- Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Build a Strong Facebook Page: Bloggers Weigh In



The largest internet playground is full of selfies, every popular meme, every unpopular meme, blog posts, news, useless facts, pictures of food, youtube videos, stupid quizzes like "Which Disney Princess are you?" and how-to DIY crafts... And like the Energizer bunny, the content keeps going and going and going... Facebook, also known as Facesuck and Suckbook and Vaguebook, is big. It's so big, if you blog or have anything to sell, you almost can't ignore it. In fact, social media in general is the platform for new small businesses, and is the reason so many are so successful. The question is, how? How do people have a huge Facebook page? And how do they use it to help their non-Facebook interests grow?


Here's a collection of some of the best information on the internet to answer that question. This isn't black and white. It is not scientifically proven. Not all these methods will work for everyone, and it really is an art to figuring things out (with a huge hint of luck). But these gurus can guide you into understanding more about Facebook culture.

HOLLY HOMER


In this podcast, Michael Stelzner interviews Holly Homer of KidsActivitiesBlog.com "to find out how her Facebook page fan base grew from 7,000 fans to more than 530,000 fans in only 8 months without using Facebook advertising or crazy gimmicks." I'll summarize the podcast below, but you can listen to the entire podcast if you desire.

Holly and her co-blogger Rachel set out to reach 50,000 fans on their Facebook page. At that time, they discovered a huge Facebook page was stealing their content without any credit to them, and that content was getting things like 9,000 shares. That's when Holly realized her content can go viral. People like it.

They analyzed their blog and social media, finding the top posts, what was being shared the most on social media… Things that had a possibility of going viral, and they were mostly sharing that a couple times a day. As the page started to grow, they wanted to help other people, and found content from others to share (with credit). They watched the insights and analytics for their posts and let that determine what they did again (good posts) and what they didn’t do again (low engagement posts).

The main mission is to drive traffic to the blog. The primary goal on the page is to share things related to the blog, like in her case, things to do with your kids.

She started posting more than once an hour, 24 hours, around the clock. They were also posting 2 to 4 BLOG posts a day on their blog. They only put things on Facebook they think will do well on Facebook.

Top Two Most Important Numbers to Look At On Facebook

1. Talking about number.
The talking about number is “how Facebook evaluates the health of your page.” You want a high percentage of your talking about number to your number of likes on your page.

Talking About Number / Total Number of Page Likes = Percentage

It’s more exposure to have a lot of people talking about you than a bunch of likes not talking about you. As Holly says, “To get people talking about you, you have to have people talking about you… You need comments, likes, and shares [and comments on shares]."

2. Exposure Numbers per post
She looks at the exposure number to each post and finds several posts that have a similar exposure number and tries to see how it got its exposure. Example, a post she wrote got 10 shares. Sounds like a failure, but that post actually had an exposure to 200,000 people. The success was due to people clicking through. Every action you get on a post, including click on a link, is like Facebook karma.

Some basic tips:

Use bold and all caps to provide more visually appealing summaries in the About Section.

Use a square photo because mobile and desktop Facebook favors square or landscape images.

Increase your "talking about" percentage by posting topics that are controversial on Facebook, such as artificial food color or bottle feeding.

Do not delete all the negative comments. Facebook is a place to let it all out, so give your audience their voice. Delete comments that are name-calling beyond the limits, using racial slurs and language you don't want on your site; however, just because someone rudely disagrees with you and calls you a name, that's gold. That riles up people into engaging your post.

Do not use a third party scheduler. Facebook likes Facebook.

Only post things on Facebook that do well on Facebook. “If you come across a post, and you say, “Crap I wish I had written that,” that’s something that is going to do well on your Facebook page.” Holly

⅓ their content and ⅔ other people’s content

Your night time audience is a very different audience than your day time audience. Post accordingly.

Facebook’s graph of letting you know when people are online, that’s useless. When you post something, it doesn’t show immediately to anyone. It parcels it out slowly to people, so if you post something at 10PM (peek time for moms putting kids to bed on Facebook), but most of the growth with the post won’t happen for several hours. It doesn’t matter when you post it, the important thing is to get some interaction in the first few minutes.

