Love it or hate it, everyone you know is on Facebook. (Except for that one guy who refuses out of principle.) There are fantastic new social media platforms and certainly great conversations happening elsewhere. But the likelihood that your ideal audience is on Facebook is beyond high. Keeping this in mind, here are 3 Facebook tools you need to use in 2016.
Before we dive in, I want to point out that despite the algorithm change that meant the end of unpaid organic reach on Facebook pages, you can still utilize the platform. The underlying thing to remember is that Facebook loves and rewards Facebook. Anytime you can schedule within Facebook or use a Facebook tool, you SHOULD.
Facebook groups in addition to pages can be a really powerful tool. (Read my article on Jane Friedman’s site for all the details on how this might work for you.) I don’t have a Create If Writing page, but I DO have a group with fabulous people having great conversations. Don’t be frustrated when you have low reach on your page. Check analytics and keep trying to do what’s working on YOUR page.
3 Facebook Tools You Need to Use in 2016
This one has finally rolled out to everyone (or NEARLY everyone) on profiles and many pages. Since 2015 saw an explosion of live streaming with Periscope, Meerkat, and Blab, Facebook had to jump in the game. Using your mobile device, you can stream live right onto your Facebook page or profile.
Why this is a big deal: Live streaming is a fantastic tool and is not going anywhere. But Periscope and Blab aren’t fully mainstream, especially if you are trying to reach people who are not entrenched in online blogs or business. Your ideal audience may or may not be on Periscope, but chances are VERY high that they are on Facebook. When you go live, your audience gets notified. Facebook is rewarding this on pages by showing it more feeds because they want the tool to succeed. This means you have chances of high organic (aka unpaid) reach. People can also click to subscribe so they get a notification every time you go live.
How to use it: I have not yet started using Facebook live, but there are some great resources already on the tool. This will be changing as the platform continues to grow and be used, but this post and podcast from Social Media Examiner is a really great place to start! Important things to know: For now, the videos are square, which is an interesting choice. It looks great on Facebook and makes it a little odd for anyone wanting to repurpose the videos on YouTube or other places where landscape videos work well. If you are using your profile to stream live, you can share this to your page or group, but tell people they need to comment on the original post. You will NOT see the comments from the places you share, so if someone asks a question on your page, but you’re streaming from your profile, you will not see it. This is a good reason to make that particular post on your profile PUBLIC by adjusting the settings.
Who to follow: Jane Friedman is using Facebook live to hold office hours. Holly Homer is doing Facebook live daily talking about blogging and social media. Amy Lynn Andrews is answering questions about blogging and interacting with her audience frequently. This may change over time. If you have any great people to watch, leave a comment!
Facebook Instant Articles
Facebook has had Notes for a long time, but they never really caught on. Instant Pages is a newer feature that Facebook is using to try and get people to publish more long-form content in their space, rather than linking out. (Again, Facebook loves Facebook.) This tools has a few more steps than Facebook Live, so I may not begin using this one right away. But if Facebook does throw its weight behind you using their tools, it would be a great idea for you to publish content her in the platform.
A quick note about publishing content NOT on your site. Many people are really after pageviews, mostly because of ad revenue or getting the numbers for more money for sponsored posts. I tend to favor finding PEOPLE over pageviews, which is to say readers. I would rather have readers, even if they aren’t reading on my blog. I have more people on my email list than the number of pageviews I have most months on this blog. I definitely would like to see my blog traffic grow, but my bottom line is my email list. I want targeted people to stay connected with me. (Now is a good time to mention that if you are NOT on my email list, I give great curated links weekly and offer free monthly trainings for my subscribers. Sign up now so you won’t miss anything!)
Why this is a big deal: Again, Facebook rewards Facebook. Instant Pages is intended for mobile users, which accounts for a huge percentage of users. It looks great on mobile and gives your readers a chance to read your content right where they are. If you are a WordPress user, there is a way to connect your posts directly to Facebook Instant Pages, which should make this seamless. This also means that you don’t have to spend a ton of time creating separate content. It’s a way of syndicating your content right through your own little space on Facebook. You can also get EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS right through the Instant Articles. You know I’m all over that.
How to use it: Again, this is one I’m planning to use, so expect to see this rolling out from me in the next few months. Here is a great post that walks WordPress users through connecting your site to Instant Articles. Snag a plugin and BOOM. It will not roll out for everyone until April 12, so check under Settings on your page to see if you have it yet!
Video is a phenomenal way to attract eyes. But many people don’t have the skillset and feel overwhelmed so they just don’t use video as part of their platform. The fabulous thing about Facebook Slideshows is that you can upload photos, plug them into Slideshow, and have your own “video” that will play on your page. They remind me a bit of stop motion video, and there are a ton of creative ways to utilize this.
Why this is a big deal: Do I need to say AGAIN that Facebook rewards Facebook? (Oh, I just did.) These slideshows are slick and look fantastic even thought they require very little work by YOU. Yes, I’ll take it! Consider how you could creatively use these slideshows in your page! They also have a call to action at the end, which can increase your engagement.
How to use it: There is a fantastic step-by-step on Kitz & Collective that will walk you through the easy process to get you started. You simple need a Facebook page and some photos. The end.
Out of the three tools, are you planning to use any? If you feel overwhelmed, start with slideshows, which anyone could create with a few minutes. Maybe I should get on that myself…