At the start of January I wrote a blog post about how I was “going pro” with my blog this year. For me going pro was a decision to invest my time and energy into my blog (and more specifically using the 20 hours a week I had previously used to study.) I wanted to try several bigger projects and to learn more about the business side of blogging. Since then I have filmed my first cookery vlog, moved to wordpress and redesigned my layout and lined up some exciting collaborations for the coming months.
I also wanted to focus on one social media channel each month, for January this was Facebook. When the month begun, my aim was simply to get “lots of new followers” but as the month went on I realised quite quickly that there is little point in gaining followers if you don’t know how to successfully interact with them and so I switched tack.
Here’s what I tried and what I learned..
Facebook comments on the blog – When I first moved to wordpress I used Facebook commenting for a week. The advantage is that the reader should be already logged in and that their comments are then shown to their friends on Facebook. I did find I received comments from friends who didn’t normally leave them, but when I polled other bloggers the feedback about this comments system was largely negative and many said they would not leave a comment if this was the only option or a secondary option was not clear.
UK Bloggers Facebook “like swap” – I tried this early in the month via the UK Bloggers Facebook page. It was a pretty simple transaction. I liked 5 pages, they liked me back. I didn’t pick up any extra followers beyond the five and none of the new “likers” interacted with my page during the month. If you want stats it works, if you want engaged followers I’d say it doesn’t
Linked In – A local group on Linked In did a similar thing where they started a thread and asked people to like others local business pages. I joined it and got 1 like. Not worth the bother!
Facebook plug-in – You may have noticed that for the last 2 weeks I have been experimenting with a plug-in which creates a Facebook pop up window on the home page. The blurb said it was “amazingly effective” but I found it a little irritating and kept apologising to people about it. It was also tricky for phone users because the “kill” button on the box was miniscule on a phone which made it hard to get rid of. I have seen other blogs using a more discreet pop up that sits at the bottom of the screen and I may give that a go in future.
Being recommended – Spontaneously two of my lovely Facebook friends both of whom have lots of followers wrote glowing recommendations of my page and blog to their followers and you know what happened… absolutely nothing! No increase in followers, no interaction on their posts. Facebook is a cruel mistress.
Changing my posting habits – I will be the first to admit I was guilty of link dumping on Facebook, so in January I made a concerted effort to post at the right times (lunchtime and evenings worked best) and to create interesting and more interactive content. The results were quite startling, where as my old posts would reach about 60 people, better crafted and better timed posts would reach 300 or more. I also tried scheduling posts, but found they didn’t get as much interaction as posts I immediately published. I’m not entirely convinced that Facebook isn’t biased in favour of “real” posting instead of scheduled posting.
Facebook advertising – The one thing I didn’t try on Facebook was advertising, this is because I read a quite damming article (which I wish I could find again) suggesting that Facebook withholds views from users who pay. In other words once you pay to get visibility, Facebook decreases your natural visibility so you come back and pay for more. Cunning huh? It is only anecdotal, but then so is most Facebook knowledge…
So what else did I learn? Well Facebook is still my least favourite social media channel as I feel you are too often at the whim of the ever-changing algorithm and keeping on top of that is a full time job in itself. One way to keep on top of it is to listen to Amy Porterfield’s excellent podcasts (thank you Emma!) but the one thing I can guarantee is that whatever you heard last month about how to make Facebook work for you, it’s probably already changed. In fact there is a brilliant Douglas Adams quote which sums it up quite well, just replace the word “Universe” with “Facebook algorithm”
“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here,
it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
As I mentioned before, I am collecting the best of the post and podcasts I am finding via a Pinterest board, please feel free to follow along…
This month I’m turning my attentions to Twitter…