If you boost posts, boost the ones that are already doing well.

Post frequently. Holly has been posting at least one item to Facebook every hour, sometimes 2. Because Facebook only shows a small percentage of the fan base, even though she’s posting 26 times a day, the average fan is seeing 3 to 4 of those. They do get messages daily from people saying, “You post too much.” They direct them to the unlike button. THey won’t let 1 to 2 fans a day derail the success.

Post high quality stuff in your niche

Remember, Facebook loves Facebook. Videos on Facebook will do better on Facebook than videos from Youtube.

Locate pages with better talking about percentages than you. Facebook gives you "good karma" when sharing their posts.

When tagging pages, only tag pages with better talking about percentages than you. Never tag a page with a lower percentage than yours. 

JEN MANN


Lisa Nolan had a Q&A with Jen Mann regarding Facebook growth. Jen Mann is a hilarious and award-winning writer. Her books are inspired by her immensely popular blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She lives in Kansas with the Hubs and her two children, Gomer and Adolpha - no, those aren't their real names, their real names are actually worse. She spends her free time crafting and volunteering with the PTO. Seriously.

Jen started her blog (People I Want to Punch in the Throat) in April 2011. Jen says that in a few months time she grew to 70 regular readers. In December 2011, she wrote a post called "Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies." It sat dormant for a week and then suddenly out of nowhere it went viral. Overnight she gained 26,000 followers on Facebook. Since then she's worked really hard to grow her readership every day and to keep people coming back for more.

Q: Was there a long or brief description in the FB post? And was it followed by a link to the BLOG post?

A: I usually do brief description on FB to push out my posts. A teaser to hopefully make them click. I've seen people giving a whole paragraph lately and I wonder if that is working.

Q: After you got 20,000 likes/followers, what did you post on your FB page to make your followers happy, to keep them coming back for more? 

A: CONTENT. I wanted to ride the wave for a week or so, but my husband WISELY (I'll never say that to his face though) pointed out that I needed something new for the next day and the next day and the next day and so on. I tried to write something 5x a week for the next 6 months and then I dropped down to 3x a week.

Q: Was there social interaction on your page BEFORE the viral post (post likes, comments, shares)? What about AFTER the viral post? How do you get your followers to socially interact on your FB page? 

A: Nothing before, because it didn't exist. Ever since then, yes. Definitely. I try to post a lot and on a semi-schedule so they can know it's coming. I ask questions or share pictures that they might share. I also open up the page a few times a year for them to share their small businesses, blogs, books, charities, you name it.

Q: Tell us 5 dos and 5 don'ts for FB page growth--what should bloggers do on their FB page, what should they NOT do?

A: The Dos Are: Give them something to read. Even if it's a repost, you've got someone on there who has never read it. Share. Share other things you think they'll enjoy whether it's another blogger's work or a picture or something that goes with your brand. Answer questions, comment on their comments. You don't need to comment on everyone, but I answer questions and I like a bunch of stuff. Have fun. It's your page and you can do what you want. If you're not having fun, no one is. The Don'ts Are: Don't share stuff that isn't relevant to your reader or your brand. Don't be controversial unless that's your thing and you can handle the pushback. Don't be too cocky. They put you there and they can take it away. Make sure your readers know you appreciate them.

Q: Tell us the type of content you post and share on your FB page? What's popular? A particular favorite?

A: I share my blog, other blogs, e-cards, funny stuff. The most popular are pictures (wah wah - sad trombone) followed by my blog posts.

LIZA HAWKINS


Liza Hawkins writes for her blog (a)Musing Foodie and has a corresponding Facebook Food page. She answered in the The SITS Girls Facebook Group a question regarding Facebook posting. Reposted from Blogging As I Learn It, Liza gives you some of her best tips. 

