you when your followers are online.

5) When it comes to blog links, a little bit of an intro asking a question or requesting interaction (‘Here are my favourite weaning faces, I’d love to see yours!’) rather than just the first 100 words of your blog post (unless it's click bait heaven) encourages people to interact. The more people who interact, the more timelines the post will appear on. If people just chuckle to themselves and move on, it sadly won't help your reach. If you're into creating a little controversy, and you can handle it, then that can increase your reach...

If sharing, I've found copying it over the 'blurb' and perhaps editing it for the audience, and un-ticking 'include original post' (on desktop) is one way of encouraging interaction over simply sharing a post.

6) Post a few times a day if possible, I aim for 3-5 personally but the more followers you have the more often you can/should post - but not just blog links. A good mix might be a picture, a meme, a blog link and a funny news story.

Make use of the Facebook scheduling tool to space them out throughout the day.

7) Unlike other social media you can't follow people and ask or hope for them to follow you back - you can't always see who likes you anyway depending on their security settings. You could therefore potentially have a following of thousands, or tens of thousands, of other bloggers on other social platforms, but on Facebook you have to create, and curate, content that people will want to see in their non-blogging, real-life feeds alongside updates from their friends and family.

Bloggers that post only blog links and do not engage will find it extremely hard to build up followers - it is much easier to get Bloglovin updates or subscribe to an RSS feed if you want to follow someone's blog posts; there is little point in following a Facebook page as well.

8) Share pictures, statuses and other people’s posts that fit in with your blog theme, but be very careful what you publish. Don't share anything and everything as you may find yourself 'punished' by Facebook (or worse, hidden or unliked!) by posting irrelevant content. Share-for-share groups are probably a very bad idea.

Follow pages that post content that you enjoy (you can add these under 'pages to watch' in your page settings) or that fit within your 'niche', which you can share with your audience when you don't have new content to post yourself or to mix it up a bit. Sharing posts that have done well for others is a good way to keep your page reach up.

Of course not everything can go viral, and it's as much chance as anything, but well received meme or picture is much more easily shareable and can increase your reach enormously and with it bring a fair number of likes if you use the next tip...

9) On a desktop computer and on the mobile app (but not the pages app, annoyingly), you can go through the list of people who have liked your content and invite them to like your page. DO IT! Not everyone will accept, but they might! Be aware that Facebook privacy settings mean you won't always know who's accepted; mine usually show that I've been invited to like the page even when I already like it!

10) Don’t be tempted to share the same thing multiple times in quick succession.  If you’ve published a blog post then just post the link once - posting the same link again and again will (from my experience) see the reach take a nosedive which could well impact on the reach of future posts. If perhaps it didn't get the engagement you'd like - maybe in hindsight you posted at the wrong time, or didn't introduce it properly - and you want to re-share, post a picture and the link in the text or push it through via Instagram. The link is available to click but Facebook sees it as an image post, rather than as a link post. NB Comments/shares will not add to the total share count shown on your blog page (see below). It's fine to re-share after a period of time if the content is relevant; for instance my son is teething at the moment so I might share a post I wrote when my daughter was teething. I also tend to re-share blog posts as they turn a year old.

11) If you have posted a blog link, every like and comment contributes to your ‘share’ total (see Shared Count website). Therefore always reply to comments if you can. Of course you should always aim to do this anyway because it's polite, particularly if people are commenting on your blog posts, but if you tag the person who you are replying to, it may be shown on their friend's timelines, increasing their reach.  If you encourage a conversation your post share total will go through the roof!

12) If you're doing reviews, even ones of things you've paid for yourself, then mention and tag the brand or venue you talk about in your post. If they like it then they might just share it on, and some brands have absolutely huge followings! If you quote other bloggers, make sure they're tagged - they might share it or give it a like as a thank you for introducing them to your readers. NB If you were paid to write something or received a product to review, make sure you use the branded content tool when tagging or it may be taken down.

Don't forget: The more love you give to other bloggers, the more you will receive back. Liking pages as your own page won’t add to their total likes. Be nice, like it as you and not just your page - and interact with things that appear on your timeline.

Paying for Facebook, is it all bad?


Well, that depends very much on what your blog is for. Do you make money through ads? Do more hits or likes equal better potential for working with PRs? 

I recently boosted a blog post for £1 to my existing likers and their friends, as a bit of an experiment. Did it set the world on fire? No. It reached about 500 more people than it would have (so about 4500 in total), received a few more likes and around 25 hit on the website. So about 4p a page view.

Now, unless they were all to click on my ads this is much more than I could ever dream of making in terms of advertising, and it didn't get me extra page likes, however my modus operandi was not to score hits but simply to appear on the timelines of those who I hadn't for a while, to remind them I was there - and from the comments and likes I saw, it seemed to work!

I would consider doing this again on a particularly good blog post that I wanted to push.

I have not yet taken the plunge of advertising my page however I have been warned that it is very important to select your audience carefully. A budget of $10 might be able to buy you 1000 likes from India through Facebook advertising, but these likers - although not fake profiles - have absolutely no interest in your page or your blog and they will never engage or interact which could well find your page reach falling, as you will be seen as less relevant by Facebook.

The same could be said about increasing your following though running competitions and giveaways. Although it is against Facebook rules to require a page like as a condition of entry, many companies and bloggers take the risk and it can be a good way to boost numbers, but although I'm sure not all of those who find your page via a competition will hide your feed or unlike it intermediately after the competition is over, it isn't necessarily a good way to find engaged page likers. Plus you really need to be aware that if you do this, you could find your page closed.

Personally, I think building up your page likers organically, although it might take a while, is infinitely more rewarding and if someone clicks 'like' because they actually like you, they are much more likely to interact and read your blog.

And after all, that's what it's all about, isn't it?
Updated 01/06/17

5 comments:

  1. Great tips thank you. A couple of things for me to add to my to do list including inviting people who have liked a post - did not know about that!! Thanks x

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    1. If your post claims x number of likes, click that number and it will bring up a list with an option to invite each person next to their name. I've found that this doesn't work on the Pages iOS app though, just standard Facebook and on desktop :)

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  2. This post tells me everything about why I am rubbish on facebook. I have only just joined and I have told none of my close friends that I am even on it. I can't face the teasing that will ensure after I swore to them that I would never go back on Facebook. I just dont like it as a platform as it feels messy. Urgh must try harder!

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  3. This is really helpful, thank you. I have about three relatives who interact with my page and that's it! Can't even get my own husband to share half the stuff!! So, I'm off to your FB page now to like and comment on everything, as a kind of 'thank you' for all your help xx

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  4. This is super helpful. Facebook feels like a lot of trial and error. But when you nail it, you know! Thank you for sharing your very wise words. Much appreciated. Alison

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