Darren: My name is Darren Rowse, and welcome to episode 208 of the ProBlogger podcast. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board and series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience and make money from your blogs. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.
Today, I want to present you with five actionable things that you can do today to increase the effectiveness of what you do on your Facebook page. I know there’s a lot of pain among your audience when it comes to Facebook pages. I see it all the time in our Facebook group. A couple of years ago now, Facebook was a major source of traffic and engagement for many of us. It even helped us monetize our blogs directly in many cases but increasingly over the last couple of years, it’s so much tougher to get organic reach and engagement on Facebook. You can certainly pay to get it but that organic reach is disappearing for many of us. We hear that pain from you, our audience, quite regularly.
Today what I’ve done is invited someone who understands Facebook as well as anyone I’ve ever met, to come on to the show, to talk to us about how to approach Facebook. That person is Rachel Miller from Miller Marketing whose teaching has impacted my own Facebook strategy over the last six months, quite incredibly in fact. She’s taught me so much.
Rachel began her journey many years ago now as a blogger, but in more recent times has created Facebook pages that reach millions of fans and she talks about some of them in today’s episode. She has a real knack for building audiences and monetizing them directly on Facebook itself.
I met Rachel back in 2015 at a conference. We had a nice breakfast together and a few other people, and I was really impressed by what she was doing back then. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I really dug into what she does. Another friend had recommended her Facebook group, which I’ll link to in today’s show notes. It’s a Facebook group dedicated to helping online entrepreneurs with their Facebook pages and I joined it. I’m a member of many Facebook groups and this is probably one of the most valuable ones that I’ve ever joined. I joined it six months ago and immediately, within a couple of days, I was getting tips and ideas from Rachel and the other members of that community, that led to real growth on my Facebook pages. It was immediate, like within a day or two. Me taking action, very important, on the tips that I got in that group, I was amazed. I was so impressed with what she offered that when she opened up her Facebook training course, I signed up to it.
The course is really brilliant, but so is a lot of the free advice that she gives as well. That’s what I want to do today. I want to get her on to share some of what she knows about Facebook. Of course, this is a massive topic and we could quite easily talk for days on this topic which I guess is why she offers a course. But I brought her on to today’s episode to really talk about five actionable things. I asked her to nominate five things that really will help people without having to pay money, without having to boost your post, without having to advertise. Five things that you can do today, that’s the focus of this episode. There are of course many things that you can do to spend money on Facebook, but there are five actionable things that are going to help you to get better results from your Facebook page.
I will say before we get into the conversation that there is a downloadable for today. Rachel’s put together what she calls an audience growth pack which has three resources for you on helping you to create better titles for your Facebook, start better conversations on Facebook and also some words to avoid on Facebook as well. If you want to get those downloadables, it’s over at problogger.com/growth. I’ll link to them on the show notes as well. You can see today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/208, that’s the episode 208 today. You’ll also find this over on iTunes.
I really do you hope you enjoy this conversation. I literally just got off it from Rachel and I have a pad full of ideas that I’ve jotted down as we talked and you’ll hear me talk about a couple of things that’s I’m going to do as a result of today’s show as well. I hope you enjoy it. She’s got so much energy and enthusiasm for this topic. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it as well. Here we go.
Rachel, this conversation comes at a really good time because on two Facebook groups that I’m a part of, I have just seen people going on massive rants about Facebook and how it is dead to them because their organic reach is plummeting, particularly this week there seems to be quite a few people really struggling with it. I’m really grateful for you spending some time with us today to talk about Facebook. I guess my first question for you is should I be giving up on Facebook? Is Facebook pages dead?
Rachel: I strongly believe no! I’ve seen people grow so fast, and even just this last six weeks, we had a student explode their page. I don’t know if she is the record because I have to verify but she tells me that she’s grown by over 100,000 fans. She might just be my new record. It’s been insane seeing the growth that people have had. It’s a thing right now.
Darren: Is that translating across to their websites or their blogs or whatever it is that they’re building as well?
Rachel: Yes. I have one girl who just a couple of weeks ago, she told me she was making $1,000 off of her website. After taking the course, she would now make $8,000 this last month off of her website and she was like, “Oh my Lord! I never expected this!” It just came from ad revenue because she had more people seeing her content.
Darren: She was happy to drive much more traffic across.
Rachel: Yes. She had a couple of virals and that helped her just explode her ad revenue.
Darren: Great. Alright, I was hoping you’d say that because otherwise this interview is dead. I really want to dig into some of the teaching that you do.
Rachel: We’ve had businesses. I know your audience’s bloggers and I actually was a blogger for ten years. That’s how I got started. But we’ve actually had stores who’ve had even greater results. We had one author, it was their second book on CreateSpace. I can’t remember exactly how many books on CreateSpace but he sold $71,000 worth of his book last month. He checked everywhere. It was so exciting.
Darren: That’s exciting. I’ve done half of your course, and I was seeing some benefits starting to flow into our pages as well. I really love the journey you take students through, and I wonder if we can move through some of the things that I think most bloggers could really benefit from. Five things, five actionable tips, we’re calling it, that people can use to build their audience as well without spending money which is the other important factor.
