A guest post by Maria Rainier
The benefits of Facebook aren’t limited to scanning your old high-school classmates’ profiles to see who got fat or spying on your exes. (Though those are fantastic advantages of social networking…) Savvy bloggers know that Facebook is a great way to promote their blogs and to attract new readers!
There are a number of tools available to promote your blog through Facebook, including creating a Facebook page for your blog, adding widgets for readers to connect with you on Facebook through your blog, and Facebook ads.
Creating a Facebook Page
A promotional page on Facebook is not the same as a profile. It is a page that you create specifically for your product or Web site. You won’t be bothered with pesky sections that ask what movies you like, or what your religion is.
Getting started. From Facebook’s home page, where you see your news feed, choose the link “Ads and Pages” in the left-hand navigation bar. From there, choose “Create a New Page.” You will choose the category for what you want to promote – local business or place; business, organization, or institution; brand or product; artist, band or public figure; entertainment; or cause or topic – then name your page and click “Get Started.”
Add your information. When your page appears, click on “edit info.” Here you can enter information for “about” and “description.” Your about should be something short and simple – almost like a tag line or slogan – and your description should offer more information about your blog. You can also list the link to your site on this page. It’s also a good idea to add a profile image. If you have a logo or button for your blog, this would be the best picture to use at first, so that you can promote your brand.
Promote your page. Once you’ve created your page, you can invite your Facebook friends to become a fan and “like” your page. You can also import your contacts (for example, from your list of e-mail subscriptions) and invite them to become fans of the page. Finally, you can create a “like box” to include on your blog. Simply move through the list of options Facebook offers, and html code for the box will be provided, which you can then copy and paste onto your blog.
Getting the Most Out of Your Facebook Page
Beyond the basic layout. If you feel comfortable re-arranging the code – or if you’re just brave and adventurous – there are a number of changes you can make to the basic Facebook page, including new tabs, more unique photo layouts, and interactive content such as polls. To check out some options, including sample code, take a look at Snipe.net’s guide to creating dynamic content.
Interactive content. Don’t just bombard your new fans with new content or promotions for your products. Find ways to interact with them in a quality way. Post opinion polls. Use the discussion forum to encourage communication about a topic. Use your status updates to ask thoughtful questions or to solicit feedback. Ask for personal experiences and opinions related to a recent post. The key is to get your readers involved on a personal level, without making them feel like you are trying to manipulate them for growth or sales.
Don’t be a nuisance. While you want to be proactive, you do not want to become a pest. Don’t post several times a day. Don’t send out constant requests for feedback. Don’t spam your friends with invites and promotional flyers. Be respectful, or you risk alienating your audience and losing your new fans.
Facebook makes it very easy to promote your Web site or your new Facebook page with Facebook ads. Even the most budget conscious can find options that work for them.
Creating your ad. On the right-hand navigation bar, click on “Promote with an ad.” Decide whether you want the ad to direct readers directly to your home page, your photos page, or another page. You can create a short block of text and upload a picture, which will be immediately configured in the ad preview.
Choosing your options. Once you are satisfied with the look of your ad, you should choose your target audience and the length of your ad. You can choose to market your ad worldwide, or by a specific location. You may then further tailor your ad according to demographics, including sex, age, and affiliated “likes.” Each time you make a selection, Facebook will update to let you know how many people your ad has the potential to reach.
Pricing. The final step is to choose the length of your ad and how much you want to spend on it. You can choose a budget per day or for the entirety of the ad campaign. The budget can be as low as $1 per day. You can choose to pay for ads according to the number of clicks or according to the number of impressions (the amount of times your ad is shown on a user’s Facebook page). Facebook uses a bidding system in which you set the price that you will pay for click or impression (as low as 1 cent!). However, the lower you bid, the less likely exposure that your ad will get. Facebook usually sets a recommend bid of about $1.40-$1.50.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.