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How I Increased Facebook Reach and Engagement by 200-300% This Week

Note: This post has been updated with fresh examples including our most seen post ever.

Over the last week I’ve been putting a renewed effort into working with Facebook after listening to a session by Amy Porterfield at our ProBlogger Training Event last week.

While our Digital Photography School Facebook Page is something that I update every day with new posts (and it does pretty decently with engagement and driving traffic). Based on some of Amy’s teaching (you can hear them in the virtual ticket) I decided to mix things up and this week I’ve experimented with a few new types of status updates on the page.

Aside: much of what I actioned I already knew I should be doing (or that I’d done once or twice before)… but wasn’t actually actioning regularly. Isn’t that always the way?!

Here are some of the things I’ve experimented with this week:

Image Posts

I’ve long known that images are GOLD on Facebook and have played around with status updates that are a great image from a blog post and a link in the image description. However, truth be told, I get lazy at times and fall into the trap of just adding a link into the status update area and let Facebook pull in an image automatically from the post.

This week I decided to pull my finger out and stop with the laziness and play with a couple of types of image updates. In doing so I realised that the ‘good’ results we’d been getting previously with Facebook pulling in small images from our post meant that we were well and truly under performing.

Single Image Updates

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.57.47 AM.png

Here’s an example of one of these. I chose a visually striking image from this blog post and uploaded the photo to Facebook. I then added a description of the image and a call to action to read the post.

The post got a higher than normal number of likes and shares and drove some really decent traffic to the site.

Collages

I’ve never done ‘collage’ based image updates on Facebook before so this was a very new experiment for me. I’m glad I did it. I used a free web based app called Pic Monkey to create these collages which were a collection of images from blog posts. Here are some examples:

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 10.01.30 AM.png
This status update was our most popular this week. It was a collage of 16 images that came from this blog post from our archives. This was a popular post that I knew had done well on Facebook last year so I thought it might be a good one to experiment with. You can see it received over 850 likes, 502 shares and had quite a few comments. It ‘reached’ over 80,000 people.

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 10 04 21 AM

I was a little surprised by the above collage update. It was a collection of images from this blog post but I almost didn’t publish it as it wasn’t the most visually appealing collage. The post was quite technical and contained diagrams but no stunning photos. However, you can see that the update also did quite well with loads of likes and shares and driving a lot of traffic.

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 10 09 00 AM

This collage was simply an image and a diagram that showed how the image was lit. In some ways the image actually was a ‘how to’ in and of itself and people didn’t need to click the link in the image description to put the tip into place – but they did click!

I experimented with a variety of other types of collages and they all did well. See a couple more examples here and here.

Albums

I’ve used this strategy in the past to great effect. Instead of uploading a single image or pulling multiple images from a post together into a collage, I upload multiple images into their own ‘album’.

You can see an example of one of these albums here (I literally uploaded this a few minutes ago but it’s already getting lots of likes) – it is just 6 images from a larger image collection post on my blog.

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 10 21 47 AM

Interestingly you not only get people liking, commenting and sharing the whole albumin, you also get engagement on the individual photos in the album.

See other examples of albums that I’ve created in the past here and here.

Interaction Updates

Another style of update that I’ve always done because it gets a lot of comments and engagement is where I ask a simple question.

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 10 45 25 AM

By asking followers what they took photos of we not only get lots of comments but many of those who respond actually upload photos for us to see too. That simple actions gets followers looking at each others photos and commenting/liking upon each others comments (true engagement).

Link Updates

While I’ve tried this week to use ‘image’ updates more than I had previously I am still sharing a few ‘link’ based updates as well.

Facebook have recently changed the way that they display these so that now if you have a large image in the post you’re linking to Facebook displays a larger wider version of that image in the update, making it more visually appealing. Here’s an example of one of these.

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 10 50 19 AM

While the engagement on this type of post isn’t as high I have noticed since Facebook made the change, we’re getting a bit more traffic from these updates as well as a higher number of ‘likes’.

The one tip I’d give on these types of updates is that rather than just pasting in your link and letting Facebook choose what text to display add in an introduction and call to action to read the post.

The Impact of this Weeks Experiments

It’s always a little tricky to tell exactly what impact these experiments have as Facebook made other changes in the last few weeks that will have had an impact too. However, we’ve definitely seen an upswing in engagement this past 10 days.