First one was building your niche neighborhood, you talk about that early on in your course. I wonder if you could give us a definition of what is a niche neighborhood and what can we actually do to build that?
Rachel: When I think of niche neighborhoods, I like to think of this is a family instead of a competition. This was me three years ago, I was like, you know what? I don’t want to tell the DIY people what I’m doing because they might copy me. And then we’ll all have the same front porch post and it’ll be really frustrating because we all have the same post, we won’t grow together.
Self-protection is like, I’m not going to share all of my knowledge, and then I realized that wait a second, if I open it up and I connect with my competition, I don’t just grow, they grow and when they grow, they pull me up farther with them. When they’re having a viral explode, I can tag along with their big viral. When I am having a big viral, they can tag along because the reality is the DIY person who loves DIY house projects, they’re not following one blog, they’re following 15. I notice that actually in the crazy cat sphere which I’m not actually a cat person, it was kind of a joke that I started it and then it was super successful so I was like I guess I’m a cat person now. I found multiple fans that love six crazy cat lady pages. They’re named the same name! It’s crazy.
Darren: It’s about identifying other Facebook pages in your niche. What do you actually do once you’ve identified them?
Rachel: There’s a couple of different tricks that you can do. You want to use Facebook like it’s a search engine. Just like in Google, you want to have different links coming from different places going to your website. You want them to come with different terms to your website. It’s the same thing in Facebook. Facebook’s an algorithm, it’s like a search engine, it’s a computer. You have to speak the computer’s language. Things like finding a cat page, I’m a cat page interlinking my post with their Facebook post. You can do this even if they’re not participating, although it’s a whole lot more fun if they are, your best buds in your neighborhood and you’re popping over at their house.
It’s a lot easier when you have collaboration where they’ll say, “Hey I’m going to share your post and you’re going to share mine,” but at the same time you can do this without them participating by leaving a link as a comment or as a visitor’s post or tagging your page on one of their photos that they have, if they have open tags. Leaving them a message from your page, writing them a message from messenger. Anything to say my page I just like that page.
Darren: These are all little signals to Facebook that you should connect your pages in some way.
Rachel: I’m the same as this page so that audience from that page will also like my content. When that person runs out of their cool content and my content’s trending, Facebook’s going to show my trending post to them because Facebook wants to keep those people on Facebook. Once my post is doing well, Facebook’s like, “Woah, wait a second. All these neighbors, they’re going to want that post too because it’s keeping people on Facebook.”
Darren: It’s the other part when someone likes their page then Facebook’s says there are other pages like this one, then they give that little personal recommendation as well.
Rachel: Right now Facebook’s giving that recommendation to groups but three weeks ago, it’s pages. My guess is that in two months, it’s going to change right back to being pages again and then two months later, groups. Goes back and forth between the two. You can also niche neighborhood with groups. You don’t just have to niche neighborhood with pages. That concept works with groups and we actually have groups that connect with pages as part of our system.
Darren: The actionable thing that people can do is to identify some other pages in the niche, can you give us any suggestion on which ones are the best ones to do? Should we be looking for the biggest ones, should we be looking at others around your size or smaller ones?
Rachel: I look for the smaller ones that are the most active. Because the smaller ones that are the most active are the easiest to game. Just like in keywords, you go for the long tail because no one else has it. If I go after the big dogs, everybody’s going after the big dog. Everyone’s trying to promote their content on theirs. The little dogs, they’re so thankful to have a visitor’s post, they’re thrilled. I connect with the smaller pages first and then grow to the bigger ones.
Darren: Actually we’ll identify and engage. Whilst you say you can do this without them really even knowing what you’re doing, the ideal is really to build that relationship with other page owners and then to be able to collaborate and look for ways to support one another, to build a win-win relationship then.
Rachel: Yeah, totally. At the same time, even if some people say I don’t have any friends or I feel awkward writing them, you can still connect with other pages without necessarily their permission.
Darren: Number one is build your niche neighborhood. Number two is around sharing the right content. So many of us have Facebook pages but we spend all our time sharing our own content. I’m guilty of this. I don’t look at my pages at the moment because I just got this really high rotation of my own content. I got thousands of post in my archives. This used to work really well. It drove a lot of traffic to our pages and to our blogs, but hasn’t been working as well lately as a technique. One of the things that you do in your teaching is talking about finding content and sharing content that’s been blessed by Facebook’s fairy dust. Wonder whether you can talk to us about one, what is the Facebook fairy dust? None of us had heard of it before and what do you actually mean by that?
Rachel: I like to call it fairy dust because it’s a little bit magical. I can’t quite quantify it but yet it’s dust, you can’t collect it, you can bank it and you can cord it and you can spread it, you can sprinkle it on different things, and you do collect it. That’s one of those things, it’s a little bit of magic so I call it fairy dust. Some people call it Facebook juju or the juice or ‘oh I got the blessing’ or ‘I won the Facebook lottery.’ Basically, these are the posts that Facebook is sending more organic traffic to. Facebook tells you which ones they are because you can just go to the Facebook search bar and type in ‘cats’ and you could see all the cat posts that Facebook says is trending right now.
