Facebook. Whether it’s our personal profile, a page for our blog, or a dedicated community, most dad bloggers I know use it in some manner to get their blog posts out there. In marketing speak Facebook is a "content distribution channel," and getting our content in front of as many eyeballs as possible is, admittedly, what we all want.
A drawback with Facebook, however, is that in recent years it has limited the visibility of posts to our network of friends and page followers. Couple this with the fact that the life of an average Facebook post is less than 3 hours and you’ll realize that not as many people are seeing your posts as you might have hoped.
There are a few things you can do, though, to help increase the life span and effectiveness of what you share on Facebook in order to reach a greater audience. To do this it’s good to be familiar with two things about Facebook—how it’s algorithm works and how it “weights” different methods of sharing.
EdgeRank and Weighting
Facebook’s algorithm set up is known as EgdeRank which basically determines what information is displayed and how high it is on a person’s newsfeed. Edgerank, as you can see in this infographic, is based on four factors:
1. Your past interactions in another person
2. Your interactions with a specific type of post (Link, status update, photo, etc.)
3. A network of people’s interaction with a specific post
4. The amount of complaints or negative feedback on a post
So for example, if someone frequently interacts with your posts, particularly photos, and a large number of other people interact with those posts without negative feedback, than that post (in this case a photo) will display higher on another person’s newsfeed and it will stay alive longer. Conversely, the less interaction it gets, the less likely it will appear in your network’s newsfeed if it appears at all. By the way, if you’re into stats you can check your Facebook Page’s EdgeRank using this tool.
The other Facebook quirk is the weight it places on various methods of posting. In other words, Facebook plays favorites when it comes to what you post and how you post it which ultimately determines how much of a life it has in a newsfeed. What do I mean?
If you share your blog posts to Facebook using a third party app such as RSS Graffiti then Facebook doesn’t place as much weight on the information as it would if you manually posted the link to your blog in a regular status update. Even better than manual posts are photos which are more noticeable on the newsfeed and have been proven to last longer in a feed than even a manual posting. And if you really what to get some reach and more fans, for a few dollars a day you can pay for a promoted post through your blog’s dedicated Facebook Page.
A Few Effective Tactics
So how does this all translate into tips to make your blog posts beat the average shelf life? Right. Here’s a couple things:
Determine how and what you’re going to post: Are you going to go with a feed, a manual link, or something visual? You already know which of these methods Facebook prefers more. There’s nothing wrong with doing all three. I actually do this by scheduling the posts out over a period of time. First, I post a picture associated with a blog post (400 x 400 pixels displays best). Then I place the link in the comments section below during a time of day I know (based on stats and previous experience) when most of my network is on Facebook. Later I will manually post the link, and finally, I set my RSS feed setting to automatically post my blog at a different time. By far the picture gets more play, but the other posts don’t do so poorly either. (You can see a few examples of this on my own page.)
Maximize engagement: Based on the above, engagement has been proven as the ultimate key to a long lasting Facebook post. It’s okay to ask people to Like, Comment, and Share posts. Everyone in the dad blog community recognizes we are trying to promote our work to build an audience and asking for a little help is okay. One tactic for increased engagement is to post a photo with a link to your blog on your timeline and then to share it on a community page (if the rules permit) or your blog’s Facebook Page asking for Likes and Shares. All that engagement will get the post some high placement in newsfeeds.
Get a Facebook Page for your blog: If you don’t already have one then it’s a good idea to get one. I know it might seem like more work, but you’re missing out on a potential audience that may only be interested in your writing and not in what you had for dinner last night. Having a page also gives you some analytics that can help in knowing when and what to post. Plus you can do a few other extra things like “pinning” a post to the top of your page so it’s the first thing they see on a visit. (At some point I can share some tactics on how to build a Facebook Page audience if anyone is interested.)
These are just a few tactics I’ve advised clients to use that have thus far proven effective. Try these out on your own to see what works for you. Don’t hesitate to ask me to Like, Share, and Comment on your stuff either. Also, I don’t profess to be a know-it-all so if you have other tips please feel free to share with the group.