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How I Increased My Facebook Reach For Blog Posts By Over 700 Percent

Do you have a Facebook strategy for your blog or business? Is it flopping? If so, don’t feel bad. From my reading, countless others seem to be frustrated their Facebook page reach is decreasing.

the Facebook logo I don’t understand the technicalities of how Facebook’s algorithms determine whether or not an update shows up in a news feed. At the simplest level though, it seems the more I like someone’s content, the more I get fed their life. Those who I choose not to like are eventually filtered out, their status updates never to show again. That’s frustrating when you want to keep up with friends or, like me, are trying to reach them with my blog topics.

I’m a small player on Facebook, having only 210 page likes for this blog and 448 friends connected to my personal page. Honestly I haven’t engaged much there over the years, only becoming interested recently when I started Luke1428. Facebook is the #2 ranked site in the world for traffic, so the potential to reach people is definitely there.

Those who have been using Facebook for promotion know it’s not easy. I noticed last year that not many fans who liked my page were seeing my posts…less than 10 views on some days. Not knowing what to do, I decided to track it for six months as I worked on developing strategies to increase total views per post – the ultimate goal of course being to convert those Facebook views into regular blog visits.

The results for me have been interesting and encouraging. For the 40 blog articles I posted to Facebook from January to March, I averaged 22 views per post. As my strategies began to unfold, I saw an increase to 176 views for my 39 posts from April through June. That’s an increase of 705%.

Here’s how I did it.

Facebook Strategy #1: Boosting Posts

The first place I turned to increase viewership is the place most people turn – paying money for Facebook to boost my posts to a wider audience. Ugh…I know. Doesn’t seem like we should have to do this but it’s the direction Facebook has headed. As a publicly traded company, they are in the business of making money and satisfying investors so it seems paying for ads/sponsored posts is here to stay.

(Note: In case you are wondering, for the calculations above I did exclude the numbers from the sponsored posts. The 705% gain is only based on non-sponsored posts.)

I had three sponsored posts in the first three months of 2014. Those were sent to a broad audience and produced minimal results. For the four sponsored posts from April to June, I targeted people especially interested in the topic of the post. For example, the sponsored post where I talked about why we paid off our mortgage early was targeted to those specifically interested in personal finance, not just my family and friends. That post produced 312 links clicks for my site.

Overall, the four sponsored posts targeted to a specific audience resulted in more engagement than the first three and brought significantly more referral traffic. That engagement produced a carry over into viewership for my non-sponsored posts.

Facebook Strategy #2: Posting on my personal timeline

As I began to boost a few posts, I also became increasingly active on my own timeline. What’s “increasingly” mean? For me it meant going from totally inactive to posting a status once or twice a week. These updates had nothing to do with my blog but were personal in nature, the things you would expect to see on an individual’s timeline.

Why was this move important?

People started following me as a person. Once they clicked “Like” on a status update, Facebook assumes they want to see more from me. So future updates to my personal timeline have a greater likelihood showing up in their news feed. This step will prove important as the next strategy unfolds.

Facebook Strategy #3: Sharing

Getting posts shared over and over produces site visits and that’s the juice that fuels a blogger. At first, I was only posting my blog content to my Facebook page and relying on my readers to share it around. I learned quickly that many weren’t.

So I began to share my page updates myself in other areas on Facebook.

I started with my own personal timeline. I’ve read before not to mix business with pleasure on Facebook. In other words, keep your business timeline separate from your personal timeline. For a small blogger such as myself trying to build an audience, that didn’t seem to matter. As more people liked my personal timeline posts (Strategy #2), they would begin to see my blog updates once I posted them to my personal timeline.

I also shared them to my wife’s timeline. Even though there is some overlap, she is friends with people that I am not. In addition, I joined some Facebook groups relevant to my niche and shared my posts in those. Finally, my posts began to be shared by other bloggers. Obviously having other bloggers share your content is a significant step in getting more views.