Darren: It’s about working on what you want to share on the topic and then just simply doing a search for that. Are you looking there for links or photos or videos or all of those things?
Rachel: I do a mix. It depends on what sites and pages. With my newer pages, I want to share whatever’s getting the most likes. When my page is over 100,000 now, I want to share something that I’m getting more shares than likes. I also want the content to come from me if possible. I would see a photo that’s getting a lot of shares right now and say hey, why don’t I contact that person and say, “Hey, can I put your photo up on my page?”
Darren: Okay and then you’re crediting where you got it from.
Rachel: Sometimes, if it’s just people, they just give me their video and they say, “Yes, sure.” I don’t offer credit unless I know it’s a blogger. If it’s a regular person, they often are like, “Yeah, you can show my cat drinking milk from that food bowl and link to that Amazon product. That’s awesome! My cat’s on your page.” They’re totally happy! I just say it’s reader submitted.
Darren: We’re looking there for content on Facebook. Already loving, blessing, fairy dusting and then sharing that, is that part of the mix? Are you also including some of your own content in the mix? Getting this mix right I think is something that a lot of our readers do ask about, how much of other people’s content should we be sharing? How much of our own? Does that change over the last of your blog as well?
Rachel: It does a little bit. It depends on your engagement. When you’re smaller, I like to share three-quarters of other people’s content because then I’m training myself what’s popular. I have no clue what’s going viral in my niche until I interact with so many virals. As I grow over 50,000, I want to start doing more posts coming from me, from my page. I might have two out of every four coming from my page. That doesn’t necessarily means it’s my post, but it’s originating on my page. It’s a video cross post uploaded, it’s a photo that I’ve uploaded onto my page. That way, the juice leads back to my page. Then out of 100,000, I want three-quarters of the content to come from my page, and a quarter to come from other sources.
Darren: In terms of getting traffic to your blog, because this is what a lot of bloggers want. Ultimately I guess it’s about earning. Whether you get people to your blog or not, doesn’t really matter but a lot of bloggers do want to increase their traffic. Can you give us some tips of getting that traffic back to our blog?
Rachel: Yeah. A lot of it’s the way you feed Facebook. If you use Bitly links, those have no social proof so Facebook is not going to show it to as many people. If you add multiple links to your post, instead of having one link that leads to your blog, you have a link and your PiNet link, that’s driving people, it’s going to lower your reach of your traffic to your website. A lot of it’s things like the words you’re using, the titles, the photos. If you’re feeding your reader, if you’re giving them the things that make them happy, and you’ve optimized your page with other content, you’re already engaged, it’s like a rising tide, your content will also grow. Once you grow your engagement, traffic comes.
Darren: That’s what I found in doing your courses. Once I started to share a bit more of other people’s content and a bit more of that viral content, and even creating a few more of the meme type content from myself which I’ve always resisted, I always find it a little bit corny, but there are ways if you work at it. You can create that kind of content that has the potential to go viral. It then impacted the rest of our content which was links to our blog post and that type of thing.
Rachel: Exactly! It’s kind of looking at it as a whole picture. Because if you just focus on just getting your traffic to your site, you’re not going to grow your audience. If you grow your audience, it trickles down and you will rise in your traffic because you have more people seeing your content now.
Darren: It’s a bit of a mind shift for a lot of bloggers because I have this sense of I want to drive traffic to me. I don’t want to highlight other people’s stuff but it does have a flow and effect.
Rachel: It totally does! Know too, it’s about your reader, because if you make it about your reader and you serve your audience, you can drive traffic to them with your blog or you can make money anyway. Once you have that audience, you can do anything with it. It doesn’t just have to be the blog, the blog’s one way to make money but ask your readers, “Do you want to consume content on a blog or do you want to consume content in a different way?” “Oh, you like memes, I have affiliate links and you buy products that are also unrelated to the meme because they had an affiliate link in it.” Okay, not a problem. I can make money that way. If your audiences have different things that you can serve them with, they’ll tell you what they want.
Darren: Great. You mentioned titles, that’s the third thing I wanted to ask you a little bit about. One of the things that I’ve noticed makes a huge difference when I’m sharing content, whether it be photos or back to my own site is that the engagement can vary wildly, depending upon which words were used in our titles and the descriptions as well. I wonder if you can give us some tips on how to create more effective copy, it’s not just the title, it’s all of the words you use around your updates. I’d love to get some tips on that.
Rachel: We’ve got three different parts of a post. You’ve got the description, that’s what you type into the status update. And then you’ve got your link, and then you’ve got your actual title of the post. In the description section where I’m talking about the post that I’m sharing, I like to talk from my reader’s perspective. I don’t want to tell them about this apple pie I made with my Aunt Cindy because no one else has an Aunt Cindy. That’s not their experience, they can’t connect to it. Does that make sense?
Darren: Yeah, yeah.
Rachel: But if I can say the apple pie that totally made July 4th or totally made your memorial day weekend or whatever, labor day is coming up, totally made that weekend, that makes sense for them because oh, that could be my story. You want to say it like it’s their story. That’s my first tip, in your descriptions, putting them into the reader’s perspective. Not about you.
