Social reach has never been more important for attracting targeted traffic, establishing authority in a niche, and providing a good ranking signal to the search engines for SEO.
For any website, whether a fully fledged online business or a blog, getting an engaged “like” or “follow” on Facebook (or Twitter) is now almost as valuable as getting an email subscriber.
In this post, I’m going to reveal what is working for top bloggers and businesses across the king of social media, Facebook, and what you can do to get the same results.
You are going to learn:
- How to increase Facebook shares of your own content
- Why you need “engagement” on Facebook
- How to increase Facebook shares to readers personal Timelines
- How to grab more likes to your Facebook Posts
- What you can do to increase your Page following
- What gets you more comments on your FB Page/Posts
Social Engagement: Why you’ve been doing it wrong…
Let’s be clear on something from the kick-off here: Most marketers don’t understand what social engagement actually is.
Hey, I used to be the same! eBooks had taught me how to build profitable pages and funnels, but the actual interaction with Facebook readers was always a bit of an afterthought. I learned a few techniques to get people to the page, but not how to deal with them long-term, and this is true for most marketers I speak with.
There are tens of thousands of Facebook pages built in profitable niches that will never make a dollar because the page admin is trying get what he/she wants rather than giving the reader what THEY want.
So, let’s do a little housecleaning regarding engagement before we continue:
1) A “Like” is when someone gives a +1 or “seal of approval” to content you have shared on your Facebook page or to your overall page itself. Like’s will, for the most part, show up on the users timeline unless the user requests that it should not be available to their friends.
2) A “Share” is when a user takes your content (either from your Facebook page or your own domain/moneysite) and physically posts it on their timeline with the intention of having their friends view the content. they are valuable for SEO as they provide social signals back to the Search Engines. They are, obviously, much more valuable than Likes since the user is hoping that their friends click on and view your content.
3) Engagement is when any user does either of the above, or they choose to comment on your Facebook posts or post directly to your Facebook page Wall. Engagement is all that matters in Internet Marketing. The number of fans you have doesn’t matter if none are engaged with your content.
[Tweet “Why are Shares/Likes great for your content, but not for link building? @jaykaydowdall”]
4) To buy Likes for your Facebook page is a waste of time – don’t do it. Many a sucker has paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to get extra Likes to their Facebook page, but these users are NOT engaged and thus a waste of your time. It sounds appealing and many of the sales pages for these services are incredibly enticing, but they are a waste of time – DON’T DO IT!
6) Lastly, branding is incredibly important. Before you start trying to push traffic to your Facebook page, you need to make sure you have the following:
- A strong cover photo that shows your brand, look at the above image from “Losing Tummy Fat” – a generic stock photo pulled right off Google Image Search. Cover photos should be High Res custom images (check Facebook for sizing options).
- A good profile picture
- A Page complete will all the About You/Misc. details filled in.
Social engagement understanding? Check! Let’s move on to the good stuff…
Making Others WANT to Share Your Content
1) Use a social locking plugin – REQUIRED
Social locking is THE best way, to get readers sharing your page. A social locker will hide a specific piece of your content until the user shares the page to get access. This can backfire though: If you hide ALL of your content on the page, people can feel cheated and refuse to share out of spite. The best option is to leave the entire article available, and have some bonus content in the social locker. I do this on 90% of my posts and make sure to give the reader something of real quality for sharing the content.
Since I’ve started using a social locker on this and other blogs I have noticed a massive difference in my social shares. I cannot recommend this enough. You can purchase a license here on Code Canyon and use it on every blog in the future.
2) Include a call-to-action
It sounds simple, but many a marketer forgets this simple fact. Visitors need to be told what to do. Sharing bars are great on your pages, but there is a problem with this: Social Blindness. Much like publishers of Google Adsense will know, visitors are becoming more and more blind to advertising. It’s become so common that many visitors no longer notice ads in sidebars or headers any longer. The same is becoming true for sharing bars, particularly the ones that float on the side of the content and follow the visitor down the page.
At the bottom of each post on this blog you will find an option to share, however with a little editing in the style sheet of the theme, I have made sure that there is a custom headline added above the sharing bar to drive conversion rates. The results? Sharing buttons with a strong call-to-action are approx. 30% more likely to convert.
3) Talk to your audience, not AT them…
Know your reader. What age group are they? What are their interests? Knowing as much about your demographics as possible will mean you can talk with a tone that appeals to them. Less people want to hear things come from the “ivory tower” than from an honest authority.
4) Get jiggy wit’ it
Have a personality! For the love of God be original. Remember a simple fact, most people end up blogging about the same or similar information on a topic if it’s hot/recent. Offering a little personality in your style will make a difference. Afterall, if you want them coming back for more- you will need to give them a reason. Great information is one thing, but only the very arrogant will believe that they have the best information on the web.
5) Make a GREAT headline and featured image.
[sociallocker id=”186″] [/sociallocker]
Check out the above video to see 5 Secrets to Traffic Crushing Headlines that every marketer must know. When a visitor makes the decision to share your content Facebook will pick up the headline and key image on the page to share in the link. If your headline or image are poor, your reader may rethink sharing the content. There are many more reasons why a good headline is important, but we’ll explore those in a later post…
Get More Shares on Your Facebook Posts
1) Post often, but don’t be obnoxious…
There is no magic number for how often you should be posting to keep your Facebook following engaged. However, the sweet spot for most niches is somewhere in the 2-3 posts per day range. This keeps you relevant but doesn’t overwhelm your readers. There is nothing worse than a page that posts almost every hour. Leave me alone!
