Everyone knows about Facebook, but did you know that 1 in 5 web page views in the United States takes place on there? Facebook is clearly way too big for anyone online to ignore.
Some other Facebook stats (from January 2015):
- There are 1.39 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide
- Average time spent on Facebook per day is 21 minutes per user
- 890 million people login to Facebook daily
- There are 1.9 billion mobile Facebook users
- 4.5 billion likes are generated per day
- Traffic peaks in the middle of the week from 1 to 3 pm
- Traffic is the most engaged on Thursday and Friday
Those numbers listed above are huge and demonstrate that Facebook is a true giant in the current internet ecosystem.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at a few things you can do to get traffic from Facebook. These include:
- Creating a page and posting to it.
- Buying targeted ads.
- Using Facebook Groups.
Creating a Facebook page
Before you can use Facebook to get traffic to your website, you first need a page for your site, brand, organization or company.
-How to create a Facebook page
To create a Facebook page, you first need a profile. You should already have a personal profile that you can use. Don’t worry about having the page in your profiles name, as you can add other profiles to manage the page later, and can remove your profile if you want. Log in to your profile and go to the “home” screen (that’s the one that shows your news feed). On the “home” screen, in the left column there is a section called pages, and at the bottom of that section is an icon of a plus sign with orange in it, and next to it is written “create page.” Click that to get started making your new page.
Next you are taken to a page that looks like the image above with six different boxes that you can categorize your page in. There is probably a semi-obvious category for you to list your page in, and you can change this later if you want. I’ve read that you can be strategic with your labeling of your page category if you’re in a competitive field and want to be a bit different. For instance, some news sites that are about software instead label themselves in software. Some sports sites that are about cross fit label themselves in health.
After you pick a category, you might need to pick a sub-category. Otherwise, you are asked to enter a page name and then you hit the button to continue. After you hit that button, you page is created. Now you can go to your page and customize it.
-Profile image and cover photo size
Once you are on your new page and ready to customize it, the first things you should do are to fill out the profile fields, add a profile image, and pick a cover photo. Profile fields are things like listing your website (important for traffic and is a good backlink), writing a short and long description, adding a location, and more. Your profile image should be at least 180 pixel by 180 pixels. The actual image size is 160 x 160, but it is better to go bigger and downsize for quality. You’ll want your profile image to both represent your brand, be something that works when it is shown as a tiny thumbnail when you post of Facebook, and to also be something that stands out to users. An image of a person is usually not a great idea, and most of Facebook is images of people. Using color can be good, or do something minimalist and clean without much going on. The cover photo should be 851 pixels by 351 pixels, which is an odd size. For the cover photo, I would just do something that looks good. No poorly done graphics or pixelated images.
Posting to Facebook
Now that you have a Facebook page, you are ready to begin posting your content. This content should be the similar to the content you are posting on your WordPress site, but you could try to get a bit more personal and share related content as well. This ideally is content closely related to your category/niche/market/topic that your readers will find interesting and of value, and most importantly they will want to read it and maybe share it.
-Tagging and adding mentions in posts on Facebook
One key part to posting on Facebook is to add hashtags and keywords so that people searching for those things have a chance of finding your posts. So if you are writing about SEO, use #seo. You also can mention people or pages, which is an effective way to get noticed by the audience of those you mention. So if you mention a huge page like @GeneralMotors, people that are looking through GM stuff could find your content. You can even take this further and use it as a marketing technique. Facebook shows trending topics, and you can piggy back on those to get your posts seen. Obviously don’t spam topics or hastags, but if you actually have a clever take on something or want to add to the conversation, this can be a good way to get traffic and get your posts seen.
-Image size for posts to Facebook
When posting your content, one of the things you should consider is the image. According to Social Media Examiner, the ideal image size for Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google + is 1280 x 720 pixels. That is a fairly large image size that might be a bit difficult to come up with consistently and to work on in browser. I’ve instead been using 1000 x 562 pixels, which is the same dimensions but smaller, easier to create, and takes less memory to store. It still shows up really well on those four social media sites listed above. The way you want images to show up as is a big rectangle that is above your embedded post excerpt, and below the url. So you write a post and publish on WordPress. Then go to Facebook and put the link in to a new post spot. It will preview the post and you can adjust it (you might have to pick the right image). Once it is ready to go, you can post it, save as a draft, or schedule it.
-Ideal posting times and auto-posting with Publicize, HootSuite, Buffer, etc.
I really think scheduling Facebook posts is the way to go if you are either posting at odd times (like late at night) or want to post a lot of content. Scheduling through Facebook seems to work better than using tools, but you can set things up outside of Facebook to get your posts scheduled with all your social media sites at once. In WordPress, Jetpack gives you this functionality by setting up the publicize capability, which I do use sometimes. Other software you can use includes Buffer and HootSuite.
When posting to Facebook, you’ll want to carefully consider what you are posting and how often. Cluttering your user’s feeds can lead to losing those users, as can posting content that nobody cares about. If you have some kind of viral content that you regularly post, I would say posting no more than every half hour would be a good strategy. If you have informative content, probably just a few pieces per day that are spread out evenly would be good. You should monitor how your posts do and adjust to what you see.