My next tip would be to speed Facebook with that and don’t look like a brand. Which I guess we’re going to talk about in just a few minutes. But not looking like a brand means what do brands do on Facebook and how can I look like a person and not the brand, like a reader essentially, like the people that we’re reaching. They’re probably not filling their feed with lots of hashtags, they’re probably not tagging 1,500 things. Just like the reader would use hashtags, you want to speak like them. That would be my second tip, is to avoid hashtags and then those links that Facebook doesn’t like.
My third tip. I have a formula for my titles. It’s like a trust factor and then an emotion and you, because I’m talking to the reader and then the result. Trust factor would be something like the number or guarantee, or these words that instil I believe in you. If you tell them a number, like there is 15 ways. Fifteen is telling them what they’re going to get, that’s establishing trust with them. If I cut this, I’ll see 15 things, I can trust it more because I know what I’m going to get. It just gets a little bit of a trust factor.
The next part is emotion. Fifteen totally awesome or awe struck. Fifteen emotion and then you, anytime you use the word ‘you’ in your titles, you’ll do better. You won’t believe what happened when, and then the results.
Darren: Yup, okay. We got trust factor, emotion, you, as in the audience and then the result.
Rachel: Think of that as the number if you can think about another.
Darren: Something concrete so they know what they’re getting on the other end of it.
Rachel: Yes, yes! We’ve got variations of this. I went through actually and I looked at my virals. Last year I had 29 virals. Those are the virals that each of the post got over a million eyeballs on individual posts. I went through those virals and I was like okay, what’s similar about these posts? What made these go viral versus the other ones? I collected all the titles and put them into a spreadsheet for you guys. You could take out the words, I say “15 Ways Your Husband Could Wash the Dishes Better” and I take out the words “Your Husband Could Wash the Dishes.” Fifteen ways something could blah blah blah better. You can switch out the words for your own, basically still those viral titles. I give that to your audience as a freebie.
Darren: We do have the audience growth pack which we’ll talk a little bit about at the end of the call but that is part of that. It’s a downloadable, you can find it on our show notes today. Today’s Facebook posts all got viral titles.
Rachel: One of the people that I’m friends with and is in the course, she took these titles and she gave them to her VAs, she said okay, this is the first one, the second one, the third one. She said that she was able to sketch out her content for a week in 30 minutes because she had all the titles. I’m like, “It works!”
Darren: What we’ve noticed with ours is that there are other trigger words that no one else is using. They just seem to work with your audience, so you really do want to do that exercise that you said and analyze the top post, the most engaged post on your page to then work out which was the common things and we found that every time we mention “10 Mistakes That Will Stop You From Taking Great Photos.” People click that like. Crazy because I want to know that mistake and there’s a benefit there, we use the personal term ‘your photos’ a lot. Works.
Rachel: The result! The result is no mistake. That’s a really killer one, that’s awesome.
Darren: The other thing we’ve found worked really well with our audience is anytime you mention any kind of pain or any kind of gain. Using the pains and gains really work well.
Rachel: Have you tried different synonyms of mistake? Like failures? Avoid these Photography Failures?
Darren: Yeah, it doesn’t work as well. We have tried a bit. I guess the other thing that we really want to be careful of is we don’t want our page to be negative as well. Mistakes can bring things down a little bit. How to Avoid Them titles work as well. There’s an upside, that’s not just Don’t Do This, But Do This, that works too.
The other type of thing we’ve noticed working well is really targeting in on the type of users. Digital Photography School, there’s lots of people there. There’s Photoshop users, there are Lightroom users, they use different things. Sometimes for us, starting with Lightroom users, and then getting into the pain. Actually, since we target the right person, we’ve seen our audience a little bit more.
Rachel: Yeah. When your page is over 100,000, you do need to segment your audience a little bit in order to continue to get that engagement. I love it.
Darren: It’s just an intuitive thing. I think we noticed as we did some analysis. The other thing you’ve almost hinted on there is number 14, to avoid certain banned words. There are words that I’ve noticed on our page, even before I came across your teaching, that just seem to kill our reach. Anytime we mention a product or a sale or discounts or any of those sort of words, what’s going on there?
Rachel: Instead you can say, “We’ll make your pocketbook lighter.” Or you can say, “Your wallet will love this.” You could do that without saying discount, you use the word ‘discount’, your buyers will kiss that post goodbye. I’ve noticed that anytime you use those ad or sponsored, those can lower your reach. You have to put a couple dollars on it to try to boost it, to tell Facebook, yes, I’m making money but you can make money too.
There are some little tricks you can do if you have to use those banned words. Banned words are something like, ‘like this’, ‘share this’, ‘tag your friend’. Instead of that, say, “Know someone who?” and then they’ll tag their friend for you. Or ‘You’ll want this later.’ Now, they’ll save it or they’ll pin it. ‘Bookmark it because you’ll need this.’ These are all different ways that you can attract them without being bossy. People don’t want to be bossed. If you’re saying like this, it comes across as bossy and scammy. I think it’s even against Facebook’s Terms of Service. They redid the terms of service, I think it’s even in there. You’re not supposed to request that. Facebook doesn’t like them too much.
