This is pretty nitty gritty and probably interesting to approximately three of you, but based on the comments on my Business of Blogging post (hey, five comments is a pretty big deal for this new blogger), I figured it couldn’t hurt to put together a post about how to take advantage of the Bloggy Mom’s Friday Facebook Hop.
First of all, being a new blogger with big (or even medium-sized) dreams can be incredibly frustrating. Building an audience is a time-consuming and often confusing process. So unless you’re lucky enough to “go viral” within your first few months online (about the same odds as winning the lottery), you’re probably dealing with the same #NewBloggerProblems that I am.
There’s literally a million topics I could write about under this vast new blogger umbrella, but I’m going to focus on Facebook today. You already know that, as a new blogger, you’re supposed to have a presence and grow your fans and followers on approximately 75 different social media networks. With this in mind, you logged on to the Behemoth, Facebook, and set your blog up with a business page.
Check it off the list, right?
Not quite. This isn’t field of bloggy dreams, and even though you built it, they will probably not come unless you promote the shit out of it. So what do you do next?
If you’re like me, you invited your mom, your sister and your three BFFs to like it, or maybe you’re a bit bolder, and you sent the page to all of your personal friends, but either way, once you’ve hit up those connections for likes, it’s hard to know how to promote your page so that you’re reaching new people and getting new likes.
How New Bloggers Can Take Advantage of Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop
As of Sunday evening, my Facebook page had 181 likes, which is not a ton, but I just published the page on October 10. It’s been up one month, and I haven’t even added the link to the social share buttons on my blog.
Let me break down those 180 likes: Because I have not (and do not plan to) send this page to everyone in my network, approximately 40 of those likes are direct connections of mine. A handful are people who were referred to the page by my friends. The rest are other bloggers. And of those, a big chunk comes from my participation in the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop every week.
How big of a difference does participating make for me? This week, my page received 48 likes from the Facebook Hop, and for me, that’s significant. It was my fourth time participating, and it was my biggest gain. I’ve also realized that there are things you can do to make your participation count even more.
How to Participate Without Really Trying
- From your personal account, go to the Bloggy Moms Network Facebook page and like it. Make sure the “Follow” option has a checkmark next to it. This means that Bloggy Moms posts will show up in your newsfeed.
- On Fridays, Bloggy Moms will post the Facebook hop. Even though I follow the page, I miss the post sometimes, so I set a reminder to check the page on Fridays.
- When the post appears, comment on the post with a link to your Facebook page. I type http://www.facebook.com/mommysanest into the comment box, and that’s it. You don’t need to write anything else. A preview of your page (the header and profile image) should pop up in the post. Do not remove the preview of the page! It allows people to quickly like your page, right there in the feed.
- Like other people’s pages. That’s why we’re here right? You can do this directly in the comment feed if you want to make it as quick and easy as possible. Like the page, and reply directly to their comment. Make sure you tag your page in the reply. I always reply with, “New like from @Mommy Sanest” (when you use the “@” sign on Facbeook, an option to select your page should appear). Another very important note: Like pages as yourself, not as your blog. If you want the page to appear in your feed when you switch to your blog’s page, then like as yourself AND your blog. Do not just like as your blog, as those likes will not count toward total likes.
- Watch the likes roll in. Typically there’s upwards of 200 blogs and small businesses that participate, and every week there are new ones. This is quid pro quo, and I typically like anyone that likes me. I sometimes skip some of the small businesses if the product isn’t something I am interested in, but if that person alerts me that they’ve liked my page, unless something were to strike me as offensive (nothing ever has), I like them back.
It’s that simple, but I know what you’re thinking…
Help! My feed is filled with posts from random blogs!
I think this is probably what stops people from liking 130 pages. But there’s a way to contain all of this blog action, and neatly organize it. As posts from blogs appear in my Facebook newsfeed, I go to the pages and uncheck the “Follow” option. This will remove them from my newsfeed. But gone doesn’t mean forgotten! I have included them all in a custom “Interests” list, which I can refer back to regularly. Here’s how you do that:
- From your newsfeed, scroll down the page until you see the “Interests” section on the left side of your page. Click “More.”
- Choose “+Add Interests,” then “+Create List.”
