Using Facebook Pages to Promote Your Blog

Today Mike Henry explores Facebook pages (as opposed to profiles) and how they can be use to promote their blog, business, product or profile.

Darren wrote a post recently on 12 tips for building relationships with other bloggers. They are all great tips that could be expanded into individual posts or even an entire blog, particularly in the area of social networks.

Using social networks can be a fantastic source of traffic and generating a community around your site. There is a minefield of information on marketing on social networks, so I would just like to write about one technique that has worked for me with Facebook.

Many people have profiles on Facebook and people are quick to put their URL in their profile. This is great for your friends to see what you are doing, but is difficult to expand beyond your networkd of friends. Most people using Facebook try to keep their “friends” to people they have actually met or have some kind of relationship with.

The answer to this is Facebook pages. Facebook pages were created for authors, businesses, politicians and celebrities to build a community around whatever they are promoting. Unlike Myspace, individual profiles can only have a limited number of “friends” in Facebook and there is no way to send email to all of your friends at one time.

Once you have created a page on Facebook, people can then become your “fan” or “supporter”. You don’t have to accept people as a fan and they can’t see your individual profile. On a page you can then easily add relevant pictures and video. You can have a discussion board and add any of the thousands of applications to your page.

One of most powerful features of Facebook pages for marketers is that you can send email updates to all of your fans. For people who limit their friends to just the people they actually know in Facebook, you can expect that the messages they receive in Facebook have a higher chance of being read than emails sent to their regular address. Also there is no chance of messages going to a “junk mail” inbox, your messages are assured of 100 per cent deliverability.


Barack Obama has one of the most popular pages on Facebook, with over 800,000 fans. Could there be a better or cost effective way for him to reach his voters?

Facebook has cracked down on people putting up pages to businesses, brands and people that they have no claim to and you may have to provide proof that you are the owner of the business or product that you are promoting.

Facebook pages require little maintenance and if you have good keywords in the title of the page you create, people will find your page naturally. You can promote your page through Facebook’s PPC advertising, but personally I haven’t found it necessary to get decent traffic to my page. Facebook also provides interesting analytics to your pages and you can even see gender and age breakdown of your fans.

As it becomes more difficult to compete in search listings and delivering your messages through email, creating a Facebook page is an easy and effective way to connect to your community

How To Promote Other People’s Content and Drive Traffic to Your Own Blog

Much has been written on the topic of how to utilize social bookmarking and networking sites to promote your own blog posts. Submitting your posts to sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit – posting about your posts on Twitter and Plurk….

All of these techniques can work to drive significant traffic to your blog – however there’s another tactic that can be quite powerful that I’ve not seen many people write about. It’s similar to the idea of submitting your posts to social media sites:

  • It still involves social media sites
  • It still can result in significant traffic being driven to your blog

However there’s one main difference. It involves submitting other people’s posts to social media sites.

Let me give you a live example of how promoting another blogger’s post drove significant traffic to my blog:

Yesterday I noticed a little traffic coming to my post on my switch to Gmail and using it drastically reduced my email workload. The traffic was coming from another blog who had picked up and extended my ideas. The post was good and the blogger had generously linked back to my own post quite prominently in the opening paragraph.

Many bloggers would see a post like this linking to them and feel happy about it – but leave it at that. But what I decided to do was to promote it heavily via my own social media networks. I immediately dugg it (it had already had a few diggs), voted for it in StumbleUpon (again it had already been submitted) – but then decided to ‘sneeze’ the link out to my networks.

I Twittered and Plurked it and also shot the email to a few other key bloggers who I thought would find the post helpful (one linked up on their blog and another couple Twittered it too).

An hour later the post was on the front page of Digg and had quite a few extra Stumbles. The result was quite a bit of traffic coming over to my post from the link in the first paragraph. By no means was it as much traffic as the post itself would be getting but it was still significant.

I didn’t ask anyone else to vote for it on Digg – but knew that by promoting it it would naturally get Dugg as the post has a Digg button prominently on it. I also don’t think that it was my efforts alone that got the post popular on Digg – the article was good quality and deserved some attention – I just gave it a little help.

