I feel completely ridiculous writing this because I have a hard time thinking of myself as an expert on anything, except maybe self-deprecation, and to be honest I’m not even very good at that.
But I do think I’m pretty good at the whole Facebook Page thing. Given Facebook’s well-known page-killing algorithms and all the noise Facebook Page admins are making regarding their lowly 10% reach, I feel like since my reach is typically 40% to 100%, I must be doing something right. So here I am, posing as an expert at being a Facebook admin.
So this post is mainly for bloggers who use Facebook Pages as a way to drive traffic to their blogs or for people who have a Facebook page and are trying to extend their reach. Of course my followers will be reading this too (hi guys!!!) which makes me feel totally weird that I’m about to out myself to them about all the thought and effort I put into attracting them and keeping them hanging around. I feel a little bit like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. (Don’t worry though; I’m totally not planning on eating you guys. Well, unless we’re all somehow involved in a plane-crash on a frozen tundra. Then no one can really predict what will happen).
Anyway, if you’re a regular follower of Abandoning Pretense, this will either a) be boring as shit, b) be super-interesting and make you like me and appreciate me more than ever because oh my golly look how hard Kristen works for me even though she doesn’t get paid jack squat, or c) make you feel like you just had dirty hooker sex. Sorry if it turns out to be the last one (unless you like that sort of thing, then you’re welcome).
Okay, here it is. How to be a kick-ass Facebook Page admin:
1) Understand the algorithm. First let me say I tried to research this so I could provide citation links, but most of the stuff I found was either outdated or absolute gibberish shit. So here’s what I know to be true, though I’m sorry I can’t provide citations because quite honestly this is info I’ve picked up behind the scenes from other Facebook page owners and bloggers:
When you post, Facebook sends a sample blast to a very small percentage of your followers. (I don’t think anyone knows what the percentage is; it is secret info, and appears to be ever-changing.) Based on the reaction from that initial blast, the algorithm determines whether or not your post is worthy of being included in other of your followers’ newsfeeds. If, based on the reaction of that initial sampling, your post is deemed worthy, it will send another blast to a few more followers. As long as people keep interacting with each subsequent blast, the algorithm will continue to keep pushing the post out. If people do not interact with your post, the algorithm will determine that your post is unworthy of people’s newsfeeds. Worse? If you consistently put up posts that do not invite interaction, the algorithm will determine that your page, as in, the whole kit and caboodle, is unworthy. (See video below for more detail on how the algorithm works.) So…
2) DON’T POST CRAP. As a blogger, if all you ever do is post blog links, you’re going to kill your Facebook reach, and eventually, your page. “But my blog isn’t crap; it’s awesome! You’re a bitch, Kristen!” No I am not, the algorithm is. The algorithm doesn’t understand that when people see your blog link and think “Dangit I really want to read that but I just don’t have time at the moment” and scroll past it, they really were interested in reading your blog post and really didn’t have the time to click on it at that particular moment. The algorithm only knows they didn’t interact. At all. There was nothing to “like” because they didn’t get to read anything yet that would enable them to form an opinion.
In the example below, which would ordinarily be a boring blog link, I offer leg-humps in exchange for shares. Whatever it takes, people. This post had 100% reach, with no promotion whatsoever:
3) Every post must invite engagement. At the very least, you want to move people enough to “like” your post. Even better? Comments. Best? Shares. I slobber for shares. It means people who aren’t my followers are seeing my posts. Some of them might click through and decide to follow me.
So even if you’re posting a blog link that many of your followers won’t be able to click through to read at the moment because they got other shiz to do, at least make that post interesting enough to invite a “like.” Include a like-worthy quote from the piece, a funny picture, or a question that your followers could answer even without having to read the post itself. Anything to get that algorithm chugging along in your favor. That way, even if one follower doesn’t have time to actually click over and read the post, they’ll still be doing something to help that post show up in other people’s newsfeeds. Do NOT just throw up a lame, boring link!
Here’s another example of a blog link I posted for something I wrote for BLUNTmoms.com. (You need to follow us if you don’t already.) I got almost 200% reach on this one, partly because of the post itself, but also because I asked a question that people felt compelled to answer, and offered hugs and leg-humps in exchange for interaction. Ain’t no shame in my game:
A few words of caution, though, on asking outright for likes and shares: don’t do it too often, because you might eventually annoy your followers. Save it for the stuff that would not otherwise naturally invite interaction. And when you do it, be sure to be creative and entertaining. [UPDATE 2016: DO NOT ASK FOR LIKES/SHARES/COMMENTS]
Below is an example of a post that did not ask for interaction but still got awesome reach. It’s a typical Abandoning Pretense post with my ever-present “no bull-shit” theme. I felt (for once) like I was being an awesome mom, so I wanted to share that “for once I feel like an awesome mom” feeling with my followers. The post got 75% engagement. Seriously. A f*cking picture of raw meat got 75% engagement:
4) Post sharable content. (Shareable? I have no idea. YES IT IS A WORD, wiggly red line!) Either create memes yourself or find funny memes online to post on your page. Don’t just post any ol’ slop because someone told you you’re supposed to post frequently. Your posts need to invite interaction, and remember: the most desired interaction is a share. Post stuff that is awesome enough to share, whether it’s funny, inspiring, fascinating, heart-warming, or the elusive gold-standard for sharing: It makes people say, “HOLY CRAP ME TOO!”
A quick note though: Give credit when you share someone else’s stuff. Many times this isn’t possible because there are literally billions of memes floating out in the ether and no one knows who the hell created them, but if you share a meme and you know who made it, you need to give that person credit. (And let them know you shared their meme and gave them credit – they might return the favor!) If you create a meme yourself, make sure you stamp your page’s info on it. That way when other people rip it off (and they will), it still has your page’s info on it so people who see that meme can come back and like your page.
I made the meme below, and though this is the second time I’ve posted it (I posted it when Frozen first came out), it was still shared 71 times. To be honest I don’t understand how it only reached 5166 people with that many shares, but whatever. Yay shares. And by the way, you don’t have to get this detailed. I think the reason people liked this meme is that it had that “HOLY CRAP ME TOO” factor:
5) Interact with your followers. It always gives me the warm fuzzies when a page I follow “likes” or responds to my comment, and I figure I’m not the only person who feels this way. Plus, don’t you think that if you make real (not bull-shit) connections with your followers, they’re more likely to stick around and keep interacting with you (a.k.a. extending your reach)? After a while you’ll start to feel like you “know” some of your loyal followers who consistently “like,” comment and share your stuff. (Hi Patricia, Sarah, Devon, Melissa, Beth, Jessica, JaTeeva, Adele, Mandy, Mary, Dana, Heather, Katie and Beatrice! – sorry for those of you I missed. Please don’t leave me.)
6) DO NOT EVER EVER EVER EVERRRRRRRRRR PAY TO PROMOTE YOUR POSTS! This video explains way better than I could why paying to promote will only end up killing your reach:
Okay and I can’t not embed another awesome link by the same guy (he totally “gets it”):
[UPDATE 2016: Need Facebook Coaching? I’m a pro now, and I can help you grow your page. Find out more HERE.]