Darren: In their perspective, leads to organic activity coming on. People gaming the system a little bit. As part of your audience growth pack, we’ve also got some words to avoid as well as part of that download.
Rachel: I forgot, we had a powwow where I brought in I think it was like 58 frugal bloggers. The frugal bloggers were just having the hardest time getting their content out there. We’re like, “Okay guys, let’s look at the words together.” We’re looking through all the words. I’m like, “These are the words that are tanking. Free works, but only if it’s near the word gluten. If it’s not near the word gluten, you’re tanking.” You want to look at how you’re putting the phrases together. We collected those phrases and then we also thought of different ways to say the same things. Instead of ‘buy one get one free’, ‘have one and you could have another.’
Darren: That’s a little awkward.
Rachel: It’s a little awkward but it worked! The posts are being seen and they’re even able to get more traction on their coupons.
Darren: This really ties into that last point as well. You do the analysis on what’s working but also do some analysis on what’s not working and look for patterns in that as well. Maybe there are some words that you’re using that are triggering Facebook to go yep, we’re not showing that, that will be well worth doing.
The last thing that we’ve got here is to stimulate conversation. This is something I’ve noticed ever since I started on Facebook is the more conversation you get, the more engagement you get, the more engagement you get. Conversation attracts conversation.
Rachel: You’re telling Facebook who you are and Facebook needs conversation. There are people that are up at 2AM in the morning that are bored out of their skulls and they’ve seen everything and they need some more engagement content. Facebook depends on us, pages and groups, to keep that person looking at something at 2AM. What we’ve done is try to make our pages a little bit more like groups and our groups a little bit sometimes like pages so that we can bolster our businesses. We’ve got these conversation starters.
You basically ask a question like something that people don’t have to spend any time thinking about but that hopefully has more than three words in that answer. Because if they have more than three words in the answer, Facebook ranks this higher, or if it uses a photo. Using gifs or hey, show us a photo of your kids today, who is your super kid? Or how old are your kids. I need help with supper, what are you eating for supper? All of these are ways to get people to just make a small simple engagement on your page. When they do that, not only do they see your content more often, all of their friends see that page more often. Any of their friends that also like your page, you now jump up in their feed.
Darren: I certainly noticed that and I didn’t seem to see your next posts as well. I know that anytime I engage with any post, I quite often won’t engage with the post that I want to engage with because I don’t want to see more from that page.
Rachel: Totally, totally.
Darren: Again, we’ve got that as part of our audience growth pack to download as well, 25 conversations starters there. You’ve got those three, Rachel. It’s a great little pack to have and I’ve had those three resources open on my browser ever since I downloaded it. I just constantly go back to them.
Rachel: It just doesn’t work on Facebook pages, they also work on Facebook groups. We have got a guy, Daniel, said that his group went from crickets to highly engaged in just two or three weeks from putting one of those up every single day.
Darren: That’s great. Actually what we do on ProBlogger is we got those massive long spreadsheet of questions that our audience have asked us that now we ask them. Every time we get asked the question, we just put it in our spreadsheet and one, we use that for blog posts or for content that we could do on Facebook Lives. Also, we just put those questions back to our audience because our audience actually know the answers collectively.
Rachel: I love it, I love it, I love it.
Darren: It must be 300 or 400 now, we’ve got enough that we could do one a day forever.
Rachel: You can schedule up to a couple of months in advance. Schedule them out. The cool thing is, this ecosystem, the copy, the headlines and then the words I’ve given you, the conversation starters, you can really just copy them, put them in the schedule and turn it on autopilot. That lets you now have two posts that you don’t have to fight about. You don’t have to think about, they just come.
Darren: We’ve got build your niche neighborhood, share the right content, use effective titles, avoid banned words and stimulate conversation. Five things that you can go away and do today.
Rachel: Yeah, I love it.
Darren: Yeah, that’s great.
A few other questions that we had coming from our group members because I said we’re doing an interview today and they thought they’d throw some questions at you too. Some of them relate a little bit to some of the things we’ve talked about. But one that I get asked all the time is how many times a day should I be posting onto my Facebook page? Is there too much? Can you get to a point where it’s too much? Is one a day enough? Is one a week enough? What’s the ideal or is it different for different pages?
Rachel: It’s different for different sizes of pages. The bigger you are, you can post more posts because Facebook’s not going to show the original post to all the people in your audience. There is a point where you can be too many because that will hinder your ability to have virals. One of the things we depend on in the course that I teach is virals because when you get a viral, it levels you up really fast in your engagement, in your audience and in the potential that your business has. We want to protect how many times we post so that we can still have enough ability to go viral. If everyone in your feed that likes your page has already seen all your content that day, Facebook’s not going to let a post go viral because they’ve already seen it, they want to spread the love so they just don’t see one person in their feed all the time.
When you’re under 25,000, I suggest posting four times a day or less. Two to four times a day. And then when you get to about 25,000, you can start adding up to six. And then 50,000 to 100,000 you can start moving to posting eight times a day to even up to 24 when you’re over 100,000. But it depends on your audience. When you’re over 100,000, you’ll have to test your audience and see. Some audiences can still go viral when they have 8 posts a day and some go viral if they have 24. It just depends on you. If you’re not getting any virals, at that point, if you have any problems with engagement, back off.
