Raise your hand if you have felt personally victimized by the Facebook algorithm.
I mean, let’s be real: when the Facebook gods deem you unworthy of reaching your audience, it’s hard to not feel betrayed.
Now, the woes of Facebook organic reach are probably no secret to you. Over the years, many of us have noticed a steady decline in our page reach, with each post getting to a tiny percentage of our actual following. Short of rage quitting altogether, us bloggers have therefore been faced with two main options: try every bizarro hack under the sun… or make it rain dolla bills like we’re rappers in a music video.
And because I’m sick of ‘tricks’ with questionable results, and I know not the ways of T-Pain, today I want to share with you better ways to use Facebook to drive sweet waves of traffic to your blog.
And it’s probably not in the way you think.
See, I’ve always loved experimenting and testing . One time, I even slept with a textbook under my pillow in the off-chance that ‘absorption learning’ was real. I can confirm: it is not.
HOWEVER, through random experiments of mine, I have been able to unearth some seriously juicy ways to boost Facebook traffic for your blog. Last week, in the introductory post of my new #SlaySocial series, I said that this month was all about sharing unconventional strategies that actually work. I couldn’t be more stoked about this Facebook article, because I feel like I’ve cracked some magical code and I can’t wait to share the details with you.
So, grab a wand, my friend, because today we’re working on Facebook wizardry.
One thing to note: this post is about leveraging Facebook for blog traffic. It is not necessarily about using the platform as a portfolio piece to brands, or to build a community. Because I feel like focus is key, this post is zero-ing in on Facebook as a traffic generator. I hope you like it!
Hack 1: Strategically reach out to other Facebook pages.
If you’re frustrated with the lack of engagement on your own Facebook page, here’s a little secret: you don’t need it to drive traffic.
Shocker, I know… since every social media guide out there makes a ‘page’ sound like THE most important thing on Facebook.
But the game has changed. Ever since Zuckerberg and co. decided to get Greedy McMoneypants with the algorithm, the expectation is this: you pay to play. Otherwise, your content gets buried in the avalanche of corgi videos and awkwardly cropped profile pics.
Yes, pages are still important, especially for branding, but if traffic is your goal, then getting your content shared by other, bigger pages is a substantially better use of your hours.
And doing it is ridiculously simple… all you need to do is ask. Really!
Now I know what you’re thinking…
“But I don’t waaaanna be annoying…”
Trust me, I’m an overly polite Canadian… I get it. I’ve been avoiding confrontation since the womb. I assure you however, brands and pages are often thrilled when relevant content comes their way, simply because it’s less work for them… especially if these pieces speak about their business in a positive way, or offers solid value to their audience.
There are a few key things you must do to ensure this technique works:
Make sure your content is actually good.
It is unlikely that blurry photos and drunk ramblings will make the cut (I wish!). If you’re feeling stuck, check out this guide to creating epic travel blog content here.
Check to see whether or not the page actually shares other people’s content.
If they don’t, contacting them is a waste of time. A quick scroll through their feed will tell you everything you need to know.
Most importantly, ask yourself: is this content share-worthy?
Unfortunately, there are just some pieces of content that don’t lend themselves well to this technique. An article about “Meeting my best friend’s roommate’s aunt in Stockholm” might not be an enticing thing to share, whereas “21 gorgeous photos of Stockholm that will blow your mind” might. Properly vetting your content will greatly increase your success rate.
If your shiny piece of content has passed the quality and shareability test, the next step is finding the pages to contact. Here’s how:
1. Find any brands, businesses, destinations, etc. that you’ve mentioned in your post. Note them down.
2. Brainstorm who would benefit from your piece of content, and then identify what pages would have a lot of these readers as their audience. For instance, if you write a post about amazing travel hacks for students, your brilliant brain might then think of university pages (specifically study abroad departments that value travel), or perhaps travel-oriented university club pages, etc. etc. Get creative. If you hustle, there are literally thousands and thousands of possibilities.
Now, you might be wondering HOW to contact them. There are two main ways I go about it: email and a simple Facebook message. Something as simple as…
“Hi there, my name is Bubbles and I’m a donut blogger. I recently tried your donuts and LOVED the rainbow sprinkles. I’ve included you in a roundup of the sweetest donuts in BubbleTown. If you think it’s a good fit for your audience, I’d really appreciate a share on your Facebook page. Here’s the link: www.ilovedonuts.com/pleasesharemyarticleorillcry. Thanks so much, and let me know your thoughts! – Bubbles”
The key is to be courteous and polite. Think about whether or not there’s any value for the page to be sharing it. If not, maybe save this trick for next time. A lot of pages won’t respond (that’s the honest truth!), but many will, and that’s free traffic coming your way.
