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4 Quick (but Necessary) Changes to Make to Your Facebook Page Right Now

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Is your Facebook page optimized?  Are you missing opportunities because you don’t have something set up quite right?  You could be getting more out of Facebook with just a few quick adjustments to your Facebook page and your posting strategy.  Here are 4 quick things that you can do to get more out of your Facebook page.

1.  Link Your Profile to Your Page

I see many people who don’t have their Facebook profile properly linked to their Facebook page.  You want to make sure your friends and personal connections can easily find your page and business just in case they are trying to refer business to you.

Andrea Vahl 1

In this case, the person had an “official” Facebook page but the profile was linked to a “community” Facebook page.  When someone types in the name of a business as their employer but doesn’t link it officially to the page, Facebook creates a “community page” that doesn’t tie to the page and doesn’t allow posting.   Now, people can actually like that community page and you aren’t getting “credit” for those likes on your own page – the horror!

To get rid of this linkage on your profile, edit your about section and then delete the community page.

Andrea Vahl 2

Now, add a position to your work and education section and start typing the name of your Facebook page.  You should see the page in the drop-down menu to select it.

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2.  Add Your Website in Your About Section

You want people to easily click to your website to find out more about you.  Sometimes your website address can be a bit hidden in your about section and you don’t want people to struggle to find it.

The “short description” area in your about section is the part that shows up the front of your Facebook page.

Andrea Vahl 4

You can actually write more characters in the about section than actually show up on the front of your timeline so that some of the words may be cut off.  Keep the blurb (including the website address) to about 175 characters max to avoid this.  To edit the short description, go to edit page, update page info, and navigate to the short description.

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3.  Change Your Posting Strategy

We’ve all noticed that the reach of our posts has changed.  Unfortunately, photos and posts with links are not getting the reach that they used to which means that they don’t have the potential to get as much interaction as a text-only post.

So if you have been posting more photo and link posts, it’s time to add in more text. But images and links can still be quite engaging so you can’t abandon those posts completely.  I’ve been starting to advise people post around 40% of their total posts as text, 40% photos (maybe with a link in the status area as well), and 20% Links.  If videos are part of your strategy, add those into the mix where appropriate.

One thing you can do to have a link post have the reach of a text post is to post the link in the status area just as you would normally do but then delete the link preview.  Now the post will get the same reach of a text-only post but have a link embedded in the text area to drive traffic.

Andrea Vahl 6

But don’t take my word for this – do your own testing on your own page – see point #4.

4.  Set up some posting experiments

We get into ruts.  We post sporadically.  We are all rushed.  But it’s important to find out what the ideal types of posts, the ideal number of posts, and the ideal times to post are for our own personal audience.  And those numbers can change.  And sometimes people suggest a certain type of post (or ratio of posts) that doesn’t work as well with your own audience.  So we need to be doing continual testing for ourselves.

First, look into your Facebook insights to get some good ideas about what types of posts your audience likes.  Under the posts section, look at the “best post types” to see what works.  On my page, I see that status posts have been working the best lately.  But that needs to be tested further.

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If you normally post 1 time per day, try upping your posting to 3 times per day for 1 week and measuring the results.  Or if you post a text post and a link post, try posting all text posts for a day at different times and measuring the performance of those posts.  Then post all photo posts for a day at different times an measuring those results.

Don’t let someone else tell you what is best for your audience, do your own experimentation.

As Facebook constantly changes, we know we must constantly change to keep up.  Sometimes the little tweaks can make the biggest differences.  And the nice thing about these tweaks is that they are easy and quick to implement.

Have you made a quick tweak to your page that has made a big difference?  Tell us in the comments below! And hope to see you at New Media Expo in January! (Editor’s note: Andrea will be speaking about Facebook at NMX, so make sure you have your ticket to the show.)

How Bloggers Can Run Successful Facebook Contests

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facebook like button Running a contest on Facebook just got easier! They’ve been making a ton of changes recently, and this is one I really like. Facebook recently decided to allow business pages to run contests without using an app, so now you can ask users to like a status, comment, send messages, and more in order to enter your contest. You can also use likes as a voting mechanism for a contest.

