Do you have a Facebook fan page? You should! Facebook fan pages are among the most effective ways of connecting with your audience, and of gaining new readers for your blog. Janis Curry, founder of Really Kid Friendly has put together these practical tips on how to use Facebook fan page tools for bloggers, brands and businesses.
Automatically post blog updates to your Fan Page wall :
RSS Graffitiis a popular and easy to use application which allows you to automatically post your latest blog updates on your Facebook Fan Page wall. This is an excellent way of gaining new readers from outside the blogosphere and outside of Twitter. One of the best aspects of RSS Graffiti that you don’t see with similar applications is that you can update your wall with content from multiplesources for free. That means you can promote content from your partners or sponsors, your favourite blogs, or other RSS feeds that you feel will strike a chord with your audience.
How to install RSS Graffiti:
In your Facebook Fan Page, click the Edit Page link. Click Apps from the list of links along the left of the page, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Browse More Applications. Search “RSS” and you will find a list of about 100 RSS applications to choose from. Click Go To App(top of the RSS Graffiti page) and follow the simple instructions to install the application and enter the desired Feed URL(s). Setting up RSS Graffiti only takes a few minutes, and soon your fans should start seeing the title, snippet and image thumbnail from your latest blog posts on their News feeds and on your Fan Page wall.
A good alternative to RSS Graffiti is Social RSS, but be aware that the free version of the Social RSS application is limited to one RSS feed.
Automatically write selected tweets to your Fan Page wall :
Updating your Facebook Fan Page status from Twitter is a great time saver, but let’s be honest – your fans really don’t want to see a status update that just says @someonesmama LOL ) This is where Selective Tweets application comes in. This application will watch your chosen Twitter account(s) for tweets endingwith the hashtag #fb.
How to install Selective Tweets :
Edit page > Apps > Browse More Applications > Search “Selective Tweets” > Click “Go to App”. To install the application type your Twitter ID in the Your Fan Pages tab, then click Grant Permissions. You can also tick the box in the Settings tab to allow #fb anywhere in the tweet.
Promote your Facebook Page on your Blog or Website :
How do you entice your readers to become fans? You can choose to display a Facebook Badgelinked to your Facebook page. By default it will show your Page’s profile picture, but you can edit the settings to include the number of fans and your latest status update. Better still, you can display a Facebook Like Box on your blog (note that this is NOT the same as a Facebook Like Badge). This displays your Facebook profile picture, and allows users to Like your Facebook page directly from your blog, without even having to leave your website.
Use Facebook under the guise of your brand or business :
As a blogger you have a brand – whether you know it or not! Your blog name, your Twitter alias, your Twitter profile picture, your blogging themes and even the colours you choose say a lot about your blog and will have an effect on who follows you and who doesn’t. From this week, you can now carry that brand identity through to Facebook.
Click on the link that says “Use Facebook as …” to do exactly that. You’ll notice the news feed and the links along the top will change to reflect your Brand’s profile and favourite pages. The feeling of being more connected to your fans is instantaneous – seeing notifications of your fans liking and commenting on your wall in real time draws you in and entices you to interact with them, thank them for their comments, and to click on their profiles to find out more about them. In doing so you better understand your audience, and the conversations switches in a moment from being a one-sided outpouring from your blog to a genuine engagement with your readers. The result is even more comments, likes and other displays of loyalty from your fans, and the impetus to write better and better content. Invaluable for any blogger.
You can also write on other Pages’ walls using your Page identity (your brand) rather than your personal profile. For example, let’s say you’re running a competition on your blog and want to gain some exposure by posting it on Loquax’s facebook wall. Before the Facebook upgrades, the Loquax wall post would have been linked to your own personal account, like this:
It’s a possibly unwelcome intrusion into your personal life, and you’d have thought twice about whether you really wanted all those strangers to know the connection between your blog and you as an individual. Now you can write on Loquax’s wall as your Page, like this:
Use Facebook Insights to learn more about your audience :
If you want to use your blog to connect with your audience, one of the most important things you can do is understand who they are, where they come from, and what makes them tick. Not only will this be critical when you approach a potential sponsor or advertiser, but it will help you write better, more relevant content for your blog. Facebook Insights gives you a quick snapshot of your demographics, in other words the ages, gender and geographical location of your fans. You can also see the number of Likes, Comments and Views, and how this changes depending on the content you posted.
How to use Facebook Insights :
Edit Page > Insights. For more details about your Users or Interactions, just click See Details, and from there you can choose to view by Week, by Month, restrict results to a particular range of dates, and even export to Excel.
I hope that these pointers have helped you understand how to use Facebook to engage with your blog followers and to gain new readers. If you don’t yet have a Facebook Fan Page and are excited about its potential, check back here soon for a step-by-step tutorial on How to Set Up a Facebook Fan Page and How to Choose Between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Fan Page. If you need more detailed instructions on any of the topics covered above, ask below!
Which other tools do you consider essential to Bloggers?