I’ve been meaning to write up a few posts with my take-aways from the sessions I attended at the Blissdom Conference back in February, but time keeps getting away from me.
One of my favorite sessions was the one on Facebook, taught by the incomparable Melanie Nelson. Melanie was a technical writer in a former life, and she has the uncanny ability to explain complex concepts in a way that even a nitwit like me can grasp them.
She has made herself an expert at Facebook — so much so that she is co-authoring Facebook All-In-One for Dummies (her SECOND book, by the way.) I’m telling you guys, she is a rockstar. She is also a very good friend of mine. I’ve known her since the early days of blogging — back when we all wrote anonymously and used pseudonyms like Chilihead and DCRmom. I still call her Chili when I think of her.
My Facebook Epiphany
The first thing I realized during this session is that I needed to have a purpose for my Facebook Fan Page. I set my page up because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? But I basically used it as a place to link to my posts, hoping that people might follow along and link over. But your Facebook Fan Page can be so much more than a 2nd RSS feed.
There can be many purposes for your page, and it depends on your business or what your page is supporting. Are you trying to solve a problem? Educate? Entertain? All of the above? Once you know this, you will start using your Facebook Page more effectively.
I was doing at least one thing right with my Page — I did not automate my posts with Networked Blogs or one of those plugins. I knew that they had more chance of being seen when I input them manually, and I’d often add an intro or a hook, hoping to interest people in reading them. But otherwise, my page just sat there, linking back to my site, but doing nothing inviting or engaging.
Through Melanie’s session, I decided that I want my Facebook Page to be an extension of the community I’ve built on my blog. Since then I’ve started asking more questions, starting more conversations, and I love the response I’ve been getting. I haven’t even looked at my stats to see if it has helped (I’m so not into stats, in fact, I usually can’t make heads or tails of Google Analytics) but I know I need to pay better attention to those. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Melanie got into that.
3 Things You Can Do NOW To Grow Your Facebook Fan Page
That was the title of her session. But there was SO. MUCH. MORE. than 3 things to take away from this session. Here are a few of them.
1. Set Goals
I am so not a goal setter. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I’ve always said that any success I’ve had in this industry is purely by accident, and that is so true. I think, in a way, that’s part of my success, so I don’t want to get too strategic and compromise my authenticity. But on the other hand, it helps to have some goals and know where you are going with things. Especially when you spend so much time doing something.
Melanie inspired me to set some goals with my Facebook Page. Here were her tips for setting goals. She uses an acronym: SMART
- Specific. Why do you want to be on Facebook? What are you trying to achieve?
- Measurable. Use specific numbers, dates or events to choose measurable goals. Ask: How much? How often? How many?
- Attainable. Set realistic goals. Push yourself, but don’t sabotage your success by setting too high a goal.
- Relevant. Be sure your short-term goals match your long-term goals and personal and business philosophies.
- Time-specific. Set dates and events for achievement, otherwise you’ll procrastinate and never get there.
This is all so out of my comfort zone. I still have not set what I’d call measurable goals, like a certain amount of fans by a certain date. I don’t know, to me that is like saying I want to make 10 new friends by the end of the month. Who does that? I want to build my Fan Page organically. I want people to WANT to be there, just like I want my friends to want to meet for coffee, not be coerced into it.
So rather than setting specific, measurable goals, I have just been trying to be more engaging on my page, using it for conversations and advice, not just throwing my posts up there — more like I use my personal Facebook profile. My goal basically is to see the level of engagement grow. If that helps send more traffic to my blog, great. If not, that’s okay too, I’m more interested in developing the community on my FB Page.
I realize that because my blog is largely personal, my Facebook Page is too.
If you are building a business and Facebook is one of the avenues you use to support and grow your business (and it should be!!), you definitely be setting specific, measurable goals to grow your page. You will want to make sure you have clear calls to action and talking points. But I’m getting ahead of myself again!
2. Write Updates That Get Responses
This was interesting to me. I mean, I do this on my blog all the time, right? But I hadn’t quite thought of using Facebook this strategically. Here were some of her tips. Remember, this goes back to knowing the purpose of your page.
- Provide a clear call to action; be specific.
- Tell your audience how to complete the action.
- Ask short questions with easy answers. Don’t ask questions that are too open ended to answer in a comment form. You can always follow up with further questions to keep the conversation going.
We had an interesting conversation at my table during the break-out portion of the session. I got a lot of great tips from the other girls at the table who have had a lot of success growing their Facebook Pages. Did you know that posting videos makes your posts more visible on Facebook? They also find that posting links to articles that others are writing is a great way to increase engagement and get conversation going. I hadn’t thought of that. I do that on Twitter, but notsomuch on Facebook. And of course, asking short questions. People like to share their opinions, that’s for sure!
It’s basically knowing how to be a good conversationalist. You just have to carry over those basic conversation skills into a different forum. Gotta love the 21st century!
3. Track Your Successes
I admit, this is where she lost me. Not that Melanie didn’t explain well. It’s the nitwit factor I referred to above. And my inherent dislike for graphs and forumlas.
With the new Facebook Pages, you can easily see your stats at the top of your page. (They are called Insights on Facebook.) You can see which of your updates get the most response, which ones are shared the most, and how far your reach goes. I don’t pretend to understand all this, but it’s there if you want it!
This is what my graph looks like, since upping my involvement on my Facebook Page:
I guess it’s working. All I know is, I’m enjoying the conversations going on over there, and I hope more of you will join in! You can find my Facebook Fan Page at facebook.com/MusingsofaHousewife. And feel free to post questions too. Just yesterday, someone posted a question on my page about starting a blog, and I was able to give her some quick advice in a comment. Love that!
I’m happy to receive emails too, and I do, but on the Facebook Page, everyone can benefit from the answers, and others may have some insights that I don’t have.
So those are my key take-aways from the Facebook Session at Blissdom. If you have any tips and tricks for building engagement on a Facebook Page, I’d love to hear them!
linking up to Social Media Saturday at The Centsible Life