The Benefits

This practice is one that has multiple benefits.

  • Obviously the first one is that you drive some traffic to your own blog indirectly.
  • You also build some good will with the blogger that you’re promoting. Helping someone achieve a front page article on Digg is something people generally get excited about.
  • SEO – there are some secondary and longer terms SEO benefits from being linked to by another blog that gets on the front page of Digg. A post getting to the front page of Digg gets a lot of other blogs linking up to it in addition to the link from Digg. This means that that post gets some good ‘Google Juice’. This of course flows onto your own post. Even if it doesn’t go ‘popular’ even your extra links on Twitter and Plurk can give the page a little ‘juice’ that can have flow on effects.

A Few Words of Advice and Warning

  • I should say that I don’t do this for every post that links to me. I only select the best posts and ones that I think add value to those in my network. I don’t purely do this in the hope of getting traffic – I do it with the goal of linking to good content for my network and building relationships with other bloggers.
  • Don’t just share links to your own posts or posts that link to you via Twitter or Plurk. Regularly share posts that add value to your network from lots of sites. Otherwise you’ll get a reputation as being too self centered and spammy. Your followers and friends will begin to see you as a valuable resource if you provide them with genuine value over time.

Ways to Promote Other People’s Content

There are a variety of things that you can do to promote other people’s posts in this way:

  • Submit them to Social Bookmarking Sites
  • Share the links on Twitter/Plurk/Pownce
  • Share the links on Facebook/Myspace etc
  • Promote the post to other relevant bloggers
  • Blog about their Posts
  • Share the link on Google Reader

Feel free to share some of your own ideas on how you’d go about promoting other people’s content.

The Main Difference Between Twitter and Plurk (to me)

Over the last week I’ve been experimenting with a social messaging/micro blogging service called Plurk. Over the last week I’ve seen many comparisons between it and Twitter – but wanted to show one of the main differences that I’ve observed:

To illustrate let me show you a ‘tweet’ and a ‘plurk’ message that I posted an hour ago:

I shot this question out to my ‘followers/friends’ on both services – “What is the #1 reason that you blog?”

The response was instantaneous on both services. I got great replies on both. There were many more Twitter answers than Plurk ones – but that is because I have around 10 times as many ‘friends’ on Twitter as I do on Plurk.

However there is one main difference….

The responses that emerged on Twitter were a whole lot of individuals responding to me in isolation. Your followers on Twitter don’t know what other people have answered.

On Twitter I saw this page a few minutes after I asked the question:

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There’s some great responses there – (and there were another 60 or so) but the problem is I was the only person who saw them ALL.

On Plurk the responses are all grouped together – not only for you to see but for your followers to see also.

Here’s the beginning of the responses on Plurk a few minutes after I plurked:

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If you scrolled down further you see that I added a followup question – something that people responded to in the thread:

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You can actually view the full Plurk conversation on this page.

This style of conversation means that everyone benefits from the whole conversation – not just me. It means that it’s not unusual for conversations to emerge between your friends as well as between you and your individual friends.

The other thing that I like about Plurk is that conversations are contained and don’t get as mixed up as they do on Twitter.

10 minutes after asking the question on Twitter my ‘replies’ page contained all kinds of messages. Some were still responding to the first question I asked, some to the followup, others were responding to earlier tweets, some had moved on to new topics with me….

Which is Best?

This is the question I’m being asked more and more. Is Plurk ‘better’ than Twitter? My answer is generally that I think both are great. You see there are times where the more communal, multidirectional conversation that Plurk offers is brilliant – but there are other times where you don’t necessarily need it and where the more one on one conversation is more effective.

I also get the feeling that while there is a definite overlap between Twitter and Plurk in terms of who is using them – that there’s a different kind of person using each one. Plurk seems to have emerged out of a younger crowd than Twitter – perhaps this is more useful in some circumstances also.