Here’s Facebook’s summary of our last week (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 11.17.01 AM.png

Page likes were up 17.7% on last week, total reach was up by over 200%, post reach up by over 300% and engagement up to just under 300%. Considering that the page was already travelling pretty well – I’m over the moon to see these initial results from these experiments.

Here’s a chart of our page’s ‘likes’ in the last few months:

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 11 05 13 AM

Where a few weeks ago we were seeing a steady 100-300 likes per day this past week we’ve seen that rise to 700-1000 per day.

Similarly the stats are pretty clearly on the rise in terms of likes, comments and shares on posts this past week:

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 11 07 47 AM

As has been ‘total reach’:

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 11 08 49 AM

And the traffic to my blog has seen some improvement (although not the same spikes as we see on the above charts).

Screen Shot 2013 09 24 at 11 14 42 AM

Lastly, here is a screenshot of the last few days stats on each status update that we’ve done (click to enlarge). You can see in it most of the examples I’ve given above to show you how well they did with ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 11.11.46 AM.png

UPDATE

Since publishing this post we’ve seen a result on a status update that has us shaking our head – our most seen update ever. It has been seen by over 135,000 people, liked 2100+ times, received 180+ comments and shared 805 times in the last 8 hours.

Here it is:

our hottest post on facebook

The update was based upon images in this post on the blog (which was a popular post that we published several years ago).

I think the update has been so successful for a few reasons:

  1. Collage Image – as outlined above – collages have been doing well for us. This one has the added benefit of being pretty much self contained and the image is a ‘how to’ by itself without anyone having to go view the post (although they’ve been visiting in great numbers). I do find that these kind of ‘how to’ or illustrative images do well not only on Facebook but also sites like Pinterest.
  2. Humour – the original post on the blog was quite funny with the author making fun of her bottom being shown in image #2. This has certainly been a feature of some of the comments left on the post. Humor works!
  3. Question – when I scheduled this status update I formatted the description of the image as a question. In fact I asked it twice. ‘Do You Know these 6 Techniques to Reduce Camera Shake?’ and ‘Which do you use?’ People are wired to answer questions – hence the high comment numbers. Effectively I’m combining the ‘image’ strategy’ and the ‘interaction’ strategies mentioned above.
  4. Engagement has been high on the page this past week. I suspect one underlying factor is that we’ve been seeing good engagement on the page this past week due to the above experiments. When you get engagement people are more likely to see your new posts – so anyone who has liked/commented/shared this past week is likely to have seen this post.
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Prakash says:

    Many people who use social media facebook to find new friends. However, we must remain cautious when trying to accept friendship with strangers. This is because many criminal cases begins with an introduction occurs through the medium of facebook

  2. Tushar says:

    Facebook is one of the social media that is often used by the public. Activity that occurs in social media really is not that complicated, but it can make people closer even though they are far away.

  3. Anirudh says:

    Darren, I agree with you. Picture comments have great impact! Gonna try for my marketing! Cheers :)

  4. Geoff Todd says:

    My wife started using picture comments on her FB business page and also saw a large increase in reach and engagement. It’s amazing how little changes can have such a big impact.

  5. Tom says:

    Picture is very important because attract more visitors in blog is more interesting.

  6. vijay says:

    thanks Darren for info ! will surely try it

  7. Maria says:

    Thanks for sharing Darren! I usually tell my clients to focus on visual content. I also get more engagement on images with a text overlay (super easy on picmonkey). Double bonus for this strategy: if you pin this image, you can already put a strong call to action on the image and people know the pin is not just a pretty picture, but provides valuable info if they click on it.

  8. Kalee says:

    Great tips! I do find pictures help my analytics, and it also helps my text-only statuses. I think it’s because it creates variety, and it keeps people guessing.

  9. Andrew Bao says:

    This is very useful for people who do in social media. The facebook marketing at present is very effective for every campain, get a lot of users and intergrate with brands so well .

  10. Warren Whitlock says:

    Great data on the import of photos. What got me most was the line about “knowing it before”

    Taking action is always better than knowing:)

  11. Savita Sathe says:

    Amazing idea about increasing likes from Facebook. I think some contest can also increase your Facebook reach.

  12. Photo posts always do better than plain posts for me on facebook too. The collages are by far the highest engagement.

