If you've had a Facebook fan page for more than 2 years and it's been a major source of traffic for your website, then there's a few things I'm sure you've notice.
First thing is that your traffic has decreased, second is user engagement is not what it use to be, all while your fan count has continued to increase.
How is that possible?
About 3 years ago I wrote an article about How To Get 1,000 + Visitors Per Day From Facebook Fan Pages, back then I was raking in 1,200 visitors per day from my Facebook page with no effort. At the time I only had 20,000 fans for my Hip Hop Music page and now I have over 45,000 fans and can barely crack 300 visitors per day.
Why is That? Three Reasons
1. The introduction of Timeline for pages; this was the first sign that things were going to change and not for the better, custom landing pages where wiped out, so no email optin form on first visit anymore.
2. Promoted Posts, along with Timeline for pages came a new feature from Facebook called Promoted Posts. Ever since Facebook introduced this feature, I noticed that user engagement has decreased substantial, coincidence?
Definitely not, in order for feature like this to be useful Facebook has to hide a significant amount of your updates from your fans, and if you want more fans to see those updates you have to pay and it's not cheap.
Why This Feature Sucks
Lets say you run a Facebook ad campaign promoting your fan page, you will acquire more fans and gain more user engagement….Initially.
But when you post future updates to your page, many of the fans that you've already paid to acquire will not see your message. In order for them to see them you'd have to use the Promoted Posts feature, so in essence your paying twice for the same user to see your message.
What about the users that like your fan page as a result of visiting your website? You'd think since those users actively opted to like your page, Facebook would give more priority to showing your updates to those users but they don't.
This is borderline unethical, though I understand that it's not realistic for all the fans of your page to see you updates, but the fraction of people that Facebook do show your message to is so low that it almost doesn't make sense to promote your fan page, especially for those little guys that have less than a thousand fans.
3. Facebook News Feed Algorithm aka EdgeRank
This is sort of a continuation of #2, EdgeRank is the news algorithm Facebook uses to determine what updates your fans will see and which ones they won't.
An Edge is basically everything that “happens” in Facebook. Examples of Edges or as Facebook calls them “Objects” would be status updates, comments, likes, and shares. They are many more Edges than the ones I listed, simply put any action that happens within Facebook is an Edge.
Things like status updates, links, photos, video or anything else that can be shared on Facebook are considered objects.
How well these objects rank are dependent on 3 factors:
Affinity: The one-way relationship between a User and an object.
Weight: A value system created by Facebook to increase/decrease the value of certain actions within Facebook. Commenting is more involved and therefore deemed more valuable than a Like. In the weighting system, Comments would have a higher value than a Like. In this system all Edges are assigned a value chosen by Facebook.
Timeliness: No one wants to read yesterdays news today, as a object ages it becomes less valuable.
It took me a couple months of experimenting to figure out what works best for increasing user engagement, and armed with the knowledge above, here's what I uncovered.
The Key To Getting More Traffic From Facebook Pages
Some of these I already mention in the “How To Get 1,000 + Visitors Per Day From Facebook Fan Pages” article and they still work today (3 years later).
Photo is king in the world of social media, posting photos to your Facebook Page will get you more views, Facebook lly displays photos higher in the news feed than any other object (free ones at least).
They are simply the most effect, one of the reasons is when you upload a photo to your fan page it has a bigger display in the timeline. (Screenshots below)
This is how it's displayed in the news feed as well and will drive more traffic to you website, the downside is you'll get less likes to your website link since more users are going to naturally like the photo on Facebook and not your web page.
All you have to do when uploading a photo is add a description (Keep it very short) and a link to accompany the photo, the way it is in the screenshot above.
A cool trick to get more user engagement is to add captions to the photos you upload, do something funny or controversial.
It also helps if the picture is about something current and allot of people are aware of.
For example I created a captioned collage that capitalized on all the buzz that surrounded Chris Brown, Rihanna, Drake & ASAP Rock ot the 2012 MTV VMAs.
It was called The Real Love & Hip Hop which instantly went viral, over 14,000 people saw it, 343 likes, 117 shares & 43 comments.
I have allot of fun trying to come up with fun captions for photos, we should all be doing this.
2. Status Updates (Ask Questions)
Status updates don't rank as well as Pictures in Facebook's news feed algorithm but they can become as important if that attain high user engagement.
The best way to achieve this is to ask questions.
Be specific to your Fan page's niche, but be general (somewhat vague or broad) when asking questions, which leaves room for various answers which leads to a longer discussion.
An example of this would be when I asked “What's the best rap verse you ever heard?”
This quickly reached 100 comments in less than an hour and appeared at the top of the news feed longer than a average status update.
3. Posting Links (Breaking News)
Not all links are created equally, links that cover up to the minute news related content in your niche will usually do better than any other type of links posted.
I'll be honest, since the year started I've only had a few links posted to my page that could be considered truly viral.
The most successful would be when Chris Brown accepted the $10 Million offer to Fight Drake, that went viral very quickly and gained me 5,000 visitors to that single post in it's first day. It was copied, shared and distributed all over web.
This doesn't happen very often, I mean how many times are you the first person with exclusive news?
For this method to be successful you have to be first or one of one the first few with something unique, and it has to be about something that the audience in your niche cares about.
These are the 3 main things you can use to overcome the changes that are taking place at Facebook, though less people are seeing your initial message it still boils down to having good content, that people want to actually share.
I have another guide to Facebook pages coming up that will be much more in depth about getting traffic, so be on the lookout for that.
Thanks for reading.
Please share this.