Yesterday I decided to do some training on social media and the dreaded Facebook algorithm. Out of all the platforms Facebook has been the last one I’ve started to build up (I started this blog Starting Today in Sep 2020 so my blog is just over a year old).
I’m not sure why I waited until last with Facebook, I’ve been a Facebook user for years but there was just something about starting a business page… It made owning my own business real somehow.
Plus, I’m a perfectionist so I wanted it to be perfect before I showed anyone I knew what I’d been working on.
It’s so true what they say, perfectionism does hold you back sometimes. I could have been three months ahead of where I am now if I’d started it then, also I could have used the feedback from my friends and family to improve the website. Lesson learnt (my advice, start today)…
Anyway, I tried posting my photography and blog posts on my personal account, but I realised that this did two things.
Firstly, it confused people I knew because they didn’t understand the vision behind what I was trying to do and secondly it annoyed people. I started with affiliate sales, which soo many bloggers do.
Out of nowhere, I gave them discounts codes for brands and technically I was suddenly selling to people I had known all my life or had worked with at some point- it didn’t work out.
So eventually, I decided to start up a separate business page and separate the two, reluctantly.
Although now I wish I’d done that, to begin with… and out of all the social media platforms, I’m going to admit, I’ve found Facebook the toughest platform to grow on- the Facebook algorithm is cold.
But the good thing about it was, was that it got me looking into algorithms. It seems I’m not the only one who’s had this issue with Pinterest, since they rolled in some changes. I’ve had my Pinterest account for nearly 15 years and even the new changes threw me so if you’re a Pinterest newbie- ouch. (Don’t despair, follow me – I share tips on this blog)
I found a training course on Facebook algorithm yesterday, so I sat down and thought okay, I’m gonna crack this Facebook thing. I was really inspired and surprised by what I learned. Sometimes you just need to go back to class and school yourself.
I’m also really glad that I took the course because a lot of what I had learned in November 2020 about Facebook when I studied my social media diploma is now no longer relevant. A lot of what I was doing was actually going to hurt my chance to grow, ouch!
Did you know that 80% of people will look to see if you have a Facebook page first and then look at Instagram to see if you’re a reputable brand?
This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re doing all you can to grow and manage your social media accounts- and learn about algorithms.
So here’s what I learned about the big changes that have started to happen this year on Facebook (and Instagram) that will continue to take effect over the next few years… (they’re owned by the same people incase you didn’t know.)
5 Things you shouldn’t do on Facebook anymore…
1. Don’t tell your audience what to do
Call to action’s are now a no- no. This is to improve the user’s experience and make the Facebook experience more enjoyable. This means if you ask someone to like your post or read your blog, Facebook is not going to like it.
This is something I’ve been doing on Instagram recently, but I’m going to stop right now. Facebook have released the new guidelines for the new algorithm and you’re going to be penalised for doing this.
They now have ‘bots’ to monitor activity and posts that encourage the audience to engage are going to be shown to fewer people, basically because it’s annoying.
Even if you only do it a few times. Facebook doesn’t like it anymore and will become selective about who it shows your content to.
2. Don’t boost your posts and waste money, use targeted advertising
Instead of boosting your post, which just tends to show your post to people who are online at the time, use targeted advertising.
This way has better results of converting people into followers and therefore more likely to read your blog, buy your product etc…
You can also advertise your blog page instead of individual posts
3. Don’t just post your blog posts online
Yeah, this one is a biggie, especially if you’re a Blogger (thanks Facebook), but it turns out, the new changes are going to affect you if you do this. You can of course advertise blog posts, however, I would not recommend doing this. It’s going to cost you money for views and there are better ways to spend your money (see below).
Facebook and Instagram now want their users to stay on their platforms. So if you start directing users off their site they’re going to start showing your content to fewer followers.
TIP: The training I listened to suggested using a funnel to ask users for their emails with targeted advertising. Offer a free product like a calendar in exchange for their email.
Once you have an email list, advertise blog posts via email instead… still, it’s a huge change in the platform, especially for bloggers.
4. Be Consistent
This is the same as Instagram really, pick a schedule and stick to it. Facebook favours consistency now. Post the same time every day, or twice a week or three times a day.,,
Whatever your schedule is, stick to it. My goal this week was to set a reminder on my phone to remind me to post on Facebook three times a week…
Also, respond to every message within 24 hours, Facebook wants to see you are fast to respond to users and are using the platform regularly. Make sure you comment on every comment and do it quickly.
