Home Uncategorized Going Pro – What I learned about Facebook in January

Going Pro – What I learned about Facebook in January

by Clare Mansell
Going Pro – What I learned about Facebook in January

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.

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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…

Follow Clare Mansell’s board Blogging tips for bloggers going pro on Pinterest.

This month I’m turning my attentions to Twitter…

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16 comments

Catherine Pritchard February 6, 2015 - 7:40 am

That is such an interesting post. I blog for fun not for business so have an entirely different approach. Your new look blog is neater and easier to find links too. A very good précis of the pros and cons of FB. Good luck with the new focus.

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Carie February 6, 2015 - 8:29 am

I think that Douglas Adams quote just about sums it up! And if anything reassures me that I’m quite happy keeping Facebook out of my diet of social media – I know I’ll never have time to do everything so I’ll stick to what I know and love unless there comes a point that it would make a gigantic difference 🙂

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Emma T February 6, 2015 - 9:21 am

Congrats on going pro. Exciting times, and the blog looks great.

I’m with other bloggers on FB comment system, so glad that’s gone.

The word on the street about Facebook is that it hates 3rd party auto/scheduling, so the way to do it is via their post scheduler. Doesn’t save much time compared to scheduling in one programme for all social media, but then I don’t tend to schedule like that anyway.

Problem with ‘like’ swapping, is that even though they usually state it should be with personal profiles, often people do it from their pages which don’t show although are included. But interaction is definitely hard. You ask questions you think people would answer and they just like. I tend to have a few people who’re very good at liking, some who’ve come via competition entries rather than bloggers which is nice, but the reach thing is a pain.

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claremansell@mac.com February 6, 2015 - 9:37 am

You are right about the third party scheduling software, but I think even Facebook’s own scheduler isn’t as effective as doing it live. 🙂

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Choclette February 6, 2015 - 11:42 am

Ah what an interesting post. I struggle along with Facebook too. Sometimes I think I might be on to something, then it fades away again just as quickly. What an apt Douglas Adams quote.

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My Life As A Mummy February 6, 2015 - 11:52 am

I really dislike Facebook for blog related stuff (Apart from the UK bloggers group) I find it does nothing for my stats and as Facebook keeps changing its formula, it’s almost impossible to get natural likes.
I love Douglas Adams quote!

Laura x x x

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Lynn Goring-Crook February 6, 2015 - 12:24 pm

Interesting read. Facebook is a strange creature and I don’t think anyone will ever ‘crack’ it. I have paid for boosting posts as an experiment on our business page. It worked very successfully and was cheap but I will not use it again as we facebook generally does not generate business for us as our website is so successful. I would like to see more local (and none local) businesses linking up on facebook and liking each others pages and promoting them.

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Donna February 6, 2015 - 10:44 pm

Thanks for this. You’ve taught me to not really bother with FB and to just post at the right times when I can – naturally! But I like to help where I can – I’ve just popped over and liked your FB page 🙂 x

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Carin February 9, 2015 - 3:36 pm

Interesting read. Facebook is an odd one. Part of me doesn’t want to bother with it, it seems so pointless right now, yet another part of me feels it would be really good for my blog, so I’m actually planning on increasing my Facebook stuff this year. If I figure anything else out, I’ll let you know.

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Phoebe @ Lou Messugo February 12, 2015 - 8:44 am

Facebook is a necessary evil I grudgingly have to admit. It drives me insane being at the whim of their ever changing algorithms but desite all the irritations and huge decrease in reach, it still brings me traffic. Interesting conclusion about scheduling. I’d heard rumours of that before. And the paying bt is absurd too! How can they do that? Urgh!!

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Phoebe @ Lou Messugo February 12, 2015 - 8:45 am

Just followed you on Pinterest as that’s my latest social media push. How on earth did you get to nearly 88,000 followers? What your secret?

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Lauren | Belle du Brighton February 12, 2015 - 1:18 pm

Interesting read, I keep meaning to ‘get to grips’ with facebook to attempt to make my blog page more successful, but find that every three minutes fb changes the rules/way it works and I am also loathe to pay for anything for fear of potential retribution down the line, as it were.
It’s a tricky one to get your head round, so i’m just not bothering as much!

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Kate Williams February 12, 2015 - 7:34 pm

Facebook is a pain 🙁 I’m posting four times a day there (FB loves consistency) and sharing from other pages. I’ve never heard anything ending well about paying for adverts either!

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Jen Walshaw February 12, 2015 - 8:30 pm

Facebook is a fickle mistress, but I would love to share with you what is working for me at the moment. Although I only have 4000 followers.

I share every two hours during the day and twice overnight. Facebook likes consistency. I schedule these on facebook. Facebook hates you scheduling with other tools.

I share posts from other bigger pages.

I post a mixture of questions, images and links. Also have a tribe helps who comment on your posts.

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Clare Nicholas February 13, 2015 - 9:41 am

A great post.
I have found Facebook advertising to be beneficial actually.

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Louise April 3, 2015 - 3:43 pm

Oooo interesting to hear about the paying for Facebook bit. I have seen lots of bloggers doing this and was holding off myself as I don’t really like the idea when it is still more of a hobby than a business

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