Top 10 Plurk Users Statistics – What’s the Karma Algorithm

As a quick followup to my last post on my experimentation with Plurk I thought I’d do a quick analysis of the top 10 Plurk Users (as currently rated on the Interesting page). They are rated there on a basis of their ‘Karma’. There’s no explicit definition of the way that they calculate Karma except:

“Your karma score is directly influenced by you and your friends Plurk activity. The more active you are, the more points you’ll get. Using various features of Plurk such as instant messaging or uploading a profile image will also help. Invite your real friends to boost your karma!”

So lets look at some of the average statistics of the top Plurkers and see what seems to count towards a high Karma:

  • # of Plurks – 838
  • # of Plur Responses – 3477
  • # of Friend Invites – 10.2
  • # of Profile Views – 689
  • # of Friends – 82
  • # of Fans – 56
  • Length of time on Plurk – 3 months
  • Also worth noting – all of the top 10 had logged in and been active within the last 24 hours. They are all active in the short term as the long term

I was a little surprised by a couple of the numbers. The description of Karma seems to indicate that inviting friends would count for a fair bit – but the average of the top 10 is 10. The most any of them had invited successfully was 20. Having said that – the 9th ranked Plurker was well under average with # of plurks, responses, profile views, fans and length of time but had the most friend invites so perhaps they do count for something.

Add a ProBlogger Tab to Your FriendFeed

If you are a FriendFeed user AND you like ProBlogger – you might want to check out a greasemonkey script for Firefox users that Duncan created that puts a ProBlogger tab to the top right hand corner of your FriendFeed page.

It means you can view ProBlogger from within FriendFeed – like this (click to enlarge):

Picture 18

He’s also made some others for other blogs and also Gmail and Google Reader (among others) which means you can use FriendFeed as a start page for lots of sites. Grab the ProBlogger Script here.

Playing with Plurk

PlurkJust a very quick post to let readers know that I’m playing with Plurk (another micro blogging/life streaming tool that is a little like Twitter).

At first I only intended to grab my names (problogger and darrenrowse) and use them as placeholders but I’m now starting to find it a really interesting medium. It takes the Twitter experience to the next level with threaded comments, cliques/groups (yet to explore these) and all kinds of other features.

It’s a little quirky and it takes a while to get used to the way updates are displayed (it’s all on a sideways scrolling timeline) but it’s definitely got some potential. Anyway – if you have time in your life for another social media site – check out Plurk. At the least it could be worth reserving your name/s in case it does get popular and you want to use it at some point in the future.

PS – if you’re a ‘Plurker’ tell us what you think about it in comments below. What do you like about it, what don’t you like about it and how would you describe it?

Twitter is a Complete Waste of Time!

Every time I’ve written about Twitter (or FriendFeed or most other social media) I see comments left saying ‘Twitter is a waste of time’.

My response is simple – yes it is.

Twitter is a waste of time…. unless you use it in a way that isn’t.

  • Twitter can be a waste of time just like blogging can be a waste of time.
  • Twitter can be a waste of time just like going to conferences and talking to people face to face can be a waste of time.
  • Twitter can be a waste of time just like other micro-blogging/life streaming/social messaging tools like Plurk and FriendFeed.
  • Twitter can be a waste of time just like talking on the phone can be a waste of time.

I would argue that there’s never been a type of communication invented that can’t be used in a way that is a waste of time.

The key is the way you use it.

Twitter can be beneficial to bloggers in many ways (I’ve written 9 ways that Twitter benefits me here) but the key is to work out how you want it to benefit you and to go about using the tool (and it’s nothing more than a tool) in a way that takes you a step closer to it paying off in those ways.

If you’re just on Twitter because everyone else is and you’re using it in an unfocused way then you’re unlikely to see it as anything more than a waste of time.

I would also add that I don’t think Twitter is ever going to be something that everyone should use.

The way people talk about Twitter (or any other type of social media tool) sometimes reminds me of how people used to talk about Blogging.

Four or Five years ago I heard people speaking about blogging as though it’s the answer to every problem that a company or individual might have with their online presence. It was claimed that blogging could do almost everything and fix any issue you faced. The truth is that blogging can be great but it’s not right for every situation. The same is true for Twitter.