Darren: Okay. If you are seeing dips, that’s a good thing to take away. Maybe pull back, you think that’s a signal.
Rachel: If you’re 150,000 followers and you’re not having high engagement, go back and look, what posts are tanking? They have a schedule system, you could see what kind of content is doing well, what kind of content is not doing well. You’re noticing that any time I put a link up that’s about flashes, it’s not doing well. You know what, I’m not going to put another link. We’re going to take that section that I talk about flashes off and now we’re going to talk about natural lighting or whatever it is that you have in your spreadsheet. You want to take what’s not working and do more of what is.
Darren: Another question that actually came in this morning from Andrea was, “What mix of posts shall we be doing? We’ve got sharing other people’s content, sharing your own content on your own blog, there’s a link, you’ve got video that you can upload, images or graphics or quotes or memes. Live video would be another one, what’s the ideal mix?” Again, that probably depends. You can just give us the answer that you got.
Rachel: I know. I have a formula and so far the formula’s working. What I like to do is feed Facebook. Facebook likes to have comments. What gets comments? When you give a status update with no links, no photo. That’s “Hey. What are you eating for breakfast today?” That feeds Facebook comments. Check, I did that today.
Next one, Facebook likes, shares. Meme photos tend to get more shares than any other type of content. I’m going to put a meme up because I want to make sure I’m feeding Facebook shares. What gets comments? Videos and photos of certain different types of things. Lives sometimes get comments. I want to do those to make sure I get comments. I want to have every different type of comments of engagement.
In addition to that though, when you’re under 100,000 fans, you also want to focus on getting more likes on your content and the other type. While I still want shares, I still want comments. I don’t want to say I’m never going to post this status update because I never get likes on those, I still want to have those but I want to make sure I put a little bit extra content that tends to get more likes. That tends to be both videos that you’ve uploaded or photos you’ve uploaded or that you’re sharing videos or photos. Those get more likes because I can then invite people who like that content to like my page and then I can grow so fast because you can invite up to 500 people a day from each admin of your page to like your page.
As soon as you get a post that’s going bonkers, you can put some ad dollars on it and I’m talking like $2 in ad spend. Get that post to even higher levels just to invite every single person. You do that every day and you’ve grown greatly without even realizing it.
Darren: This is something that I think a lot of people have no idea that they can do. Anytime anyone likes your page, you click on those, that number of likes and it opens up who has liked you page.
Rachel: It’s content. Liking your content.
Darren: Yeah. Like any post or any content. You click on the number of likes and it shows you who has liked you page and then it has a button that you can press that invites them to then like your page. If you do that within the first few hours, or first 24 hours of them actually engaging with your content in that way, a lot of them come back and like your page. This is brilliant.
Rachel: It’s really cool. I’ve had people that have gone back and I invited them weeks later, and it still works. The thing is you have to have a page that people can identify with. As long as your page have a gut reaction of, yeah, I like that. Then they’re going to like you. Like ProBlogger, I consider myself to be a pro blogger so if that popped up, I don’t remember necessarily the content that I liked from you but I say I’m a pro blogger so I’m going to automatically say heck yeah, that’s me. I like that.
Darren: This only works with pages under 100,000 fans. If you’re bigger than that, bad luck.
Rachel: If you’re close to 100,000 there are a couple of tricks you can do to make it last a little longer but yeah, pretty much it’s gone after 100,000.
Darren: Yup, okay. I’m approaching that. In the ProBlogger page, I think I have 93,000 or something like that. I know my days are numbered there.
Rachel: I’ll send you a little hack in a little bit.
Darren: Another one that I’ve got to ask, you’ve alluded to this. How should your strategy change as your Facebook page grows? Obviously we just talked about pages under 100,000 can do their invites for likes. I guess once you get over that 100,000 mark, are you then looking for more shareable content rather than getting content that’s going to get likes as much?
Rachel: Facebook’s algorithms changes that and sees you as an established page. I know we’re established when we’ve gotten 93,000 likes, we all know that. But in Facebook’s world, you’re still in that growth phase when you’re under 100,000 fans. They give you extra growth abilities. When you’re over 100,000 fans, they throttle you, they start to throttle you a little bit. At that point, you depend more on shares to continue to grow. But you have more audience so those shares can totally explode your page. It’s not like you’re done growing, it’s just your tools change a little bit.
Darren: Have you seen people have multiple pages, once they get over that 100,000 mark, really targeting on specific niches within their overall topic? This is something we’ve been talking about with Digital Photography School. We’ve got post processing, we’ve got camera gear reviews, maybe we should be having multiple pages.
Rachel: Yes! When you get over 300,000. This is getting into that powwow phase. I have a Facebook group that’s got 13,000 people in it and it’s too big to connect with everybody. We do break out powwows whenever I feel like it. It’s not very often. Every now and then, we’ll have powwow. When you’re over 300,000, all those people get together and you start to have problems with being targeted, you have problems with sometimes your content is not doing well or you’re feeling like I’m having the link to other people, and what’s in it for me a little bit. If that makes sense.