1. Multiple posts per day (but only 10-20% of them should be about you/your blog) about things the people that like your page want to read. It takes a little time to figure that out, but one example is asking the right kind of questions:
I used to pose a question like: "What's your favorite ice cream?" No one would answer. Post reach would be low.

Then I tweaked my question: "Ice cream: CHOCOLATE {or} VANILLA?" And suddenly everyone wanted to comment with their opinion! Giving people a choice, versus asking an open ended question, makes a difference and get people interacting.

2. I also focus heavily on my "People Talking About This" number, and try to keep it above 10% at all times (although I have a goal of 50% I'd like to reach!). You can see your (or any other page's) Talking About This number by clicking on the "Likes" link.

3. Also, I've noticed that not only does it matter what kind of content you're sharing, it matters where the content comes from. Facebook's algorithm likes popular news sources, so when I share a link via HuffPo, BuzzFeed, Bon Apetit Magazine, etc., it reaches a lot larger group of people than if I share a less popular or unknown link source.

4. Similarly for tagging. If I tag another page in my comments, I get a lot more reach if that tagged page has a large "Talking About This" number. Facebook wants your posts to go viral as much as you do, so it gives weight to those posts that include potentially viral things.

5. If you schedule Facebook posts in advance (which is what I do since I work all day), make sure to only schedule them directly in Facebook. Don't use a 3rd party app for that.


MICHELLE GREWE


I am Michelle, but I had already done some research on virality of memes for personal curiosity and blogged about it on one of my blogs. "How to Get Viral and Spread like an STD." I really suggest reading the entire article because it goes into the psychology behind the herding instinct with many links related to all aspects of virality. 

Basic Virality Concepts

  1. Viral Memes are often adopted as awesome the more people see them. They may not like it the first time they see it, but after the 5th time, they start to accept it and embrace it. This is why your newsfeed and radio station overplays the same thing over and over again. 
  2. Viral Memes are cultural. They speak of the culture they pertain to. What is famous in America isn't often famous in China, and vice versa. 
  3. Memes are timed when things relative to it happens, like Batman memes being out there right after a Batman movie is released.
  4. They should be relatable. That gets more likes and shares. This is why there are a lot of memes that say things like, "That moment when..." The only reason people like those are because it relates to them. 
For something to be viral, it has to already be viral for most of your audience. This is why people are most apt to comment on a blog post if there are already comments on your blog post. According to Psyc Central"Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it."
Belonging is an emotional trigger that ties in with the herding instinct. "The neurochemical oxytocin triggers a “bliss response” in the brain whenever we are engaging in social behavior," according to ASTD. Everyone wants to belong to a Tribe, and they tend to choose tribes they most relate to, that feel right.

NICOLE KNEPPER


The infamous Queen of Cussin wrote a fabulous post about how to start a blog. Considering the popularity of her Facebook Page with over a million likes, Moms Who Drink and Swear, I could not leave her out of an article about Facebook pages. Some key paragraphs from her blog post... 

"People want to be read, heard, validated – right fucking NOW. If I reply and a conversation begins, the person inevitably confesses that they are struggling with the doing part of blogging, whether it's starting one or maintaining one. Blogging is all doing, you know.
...
More doing. Once you have a blog, you need to “do” blogging. This means you need to write, learn, listen, read, write, share and be a part of the collaborative community that you created. You must be patient and accepting of the process as it is. A collaboration is a partnership, a relationship, and a cooperative effort.

You write, and hopefully people read. If they read something that encourages and engages them, they reply to your words, and then… you have that conversation – you do your part to build the community that you are a part of. I repeat – you are a part of the community. You may have built it, but without people to be part of it, your blog is more like a column or an online journal. Successful bloggers are collaborators, and the essence of collaboration is a give and take.
...
If you already are a blogger, keep doing the work. Part of that work, is understanding that you have no control over what others do or don’t do, but you do have control over the effort you make to initiate, include, engage, and accept. A community is about people, not one person being done for by other people. Stop taking so much."



This post was originally posted on The Publishing Bloggers Network. Due to the owner of that blog closing the blog, the author reposted it on her blog. 

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