How To Use Facebook

Facebook is infamous for being one of the first and largest social media platforms out there. This post is going to help you utilize the platform to best support your content.

This post is divided into three topics: promotion, advertising, and engagement. When it comes to using Facebook as a blogger, these are the three areas that are the most useful and have the most questions about.

One note: Facebook is constantly changing. So this advice is most useful in 2019, and will probably be updated as things change. And knowing that all social media platforms change constantly is important to adapting and using social media to the best of your ability.

Promotion

You want your posts to be seen by people, so promotion is usually the first and main purpose for using a social media platform for your blog. Facebook is still the dominant platform, so even if you may personally not love Facebook, you really need to be using it.

If you haven’t yet, you need a Facebook Page, which is different from a profile. A page gives you more resources and notoriety for your blog. Plus, if you want to take advantage of Instagram in the best ways possible, you need a Facebook Page. Sounds weird, but since Facebook owns Instagram, it will make a lot more sense when you read my Instagram guide. For more about how to make a Facebook Page step by step, read this post from Nuts and Bolts Media.

Now, you can’t just drop your link and call it a day. There is more of a craft to it and takes more thought than you realize. Since Facebook has it’s own algorithm, you need to write and structure posts to help get into feeds. Also, how you write posts effects engagement.

A special note for a constantly asked question, the time of day you post doesn’t matter as much as you think it does since the Facebook algorithm is not chronological anymore. This is beginning to apply to more and more platforms too. There are tools that will track how your posts perform and find suggested times to post based on that data, which can be helpful. But the structure and content of your posts outweigh the time of day always.

When it specifically comes to promoting your blog posts, here are things you need to do when making a Facebook post about it.

  • Have a clear goal

You’re probably thinking “the goal is to promote my blog” which is fine. But the goal is not meant for solely you necessarily. Having a clear goal means the post has a specific intent and you want your followers to follow through. What your post needs is a call to action, which is what you explicitly ask your reader to do.

Call to actions are used everywhere, from read more tags on your blog to newsletter subscription pop-ups that say sign up now. Your Facebook posts should also have call to actions telling your followers what you want them to do. So, with the example of sharing your latest blog post, you should put in the caption that they can read more following the link.

Having a clear goal is also good for posts that are not just sharing your new content. Sharing other blogger’s posts need a call to action, newsletter sign-ups need it, Patreon promotion needs it. And they all need to be explicit and unique per post so users know exactly what you want them to do and what they can expect if they click on your link.

  • Share the direct link to the post

Certain types of posts perform better in the algorithm and thus will make it to follower’s feeds more often. Specifically looking at promoting your blog posts,  link + photo posts perform the best. The example below is a link + photo post, which is created just by sharing the link and it will either automatically have an image (usually the feature image of your post) or you can add one prior to submitting.

Not only is this better for the algorithm, but it is also better for your users. Because the link goes directly to your post, readers don’t have to hunt down the post once on your site. Users are expecting to be taken directly to where you say they will be taken, so don’t just link to your homepage thinking that suffices.

Also, directly linking to the post is better for analytics and tracking where your readers are coming from. Plus this data will help you know what post topics perform better on Facebook versus other platforms.

  • Keep it brief, but compelling

Let’s be honest, our attention spans are not very long anymore. So getting and keeping someone’s attention of social media is trickier than you think. The best advice for writing post captions is to keep them brief, but compelling. Now how brief should it be? Honestly, this is debatable depending on what you are sharing. 2-3 sentences max is what I would suggest, where you have enough space to get your point across but it’s not so long that users get bored and scroll on.

Now how do you make your post compelling? Well, users want to gain something from interacting with this post. And you want to compel users to go a read your new blog post (or whatever your goal is). So making the post sound worthwhile to readers that gets them to read more is what you want to do. However, there is a fine line between compelling and clickbait. And Facebook is actively working to rid the site of clickbait, so be smart about what you are writing. My advice for navigating this thin line is always aim to be straightforward. Clickbait is meant to be vague, so if you lean away from that you’ll be better off.

Below is an example of a somewhat optimized Facebook post. This is an ad mockup, so it includes things that aren’t on usual feed posts (ie the Learn More button on the link). But you get an idea of what to aim for with your posts.

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This is a Facebook link post mockup

If you want more info about creating successful Facebook posts, check out this article from Hubspot.

Engagement

Ok, you have started to make great posts for promotional purposes. But how do you get more engagement?

