My story with Facebook is a funny one.
Back in my pre-teens, I used to believe that people joined cults through Facebook! (And that pigs could also fly, and my “weird” voice was because I drank too much coffee! 🙂 )My perspective about it was shady and to be avoided forever.
Then I gained a little bit of knowledge and learned that it all depends on how you use Facebook. So the idea of cultic movements on Facebook was eroded, and I promised myself that when I hit 18, I would join the largest social media platform there is.
Yes, guys. It’s not shady. Anymore. Actually, it is pretty impressive and I have put it in a different group of social media platforms I rely on as a blogger. With almost 2 billion users, I can’t think of any other better place for a blog to gain exposure than on Facebook.
If the list below resonates with your blogging needs,
- connect to similar niche groups
- get traffic from organic reach
- drive comments and reactions to my blog
- grow my community of supportive bloggers
- explode my email list
Then you will be surprised by the impact of Facebook on your blog.
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Let’s find out what Facebook is all about…
A LITTLE ABOUT FACEBOOK
If you have been living under a rock for the past decade, then here’s what you need to know about Mark Zuckerburg’s Facebook.
- This mammoth of a social media platform has approximately 2 billion daily active users, surpassing Whatsapp, Twitter, and Instagram by far!
- The Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily.
- Five new profiles are created every second. (even NOW!)
- An average of 66% of 18-24 year-olds is Facebook users.
- 1.6 billion Facebook users are mobile users, meaning that mobile is where the engagement is high.
- More than 40 billion small businesses have Facebook pages, highlighting its marked importance in marketing.
Ideally, it is too big to ignore, as Zephoria Inc’s Facebook statistics suggest.
THE METRICS YOU NEED TO KNOW
In Facebook, there are some metrics that a blogger (or any other user) needs to understand before embarking on marketing or socializing. These standards are meant to provide insight into your content marketing and where you should improve, with helpful tips on how to as well.
- Organic Reach: This is the number of people who are aware of a post on Facebook either through viewing it on their timeline. Once they show interest in your post, it is magnified to their followers who also see it on their timeline. It is basically the potential number of people who have interacted with your content.
- Engagement: The number of people that have reacted to your content by the form of sharing it, simply viewing it or commenting. A higher engagement can be achieved by sponsoring your posts to get paid reach.
THE POWER OF FACEBOOK GROUPS.
After seeing all those figures and stats about Facebook, the burning question becomes:
How does my content gain exposure with 2 billion active users also posting their content?
Here is where the magic happens. Facebook might have realized that its users would struggle to keep up with the information churned out every minute so they decided to give them a chance to group up based on similar interests.
In my earlier post on The Tools and Resources Every Blogger Should Use, I talked about joining blogging communities as a way to ensure you engage only with content that interests you. (Since you could simply and naively just join any cults out there! 🙁 )
Since joining various Facebook Groups, my blog engagement has risen dramatically. Most of my comments and social shares are derived from members of my groups.
How about you? How do you use this to your advantage?
1. FIND RELEVANT FACEBOOK GROUPS
With such a huge base of users, there are bound to be spam accounts, groups, and pages that will pop up. You have to filter and know which ones are helpful and which ones are basic hell-holes. (Yes, I have had an encounter with weird groups like that.)
Do you know which niche you belong to?
Finding a niche is one of the most important things any blogger or content creator has to do. This is what will guide you when searching for a group. If your niche is graphic design, you wouldn’t want to end up in a group of comic artists.
As Smartblogger puts it, decide on the focus of your facebook group.
This is what will guide you when searching for a group. If your niche is graphic design, you wouldn’t want to end up in a group of comic artists.
Once you find a group, send an official request to the administrator and fill out whatever form he/she requires of you.
Make sure you read the group’s instructions very well since some groups run on detailed steps like mandatory reciprocating or not posting any affiliate links to the group. Usually, flouting these rules either leads to strikes or permanent removal from the group.
And we don’t want that now, do we?
2. KNOW THE GROUP’S GUIDELINES
When you are finally welcomed to the group, the initial move you’d want to make is to start dropping your links and smiley faces all over.
But that’s not how to do it.
As I stated, each group has its guidelines on which the group operates. There are threads that group members participate in where you are allowed to either share your ideas, post links to your blog or take part in a survey.
Below are some of the most common threads:
- Conversation threads: where the administrator or any group member starts a conversation on a topic of mutual importance.
- Share threads: where group members share their blog links and reciprocate as well.
- Check Out My Blog/Comment threads: where group members are supposed to comment on a particular issue or in blog links.