Some of you probably read that last part and gasped, thinking to yourselves that posting every half hour is ridiculous. While you probably don’t have enough content to be posting that often, you could share other’s content using an automated tool like Buffer or HootSuite. You can even use Feedly to easily grab content to share. Basically, you fill up your sharing queue and then let it run. If you’re looking for a way to get traffic from Facebook for free, this is a way that seems to lead to gaining free followers, which you then can get free web traffic from. All of that is essentially done just by posting.
You also might want to consider the time of day when posting to Facebook. I mentioned earlier in this post that traffic is highest midweek from 1 to 3 pm, and also there is more interactions on Facebook on Thursday and Friday. That might not be true for you. In fact, I have one site that seems to always do the best on Sunday afternoons and it does terrible on Friday nights. As that is the case, I make sure that I always have posts going on Sunday and I don’t post much on Friday. You definitely want to time when you are debuting new posts that you’ve worked hard on (Also, I should mention that you should repost your posts a few times).
Buying targeted ads on Facebook
By now you should have a Facebook page and be posting content there that includes keywords, tags, and mentions, and hopefully you are posting on a schedule or at least trying to evenly space out posts and only post during ideal posting times. All of that should get you some traffic and some likes, but really the best way to get your Facebook page to take off is to purchase ads on Facebook.
That is probably a scary thought to some of you that are new to online advertising, but Facebook actually makes it really easy to run ads, track results, and, best of all, their ads are actually fairly cheap while also being extremely targeted. This really is how Facebook makes money. They have a huge amount of user information that they let marketers use to advertise.
-Put a spending limit on your account
Before running you first ad campaign on Facebook, go to your page and from the top right choose the “promote” drop down, and from there click on ad manager. This takes you to the ad manager where you should click on billing. Here you can set a spend limit, which I would recommend. You can always change this later, but for beginners I think it is nice to have that piece of mind that you will only be charged up to a certain amount. I think people could make mistakes and accidentally spend thousands, so to have a cap on your spending is nice. I put my first cap at $25.
-Setting up a campaign
Once you’re ready to start a campaign, you need to choose the type of campaign you want to run. Do you want to boost posts, get page likes, or get people to your website? I think first you need an understanding of what those different campaigns are before you can really know.
If you are boosting a post, that post is essentially promoted across Facebook to the audience of your choosing. They give you a predicted cost per 1,000 impressions, which are times the ad is shown to people. I’ve run post boosts in the past that get down to $0.00099 per page impression (that’s $0.99 for 1,000 impressions). If you get a lot of post engagements, the number of impressions that post makes can grow a lot as it can appear in the feeds of anyone that is friends with anyone who engages with your post. So Friend A is targeted, sees your post, and likes it. Friend B is not targeted, but sees your post because Friend A liked it.
While boosting posts is a great way to get a post seen by a lot of people for cheap, it also doesn’t help to grow your permanent audience that effectively. Those people that read your post probably will quickly go through it and then leave forever. Very few will bookmark your site, like you on Facebook, or join your mailing list.
A more permanent way to get traffic from Facebook is to get people to like you. Then, everytime you post to Facebook, some of your users will see your posts because they have liked your page. Those are essentially free return page views. The percentage of your likes that see the content you post seems to change regularly, but at the time of writing it seems to be around 10% for most of the pages I manage. So everytime I post something, 10% of the people that have liked my page see the content I posted. That may not seem like much, but if you can get to a thousand likes on Facebook (which really isn’t that difficult, especially if you are using ads) that means that you have a built in audience of 100 people for every Facebook post you make. A good post that gets shared by a number of people that have liked your page could then easily end up bringing in thousands of impressions, at least setting you up with the potential of having a post go viral on Facebook.
Using Facebook Groups
Wondering how to get traffic from Facebook for free?
Another way to get traffic from Facebook is through Facebook groups, and this method doesn’t require you to spend your hard earned money.
To do this, you first need to find a group to join. Try searching for your keywords in the search box. In the results, pick groups. There should be some groups related to your topics for you to join. You may need to be approved to get into a group.
As your objective with groups is to get traffic, you should try to join all the big groups related to your topic that you can. Once you’re in the group, try to take part by commenting, liking stuff, and try to make some friends.
You can then post to the group board. When you do so, your posts will show in the feeds of some of the other members of the group. This of course gives you the chance to get views.
As there are some groups that have 20,000 or more members, groups are really a great way to potentially get page views, or even Facebook likes. I would advise you not to abuse the ability to post too much. Try to keep your posts to maybe 1/10th of your group activity, and don’t post more than once a week.
This post should give you at least some ideas on how to get started with getting traffic from Facebook. This is admittedly a huge topic and this post really is just a brief overview or getting started guide. There are entire websites that focus on the topic of using Facebook for marketing that you can check out to learn more. Two that I would recommend are Social Media Examiner and Jon Loomer.