5. Use organic content
Don’t recycle old posts (unless you’ve added awesome new content like this one), don’t redo old posts, don’t copy images from the internet that loads of people have shared. Facebook wants organic content. (A lot like Pinterest)
Also, the training program recommended using advertising to push your posts to the top of people’s feeds because your content is now only shown to 1.6 % of your audience. ( A sneaky way to get you to pay for advertising I feel)
I thought I’d share what I’ve learned today because it sounds like the new algorithm is going to have a big impact on Bloggers and influencers in particular, but there may also be some useful tips for small businesses that run their own social media campaigns.
8 Months later and some things that have worked for me…
Okay, so I thought I’d update my blog post as it’s eight months later and I wanted to share some techniques I have used that have got me some results and the sneaky way around the Facebook algorithm changes I have tried and tested…
So I haven’t noticed phenomenal growth- but I have grown to almost 200 followers. What I will say is that gaining the first 100 followers was painful- a lot like pulling teeth.
While my campaign adverts were collecting hundreds of likes converting those people into followers was extremely difficult. Once I got over the 100 mark though, the page likes and follows are gaining momentum and have doubled in two weeks.
Yeah, you read that correctly it took 7 months to get 100 follows.
Now, there were a number of reasons it was this slow (I was going through a divorce, I had no funds for advertising, I was eating ice cream out of the tub), but I wanted to share some tips with you so you can avoid wasting money on advertising like I did by advertising the wrong things and things that have pulled in followers, albeit it slowly.
8 Things to do to Gain Followers on Facebook
1. Have a strong Bio and advertise your Blog Page
So if you don’t have a budget, it is incredibly difficult to grow on Facebook, you must spend money on advertising if you want your page to grow, it really is as simple as that.
But something that made a big difference for me and started gaining me followers was getting my Bio right.
Firstly, I decided to give my Facebook page a direction. It wasn’t just going to be a social media page, like with all advertising I quickly realised that I had to give my audience something.
I knew on Pinterest my most popular board was motivational quotes, I already had tonnes of images on there that I had created, so I decided to make my Facebook page a motivational quotes page for people with small businesses, blogs or aspiring bloggers- to show them it was really possible.
Once I had my target audience and Facebook strategy in place I started advertising my page and bio and this made a huge difference.
2. Give your posts a personal flare
So a huge part of market research is about researching your competitors, I mean I’m sure there are lots of motivational pages out there on Facebook, so why would someone want to follow me?
I decided that I was going to be a little sassy, I’m kind of like that in real life, I swear a lot, I speak my mind and I love astrology. So this is what I came up with…
Boom, 400 likes and counting although I made a slight error, which brings me to the next point.
3. Once you boost or advertise a Post you can’t change it, ever. So don’t make any errors…
The mistake I made here, was not attaching my blog link to the post. It also got many likes and shares, but it only gave me a few new followers. If I’d attached a link to a post I would have certainly got more traffic to my website and also wouldn’t have wasted my money, I spent £14 on likes.
Other things to check for are spelling mistakes, broken links, image quality etc. I would also create your own images as Facebook like fresh content.
4. Inviting my friends and family to like my page, again.
So initially I sent out a ‘like my page’ invite and to my horror and surprise only one person I knew liked it- how embarrassing is that?
Anyway two weeks ago I shared my page again and sent out page invites and lots of people liked it. Once my page was established with a strong Bio, direction, striking images and likes and follows- people are much more likely to follow so don’t be afraid to try again.
5. Use striking colourful images with a consistent theme and water mark
Colourful images are better. Aim for a striking design that’s going to advertise your brand. Don’t forget to watermark the images you create, you can use your website address or Instagram handle.
TIP: Pinterest recommends using a logo on the top right of an image for the most impact.
6. Run multiple ads at the Same Time
I have noticed a huge difference when doing this. I’ll advertise an image like the one above with something positive written about business and then include a link to a relevant blog post link in the description.
I also advertise my bio at the same time. I usually spend less this way too. Around £5 per Ad instead of £14 on one. I have also created a targeted audience with my preferred age range and this gives me more follows.
7. Use hashtags
Do your research, just like Instagram. Pick ones specific to your topic rather than #blog smaller hashtags are less competitive and get more results.
8. Tell Your Story
I got personal and wrote a post about why I started a blog. Your audience will like you more if you’re relatable. Click the image below if you’d like to read it.
So there you have it, my eight tips on how to gain followers on Facebook, eight months after I started my Facebook account.
If you have any tips on how to build your Facebook following, please leave it in the comments below with a link to your website. They would be most appreciated.
Also, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and help a gal out…
Thank you so much,
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