- Social Media threads: where you are allowed to solicit for likes, shares, comments, retweets or follows in your various social media profiles.
Normally, a Social Media thread runs throughout the week and depends on which day of the week it is. Such that if it is Friday, the group runs a Facebook Friday thread and you can post a link to your Facebook profile, page or group.
Other Social Media threads include Twitter Tuesday, StumbleUpon Wednesday, Pinterest Thursday and Instagram Monday.
3. CONTRIBUTE WITH ETIQUETTE
There’s this off-putting behavior in some Facebook groups where members are willing to drop links and ask for engagement but won’t contribute further.
Groups are meant to be like online conference rooms where people sit down and discuss, share and advice in equal measure. Therefore, there is an etiquette to be followed when contributing to Facebook groups instead of promoting your own content.
In the case of conversation threads, give your own input or viewpoint about an issue. Not only does this mean you want to help, but it sets you apart as an authority in a subject. Don’t lose the chance to give back when you have gained a lot.
David Boozer says: Building influence is the key to true engagementBuilding influence is the key to true engagementClick To Tweet
4.SPEND TIME RELATING WITH MEMBERS
As Krista Aoki says in her article on How to Use Facebook Groups to Drive Traffic;
Don’t join a group solely to promote.
It is not enough to post your content on the group hoping someone will stumble upon your link. And especially amongst so many other people who also want traffic to their posts.
The secret is being personable with the members. Why? Because most of them don’t even think you will click on their link let alone put your passionate comments about their article on the thread. When you do this, you ignite friendship and loyalty.
Most probably, the people to whom you extend kind words and leave comments on their posts will be kind enough to retaliate as well. I have seen this happen to me quite a few times, with the rare cases of some subscribing to my blog. 🙂
5. SIFT THROUGH
On the same note about spam, there are some links that are posted on threads that don’t really get your attention because they are not in your niche. I have been in Facebook Groups for bloggers where some fashion and food bloggers post links to their blogs and I have been forced to give 15-worded comments about them.
So in a bid to reciprocate, I just skim the post quickly and then pick one major point which I thank the blogger for mentioning down in the comments section. (Hey, I’m not the only one guilty of this!!)
That, in all its glory, is fake engagement.
Even though the group consisted of bloggers, the micro-niche was unspecified so basically, any blogger on earth could drop a link! I opted out and joined a specific group full of bloggers in my micro-niche of blogging tips and resources.
Sometimes a niche can have micro-niches which are totally different from each other. Social media is a huge niche, but Pinterest Growth tactics and Instagram Growth tactics are polar opposites.
Narrow down to those links that are in your micro-niche. This way, you will naturally want to read it, share your thoughts and grow your knowledge.
THE PROBLEM WITH FACEBOOK GROUPS
I know this post has only highlighted the merits of Facebook groups and how they can drive organic traffic to your blog.
But there are always two sides of a coin and I think it would be great to tell you what I think are major problems with these groups as platforms for promotion.
- LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Some of the group administrators are not strict enough to the point that they will follow up on some of the thread issues. I have been in groups where you don’t get reciprocated in a thread (click through link thread, to be precise) even after doing your best to click through other links.
The problem could be that the administrators handle a large group and the issues to be addressed are too many for them. Especially in a thread of 300 or more participants!
- DUPLICATION OF LINKS
A very cheeky attempt by some members to post the same link more than once in the same thread. Either because they are too desperate to catch the attention of thousands of group members or the guidelines are very slack.
Facebook Group administrators have tried to clamp down on this by introducing a numbering system so that you don’t post the same link again. Limiting the number of links to be added has also seen a drop in such spammy acts
- FAILURE TO CONTROL MEMBER ACTIONS
Okay. This may not be the administrator’s fault as much as it is the members’ fault.
While some groups look kindly on members posting their social media profiles on the wall, this sort of practice turns the group from promotional to advertising hubs. It really puts me off when I go through a group’s discussion posts only to find someone’s latest Instagram picture with a blatant “Follow Me” as the status update!
Clearly, the aspect of community engagement is not understood properly when it comes to Facebook Groups. It’s about family more than followers.
Bloggers always talk about how Pinterest is the leading referral site for their blogs and that fact is clearly true. But you can’t spark conversations or discussions on a pin – unless you click on the pin and then engage with the article.
Facebook groups allow you to moderate and engage people in conversations based on your niche. What is better than knowing you have forged new connections while driving traffic to your blog? Nothing.
Have Facebook Groups helped your blog or not? Share it in the comments below!