  13. Don’t over look Facebook groups, either. I post everything to my own personal and blog fan pages, but I get a lot more engagement from things I also post to relevant groups (in my case, destination or hobby specific groups–for example, a post about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gets posted to the Upper Peninsula Travel group).

  14. Great post Darren and all your ideas are so straight forward. No rocket science required.

    It prompted me to post an “Ask a question” update last night and I (almost instantly) got a great response. I think asking a question that doesn’t require too much thought is the key. Not so easy it’s kinda dumb, but easy enough for people to answer straight away.

  15. Nice post, but one thing that’s always confused me is around IP ownership. I know the internet is big, but is uploading images to Facebook really right? I mean, you can license someones stock photo, but you don’t own it. And as far as I know, to upload an image to Facebook, you MUST own it – because essentially, you are licensing Facebook to do what they please with it, and you can only do that if you either own it, or have a license that explicitly gives you all rights. Do you have any information on this? It’s all well to say ‘there’s a watermark’, but I have a feeling this could bit you (well, someone) in the backside at some stage.

  16. Jade Craven says:

    You’ve already created the collages to share on Facebook. Spend an extra few minutes adding text to them and add them to the original post. Then, repin them using the DPS account (delete the old pics). I can guarantee you, these will go NUTS on Pinterest.

    Do this for all the really popular posts and I wouldn’t be surprised if the traffic surpasses FB.

  17. Another great post, Darren!

    I agree that a picture of the sorts can boost your traffic especially when its a really good image of something. Of course, with each blog niche, it becomes a bit more challenging. I run a blog like this one and the only images I could see being useful is maybe an infograph or something like that. What would you do in terms of social promotion of images for a site like ProBlogger here?

  18. Emily says:

    It’s interesting to see how facebook decides what to share and how much. Thanks for sharing your stats and allowing us to see the experiments in detail instead of simply talking in the abstract about what works and what doesn’t.

  19. Allan Ward says:

    Pictures certainly seem to work well on Facebook. I like your idea of using collages and also setting up photo albums. That last update where you pose a question is a great idea.

    I’ve heard that using polls is another good way of increasing engagement as every time someone votes, it appears on their timeline for all their friends to see (or at least it did in the past, I’m not sure if this has changed). I’d love to see you test a poll out and see how it goes.

  20. I’ve been looking for solid information on building better engagement with my Facebook audience and this really helped clarify things. I’ve found success in the past with the image gallery posts.

  21. Vamsi says:

    Well, most of the traffic to my blog comes from facebook fan base where I have over 63,000 fans. And I use exactly the same techniques you mentioned here. This is super cool strategy and it works really great!

    Tip: Uploading an interesting images with low resolution and lower image size seems to have worked great for me. So give it a try people.

  22. Fantastic!

    This is an amazing result. I recently stopped using pictures only because I’ve noticed that they tend to not reach as many fans as opposed to pure text updates. Have you experienced this?

  23. Well the images you have used on your facebook account are very impressive ones…and the link you have left their for your post will definitely divert the traffic to your blog so its a nice thing to implement to the posts..
    I like the strategy and the thoughts you have used to generate traffic from social media

    So it was nice thing to implement

  24. Justine says:

    Hi
    Thanks for this great article.
    I have followed your advice made a collage in pic monkey using the illustrations from my children’s book. I then asked viewers which one was their favourite. I also included a CTA. Let’s see what happens :-)
    Question is how do you get the collage to fit nicely in a box like you did? Is there a particular template you used in pic monkey? When I uploaded the file my pics did not all appear – you have to click on the collage to see them all. Can you please advise. Author FB page is https://www.facebook.com/JustineEdwardAuthor. Thanks

  25. The Blogger says:

    Darren –

    Your headlines are great, always manage to waste 5-10 minutes of my time! ;)

    Cheers,
    Greg

  26. We have been experimenting with these same tips on our page and have definitely seen an improvement :)

  27. Darren, great to see you are having good results with Facebook!

  28. Rusty says:

    Darren – Great post. After attending one of Amy’s webinar, I started doing the same thing wand got better engagement.

    I guess the growth data would be the same and not just because of who you are.

    What I’m trying to ask is if you were just an average Joe, would you get the same result?

    Have you ever tried doing a total anonymous page and see if you have the same results. Kind of what Pat Flynm is doing with his Niche Site Dual 2.0?