Hack 2: Leverage the power of a personal Facebook account.
Do you ever wonder why you somehow manage to see EVERY cat meme your Auntie Joan ‘likes’ on Facebook, yet fail to see 90% of the content from brands or blogs you follow?
Facebook’s algorithm favours personal profiles. Plain and simple.
And so, as a blogger, what can you do? You probably have many reservations about posting blog stuff on your personal account. The idea of sharing every post with friends and family might make you want to crawl into a hole, or perhaps you’re even a blog ninja who keeps their hustle a secret. Either way, there’s plenty of reasons to not be sharing ALL your blog content on your personal page, and likewise many reasons to not add your readers as Facebook friends.
So here’s my workaround: make a new Facebook account, just for readers and blogging friends.
I did this about a month ago (add me here!) and am SO happy with my decision. Now not only do I now have a platform where I can shamelessly post about my travels and blog things, I have an audience who actually WANTS to see that content! Plus, I get way more (free) engagement on there vs. on a page. It’s as close a thing to magic as you can get in the Facebook world.
An additional benefit is that you can use this new account to keep personal/blog life separate. At least for me, this has been instrumental in preventing manyyy mental breakdowns. Before this new account, I was part of so many Facebook groups that day in and day out, all I read about was blogging… so much that I was missing actual important life updates from friends and family! My dreams might as well have been SEO-optimized.
But now, that’s no longer an issue… and turning “off” my blogging stuff is as easy as logging out. Ah sweet sweet freedom.
Hack 3: Adapt your content to Facebook’s newest feature.
This isn’t the most original “hack”, but I’ve only recently discovered its true importance, so I want to emphasize it here.
In my last post detailing the 6 golden rules of social media, the last rule I laid out was that you need to constantly adapt.
I feel like this rule is most true for Facebook… because its algorithm changes more than a teenager mid-identity crisis.
Here’s the tricky thing: when Facebook rolls out a new function, whether it’s natively uploaded videos, FB Live or whatever freaking hologram thing they roll out next, they tend to tweak the algorithm to favour those who use these new features. Makes sense, right? SO, if you do a live video for instance, the odds of that showing up on newsfeeds is a lot higher (plus people get notified when you go Live).
In other words, Facebook is nice to you if you make use of their newest shiny toy… which means you need to stay on top of trends and know what that latest shiny toy is. The best way to do this is by keeping an observant eye on what shows up on your own feed – what content is repeatedly seen, what content gets shared most. By studying what’s seen, you get an idea of what works…
And then you can replicate that success.
Hack 4: Participate in Facebook groups
Ah, I know you might be thinking *yawn* old news. Everybody knows to post their content in Facebook groups! Sure, this might not be earthshattering intel, but I can guarantee that 99% of people are doing it wrong.
I’m sure many of us have ended up in those strange Facebook groups where literally the only activity is random people posting “here’s my latest post!” It’s lame. And it doesn’t work (at least not for me).
And this is typically the full extent of people’s FB Group game – they drop their links and run like the Usain Bolts of self-promotion.
Noooooo. Don’t do this.
The right way to leverage Facebook groups is to become part of groups where your ideal audience hangs out. If you’re a backpacker, this means travel groups meant for backpackers. If you’re a meta-blogger (aka a blogger who blogs about blogging), you’ll want to join groups for online entrepreneurs and bloggers. Once you’re in, it’s time to be useful and build trust. Trust is your most important currency as a blogger. Use these groups as a way of building yourself up as an expert in something, an authoritative voice. Once you answer enough questions, provide enough value, trust me – it doesn’t take long to get noticed and respected. Before long, people will be dropping your links FOR you, tagging you in questions they know you can answer, etc. etc. This is definitely a longer-term strategy, but it works!
Remember though, the goal is to build genuine relationships with group members, not just slither your way in for sneaky self-promotion. People catch on much quicker than you think 😉 If you provide valuable insight and prove yourself to be a good source of information, trust me: people WILL find their way to more. As long as you have your blog listed in your Facebook profile, your soon-to-be fans will find a way to stalk their merry way to your content.
Alright, you can put your wands away now.
I hope you found those tricks helpful. Until next week, let’s share the wealth! What’s your #1 tip for success on Facebook? Or what was your favourite strategy you learned from this post? Let me know in the comments!