This is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.
Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for bloggers.
However, if you were to poll 100 bloggers in different niches, you’d likely discover that well over half of them aren’t maximizing the potential of the world’s largest social networking site.
Would you count yourself among this contingency? If so, it’s time that you reevaluate your situation and take a more aggressive approach.
The Power of Facebook
Facebook has been such an integral part of our personal lives that the professional side of us doesn’t always appreciate how powerful it is as a business resource. As of last count, Facebook has 1.04 billion daily active users and 1.59 billion monthly active users. That’s billion with a “B”.
The massive reach and ubiquitous nature of Facebook makes it an extremely powerful tool for businesses, brands, and bloggers. Where else do you have a captive audience of a billion people seeking to interact with others?
From a blogger’s perspective, there are two major benefits of Facebook. Some bloggers extract more value from the first, while others find the second more powerful. Regardless, both components should be utilized to some degree.
Target Audience Insights
First off, Facebook is often used as a resource for learning more about a specific target audience. As a blogger, much of your business is about creating content that resonates with readers and encourages them to read, share, come back, etc. Well, the only way to do these things is by understanding who these readers are, and Facebook is the answer.
“Facebook allows brands to face their audiences and literally enter into interactions with them,” says Agata Kwapien of datapine, a leader in business intelligence technology. “This potential, when handled properly, can generate brand loyalty and better insights into customers’ opinions, needs and interests.”
While you can figure some basic information out by reviewing blog analytics, there are certain elements of your target audience you can’t possibly understand without seeing them on a more personal level. By watching, listening, and interacting with your readers on Facebook, you begin to see who they are, what interests they have, and what makes them tick.
Secondly – and most importantly – Facebook is a traffic generator. Scroll through your own personal newsfeed and observe the behaviors of your friends. Gone are the days where people post status updates and tell you what they’re doing. Now, the primary Facebook actions are the “share” and the “like.”
Facebook users share news articles, videos, images, and blog posts with friends, which drives traffic to these pages and leads to more sharing and liking. It’s a continuous cycle that yields impressive results for bloggers who are able to connect with their target audiences.
5 Tips for Maximizing Facebook Traffic
Most bloggers understand the value of Facebook, but don’t necessarily have a tangible strategy in place for using it effectively. In this article, we’re going to discuss ways to maximize Facebook as a traffic generator. Here are just a few of the techniques and best practices you need to be using:
1. Utilize Facebook Advertising and Targeting Features
If you have a monetary budget for advertising, Facebook is a great place to start. It’s important to note that there are a number of different strategies, though. If you aren’t careful, or don’t know what you’re doing, it’s possible to run through your budget very quickly.
For starters, understand that there are many different advertising objectives available. You can choose from clicks to website, website conversions, page post engagement, page likes, app installs, app engagement, offer claims, local awareness, event responses, and video views.
The first key is to choose the right objective. Most bloggers gravitate towards page likes, page post engagement, and clicks to website. These will help you maximize your goals of driving traffic, both now and in the future. Check out this article to get an idea of how successful bloggers spend their budgets.
After choosing an objective, the next big task is targeting the right users. This is really the strength of Facebook advertising when compared to other social media platforms. Because Facebook knows so much about its users, you can hone in on a very small group of users that you believe are target readers.
Spend some time getting familiar with targeting features and test out different audiences. Generally speaking, the narrower you get, the better results you’ll see. However, you should avoid alienating everyone. Depending on the budget, somewhere between a few hundred thousand and a few million people is a reasonable range.
2. Vary Your Posts
You don’t have to spend money on paid advertising to benefit from Facebook. There are plenty of organic ways to leverage the platform as a traffic generator. One thing you really need to focus on is the types of posts and content you’re sharing on Facebook.
While you’re primary purpose of being on Facebook is to drive traffic to your blogs and increase awareness, you can’t take a blatantly self-centered approach. There needs to be some diversification in what you post. Sharing five of your blog posts every day without any other interactions makes you seem selfish and disengaged. There needs to be a healthy mixture.
A good rule of thumb to follow is the 70-20-10 Facebook Posting Rule. This rule says that 70 percent of the content you post should be relevant ideas that are curated from other places, 20 percent of the content should be sharing other’s ideas and posts, and only 10 percent should be promotional in nature.
In other words, only one out of every ten posts should be one of your own blog posts. This may seem dramatic, but think about it from the perspective of your followers. If you’re only sharing your own content, then you look desperate and selfish. However, if you’re also sharing other content that your followers will find helpful, then you appear genuinely interested. And when you do share one of your own links, it holds more value.
3. Create Shareable Blog Content
Honestly, it all starts with the content you create on your blog. If the quality of your content is poor, you’ll earn a bad reputation and people won’t want to click on your posts. If the quality is good and the topics are engaging, then you’ll generate more buzz.
What you think is interesting versus what your followers think is interesting can sometimes vary significantly. Remember, you aren’t in the business of creating content you like to read. You’re in the business of creating content that others want to read.
Research shows that Facebook users like to share how-to’s, reviews, personal stories, lists, videos, and posts that seem too good to be true. Pay attention to the type of content your Facebook friends and followers are sharing. This is a good indication of the types of content you need to be creating.
4. Use Clickable Headlines and Images
With more than a billion active daily users, Facebook is busy. Most people have hundreds or thousands of friends, which means their newsfeeds are constantly filling up with new content. The key to successfully generating traffic from your posts is to rise above the noise. You may only have a few minutes to stand out, so make the most of your impressions.
While the quality of your blog content certainly matters, you have to attract clicks in the first place. And when it comes to Facebook, users make the decision to click based on two factors: the headline and the image. After all, that’s what Facebook presents to them!
If you aren’t spending a significant amount of time crafting clickable headlines, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic. Some even suggest spending as much time on the headline as you do on the post.
According to Sarah Burke of Spokal, a popular content marketing tool, “The pros know exactly how important creating headlines are, so they often follow the 50/50 rule which is when you spend just as much time on your headline (and the first few words/lines of your copy) as you do on creating your entire piece of content.” That may sound like overkill, but it’s impossible to devalue the importance of the headline on Facebook.
The second element that draws people in is the image. Research shows that Facebook posts with images get roughly 120 percent more engagement than posts with no images. Make sure you’re using large images that are high quality and unique. Try to stay away from boring stock photos and instead look for colorful images that spark the curiosity of users.
5. Create Video Recaps of Posts
As a blogger, it’s a bit frightening to see how quickly video is taking over Facebook. A quick scroll through your newsfeed will reveal dozens of videos. How can you leverage your audience’s affinity for video without moving away from what you do best? One strategy is to create video recaps of posts.
Short video recaps of posts allow you to gain traction on Facebook by reaching those followers who prefer to watch content as opposed to read content. You don’t have to record your posts word for word and line by line. Instead, shoot a 30 or 60-second spot where you touch on one of the key points in the article. The hope is that the viewer will then want to click to read the entire post.
Putting it All Together
Facebook is an extremely powerful tool. And as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. If you aren’t maximizing Facebook as resource for generating traffic, then you’re missing out. It certainly takes a lot of time and discipline to fully leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, but it’s well worth it in the end.
Keep these five tips in mind and always keep the end user in mind. It may be your blog, but the readers should influence the direction you take and strategies you choose.
The post How to Effectively Drive More Facebook Traffic to Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.
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