Are you struggling with your blog's Facebook page? We're sharing our best tips for growing your food blog's Facebook page right now, as well as how to avoid the one biggest mistake you might be making with Facebook pages.
Facebook - the bane of bloggers' existence but... it's where all the people hang out! So what's a blogger to do?
We've put together a list of strategies to help bloggers make the most of Facebook pages right now, including how to avoid the one big Facebook mistake that many food bloggers are making.
What's Working With Facebook Pages Right Now?
One of Facebook's biggest goals is to keep users on Facebook. This is how they make money and how their shareholders make money. It's their platform and they benefit by keeping their users as active on it as possible for as long as possible.
To that end, they favour content that keeps users in the Facebook ecosystem and that keeps those users active and engaged.
Here are some examples of what's doing well right now for Facebook page owners:
- Facebook live broadcasts
- Uploaded video (video that's uploaded directly to Facebook - not video that's shared via YouTube)
- Photos - posting a photo is seeing a resurgence in popularity - try photo carousels to mix it up.
- Try making short videos from still images using Facebook's image tools - they'll even give you the music
- Asking your fans questions regularly
- The Power of the GIF - after being banished in the mid 2000s, GIFs are back and they are big! Get your fans to answer your questions with an appropriate GIF for some fun interaction (make sure you share your answer with a GIF too!)
- Mixing up your Facebook activity
- Sharing other Facebook content that keeps users on Facebook
What's the Biggest Mistake We See Bloggers Making on Facebook?
The biggest mistake we see food bloggers making on Facebook is pushing their readers off of Facebook.
The most common food blogger activity on Facebook involves posting outbound links of our latest posts in an effort to push our Facebook fans back to our own sites - in other words, we try to use Facebook as a traffic generator.
This isn't a great strategy right now - especially if that's all you post.
As we already mentioned, Facebook wants people to stay on Facebook. When social platforms are constantly reporting in the news their stats for active monthly and daily users, and length of time users stay on their platform then you have to pay attention. They are telling you very openly what's important to them.
Your job, when you rent space on somebody else's real estate, is to figure out how to work within that platform's business strategy in a way that makes the platform happy and helps you build your own community.
So if the majority of your Facebook Page activity is trying to drive your fans off of Facebook (i.e. to your own website or YouTube channel or Instagram account), it's time to rethink your strategy.
Let's get started:
Keep this in mind as you go along: Facebook is also looking for posts that have engagement in the form of shares and comments (likes are not as valuable but still good!).
1. Post Items on Facebook that Encourage Discussion and Sharing
Your goal with your page is to get engagement and sharing happening on Facebook. To that end, you want to post items that encourage people to interact with your content - especially with comments and shares. Here's some ideas that are working right now:
Ask Your Facebook Fans Questions:
Brainstorm a list of questions once a month that fit your niche and schedule them using the Facebook scheduler rather than a third party scheduler (Facebook just seems to like this better). Be consistent with posting - we'd suggest aiming for 2-3 questions a week (possibly more if you have a very large and active Facebook page).
The simpler the question is to answer, the better - things like "what's your favourite pizza topping?" or "whip cream on a mocha - yay or nay?" Just make sure your questions fit your niche.
Create Some Cute Facebook Graphics
If you're a little bit witty and are good with a graphics program like Canva or Photoshop, whip up a few fun food related graphics that make people laugh or that are insanely helpful. Upload them directly to Facebook. If people relate to them or laugh, there's a good chance they'll share with their friends!
Upload Videos Directly to Facebook
Facebook is digging video these days but, the catch is you've got to upload the videos directly to Facebook. Short videos seem to work better than long videos (but YouTube loves long videos).
Also look at forming video cross-posting relationships with other bloggers in your niche. This is a good way to increase internal sharing as well. But be careful. You really have to make sure that the content you're cross-posting is a good fit for your readers or you wind up harming your reach and that of the blogger whose video you're cross-posting. You don't want that to happen!
PRO TIP: You can upload the same videos to Facebook and YouTube but make sure you edit them. Facebook seems to be able to recognize when video has been uploaded to other sites so create a longer video for YouTube and then edit it down or change the music or make some small tweaks to the version you upload to Facebook (thanks to FBCer Chrissie Baker for this great tip).
Post a News Item To Facebook That's a Little Controversial
If you've got a high tolerance for debate or arguments, post a news item that's a little controversial (food related and in your niche of course) and ask people what they think. Note: you don't have to share your opinion on the item - you just want to encourage discussion.
One Word of Warning:
Do not ask your fans to "hit like if you agree" or "share this post with your friends" or "please like this so I know you saw it". That's spam. And Facebook is good at weeding it out. Let your content speak for itself and respect the intelligence of your fans - they don't want icky spam from you (or worse, they don't want to see you looking desperate!)
2. Consider Posting Full Recipes to Facebook
Did you all just gasp?? Pick yourself back up off the floor and hear us out. Posting full recipes, from time to time, along with a really great photo won't hurt you and it will make your fans happy and Facebook happy.
There are 50 billion smoothie recipes on the internet (that may be a slight exaggeration but it's not far off) - posting one of yours entirely on FB won't impact your blog traffic.
Post your more original or more complex recipes or anything that you have an opportunity to rank highly for in SEO on your blog. But things like smoothies and chocolate chip cookies... the vast majority of us are never going to rank on page one (or even page 2 or page 5 or page 65) for those items! So share them directly on Facebook. Your fans will love it, they'll share it and you may just grow your Facebook page.
3. Rethink Your Facebook Audience
Don't just think of your Facebook fans as potential traffic to your blog. Think of them as a completely separate entity that need to be catered to separately (YouTubers will understand this)
This is a really big mindset shift for a lot of us but the reality is, Facebook is a huge platform where a lot of people prefer to spend their time, they have easy access to it on their mobile devices and they prefer it to visiting other websites. So use that to your advantage and think of it as a way to curate a new audience that was never going to go to your blog anyway.
Mix up the types of content you share - video, Facebook lives, photos, GIF threads, questions. Make your page a dynamic place for fans to visit where they know there will be interesting things to look at and interact with.
If something isn't working, don't moan and keep doing the same thing over and over again. Instead, try something new. Experiment. The most successful Facebook pages do just that - they keep tweaking and experimenting and trying new things to see what clicks. It's a delicate balance between keeping Facebook happy, being interesting to your fans and getting the exposure out of it that you want.
Engage, engage engage. Answer questions and comments, make your readers feel special and valued. Don't shout at them - interact with them. The more you engage with them, the more they'll engage back and the more they engage back, the more you appear in their feed, which encourages even more engagement.
Not only that, if your readers see that the content you're posting is fun and engaging, when you do post those outbound links to your blog, they're more likely to notice and click on them.
4. Yes You Can Still Post Outbound Links From Facebook To Your Blog
A good rule of thumb for posting outbound links from Facebook right now seems to be about 25%. That means that for every four things you post on FB, one can be an outbound link and three should keep people on Facebook. Facebook will be more generous with reach for outbound links if they see that you are keeping people on the platform most of the time. But you gotta show them you're sincere and consistent so it can take a bit of time for that to happen!
To Recap What's Working on Facebook for Food Bloggers
- get engaged with your audience
- share content that's native to Facebook - either from other pages or content you post yourself
- treat your Facebook audience as their own entity and community
- video uploaded directly to Facebook or Facebook lives are working right now
- get engaged with your audience (oh did we already mention that one? It must be important! ;-))
If you've got a great tip that's working for you on boosting Facebook engagement or reach, post it in the comments - we'd love to hear from you!