The biggest rules still in place for running Facebook contests are:

  • You can’t ask people to tag themselves in a photo as an entry to win. (Makes sense, since Facebook doesn’t want people tagging themselves in pictures where they aren’t actually found.)
  • You can’t ask people to share on their personal profile as a contest entry. (Contests are still not allowed on personal pages, only business pages.)

Facebook contest rules were so strict in the past that many bloggers just didn’t bother, other than perhaps running the occasional Rafflecopter-based contest. Now that the rules are a lot less strict, are Facebook contests something you should consider?

  • Think about what has the most benefit to you. Asking someone to like your page as an entry means that you’ll gain more followers. However, those followers might never see your updates again. Asking someone to like or comment on a status means they are engaging with your page, so they’ll be more likely to see your updates in the future.
  • Determine if an app still makes more sense. The benefit to an app like Rafflecopter, Shortstack, Heyo, etc. is that administering the promotion and choosing a winner is easier. You can also often more easily customize the look and feel of a tab for running your contest by using a third party app.
  • Check out other contest options. Facebook just might not be the best place for your specific contest. It really depends on your goals and where your community hangs out. It might make more sense to run your contest on your blog itself instead and just use Facebook to promote it.

If Facebook is a good contest option for you, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Facebook isn’t completely pay to play…but…you’re going to get a LOT more entries if you pay to promote the contest on Facebook. If you have a small fan page (less than 1000 people), it’s going to be pretty hard to gain traction for your contest unless you pay for promotion. The good news is that you can see pretty good results, even for just $50, especially if you’re giving away a good prize.
  • A compelling image will entice people to enter. Check out your own timeline. It is FILLED with updates from your friends. If you want to stand out, create a compelling image that includes text like “Win It!” to grab people’s attention. Of course, if you plan to promote, make sure that the image you use don’t have so much text that Facebook refuses the ad.
  • Bigger prizes don’t always mean more engagement. You’d think that the bigger the prize, the more people you’ll have excited about your contest, right? Wrong. What people want and need means more than the value of the product. For example, you might give away an hour of consulting with yourself, which you’d normally charge $300 to do. But if your Facebook fans aren’t super interested in having consulting with you, they might be more inclined to take action on a $50 Amazon gift card.

So now that Facebook has made it easier to run a contest on Facebook, will you take advantage of these changes and use this platform for a giveaway in conjunction with your blog?

An End to EdgeRank: What Does Facebook’s New Feed Algorithm Mean for Your Page?

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facebook like button Facebook EdgeRank has officially been retired, but that still doesn’t mean every single user will see every single post you write. Facebook has a new feed algorithm, and if you’re managing a page on this platform for your business, blog, podcast, or web series, it’s important to understand how Facebook’s changes are going to effect you.

Storybumping: It’s Good News

The feature everyone is talking about right now is called storybumping. In the past, Facebook annoyingly decided which posts users would and would not see based on a calculated value. A post that got a lot of attention quickly could go viral, but if you didn’t post at exactly the right time, it didn’t matter what your update was about: people wouldn’t see it. In a few hours, that post would be buried by newer posts.

Now, Facebook is “bumping” stories that you haven’t seen yet, instead of just looking at the publish time. That means Facebook users still have a chance of seeing your posts, even if they’re older. Post timing isn’t as important as it was before.

The results are extremely positive for those of us wanting our page updates to be seen. In initial tests, TechCrunch reports that these changes mean an “8% boost in interactions for stories from Pages and public figures” and that people are seeing about 70% of all possible updates in their stream, as compared to just 57% in the past.

As a user, this means that Facebook will be more interesting for you, since you’ll see new updates whenever you log in, even if the posts are a bit older, instead of just seeing recent stories that you’ve already read.

Last Actor: It’s Even Better News

Even more interesting that storybumping is the “last actor” concept. This way of showing posts to users runs on the theory that the people/pages you’re interacting with most (by looking at their profiles/pages, liking, commenting, browsing their photos, etc.) are the updates you want to see.

This is good news for anyone actively engaging with users on Facebook. If people are interacting with your page, that means they’ll be more likely to see updates from you in the future. It keeps your most rabid fans involved with what’s going on with your page.

So What Does This Mean for Your Page?

It’s all pretty good news, in my opinion, for people who are consistently sharing awesome content and actually engaging with fans on Facebook. It’s bad news for people who just “check in” occasionally, even if your posts do tend to be interesting.