Become your own neighborhood. Done! We’ve got people who have vegetable gardening, regular gardening, organic gardening, outdoor fun in your home. Now, he’s got five pages that are over 100,000 each. Now whenever he’s sharing pages, he’s just sharing his own. He’s his own Facebook ecosystem. The cool thing too is there’s not that much of a difference between the reach of a 500,000 fan base and a million fan base. The amount of potential proposed is the same. When you’re at that stage, instead of growing to the million, which is still really cool to get that number. I was really excited when one of my pages got to a million. That said, it’s just as powerful to have a 300,000 or 100,000 and 500,000 page because you have more collective reach than you did if you had a million.
Darren: That’s right. What about those really at the beginnings of their Facebook page? We’ve talked up to 100,000. They should be doing that likeable content inviting people? Is there anything else that real new Facebook pages should be focusing upon?
Rachel: There’s a completely different strategy for the little guys and the little pages. We’ve got little pages, we’ve had a person just a couple of weeks ago, she started her page brand new, and I checked the stats this morning, because something tagged me. She’s at 180,000 fans. This can happen really fast. You can start in six weeks and grow fast. Anyways, she started her page and she followed what I called The Fast Trap Plan, which is you want to be very sure to only attract who wants your content. You’re almost hyper selective when you’re beginning to not accept the fake fans. You don’t want to invite your mom, you don’t have your friends from your PTA liking your page. You want the actual fans who can’t wait to have that content in front of them.
And then you tell Facebook who that person is a little bit. With my cat page, I’ll put six posts up and I’ll have different types of posts and I’ll tell Facebook I want all of these to go to cats and then we’ll put $2 on each of them or a dollar on each of them. However low Facebook lets me go because I don’t want to spend much money. Just enough to see what content does well.
And then I see, okay, anytime I talk about my cat, I say it’s a kid. For some reason that’s what cat people want, their cat as a kid. That’s what they want, now where are those cat people. I do another couple of rounds of boost, just so I can find where those people are that are insanely passionate about my niche.
When it’s crock pot cooking, I found a religious minority group that loves crock pots. I thought maybe soccer moms would be the crock pot people or busy working moms, the Mormon Church has a lot of people that love crock pots. When I start targeting them, they shared my post to everybody and they keep commenting on it. Next thing you know, I exploded because I found who was most passionate.
With the cat page that I have, I found them in no-kill shelters. You got to find who that person is, and once you find them, you can be like best ideas for kids and explode your page by over 100,000. She did that though by finding what type of content they wanted and almost getting rid of the people that aren’t her fan.
Darren: This really comes down to a lot of what you do teach, is really doing a lot of work on thinking about who it is that you want to reach and understanding them and interviewing them which is something that our listeners would have heard other guests talk about a lot as well is really focusing on who it is that you want to have on your site and really position your page very well for them. I think it’s really great advice to have.
Rachel: Once you can serve those people that love cats and you love on them, they’re going to love on you with your content. They’re going to spread your content, they’re going to notice when you forget to post and you’ve left your schedule empty that day. They will literally stalk you down because they found your address at the bottom of an email and let you know, “Hey, just FYI, haven’t heard from you, did you disappear?” It’s building a community with your readers and they will love you back and share your stuff and buy from you.
Darren: Two more questions. Actually it’s three, but one is connected. People have been asking. Pages versus groups is the question but also live video is another one that got weaved into that question. Shall we be doing live video, if so, for what? Are groups an alternative to a page or do they really work hand in hand?
Rachel: I use them all the same. I probably have seven groups that are not part of my marketing. I’m talking about groups that I’m admin over and that I created one. I also have pages that I’ve created and run dozens of them. You need all three, there are three ways that people interact on Facebook and to be an influencer, you need to know and interact on all three levels. That’s your personal profile and then your page and then a group. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your group, a lot of groups are open to bloggers. I have groups that I let any blogger promote their own content any time they want to as long as they follow these rules.
There are other groups that are like that for bloggers too. On your personal profile, you want to interact with other brands in your niche that establishes you as an influencer, that then raises your admin ranking in your topic area. Next one is your page. That’s where you can target new people, it’s either go to your group to join your email list to do anything to send you products but you have to do targeting from inside of the page. That’s where you tell Facebook who you’re going to be reaching. With moolah, I have a bigger group than I do my page but I need my page. My page is crucial, because I would not be able to drive new people to my group if I didn’t have my page.
The group is where you can get that community. We’ve had people, the Decluttering Club, she grew her Facebook page to 20,000 but then exploded her group like almost within two months to 16,000 and it’s from her group that she’s monetizing now. It’s interesting but she wouldn’t be able to do that if she didn’t have the page to feed the group. You need both. I typically monetize more personally from my pages than I do my groups as a blogger. There’s different monetization methods for everyone.
Darren: Maybe that’s a question for another call, how to monetize this.
Rachel: I made a couple hundred thousand just off my blogs last year. It’s really fun.
Darren: We need to book in that call. Live video is the other question as part of that. What’s its place in all of this?