- The dialog box that opens should default to Pages on the left, showing all of the pages you have liked over the course of your life on Facebook. Start checking off the blog pages that you have liked. Once you’ve chosen all of the pages, click Next.
- Give the list a name, and decide if you want it to be a public list, a list your friends can see, or a private list. Mine is called “Mommy Blogs,” and I keep it private.
- You can access this list from the your newsfeed. You can also add to this list if you continue to participate.
The other option to like all of the pages as your page (Go to a page, choose the “…” button on the far right, and select “Like as your page.” Then the blog will show up in your page’s newsfeed.
Make Your Participation Really Count
As someone mentioned on my Business of Blogging post, it can seem pointless to participate in the blog hop when you see little action on your page’s posts after the fact. But here’s the deal with Facebook: To a degree (and this is an over-simplification) it is a numbers game.
Facebook’s algorithm is designed to suppress content from business pages. Have you ever posted something only to see that the post “reached” four people? This is how Facebook works. Facebook wants you to pay to boost that post and push it out to more people. But the more Facebook followers you have, the more people will initially see that post. The more people who see it, the more chances you have for someone to like or comment on the post. Every interaction with your post leads to it organically being pushed to more people, which in turn gives the post even more chances to be liked and commented on. Another thing to keep in mind, depending on the goals you have for your blog, the number of followers that you have on Facebook matters to companies that are looking for bloggers to partner with.
I’m guessing that, if you’re a new blogger, you’re probably making less than $1 a month from your blog and paying to boost a post on Facebook isn’t really in the budget yet. So how do you get more people from the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop to interact with your stuff or even get them to connect with you on other platforms? Basically, you have to interact with them.
I don’t go out of my way for every single blog, but if I see a page that strikes my fancy (you know, a kindred spirit who named their blog something like, “Mommy Wears Pajamas All Day” or “Making Mediocre Parenting Look Easy”), I will visit their page, leave a comment, and like a few items. If I love the name of someone’s blog, I often leave the comment, “Stopping by from @Mommy Sanest. I love the name of your blog!” It’s simple and it’s genuine.
Sometimes I don’t stop there. If I’m really intrigued, I actually go to their blog, and if they have their social buttons posted, I follow them on other platforms (typically Twitter or G+, sometimes Pinterest). If they are looking for followers on Facebook, chances are they are looking for followers on all platforms. If you’ve commented on their Facebook page and you’re using all the same handles, they will likely recognize your name and like or follow you back on these platforms as well.
Finally, every few days, I scroll through my “Mommy Blogs” Interests list, and like and/or comment on content that is interesting and worthwhile to me. By doing this, I know that at the very least, an extra like will boost someone’s posts to a wider audience. It’s Facebook karma, if you will, even if they aren’t completely connecting your name to your blog. You could also do this from your blog’s page (if you’ve liked the other page as both yourself and your blog), so that the other blogger begins to see your page.
Don’t Ignore Those Who Interact with You
When I’m interested in something a blogger posts on Facebook, I will comment on it. Now if I’m commenting on a page that has 7 million likes, I don’t expect a response. But if I’m commenting on a smaller blog, it’s nice to get a response. Getting a response also means I’ll be more likely to interact again.
So if someone posts on your wall, comments on one of your posts, or sends you a message, respond! I know it takes some thought and time and seems like a very small thing when you have a lot on your to-do list, but this world is all about connections. It’s in your best interest to make an effort even if 99 out of 100 of these interactions end up feeling pointless. Eventually, one of these days, you’re going to make a connection that becomes meaningful for you and your work.
Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I’m Not a Mommy Blogger
I don’t speak for Bloggy Moms, obviously, but it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re specifically a “mommy blogger.” I see all kinds of blogs and small businesses participating in the Facebook hop, so you do you. Especially if you’re a health, fitness, DIY, crafting, or food blogger, I imagine you’ll get some traction through the Facebook hop.
The Bottom Line
In the last month (October 10-November 9), more than 20 percent of my traffic has come from Facebook. I do not post every single piece of content I write on Facebook, and I have almost three times the followers on Twitter, where I promote every post approximately 10 times. For me, it’s worth it to continue participating in the Facebook hop and putting in the effort. Look at your Google analytics, see what is driving traffic to your site and decide where your time is best spent.