But more importantly, what it means in a broader sense is that if you market a business online or create content online, you have to be flexible. The rules for any platform are fluid, so being stuck in your ways of doing things will bite you in the behind in the the end. Always be experimenting, learning and evolving, on Facebook and otherwise, so you can continue to tweak the way your share and create content. If you stop, you’re really just going backward.

The Daily Social Media Habits of Successful Bloggers

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Want to know the secret for engaging with your followers online? In the world of social media, it’s all about your habits. The daily habits you implement as social media routines directly impact the ways you’re able to connect with your followers. When you are consistent, focused, and strategic in your efforts, the results show it.

Here’s what you should be doing, every day, on social media channels:

Google Plus: Post every new blog post.

When you post the link to your latest blog post on your Google Plus profile, that content gets indexed faster and you expose your content to your network. What’s more, content on Google Plus tends to do well in Google search results, helping you improve overall SEO. Here’s an example of how Brian Samuels, the blogger behind A Thought for Food, publishes his new posts on Google Plus, usually with commentary and #hashtags:

ThoughtforFood

Pinterest: Pin every day—5 to 30 times.

As with every social media site, the idea with Pinterest is to be a resource of good content without being annoying. You shouldn’t pin nonstop anymore than you should pin infrequently; for the best results, pin every day. Pin content that’s relevant to your brand in some way—but feel free to think outside the box, too.  The more quality content you pin, the more opportunities for others to repin your content and promote you profile, as well as to find your content through search. Look at the example of photographer Nicole Franzen, who regularly pins bright, beautiful images across her 31 different boards:

NicoleFranzen

Editor’s note: If you don’t have time to sit on Pinterest all day every day, you can use Pingraphy to schedule your pins so they appear throughout the day instead of all at once.

Twitter: Tweet every day—at least 4-5 times.

According to research published at Media Bistro, profiles that Tweet at least four to five times a day see some of the best results on Twitter. Use your updates to interact with followers, retweet info you find interesting, share valuable information, and promote your content. Whole Foods Market does this well, posting relevant updates almost every hour:

WFMarket

Facebook: Share Images and Quotes.

An article at TechCrunch last year pointed out that Facebook updates typically receive responses for up to three hours after being posted—so spreading updates out by at least that amount of time makes sense. The content that does best on Facebook are images and quotes—users tend to stay on the network rather than clicking links that send them away. For an example of a blogger who’s doing this well, check out Deliciously Organic:

DeliciouslyOrganic

Overall: Think Strategically.

If looking at the above list feels overwhelming and you’re wondering how to find the time to do all these tasks each day, don’t be discouraged. To help you maximize your productivity, here are a few tips for being active on social media without spending every day tied to a computer screen:

  • Schedule Facebook posts and Twitter updates: Use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to plan your posts throughout a day. You can schedule updates to run at various intervals to spread them out for maximum impact.
  • Take a few minutes each morning to curate content: Rather than hanging on your social networks all afternoon, set aside a certain chunk of time each day to pull together shareable content. Because you’re scheduling posts, you can easily set these updates to go live all day long.
  • Monitor and adjust: Not every blogger needs to be on every social media platform, so test the different ones o see which makes the most sense for you. If you find engagement on Facebook brings in most of your traffic, make that site a priority; if regular and relevant Tweeting yields few results, focus your attention elsewhere.

Whether you blog about baseball or beauty products, using a chunk of weeks or a full month to test these social media habits is a good idea. Set aside a period in which you consistently post, share, pin, and tweet every day—and, at the end of that period, take a look at the results. They might surprise you.

25 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Facebook Ads

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature a brilliant blogger, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Facebooks Ads

Facebook ads is a way to “buy fans/likes” in a very targeted way. You can advertise on the Facebook sidebar, or you can promote one of your updates so more people see it. Either way, Facebook ads are a great way to build your brand if you have a little money in the budget. I wrote about my Facebook ad buying experiences here.

At NMX 2013, Amy Porterfield presented the session “How to Get Started with Facebook Ads: 3 Easy Ad Strategies to Attract Quality Traffic, Grow Your Leads & Increase Profits.” Today, I wanted to dig even deeper into this topic to see what others are saying about buying Facebook ads. If you’re interested in purchasing ads for your content or business, take a gander at their advice first.

