Facebook is one of those blog musts but it is also what has given me the most gray hairs…well, at least blogging related gray hairs. They are constantly changing and tweaking things which usually means less and less people actually see your content. Let’s take a look at how to use Facebook groups to grow your blog. They have personally helped me a lot so I am hoping you can learn from these tips too.
Hello! I am Jennifer Priest, crafty blogger at Hydrangea Hippo. For the last 4 years, I have been working as a social media marketing strategist in the craft industry via my company Rainmaker Media Works. I manage social media accounts for craft companies as well as help others with strategies for reaching their business goals through social media. You can find me here:
Facebook is kind of a dirty word these days in internet marketing circles. With changes to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, it has become increasingly difficult to get your Facebook Page posts in front of your followers and to gain new followers. Some suggest that investing in ads on Facebook is the best options to avoid the 1% reach that Pages posts receive. Others suggest that if you are posting amazing content, your readers will share it and you don’t need ads.
Both of these solutions to reaching followers on Facebook might not be practical options for small businesses, like bloggers.
In light of all of these factors and changes, and the dismal stats showing that less than 1% of my Page’s fans are “talking about this”, Facebook is still the #1 referrer of traffic to the Hydrangea Hippo blog. Why is that?
I don’t have amazingly witty or exciting content that will go viral (as much as I want to think my content is awesome, my latest scrapbook page just isn’t gonna go viral). I don’t invest in Facebook ads because I did not see a big return on my investment, as a blogger. I do giveaways on Facebook only about once a month and discontinued them in March 2014 because they were attracting the same entries over and over, not new fans as I had intended.
I get good traffic from posting on my personal timeline on Facebook, however, Facebook’s Terms of Service state that timelines are not for commercial use. And if your blog is a business, well, you’re not really supposed to be using your timeline to “promote it”.
The secret to reaching readers on Facebook is to use Facebook’s Groups. Groups are a place where you can connect with other people who have a similar interest and form communities based around that interest. You can start your own Group or you can join some of the millions of Groups that already exist.
Here is my strategy for using Facebook Groups to reach my readers and new readers:
Use this checklist to get started using Groups to promote your blog posts on Facebook:
- Find Groups
- Groups with people who will read your content (for Hydrangea Hippo, that is scrapbooking, DIY, craft groups)
- Groups with people who will share your content (blogging groups, giveaway sharing groups, link sharing groups)
- Groups for other communities you might belong to in real life (your local community, ad networks, blogging groups, business newtworking clubs, etc)
- Use the search function on Facebook to find Groups by searching for keywords
- Interact in the Groups
- Start commenting on other people’s posts and make a relationship
- Get familiar with the rules, who the players are in the Groups, and who the Group owner is so you can proceed with proper ettiquette
- Introduce yourself to the Group with a post
- Post in the Groups
- Wait at least a couple days to post your first post promoting your blog in the Group – I have seen people post really fast (okay, I have done it too) and it comes off as spammy
- Make sure you follow the rules
- Sometimes they have special days you can post links on or they “pin a post” at the top of the page where you can post your links for the day
- If you post a link be sure to reciprocate – visit 3-5 of the other links posted if not all of them if you have time.
- If you are not sure if something is okay to post, ask the Group owner or post it with a note saying that you aren’t sure if it is okay to post so can they please delete if it is not ok to post.
Monitor your analytics and traffic to see where your referrals are coming from and to see if Facebook is starting to bring more traffic. Adjust the Groups you post in and how often you post to get different results.
At the end of the day, Facebook still has more active adult users than any other social network so it is worth investing your time and energy there to reach new and existing readers.
For more Facebook and social media marketing tips and strategies, join my Group, Social Marketing for Crafters.