We've successfully grown a Facebook page to just shy of 100,000 likes over the past few years. We've found that those likes can really drive a large amount of traffic to our website each day, when done properly.
During our day to day activities on the page, we've also spent a great deal of time watching other similar and competing pages. Some have grown quickly and done very well, and others ... well, haven't done nearly as well.
Over the past few years, we written down a few key strategies that we've seen successful Facebook pages consistently do, and noted the things unsuccessful pages failed to do.
Here's our list of the Top 5 Common Facebook Page Owner Mistakes:
1 - Not having a website
This one seems to be the most common. Facebook page owners that often have several thousand and more likes and don't have a webpage to send those followers to.
Why is having a website important? Facebook has a number of different Terms of Service items related to earning money using Facebook. As a result, page owners have to be very careful about what they do, or risk having their pages banned.
There are really no restrictions though around sending traffic from your Facebook page to your website or blog, which makes having one critical to earning money and providing additional value to your Facebook "Fans".
Here are just a few of the more important reasons you should have a website or blog for your Facebook page:
- Publish longer and more comprehensive articles. Having a website allows you to publish longer and more detailed articles than would normally be acceptable on Facebook. For example, perhaps you recently did some really neat "Do It Yourself" project, with lots of pictures. Traditionally a large article with that many pictures wouldn't fit well within the traditional Facebook post model. BUT, this project written up on a blog as a "how to article", then shared on Facebook with a link back to the article with all the details generally does VERY well on Facebook.
- Advertising revenue. By posting photos, cute sayings, and small text "tidbits" on Facebook, you are certainly providing value to people and increasing your following BUT you are also lining Facebooks pockets with money, and not really lining yours with any.
- Facebook exposure is limited. Facebook has openly admitted that the distribution of your page content will decline over time. Many of us that own Facebook pages are definitely seeing this trend. About 10-20% of the people that like our page actually see our page content. The 80% don't. By having a website you can encourage people to visit your website directly, or better yet sign-up for your email distribution list. This gives you direct control over who sees your content and when.
- Facebook won't be around forever. While I certainly think it's a long way off, there will come a day when Facebook won't be near as popular as it is today, and perhaps even no longer exist. While having 250k followers on your Facebook page is great, once Facebook is gone, those 250k followers are useless. Sending those people to your website, and encouraging them sign-up for your mailing list, allows you to contact and update them, even without Facebook.
2 - Not sharing their website address on their page or posts
Some Facebook owners get my first point, and have a website for their Facebook page. The problem is, they don't tell people about the website often enough! If people don't know you have a website, they aren't going to visit it. The single most important thing you can do to get people to visit your website is to tell them the web address.
Here's a photo post we pull from our Blue Ridge Mountain Life Facebook page:
Note that we included a link to our website. I don't do this for every single image, but I do it often.
Facebook recently introduced some changes in their algorithm, and unfortunately posts with links don't get near as much reach as they used to. Even worse, consecutively posted images with links, perform even worse.
As a result, we've learned to mix it up, and post some photos with links, and others without links.
Here are a few more tips:
- Put your website address in your page's "About" information area. This is the area at the top of your page, where you tell people what your page is about. I'm shocked at the number of people that don't do this!
- Watermark your images with your website address. If you are posting an image that you own, put a watermark on the image with your websites address.
- Post links on your Facebook page to articles that reside on our blog or website, and use a photo for the post from the article. I do this for all of my articles, and repeat those posts every few days. Remember, not everyone sees your first post and you should have new followers too your page that need to see your articles as well. Repetition is a good thing.
3 - Using Copyrighted Images
We see numerous Facebook pages posting copyrighted images on their pages every single day. These pages almost always seem to try and imply the image is theirs. Not only is this illegal, it's ethically wrong.
Don't do this.
Not only will you most likely get called out in public for it, you'll also hurt relationships, hurt your credibility, and you might even get your page banned or have legal action brought against you (yes, we've seen this happen) . Sharing copyrighted images just isn't worth it, as there are many other beautiful images that are sharable.
Our "Golden Rule" is: if you aren't sure if the image is copyrighted and/or sharable, don't share it. Be extra careful sharing images from other Facebook pages where there is no image attribution too.
Instead, find images that are sharable under the "Creative Commons" license and share those. Additionally, many photographers are on Facebook and allow their images to be shared, with the appropriate credit, either by sharing the image directly from their page, or by posting the image and linking out to their page.
Finally, if you find an image that you really want to share, but aren't sure if you can or not, just contact the photographer and ask. In many cases, they will let you share the image.
Getting explicit permission is not only respectful, it may keep you out of legal trouble too.
4 - Not paying attention to Facebook insights
I'm not going to go into a great amount of detail on Facebook Insights, but we will strongly advise you to learn about Facebook Insights AND pay attention to the data you'll find in this easy to understand tool.
Facebook Insights will show you what posts your "fans" like, and which ones they don't. If you spend a little time each day reviewing insights, you can learn what to post and what not to post.
The magic formula for success using Insights?
Post more of what your fans like, and less of what they don't.
Yep, it's just that simple. Post what your fans like, and they will share and like your content, and your page will grow.
5 - Not building relationships with other Facebook page owners
Last, but certainly not least, is that I see Facebook page owners making the same mistake that many bloggers used to make: T
They fail to understand the importance of relationship building.
Let's say you have a brand new Facebook page. You have 10 likes (all your family and friends of course 😉 ), but you want to really get your page to grow.
The best way to do this is to start sharing content from other successful Facebook pages. This alone might get you on the Facebook page owners radar, but commenting on their page or even better, sending them a message to introduce yourself, is FAR more effective.
BUT, please don't beg them to share your posts. Just keep it simple, perhaps something like this:
Hi <page owner name>. I recently started following your page and love it. I decided to start my own Facebook page, <Your Facebook page link> and really look forward to sharing your posts. Would love to stay in touch, and partner together to help our pages grow and provide value to the Facebook community. Thank you! - <Your name>
Now, that is just a sample - please don't use that verbatim, as adding a personal touch is really important. But hopefully this gives you an idea of what I mean. Oh, and don't use this same template for every page owner, again, mix it up and make it personal.
We work hard to build positive relationships with other page owners that have pages related to ours. More importantly, we really focus on building relationships with photographers, as they provide the majority of the content I share on my page, and we're photographers as well, so we enjoy meeting them.
Just because we're in the modern days of the internet, doesn't mean that good old fashioned relationship building no longer applies. In fact, it very much exists, and always will. Personal relationships are key.