Brilliant Blogger of the Week

jennifer beese Every Type of Facebook Advertising and How to Use Them by Jennifer Beese

If you’re a newbie in the world of Facebook advertising, this post from Jennifer at Sprout Insights is the place to start. In the post, she goes over the six main types of ads you can consider buying on Facebook and whether or not each option is the best one for your needs. When you’re new to Facebook ads, the terminology can mix you up a bit, but Jennifer included pictures of each type of ad so you know exactly what she’s talking about.

Check out the full post, and be sure to check out her personal blog and follow Jennifer on Twitter at @bottlethecrazy.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 3 Tips to Make Your Facebook Ads Stand Out From the Herd by Noran El-Shinnawy (@noranshinnawy)
  2. 5 Facebook Ad Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Campaigns by Andrea Vahl (@andreavahl)
  3. 5 Tips for Facebook Advertising by Gillian Singletary
  4. 6 Tips You Never Know about Facebook Ads by Sam Scholfield (@StuffedWeb)
  5. 7 Tips for Better Facebook Ad Performance [Report] by Miranda Miller (@MirandaM_EComm)
  6. 7 Tips to Create Facebook Ads That Convert by Amy Porterfield (@amyporterfield)
  7. 8 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising by Jennifer Fong (@jenfongspeaks)
  8. 9 Tips for Choosing An Effective Facebook Ad Image by Chelsea (@shortstacklab)
  9. 10 Facebook Advertising Tips For Brilliant Marketers by Nick O’Neill
  10. 10 Quick Steps to Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign by Jonathan Blum and Alex Dalenberg
  11. 11 Tips for a Better Facebook Ad Campaign by Shaad Hamid (@shaadhamid)
  12. 15 Tips For A Successful Facebook Ads Program by Adam Riff (@MediaWhizInc)
  13. A Deep Dive into Facebooks Advertising by Fred Perrotta (@FredPerrotta)
  14. Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking: How to Create an Offsite Pixel by Jon Loomer (@jonloomer)
  15. Facebook Ads: How to Get 1 Cent CPC (and why you might not want to) by Moment Garden
  16. Facebook Ads, You’re Holding It Wrong by Jason Keath (@JasonKeath)
  17. Facebook Advertising for Dummies Cheat Sheet by Paul Dunay, Richard Krueger, and Joel Elad
  18. How I Optimize Facebook Ad Campaigns In 15 Minutes Per Day by Dennis Yu (@dennisyu)
  19. How To Cheat Your Way To Eyecatching Facebook Ads by Stephen Croome (@firstconversion)
  20. How to Use Facebook Ads: An Introduction by Ben Pickering (@bpicks)
  21. Six Things Nonprofits Should Know About Facebook Ads by Taryn Degnan (@tarynidana)
  22. Three Expert Tips for Better Facebook Advertising by Rich Brooks (@therichbrooks)
  23. Want to create better Facebook ads? Start here by Brad McCarty (@bradmccarty)
  24. Why Facebook Ads are Undervalued & How Advertisers Can Take Advantage by Will Lin (@PPCAssociates)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about Facebook ads? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: Keyword Research

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Does Your Business Facebook Page Really Matter?

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facebook page Online marketers often put a lot of emphasis on Facebook pages for small businesses. More and more often, I see restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses posting signs alerting customers of their Facebook page. And some of these Facebook pages are really good; they’re filled with interesting updates, announcements, pictures, coupons, and more.

So what?

You can’t take your Facebook likes to the bank. So, I have to wonder: Do business Facebook pages really matter? Or are they just taking up time that could be spent on actually building your business?

Like Conversion

I see people boasting about how much engagement they get on their Facebook pages. Engagement is great, because it means that your customers are interested in what you’re saying and they enjoy your brand. But if those likes are directly correlating to sales, does it really matter?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people found out about my product/service because Facebook?
  • How many of my fans are actually buying from me?
  • How many of my fans are repeat customers?

More importantly, you should ask yourself: How many of my customers are ONLY customers because of your actions on Facebook? If people would have purchased from you anyway, Facebook doesn’t really matter, even if they are engaged with what you’re posting.