Facebook Strategy #4: Telling Stories

So far, I’ve used my profile on Twitter as the go to social media platform to promote this blog. However, I’ve noticed my audience there is vastly different than on Facebook.

On Twitter, I’ve mostly connected with other bloggers or career minded professionals interested in the personal finance niche in the hopes they will share my content. Not so on Facebook. Most of my followers there are people I’ve personally known and had daily or at least routine interaction with during some part of my life.

What I’ve learned is my Facebook fans really respond to personal stories about my life, more so than my connections on Twitter. On this style of post I’ve noticed a growing viewership, to the point where I recently had my highest total reach on a non-sponsored post. This post on why my family is not renewing our Costco membership reached 448 people on Facebook. Of those, 25% clicked on the link and read the post at my site. That was a high conversion number for me.

Facebook Tips Beyond the Strategies

Besides those four strategies, it would also be helpful to:

1. Respond to comments. Anytime someone leaves a comment or asks a question I get to it. Increasing fan engagement will keep readers interested and coming back.

2. Analyze when and what time of day your fans are viewing Facebook. My highest days for audience traffic are Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday in that order. Their time on Facebook peaks from 3 to 9 pm. Those are the key times when I need to do more posting and engaging.

3. Know your demographics. Not surprisingly, my fan demographics reflect my age and my career as an educator. Over 50% of my fans come from the 18-24 age group (28%) and the 35-44 age group (25%). Posts targeting the interests of those age groups will be more likely to be shared around Facebook, thus producing more overall views.

My Next Step On Facebook

So far my strategy seems to be working. I’ll admit to not knowing what Facebook is doing behind the scenes with their algorithms to help or hinder me. Nor can I quantify how much of this is simply due to the general growth of my blog. Regardless, at least there is progress.

The next strategy I plan to implement will be redoing and then sponsoring my Luke1428 Facebook page. The goal here is to attract people interested in a particular niche to “Like” the page. While slightly different than promoting posts, the goal seems to be the same…to get eyeballs on content and drive people to a site. Of course, I’ll have to budget for and then pay Facebook for that sponsorship which I know many simply abhor.

My goal is to double my Facebook likes in the next six months. That means reaching 420 by the end of 2014. If you haven’t liked my page yet (shameless plug) you can do so by clicking here.

I’ll report back at the end of the year on how this strategy worked.

Only you can decide if Facebook should be an option to reach viewers. Whether or not you enjoy the experience, it is a viable option for drawing people to your blog or business. I would suggest not giving up on it just yet. Analyze the information in the “Insights” section of your Facebook page and produce strategies applicable to your need.

You may not see results overnight so give it at least six months. For me, it’s taken that long to see some real progress.

What is your Facebook strategy? Are you paying Facebook to sponsor posts? Do you feel Facebook is moving in the right or wrong direction in pushing businesses to pay for sponsorships? Does your blog receive more referral traffic from Twitter, Facebook or some other source? What other tips for reaching people have worked for you?

Image courtesy of Facebookbrand.com

Next Post: The 3 Money Topics Teenagers Most Like to Discuss

Prior Post: The Two-Faced Giver: When It Looks Like Rain It’s Supposed to Pour

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Comments

  1. This is the only remedy that has worked.

  2. Holly Johnson says:

    Great strategy! I like it. I have paid for a little bit of Facebook advertising in the past, but I’m not sure it is worth it. I’ll try your tips =)

  3. Julie @ Millennial Cents says:

    I just started using Facebook. I am playing around with the free $50 credit I got from my hosting account. The average organic reach of a post on FB is around 2%– so I find it better bang for my buck to just boost posts rather than paying for likes. Who cares if you have 1000 likes if you have paid serious $$$ for them and still only reach 2% of the people. I spend around $3 to boost each boost- and it gets seen by like 3,000 people. Typically when I boost a post- my traffic to the site doubles. I typically get around 100 visitors a day and when I boost it surpasses 200. For me, the $3 is totally worth it! Sometimes you have to pay to play 🙂

    • That’s what I’ve been doing although I don’t boost every post yet. I’m only doing about one or two posts per month…ones that I think might be particular intriguing to my audience.