This is going to sound crazy, but you get engagement by asking for it. Sounds crazy I know, but it does work. It’s the call to action all over again. If you want comments, ask your followers a question. Make polls for followers to answer. Have a photo caption contest. There are fun ways to to get your followers involved on your page that work really well.

Also, your Facebook Page will do better overall if it’s not solely promotional posts constantly. Just promotional posts are not very engaging and will not always get into your follower’s feeds because the page content is not diverse enough.

So what else should you post about? Here are some suggestions:

  • Share posts from other bloggers within your niche
  • Share news relevant to your niche (ie the official trailer of a new movie)
  • Create posts just for engagement, as discussed above
  • Share something inspirational or relatable (quotes, memes, etc.)

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Whatever you choose, make sure it makes sense with what you write about and share. Don’t post something that wouldn’t make sense in your overall page feed, because your followers initially follow you for your content so the content you share should also be relevant.

Advertising

Speaking of advertising, should you be using Facebook ads to promote your blog? Honestly, it depends on your overall goals and the content you want to share. It does cost money to advertise, so take that into account on whether or not it is worthwhile for you. For me personally, I definitely don’t advertise every post I write because that is not beneficial to me.

Quick reminder! I have a whole post that gives you details on advertising on social media that you should definitely read along with this section. I go into more detail there that will help clarify these sections below.

Creating ads on Facebook looks really difficult, but it really isn’t too bad. There are four parts you have to go through to make your ad, which I’ll discuss below.

Objective

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Facebook Ad Objective Selection

The objective is the first thing you choose for your ad. Objective includes getting website clicks (this is the kind you want for advertising a specific blog post), promoting your Facebook page, getting leads, like newsletter signups, and other more niche objectives depending on your page. This is a straightforward section to figure out and decide what you want to accomplish with the ad.

For the rest of these areas, I am specifically using the Get More Website Visitors objective. For the most part, all of these areas are part of every ad but there can be some small differences between objectives.

One thing to note on Facebook specifically, there are two options with ads, post boosting and promote via ad center. To put it simply, Boosted Posts are a subtype of ad that simply takes an already made Facebook post and amplifies it to be seen by more people. Promoting via the ad center gives you a lot more options on types of ads and customizing the ad’s caption, media, and such. If you are just starting to look into advertising on Facebook, I recommend starting with boosted posts. It is a good way to get a look into advertising without the overwhelm of having to customize everything from scratch. If you want to learn more about the differences between boosted posts and ads, check out this post.

Ad Creative

Ad creative is essentially what your ad will look like. Here is what it includes:

  • URL – the link you want the ad to go to.
  • Format – The basic structure of the ad. Depending on what format you choose will then define what media you need. Format options include a single photo (like the example post from before), video, carousel (seen below), and slideshow (10 images put together to make a video slideshow).
  • Headline – the link title essentially. In the carousel ad below, the headline is “Building an Audience” and “Brainstorming”.
  • Text – The caption of the ad. “This is an example of a carousel ad” is the text.
  • Call to Action – hey we know what this is! Specifically for these ads, it is the “Learn more” button. You can specify what the text says with this option.
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Example of a Facebook ad in the Carousel format

Audience

You can define the audience while in the ad creator itself, or it may be easier to do it via the ad center. In the ad center, you’ll see an overview of your ads and their performance. There is a tab for the audience, and it will show your saved audiences which you can edit. Below is my basic audience I have saved for advertising.

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You can also save more than one audience which is great if you want to really segment your overall audience into groups based on similar interests. An example is creating a video game audience, that focuses on that niche versus a broad geek audience.

Duration and Budget

Duration and the budget are pretty straightforward. It is where you define how long you want this ad to run and how much you are willing to pay. You can run ads continuously or choose an end date for the ad. I always choose to pick an ending date, so I can control the run time and keep it relevant within that time. I’ve run ads for as little as a week to a month and longer, and it depends on how long you want it seen and how much you’re willing to spend.

Speaking of spending, you also choose your budget here. The budget is set as a daily amount, not the overall run of the ad. And when you set the amount, it will give you a range of how many users will see and click on the ad. It will summarize all of your choices at the end to give you an idea of overall spend as well.

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Duration and budget section of ad creator on Facebook

Wow, this is a long post and a ton of information! But I hope that you find it all useful as you begin your blogging journey on Facebook.

Have any tips for using Facebook? Share them with a comment below.


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