Determining this is the tricky part, since often Facebook fans are people who were already customers or thinking about becoming customers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Poll your customers. One restaurant in my community, Dishes of India, includes a short survey card with every single bill so they can learn about their customers and find out how much you enjoyed your meal (they also ask you to give your email address for their mailing list, which is really smart). You could easily ask “How did you hear about us” on this kind of survey card.
  • Do a promotion with a coupon that you distribute across all your channels (email, print flyers, social media) including Facebook. Later, do a similar promotion where you don’t offer the coupon Facebook, but still distribute across your other channels. Of course, there are other variables here as well, but this can at least give you an idea of how much Facebook helps you make sales.
  • If you’re a local business (i.e. people buy in person, not online), measure your local fans. Are people liking you because they like your products or service? Or are they liking you because you post funny pictures and interesting quotes? If you’re a restaurant owner in Idaho, it doesn’t do you a lot of good if half of your fan base live outside of the United States.

Brand Advocacy

Understanding the benefits of Facebook for your business is tricky, because sometimes it isn’t just about sales. It’s also about letting your fans work for you as a “street team” of sorts.

Street teams began as a way for record labels to promote music in a really inexpensive way. Often in return for little more than a t-shirt and tickets to the next show, street teams distribute flyers and serve as brand advocates for the band in question, doing all they can to promote their music. They do this not for the money, but because they love the music.

On Facebook, that fan who never makes a single purchase can still be extremely valuable if they introduce your brand to 50 people who do make purchases. Or, depending on what you’re selling, even if they introduce your brand to one person, a single purchase could mean a lot of money in your pocket.

The benefits of brand advocacy are really hard to measure. Again, polling can help you determine how people found out about you, but it isn’t an exact science.

Updates that Matter

If you’re going to be on Facebook, the key is to post updates that really matter. That way, you know that likes and shares from your audience are really benefiting your brand. What kind of updates matter?

  • Announcements about Your Company
  • Event information
  • Success stories
  • Pictures Showcasing Your Products and Services
  • Testimonials
  • Blog Posts
  • Fan Photos
  • Coupons and Sales Information

Essentially, the type of updates that matter are about your company. Funny pictures, cartoons, quotes, etc. don’t matter as much because they don’t really relate to your business.

That doesn’t mean that you should never share that hilarious meme photo you came across. It just means that you shouldn’t measure your success by how many people share or like this image. When people share a coupon or a picture from your latest event, it matters a lot more.

So Does Your Business Really Need Facebook?

Yes. Probably.

It really depends on your business. Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense. But if your target audience uses Facebook, you should at least give it a try. Measure your results and remember that raw like and share numbers don’t matter as much as conversion matters.

At the very least, be there so you can listen. If someone talks about your business online, you want to be there to answer them, whether that means responding to a complaint or thanking them for praises. Sometimes, social media is less about finding new customers and more about taking care of the ones you already have.

Do you think Facebook really matters for small businesses? Should all businesses be active there? Leave a comment below!

Measuring the Performance of Your Facebook Page

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You have invested the time, effort and money into making a Facebook page for your business. Is your business reaping the rewards from this?  I love Facebook and write about Facebook Ads and engagement all the time.  It is easy to tell with one look if you have a lot of activity on your business’s Facebook page, but is that activity actually doing anything good for your company or is it actually harming business?

Today we will show you how to analyze your Facebook page’s performance and find the answers to these questions, so you can find out what is working and what isn’t.

Social Media Engagement

Measuring the social media engagement on your Facebook page is a good starting point to determine your page’s performance. However, it can only tell you so much. Measuring the number of fans, page views, comments, tab views and etc. that your page has by using tools such as Facebook Insights will tell you how many people are looking at your business, but it does not tell you how many people are actually purchasing your services or products.

That being said, it is still a good source of information to see if your social media efforts are being seen. You probably will notice peaks of activity in these stats. Some peaks will be due to holiday seasons, but some peaks may be due to promotions you have been running. By looking at these peaks, you can tell which social media efforts have been most effective.

Social Influence

Having activity on your Facebook page is one thing, but is it all good PR? It’s important to measure the type of activity you are getting. The saying “there is no such thing as bad press” does not apply to your Facebook page. Negative comments on your page or about your business elsewhere on the web can have a detrimental impact on your business.

