Last month, Twitter had a wildly successful IPO but our data shows Facebook is really where it’s at (at least for website owners).
The dominant social network, unsurprisingly, drives the most social traffic to websites. With well over 1 billion monthly active users who like, share and comment on posts on their feed, Facebook has a ridiculously large and highly engaged user base.
That’s exactly why you need to use Facebook for your business. But frankly, with all the “Definitive Guides” and “How-Tos” suggesting you use Facebook one way or another, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and ultimately fail at Facebook marketing.
That’s why we asked 13 successful founders and members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, to share their best practical tips for driving traffic to your content from Facebook. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Think Context
If you blog, don’t just autopost your new post immediately after hitting the publish button. For example, Facebook engagement rates tend to be higher on Thursday and Fridayafternoons. Also think about the context. What works on Twitter or your email list might not work great on Facebook. Where are your readers at the moment they read your post? At home? On the bus? Craft your message accordingly.
— Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media
2. Give Them What They Want
Most of our customers are busy businesspeople. We try to make our content as clear and concise as possible while remaining educational. If we wouldn’t bookmark it for later reference, then we don’t publish it. When we do post something on Facebook, it’s very factual and up front — no teasing or slick ad copy, just directly what you’ll learn by clicking on the link.
3. Simplicity, Color, Call to Action
Most humans use Facebook for simple, social reasons and are not thinking critically or deeply when using the site. To get them to take non-social, off-Facebook actions you have to first speak to them in a way that will resonate with their less-focused mindset. Choosing easily understandable photos comprised of complimentary colors to Facebook (orange) with clear calls to action works best.
4. Ask for the Share
Getting your Facebook friends and fans to share your content is key to getting a mass multiplication of click-throughs. During a recent launch for a new company, I asked a large swath of my Facebook friends to help me publicize my launch — their shares drove the bulk of my initial site traffic.
— Brendan Mangus, Colorwheel Media Consulting
5. Love and Laugh
I have seen and analyzed hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts. Those with either a romantic touch (love quote or photo) or a short one-liner joke get the most attention, likes, shares, comments and thus potential content traffic.
6. Make It Exclusive
Fans connect with your brand on Facebook because they want to feel like they have access to insider content or information that isn’t available elsewhere. Reward their loyalty by offering great exclusive content to fans first. If content is meaningful or important to your audience, they will share it with their friends.
7. Get a Following First
Many people think posting great content is all they need to do, but if you don’t have a following, no one will ever see what you post. Paying for Facebook ads targeting your key demographics or boosting posts make a whole lot of sense initially. Once you have an audience, your content will at least stand a chance to drive traffic.
— Robert Delossantos, Sky High Party Rentals
8. Be Brief But Interesting
We’ve seen the most success from Facebook when we’ve posted a brief summary of an in-depth topic with a clear message that there’s more to read by visiting our site. We’ve also posted the link in two places: at the end of the update and in the attachment box. We always rewrite the attachment box’s headline so it is attention-grabbing, and we make sure to select an eye-catching photo.
— Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent
9. Post a Short Message and Cool Picture
Facebook users scroll through their newsfeeds fast. If you want to grab someone’s attention, use a pithy headline and a flashy picture. It is all about grabbing attention in those milliseconds when someone glances over a post. Don’t give the article away with a ton of text; just use a clear, witty headline that will drive clicks.
10. Appeal to Vanity
People go on Facebook to express themselves. Shift your focus away from asking people to pay attention to you and toward giving them opportunities to make themselves look cool, smart, funny, etc. This is as true of B2B marketing as it is for consumer products.
— Mary Ellen Slayter, Reputation Capital
11. Write Intriguing Article Titles
Your article titles should catch people’s attention and make them curious enough to click through to your site. Bland article titles will result in subpar click-through rates. You are competing for your users’ attention; mysterious headlines that allude to your content will generate great click-through rates.
12. Venture Off Your Own Wall
Venture off your own wall and comment on the feeds and share the posts of other businesses in your industry. It may be a bit hostile to write directly on a competitor’s wall, but services and companies that are relevant to your business in other ways may welcome your contributions and comments because you have overlapping audiences.
13. Take Advantage of Ads
Someone had to say it. With the content from your Facebook page being limited to just 16 percent of your audience, sometimes it pays to get ahead. If there isn’t a lot of competition for your target demographic, you can score cheap clicks through Facebook’s ad platform.
— Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.
What tips would you add here?
P.s. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.