    Rusty

  29. Bob Gordon says:

    Great blog on engagement. While I love PicMonkey, have not yet tried a Collage! I LIKED your page after reading your post here. Very effective recommendations. Thank you.

  30. Aaron says:

    Nice little write-up. Next step is to learn to use Facebook’s native linking or a URL shortener so you don’t have hideous 80 character URLs spanning across every post.

  31. Thanks I shared this post on my tumblr here –
    http://michaeljgaffney.tumblr.com/

    Great insight, tools, and tips!

  32. I have used these tactics for one of my clients, and his traffic increased this past month by 324%!! I was amazed at the how quickly things changed. I’m hoping that those people who visited and engaged will be regular followers. *fingers crossed* Thanks Darren for letting me know that I was on the right track. You never steer me wrong!

  33. Nitin says:

    very necessary and beneficial tips basically for me because i am facing many problem in engaging my visitors to my posts…i uses 1-2 tips of these but you provided all the necessary tips to inc. traffic . I’ m very thankful to you for this information as it is very necessary for me..
    thanks a lot

  34. Saif says:

    Excellent post. Have you used Facebook campaigns too?
    Thanks

    Saif

  35. Arbaz Khan says:

    Once again a great post with lots of superb tips.
    Facebook can become a great traffic source if you can create a high engagement level on it and with this post I am sure everyone would understand how to create a big and responsive fan base that will become your blog’s audience.

  36. I have to agree with the saying “a picture says a thousand words”
    Personally I tend to like posts that are visually attractive such as great pictures, funny comics, infographics.
    Color is also important and pictures that are vivid rather than bland are the ones that I find most appealing

  37. Eric White says:

    This makes a lot of sense. I’ve known for some time that picture posts are THE way to go (think most people can recognize that), however, I feel like an IDIOT for not realizing the power of a simple question! I’ve done posts before where I ask a simple question like “Where are you traveling this summer?” but never in conjunction with a picture or link! Nice one.

  38. mp3skull says:

    Hi, this post is really helpfull for me i have approx 21k on my fan page but talking and reach is very low its shows 200 or 500 i will try to improve it.

    thanks for great idea.

  39. Ralph says:

    These are awesome tips. I do however have a question for anyone really. Once you create a collage of images, how do you add them to your facebook post? When I try, facebook will just give me the option to choose from thumbnails within the blog post. How do you include a custom image? Is there a plugin for this?

  40. Rakesh Singh says:

    Animated pictures comments and status are attracts to likes on post in facebook comparison to text status updates.

  41. Rohit Gautam says:

    I tried so much to get traffic from Facebook but it no result. there are less reach of visitor on my page. all of your suggestion is so impressive and hope it helpful for me and my blog to get traffic. Thanks for posting this kind of articles.

  42. Aman kumar says:

    Nice Article my friend.Its provide the good information and helping for increasing the knowledge.

  43. Jawbone Up says:

    Wow! Such nice photos and tips! Going to check your photography website as well!

  44. Nice Article, Nice Photos and Nice Explanation, Its also Important for SEO if one want to get high pr in Google Search..

  45. Ellen says:

    Great article! I have begun doing much of what you’re suggesting, and I’ve noticed a very large increase in my Facebook likes at my FB page (www.facebook.com/glutenfreediva). Thank you for all the reminders!!!!

  46. marty says:

    This is why I love your post they so freaking helpful.I just started trying to build my facebook presence and I had no idea how but now I think I have a small road map

  47. Hamza Sheikh says:

    That’s great. I have not used any of these tips on my Facebook page, but after looking at your stats I am seriously thinking to apply some new things for my Facebook folks.

  48. marcus says:

    Thanks a lot , I have been struggling on my new facebook page with lack of engagement. I will implement these strategist as soon as possible.. Thanks marcus

  49. Johnny Ringo says:

    We have a decent amount of success posting albums, but nowhere where we think we should because we have sexy, non-nude content, that involves ladies.

    One thing I am still not sure of is how much it impacts things to “post a link” within the album. We generally post albums to promote a female wrestling video that took place, or pictures for sale, so even if the short term benefits of adding a link is not present, we think it will be in the long term.

  50. Bo's Mom says:

    Great image tips, I will definitely be trying some of them! I have noticed that people seem to respond more when a question is asked, but I hadn’t thought of having an image with the question. Will have to give that a try, too.