On the other hand, positive comments can increase your customer base. Use tools such as Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred to measure your social influence. The statistics these sites can give you will enable you to determine if you need to make adjustments to your Facebook page and/or business practices.

Performance

Now that you know how much activity your Facebook page has and whether it is positive or negative, you need to determine how that data is actually affecting your bottom line. A good social media presence is great, but if it does not actually translate into increased revenue for your business, then your social media impact is little more than an ego boost. Measure the performance of specific links to see if your social media posts are resulting in sales.

Google Analytics can be a great tool to do this with. It can tell you how many hits on your website are actually coming from your Facebook page, and which links they are coming from. Using this data, you can determine which Facebook posts have been most effective.

Free Tools

It may be true that you have to spend money to make money, but not when it comes to measuring the performance of your Facebook page. There are professional services that can help you, but there is still a lot that you can do by yourself. To do this, take advantage of one or more of the free tools out there, which we have listed below:

  • Hootsuite measures and monitors your social media engagement
  • Bit.ly measures the click-throughs on your links
  • Social Mention tracks mention of your business and its competitors on the web
  • Serps Rank checker – This is only a 30 day free trial but will help you to get everything you need!

So now you know the performance of your Facebook page and what efforts have been fruitful. Hopefully, you are getting the results you want. If not, it is never too late to make changes.

4 Ways to Write Engaging Updates on Facebook

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engage your Facebook fans “How can I get more people to engage with my fan page?” It’s the first thing people ask me when they find out I wrote Facebook All-In-One For Dummies. But that question about engagement is a pretty big one and has many facets. It would take a few posts (or, you know, a book) to tackle every aspect. I can give you some advice to get you started, though.

Every platform has its own best practices. Twitter is great for sharing concise information and links. Your blog is great for sharing more in-depth philosophies and discussions. On Facebook, people move quickly. They constantly scan their News Feed or lists and only interact with the most attractive or easily accessible content. The updates you post to Facebook can make or break your community because without good updates, you get lost in the feed. The key is to share the right information to establish yourself as the authority in your niche. Your goal is to be the go-to Facebook Page for information related to your niche. To do that, you need to

  • solve a problem
  • educate your audience, or
  • entertain your audience.

That means your updates are going to be a mixture of things. I’m going to discuss four ways to increase your status update engagement:

  • Use strong calls to action (and provide the means to follow through)
  • Post photos and video
  • Ask questions
  • Extend an invitation

Give a Call to Action and Provide a Way to Follow Through

People skim Facebook and it’s likely they’ll skip interacting with your updates unless you tell them what you want from them. If you want fans to click a link, Like your update, or buy something, tell them. And then be sure they can follow through. For example, if you talk about your new product or sale, then ask your fans to buy something, be sure you link to the website page where they can do that. Or, if you want your fans to sign up for your newsletter, install an app on your Facebook Fan Page (so your fans can sign up right from Facebook), then link to that tab.

TIP: Each of your custom app tabs has its own URL. Using the newsletter example, if you have a newsletter sign up app on your Facebook fan page, it may be overlooked since few people visit your actual page after they’ve Liked it. To remind people to sign up for your newsletter, write a status update asking fans to sign up for your newsletter because you share important information or unveil products there first, then link to the newsletter sign up tab. That kind of status update does three things. It tells your fans

  • what to do (sign up for the newsletter)
  • why they should do it (you’re giving them privileged information), and
  • how to do it (click a link to the newsletter sign up app on your Facebook fan page)

Post More Photos and Video

Facebook is incredibly visual. Anything that is eye-catching (e.g. photos or video) trumps text because it’s easily digestible. Keep in mind, too, that when people are visiting Facebook, they don’t want to leave — they want everything right there at their fingertips. Clicking on a text link may take them away from Facebook, but clicking on a photo or video doesn’t interrupt the overall flow of browsing information.

TIP: Facebook updates with photo or video are 5 times more engaging than link updates, but what do you see in your News Feed? Text. That’s because typing is the easiest way to update. Instead of typing your next update, take a little time and create more engaging content that resonates with your core audience by sharing a photo or asking a question via video.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is the go-to solution for encouraging engagement. Ask anyone how you can garner more engagement on Facebook and they’ll tell you to ask more questions. The problem is that you can’t ask just any kind of question. Some questions work better than others and how you ask a question is important. Remember that Facebook isn’t the place for philosophical discussion. It moves fast and people are ready to move in and out. Instead of asking questions that include “why” or “how do you feel about” ask questions that fans can answer quickly — yes/no, either/or, or use the Facebook Question feature to create a quick poll. As people respond, be sure you’re part of the discussion. As the discussion gets going, you can ask more in-depth questions within the comments. If you want your fans to engage with you, you have to be present and visible.