2) Get shorty!
140 characters or less. That’s right, as much as a tweet! Short posts are easier to read, and stand out among the clutter of updates from friends, and lengthy posts from other FB pages the reader might be following.
3) Share images, but be picky…
Images are quick, take no time to read, and evoke a response faster than text. However, don’t become some image
whore bore that posts pics of people using your product or generic pics from your niche – this is lazy, remember our “Losing Tummy Fat” page from earlier?
Why are people on Facebook? It’s to check what’s happening with friends and family, not to be sold to. People want to be entertained and interested. If they’re following your page they know what your product is! Make a meme about your competitor and tag them, or share an image or quote specific to your audience. Even if you share something completely unrelated to your niche; if it will evoke a feeling from your audience DO IT.
4) Watch the clock
There are perfect times to post on your page. Most people check their Facebook at specific times of day and are therefore most likely to be “engage-ready”. Morning is most popular for this, so posting something early in the day will pop up for most users as they stare at their smartphones while laying in bed – doesn’t everyone do this?
Why post at this time though? Readers are more likely to post/share/comment on posts that are fresh rather than a few hours old. This rule applies to readers who are done work/school at the end of day too.
5) Make it rain!
Holding a contest/incentive/promotion for a great prize related to your niche is an evergreen idea. Post a large eye-catching image with details of the contest to catch their interest, and then make sure that the rules of entry include commenting something on the picture – This will share the content on that persons timeline. Make sure you are following the Facebook terms for contest/promotions though.
4 Ways to Increase your Page Following
1) Cross promotion
Cross-promotion is a great way to get new users, and start relationship building with other leaders in your niche – a valuable proposition. Simply shoot a private message to a related page and give them something to tickle their fancy. Then jump on Skype and hash out the details.
Ideally you will want to cross-promote with a different Page run by a separate person, however, it is also possible to cross-promote with another page you run that also appeals to the same audience. Cross-promotion is one of the fastest and easiest ways to expose yourself to a massive audience for free.
2) Recurring posts
Excellent content (As described my Matt Cutts) will naturally get shared if you make it accessible, but continually great content will have people itching for more. The most popular types of content that converts readers into followers is stuff that has a recurring theme: i.e. Monthly income reports, monthly weighty loss journey updates, weekly/monthly interview segments with industry leaders, etc.
If a reader finds one of these posts interesting and see’s it’s a regular thing, don’t you think it’s likely that they will come back for more?
3) Provide a strong call-to-action (again!)
Like I explained above with tactics to increase shares of your content, you should include a call-to-action to follow you on Facebook with an exciting/interesting bio excerpt at the end of blog posts. Keep in mind that this excerpt should be entertaining and engaging, less of the mundane “ivory tower” descriptions you see on common article sites:
Obviously you’re going to want to cater this to your audience’s tastes. The above description would work well on an SEO/Social blog where the audience is younger, but might not convert well on a blog about Osteoarthritis.
4) Thank-You page
When a reader becomes a subscriber or when a reader makes a first time comment on your blog, you should take them to a thank-you page with an option to follow you. This reader is in a kind of “buying mode” and they’ve already engaged with you. An option to follow on this particular page can see conversions as high as 50% or more! You can setup a first-time comment thank-you page with this free WordPress plugin from Yoast.
More Conversations: How to Increase Comments
1) Ask questions in your Facebook Posts
Whoa! Mind blowing stuff, right? Surprisingly for many marketers it is. If you don’t ask a question, you won’t get a response! Ask something evocative, play on people’s thoughts, take a negative stance on something (though too much negativity can make you seem a little confrontational). Start debates the get people talking, the followers will do the rest for you!
Surprisingly, both of the above pages are in the same niche, and have almost the exact same amount of followers (Approx. 80,000).
2) Offer a 2-question poll…
This is more of a play on the above suggestion, however, it’s probably the best kind of question to get some debate started. A 2-question poll is a great way to get conversation started. There is no middle ground, you’re for or against something. Depending on the topic, you can have some interesting debates on this – which is the entire goal after all.
Yes, I’m a bit of a Pat Flynn fanboy…
3) Caption requests
Post a picture and ask fans to caption it. You always get some interesting answers, take the winning caption and post the picture with the caption later in the week and offer credit to the fan with the winning caption. It shows fans that their comments aren’t falling on deaf ears, and it goes back to what I was saying before about having fun 🙂
There’s a TON of information here, but I wanted this to be a kind of “ultimate resource” to help put you on the right track. Should you try everything here? If you do you will see the benefits without doubt, but it will take quite a bit of effort (who’d have thunk?). To avoid feeling overwhelmed start adding them one-by-one. If you’re a real dork (just like me!) you can even split test the strategies across different posts and see the difference 😛
The result? Lots of engagement! Give me 10 engaged users over 1000 disinterested followers any day of the week.
Try a little bit of what you think will work best, then take the Head & Shoulders approach: Wash, Rinse, and Repeat.
Keep in mind that everything listed above is completely free, and the only thing stopping you is your own excuses – don’t hold yourself back!