Rachel: Facebook loves live. It has a short term lifespan. I don’t suggest pages start doing lives until they got 4,000-10,000 fans because in my mind, if you have an hour, spend that hour finding what’s viral, spend that hour in other ways. Once you’ve got 10,000 fans that you can engage, start doing lives and using those lives to build that future post. Uploading video is also important because that has a longer tail. It lasts on Facebook longer. Something from two years ago can go viral again today. Whereas live video, in two weeks, it’s pretty much dead, unless you’re continuing with ads, which you can totally do. I do suggest doing 1-2 lives a week if possible from your page once you’re between 4,000 and 10,000.
Darren: We have actually found live video is great if you want someone to do something now, like right now, we are launching right now, it’s happening now, come and join us. But a video is much better if we want them to do something over the next month or so. But we’ve got a launch starting, we’ll do a live to announce it but then we’ll put a video up that we then allow to continue to grow momentum over a month or so.
Rachel: For me, as a blogger, I prefer uploading videos because I want to do that hour of work one time and not have to do it all the time. I do lives whenever I’m demanding an action but on my 500,000, my 200,000 pages, I’m not doing lives regularly because I don’t want to have to be a slave to my page. I turn the videos on. I still come in but…
Darren: Yeah. I’ve seen a few people recently do the live and then download their live or get the video of the live and chop it up. They get rid of the start and the end which is more interactive and they just have the middle bit which is a teaching part and they use that as an uploaded video later on and that seems to work quite well.
Rachel: That only works if you don’t have the same first ten seconds. Facebook tracks the first ten seconds of your videos. If you had a video go viral, or you’ve had a live, you can chop it up as long as it’s not the same first ten seconds, you can recycle it as much as you want. Repackage it and now you have two viral videos, it’s really fun.
Darren: Yeah, that’s great. Last question was around boosting. You’ve mentioned a few times, you boost a dollar here, $2 there. If bloggers do have a little bit of money to throw, what’s the best way to use those dollars to build a page and build a blog?
Rachel: There’s a whole strategy too, but because of the time, I’ll just give you a couple of do and don’t rules. My first tip with rules is to always use the ads manager to boost. Don’t use the boost on your page because you’re going to cannibalize your page, unless you have custom audiences and stuff set up. Always boost with ads manager and make sure that you exclude your page whenever you’re boosting. That way, your boost goes to people who don’t know who you are. Facebook still sends out your organic traffic to the people who like your page but people who don’t know who you are now get a glimpse of how awesome your page is and why they should love you.
Darren: Great, excellent. Good first tips there. Thank you so much, Rachel, we will have links to the audience growth, you’ll get the 25 viral titles, 25 conversation starters, you’ll get a list of banned words as well. Thank you for providing that. I know our listeners are going to really enjoy.
Rachel: Darren, this has been a blast! A blast!
Darren: I loved it. I’ve got about ten other questions I’ll need to ask you for next time. I’ve been writing them down and I’ve got a couple of ideas that I’m going to go and implement myself. I think I need to start some more Facebook pages.
Rachel: You won’t regret it. If you’re over 100,000, it’s really easy to start your second one now because Facebook gives all that juice so you could share from that little page. It’s fun to see them rise together.
Darren: Yeah, very cool. Thank so much.
Rachel: Yeah, thank you, Darren. I appreciate it.
Darren: Wow! Rachel has to be one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable Facebook presenters that I’ve ever come across. She’s actually presenting at our Dallas event later in the year as well. If you have been thinking about coming to the Dallas event Success Incubator, I’ll link to it on the show notes as well but you can also find more information on that at problogger.com/success.
Rachel does pack a lot of value into what she shares on her Facebook group and in her training as well. What I love about what she said today, and I really want to emphasize this, is that you really need to work out what Facebook wants. You heard her say it a couple of times in today’s episode. Work out what Facebook wants and give Facebook that.
Facebook wants content that will be shared, that people will comment upon. Start with that. Many of us as bloggers look at Facebook through the lens of what we want. We want traffic, we want engagement, we want comments. Some of those things Facebook wants as well, but when you start with what Facebook wants, and importantly and you heard her say this a few times today, start with what your readers want. That’s a much better place to start with your strategy on Facebook. Don’t start with what you want, start with what Facebook wants, what your readers want and work from that place because it’s going to give you a great foundation.
Rachel’s Facebook training course is opening up again in the next week or so. I’ll link again where you can join a waitlist for that training course if you’d like to do that. But whether you take the course or not, I really would recommend you get into her Facebook group. I’ll link to that in the show notes as well and download those downloadables too.
Today’s show notes, where you can get all the links to all of what Rachel’s doing, her course, her Facebook group and the downloadables are at problogger.com/podcast/208 and get those downloadables at problogger.com/growth. I am an affiliate for Rachel’s courses, I want to disclaim that right now, upfront. I want to be very transparent about that. But I will emphasize that I paid for her course myself when I first saw it and I did the course personally, my team haven’t done it, I did it and I would highly recommend it from having engaged in that as well. Again, if it’s for you, that’s great but there’s a lot of great free stuff there as well.
Thanks for listening, I look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 209 of the podcast. Again, today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/208. Thanks for listening!