  4. Brad @ How To Save Money says:

    I did a lot of paid, targeted advertising on Facebook. I think I got up to 1700 Likes on my fan page. All the activity brought me not one extra dollar of income. I stopped using Facebook. Unless I can see a link between Facebook activity and revenue, I’m not sure I will ever go back.

    • That’s what I’m trying to find…the link between Facebook activity and revenue. If you couldn’t find it based on your strategies then I don’t blame you for leaving.

  5. I thought a lot about getting a facebook page for my blog. I ultimately decided not to because I didn’t feel I had the time to dedicate to it. Sounds like it is actually possible to generate some decent traffic though. Maybe someday when I have more time to dedicate to my blog. I really think if used correctly, it can be a powerful tool. Thanks for the insights Brian!

  6. This is fascinating, Brian and thank you for sharing your insights. I have not have much success with Facebook and thus I don’t spend much time there, so that doesn’t help either. 🙂 I do find that when I share on my personal timeline I get more likes and shares and readers. Right now, twitter brings me quite a few readers and I am going to add Google+ and Pinterest. Eventually I need to sit-down and figure out where I should keep my attention.

    • I wouldn’t go beyond those four at least at the beginning. I’ve only recently begun to play with Pinterest. G+ seems to be gaining some ground on Facebook, perhaps because so much of the FB crowd is becoming disenchanted with the experience.

  7. Great post! I hardly spend any time on Facebook, and that may be hurting me. I’m about to have a whole lot more free time soon and I definitely plan on focusing more on Facebook and increasing my reach.

  8. Thanks for sharing this Brian! I have a tough time figuring out my Facebook “strategy” because I am not really sure what kind of value it provides, but I do have a lot of success when I share my posts on my personal timeline because my personal timeline is all friends and family who are actively engaged in my life. I feel bad “inundating” them too much, though, with blog stuff and not enough personal stuff.

    • I think that’s a wise point to bring up Shannon about not feeding your friends and family only blog news. If a person is going to post blog info to their personal timeline, they have to balance that out with enough updates to maintain the personal feel.

  9. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Great tips Brian! Admittedly, I’ve not really focused a whole lot on FB. I share my posts there and those of some others, but that’s about it…save for responding to any comments I get there. I get maybe a few clicks a day from them, but by and large my main traffic driver is Twitter followed by G+. I don’t like that FB has changed things to push more towards the sponsorship aspect, but it’s the nature of the beast and they’re looking to make money – which I get.

  10. Cashville Skyline says:

    Admittedly, I haven’t been as committed to my Facebook strategy for Cashville Skyline as I have for other projects. I’ve found that offering promotions (free stuff) greatly increases organic engagement on a Facebook page. And generating more organic engagement actually helps promoted perform even better! Additionally, an AMAZING image goes a long way. Posts without an image die a slow death.

    • I have yet to do offers so perhaps I’ll take a look at that. Just curious, what are you offering?

      • Cashville Skyline says:

        I work in entertainment, so I’ve offered albums, artist swag, concert tickets, etc. It would have to be something of value to your followers. And may cost less than your promoted posts!

  11. Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips, Brian! Facebook is a different beast than Twitter; one that I’ve personally had more trouble with. So, I’m looking forward to trying some of your tips (specifically, sharing personal stories). Thanks!

  12. FI Pilgrim says:

    Those are some great insights, thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. I love to tell stories anyway (I get more “followers” with stories, but more “traffic” from advice) and it sounds like that lends itself well to Facebook promotion. Very cool!

    • “stories…lends itself well to Facebook promotion.” That’s how it’s worked out for me so far. Facebook seems to be a more personal social media outlet than Twitter.

  13. Facebook certainly has massive potential. I know that Mr.CBB does very well from FB – perhaps he could shed some light on his success.

    I am actually trying Pinterest at the moment to see how well that traffic converts. So far I have had good success with a niche site, but next to nothing for my personal finance websites.

    I guess you just need to target the right audience.

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