Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered how to drive a significant portion of my sailing website traffic from Facebook without paying for ads and despite having no Facebook followers on my page.
Some of the internet’s biggest bloggers have recently turned away from Facebook due to changes in the number of their page posts that show up in people’s news feeds. But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is now useless for driving traffic.
As I outlined in my last post, I’ve been using Facebook Groups instead of Facebook pages. The largest sailing group on Facebook has 8500 members. This means that there are lots of potential eyeballs, but also a lot of posts to the group. How do you stand out in the noise?
I’ve come up with a four part strategy:
Step 1: Set up Facebook Open Graph Data
If you set your blog up so that each article has “Open Graph Data” attached to it in the header, then Facebook will automatically pull this into your post based on the URL in the body of the post. This makes your post stand out.
The free Yoast SEO plug-in will handle this for you, among many other things.
Step 2: Use a Compelling Headline and Eye-Catching Graphics
OK, maybe that’s two steps. You want both of these things for your article anyways, so this isn’t really extra work. Step 2A: Great headlines are a lot of work, but they’re what’s going to get people to click through and actually read your great article, so it’s worth it.
Step 2B: The thing that’s going to grab people’s attention as they scroll through their feed is the graphic, so spend some time making it pop. Putting text over the image with your title or a quote is a recent trend that catches people’s eye.
This is something I struggle with. I’m no graphic designer. I get my free images from pixabay or flickr (search only for images where commercial use is allowed). I’ve now started using Canva to add text over the images. It’s very easy to get a good result using their templates and they also have built-in images. Oh, and it’s free!
There’s a whole course in fizzle on creating great images for social media.
Step 3: Ask a Question When You Post
Here’s where the trick comes in. When people go to the Facebook Group’s page, the default way that posts are sorted is with most recent activity on top. That makes sense, but it isn’t just the most recent post: Comments count as activity!
So if you write an article about when the best times are to practice the violin, ask a question like: “When do you practice the violin? Do your neighbours complain?” Extra points if it’s a bit controversial or quirky so that lots of people will want to answer, popping your post back to the top of the page.
Step 4: Answer Each Comment
Your responses also count as a comment and will pop the post back to the top. So each time you see somebody comment, wait a bit for your post to drift down a few posts from the top and then ping it right back to the top with a reply.
With luck, somebody will see it now that it’s back at the top and will comment again, starting the cycle anew.
Even better, ask a direct question of the person who commented. Start a conversation. Now you’re engaging with them and you’re keeping your post right at the top.
Bonus Tip: Post to your Facebook page first, and then on your page, click “Share” and choose “In a Group.” Now when your post shows up it will be labelled as Your Name via Your Page. This will make your page easier for people to find, increasing your page likes and your reach.
How do you use Facebook to promote your content? Tell us in the comments.