Yesterday I published a post about how you need to have a Facebook page, rather than a personal account. I know a lot of people prefer to have a personal account as they feel it somehow allows them to bypass Edgerank in some way, and that more people will see their posts if they have a personal account.
Here’s the thing though: even with your friends’ posts, your newsfeed doesn’t show 100% of what everyone posts. Whether it’s your friends or the pages you like, Facebook notices what you do. If you like a friend’s photo, then next time your friend posts a photo, it will appear on your newsfeed. If you comment on a status, more of that person’s status updates will appear on your newsfeed. If you don’t interact in any way with a page or a person, they will basically drop off your timeline and you will rarely hear from them unless your friends are liking and commenting on their updates.
At the risk of sounding like a a broken record:
It’s all about the interaction!
It doesn’t matter how many people like your page or are your friend on Facebook; if none of them is interacting with you, your efforts are pointless.
People will often complain about Edgerank and how Facebook is basically trying to back us into a corner, so that we have no option but to pay for people to see our posts. Firstly: yes, of course they want us to pay, and why shouldn’t they? Where else can you get free advertising that reaches so many people? And secondly: you’re not backed into a corner, you just need to change what you’re doing.
Edgerank does prioritise personal posts over page posts, but it also prioritises posts from people with whom you have interacted before. Whether it’s a page or a person, if you’ve commented on their posts and liked their updates, you will see more of what they do.
My page reach on a weekly basis is consistently six times higher than the number of fans on my page, and a lot of my blog traffic comes from Facebook.
Last week I posted a photo I’d taken of S, and within a couple of days it had reached over 1700 people – not bad, considering I only have around 1500 fans on my page.
My page reach is usually around 10,000 people. How do I achieve that? Here are a few pointers:
1. I don’t only post links to my blog. If you had a conversation with someone where all they said was “I wrote a blog post about that, why not take a look? … I wrote a blog post about that too, take a look!” you would walk away. I do post links to my blog, but usually only a couple a day, amongst several other posts throughout the day.
2. My Instagram is linked to my Facebook page, rather than my personal account. I post a lot on Instagram, and most of those photos go directly to my Faebook page. I don’t post a lot on Instagram in order to get more interaction on my Facebook; I do it because I love Instagram, and I take hundreds of photos, which I like to share with others.
3. In the mornings, while I’m waiting for S to wake up or trying to psyche myself up to get out of bed, I use news apps on my mobile to share relevant news articles and features. Using the Facebook Pages app on my mobile I can schedule these posts to go our hourly throughout the day, depending on how many relevant or interesting news items I find that day. Links to news stories and articles generally get a lot of interaction, especially if it’s a big news story or something that other people aren’t talking about yet. Because mine is a parenting blog, stuff about breastfeeding and other contentious issues around parenting also do well.
4. I ask a lot of questions. What should I watch on TV? Does anyone know anything about this? What’s going on with this thing? Did you see this on TV last night? I want people to interact with me, so I give them a chance to interact with me! Also I think people like the chance to show off what they know, especially where children are concerned.
5. I’ve all but abandoned my personal Facebook profile; most of what I update (apart from posting in groups) is on my blog page. This means that a large portion of my life is rather public – which is a personal choice, I suppose. I run a blog about my life, though – so it’s natural that if you’re showing one part of your life on your blog, people will want to see more of it on your social media.
6. I schedule posts on Facebook, a lot. If you post three things, five minutes apart, you won’t reach more than a handful of people. But if you schedule those same three posts an hour apart, you will reach a lot more people.
7. Talking of scheduling, I use the “Posts” insights on Facebook to see what time of day most of my fans are online, and ensure I have a link to an old blog post scheduled for that time. This time can change, especially if you get more followers, so it’s best to check every week or so, but since I started doing this I’ve had a lot more traffic on the blog – and my older posts have seen a lot more light.
8. I pay attention to my Insights: which posts have had the most interaction? Sometimes it’s hard to tell why a post has done well. The photo above is a gorgeous photo, but I post a lot of gorgeous photos, and they don’t usually reach this many people. My Insights show me that on Saturday, for example, a news story about Alton Towers reached the most people – several days after the initial incident, on a page about parenting where I have never once posted about theme parks or roller coasters before.
9. People like to know you’re human. As bloggers we tend to make sure the photos we post on our blogs are the best they can be; the old joke about making sure your child plays with their new toy against the “good” wall in the living room. I take thousands of photos every week, and often post the ones that don’t make it onto the blog, on Facebook. The other day while I was out, my sister took a photo of S; she looked really cute, but in the background was my messy living room. My living room is always messy, but this was the exceptional mess that comes from a hectic week with hardly any down time to even consider tidying up properly. I posted the photo on Facebook (with a deep breath) and it got a lot more interaction – I think because people like to see that you’re as imperfect as they are… possibly more so. Photos of things I’ve broken, dropped or spilled also seem to do well!
10. My Facebook page is linked to my Twitter. How does this affect my Facebook interaction? When I write updates, I bear in mind that only 140 characters will go across to Twitter. If I want the whole message to go, I have to keep it brief – otherwise my Twitter followers get half an update and a link to Facebook (that they will probably never click). I think because I try to keep my updates shorter where I can, this means they’re easier for my followers to read. When we’re scrolling through a newsfeed with hundreds of updates, many of us scroll right past the large blocks of text!
As a final point, I’d like to just point out that this list is what works for me; it may well not be what works for you. The best thing is to experiment with what and when you post, and keep an eye on your Insights to see what works best. As a general rule though, you need to be posting a wide range of things, throughout the day, with links to your blog making up a very small part of that. And you need to post consistently. One day without posts for your fans to interact with, and you’ll likely be back to square one.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful; if you have other tips, or disagree with anything I’ve suggested, do please leave a comment below.
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