TIP: For text updates like questions, shorter is better. Keep updates to about 80 characters. Buddy Press did a study that showed shorter Facebook updates perform 66% better than longer updates.

Extend an Invitation

As a community manager you have to see your fans as more than a Like or a number; you have to view them as your community and take a real interest in what they’re doing. When you do, you’ll see your engagement increase.

Extending an invitation to my readers is my favorite way to encourage engagement. I ask people to share their links in the comments. My goals when I do this are to help drive traffic to my fans’ sites, introduce my fans to each other, and introduce them to new sites. It takes some time on my part because I really do go through everyone’s links and follow them or comment on a blog post, but the result is that I have a stronger bond with my readers. They feel like I’m available to them and interested in what they’re doing — and I am. I usually ask my readers to share their own links, but sometimes I ask them if they’ve read anything by someone else they can share. That opens a whole new window of opportunity.

TIP: Not sure what to invite your fans to share? You can ask your readers to share links to their:

  • Pinterest boards
  • G+ accounts
  • Twitter profiles
  • Blog
  • Facebook fan page
  • Most popular post of the month on their blog

At the beginning of the year I asked my fans what their goals or resolutions were for their blogs, then in July I revisited that topic and asked how they were coming along.

Regardless of how you update, my best advice to you is don’t set it and forget it. Don’t automate all of your posts. Take the time every day to interact with your fans and share things with them. Respond to their questions and comments; invite them to engage. Be a part of the community you’re creating.

Do you have advice about how to encourage engagement on your Facebook fan page? Please share with us in the comments.

Confession: I Bought Facebook Fans (And I Don’t Regret It)

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I have a confession to make. Last month, for the first time ever, I pulled out my credit card and bought Facebook fans. Yes, I actually paid money for bigger social media numbers. I just started a new food blog, and I wanted to quickly grow my presence on this network.

But perhaps the more shocking part of my confession is this: I do not regret my decision. In fact, I recommend that you consider buying Facebook fans too.

How to Buy Fans the Right Way

I don’t recommend that you pay a social media company to boost your numbers. They might say they can get you “real fans,” but in actuality, what they do is pad your page’s numbers with dummy accounts and foreign users who are paid to like pages. They aren’t really fans. These fans are never going to buy your products, share your posts, or click though to your website. They don’t give a hoot about you or your business. You’re throwing money away if you buy fans this way.

But there’s another way to buy Facebook fans. If you’re brand new, building a Facebook presence can be done, but it certainly takes time to gain momentum. A way to more quickly build a following is to purchase fans – through the use of Facebook ads. Facebook ads help in a few ways:

  • More fans means more people sharing your updates, and with every share, you’ll be reaching new potential fans. So, one you have that base of fans, you can start growing exponentially if you update your page well.
  • If your page is empty, it can scare off people who come to it. With more fans, there will be more interaction on your page.

When you pay for ads on Facebook, you are buying fans – but you’re only buying fans who are actually interested in your page. I bought fans this way and I don’t regret it at all. I think every business can benefit from running Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertisement Choices

Facebook gives users two ad choices: CPC and CPM. With a CPC ad, you’ll pay for every person who clicks on your ad. With a CPM ad, you’ll pay for every person who sees your ad.

In both cases, you aren’t paying for a like – you’re paying for the potential of a like. If you choose to go with a CPC model, make your ad as clear as possible, since you want people to only click if they are actually going to like the page. If you choose to go with a CPM model, make your ad as enticing as possible so it grabs people’s attention when they view it and they click through to your page.

I recommend trying both CPC and CPM ads to see which you like best. Set a dollar amount and run your ad with each model to see which performs better. For me, the CPC ad was more effective, but that may not be the case for you. So do some A/B testing first before committing tons of money to one type of ad.

Creating Targeted Facebook Ads

Remember, with Facebook ads, you can also set parameters so only certain users see your ads. I especially recommend doing this if you go with CPM ads, since you don’t want to pay for your ad to be viewed by people who won’t be interested in your page. If you run a car detailing business, for example, a Facebook ad that isn’t targeted is going to be seen by a lot of people who don’t like cars – and even people who are too young to own cars.

Using targeting functions can also help you reach people who aren’t currently part of your fan base. For example, let’s say you run a fashion blog and most of your readers are female, even though you talk about male fashion too. A targeted Facebook ad that you set to only be seen by males who list fashion as an interest. This will help you reach people who will likely enjoy your content, but who have previously not found your page.

Reading More About Buying Facebook Fans

Here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog, we often write about Facebook , and we’ve also compiled a list of people in our community talking about Facebook likes in a past edition of Brilliant Bloggers. For specific advice about how to get more Facebook fans, check out these posts:

For me, Facebook fans were extremely effective for my needs: a short burst when my newest blog launched. If you already have a fan base, an ad may or may not work well for you. Have you tried running a Facebook ad to increase your fans? What were the results?

The Many Different Ways to Brand Your Social Networking Pages

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When it comes to social networks, everyone has their favorites. MySpace was a huge hit back in the day simply because it was one of the first social networks, but mainly because of the many different ways you could customize your profile pages and make them look however you like. Facebook came along and quickly out grew MySpace, but it wasn’t til recently that Facebook allowed you to give your profile a new look and feel with the introduction of their Timeline setup. In the end, it’s all about online relationships and leaving a lasting impression for the people who visit your profile pages.

Let’s take a look at a few different ways social networks are allowing people to not only personalize their profile pages, but also brand their blogs, web sites, and businesses as well.

Facebook

It’s no secret that Facebook is one of the most active and legitimate places for individuals to create a powerhouse of connections and branding about themselves and their sites. In addition to creating your own personal profile page, you should also be creating Fan Pages for each and every one of your sites and blogs. With the Facebook Timeline now in play you can create your profile and fan pages to match the look and feel of your blog or identity.

You can see my Facebook screenshot below, which showcases the ZacJohnson.com name and toon which I have been branding over the past several years. Many other famous bloggers and online marketers are using Timeline for personal images and branding, check out how they are using it.

Twitter

As popular as Facebook is, Twitter is still extremely strong on the entertainment and television end. Celebrities are always talking about Twitter and how others can follow them, but they aren’t talking as much about Facebook. This is mainly because Facebook has a limit on personal friends that you are allowed to follow, which has greatly helped Twitter engage with users who have thousands or even millions of fans.

With that said, it would be ridiculous for anyone with a massive amount of followers to not be using Twitter backgrounds and profile images to their advantage. My Facebook Timeline image is actually a smaller version of my Twitter background that I had designed a couple years ago. Once again…branding is key, and showing your face, logo or identity over and over again will help with your establishment and authority in any niche.

Staree

As powerful as Twitter and Facebook are, there are hundreds if not thousands of smaller social networks and media sites out there. One of the most recent sites to launch lately is Staree.com, which is a mixture of blogging, Instagram and social networking. Through Staree you can create a custom profile page which allows you to upload your own updates and photo/video posts. Your Facebook and Twitter pages are also posted on your Staree page, which makes it one easy url for you to give to someone, which they can then use to find your other major social pages.

Once again, you will see the customization and branding in play with my Staree profile page below.

How to Benefit from Branding on Social Networks

Just think about how many people are browsing through social networks, blogs, and profiles every day. The majority of these people will visit a page once and never come back. In the end, you want to make a lasting impression and if you only have a couple seconds to do this, a custom logo design or something catchy is a great way to do this. Many people are going to visit my Twitter, Facebook and Staree pages and probably not come back again…but I did my best to make a lasting impression by using my cartoon logo and name on each. This might not seem like a lot right now, but over the course of a month or year, how many thousands or millions of people will have seen my logo and potentially remembered my brand, site, and name?

What you do with your branding and social network pages is key. Focus on long term growth, bringing in new followers and creating content for your blogs and web site that provide value to your followers. In the end, your brand identity is one of the most important things you have, and you will want to keep growing it and spreading it around as much as you can.

What can you do to your social networking pages to make them more brandable and work for you 24/7?

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