It takes a certain type of personality to click with Twitter and it will only ever meet some of your needs and even then, only if you’re smart about it.

If not, it could well be a waste of time!

A Question to Ask about Your Use of Any Medium

When looking at Twitter, or any medium for that matter, the question to ponder early on is ‘what are my goals?’ Once you have them nailed down you then have a framework to begin to think about how you’ll use it and how you measure whether it’s a worthwhile medium to use.

So what are your goals for Twitter?

MU vs NING for Community Building

This is a guest post by Roni of GreenLiteBites. Roni has developed a successful online community, BlogToLose, to support her weight loss blog WeightWatchen.

In 2005, I started a blog to track my weight loss progress after joining Weight Watchers. Initially, the site was a very egocentric attempt to be accountable on my weight loss journey. However, as I started to get some regular visitors my blog began to change. In addition to reaching my own goals, my focus turned to helping others reach theirs. I polled my readers, asking if they’d be interesting in connecting with one another if I gave them a space to blog. The response I received was and astounding “YES!”.

My initial solution was WordPress MU. If you don’t know, MU is the multi-user version of the famous WordPress blogging platform. Installing it was a cinch, but customizing it and managing it was a bit of a different story. Despite the problems and time commitment, my idea worked! I built a community of about 1600 people (600 blogs) interesting in communicating, sharing experiences, changing their eating habits and losing weight. Consequently, the traffic and popularity of my blog grew as I now had a community of people supporting it.,

However, after a year of managing the users, the site and the SPAM, I sought out another solution. MU was great and some of my users loved the control they had on their blogs, but overall my novice users felt intimidated and overwhelmed and I was getting burnt out supporting it all on my own.

Then, a few months ago, a friend asked if I heard of NING. NING allows you to easily develop a robust network (community) with minimal or no programming. Unlike MU there is no installation involved. There is absolutely no upfront development to get off the ground. A few clicks of the mouse and you have an online community shell with forums, user blogs, templates, etc.

I successfully launched the NING community 3 weeks ago and with 485 users it’s growing faster then I ever imagined. As suspected, my novice users are ecstatic about the easy to use interface. However, my advanced users are a bit discontent about the loss of control on the new site.

Currently, I’m running and managing both the orignal MU community and the new NING social network. Both have thier pros and cons…

  WordPress MU NING
Installation & Set up Need your own server space, php, mySQL Complete hosted solution with no cost for the basics
User Tools Nothing beyond the base WordPress admin, unless you install or program them yourself Comes with base tool set, RSS feeds, forums, ability to create groups, user profile page with comment wall, etc.
Customization Full access to open source code but must know how to program Drag and drop customization for basics but can request access to code for more advanced control
Message boards Not integrated but can install BBpress and share user database for integration. Included but can not customize unless you request access to code
Chat Not integrated Not integrated without 3rd party widget
User Pages Users have control over blog and can add posts as well as pages Users have no ability to add their own pages
Friends Feature Not integrated Included in basic solution
Community Messaging Not Integrated Included in basic solution
Ad integration Easily include ads in community pages and user templates Must pay monthly fee for ability to include ads
SPAM control Hard to mange without installing plugins for captcha and comment spam control Integrated captcha for new user sign up
Privacy Options Nothing beyond basic flag for "I would like my blog to be visible" Community control over access level for non-members and individual user control for thier own blogs.
Support Large user base and therefore a lot of online support and user generated plug ins. Not as many users but online support is growing.

Overall, both solutions offer a great start for building an online community to support your blog. MU is a great solution for those who have programming knowledge or access to programmers while NING offers a nice base of community features for those with minimal programming experience.

Come Join us in the ProBlogger Room on FriendFeed

Most regular readers of ProBlogger will know that I’ve been playing quite heavily with Twitter over the last few months. I’ve found it to be a very fruitful exercise.

Over the last month or two FriendFeed has been another tool that many bloggers are also playing with. I’ve dabbled with it (my FriendFeed Account is here) bot to this point am still trying to get my head around it (would love to see some good tutorials on how others are using it).

In the last 24 hours FriendFeed have added a new feature – Rooms. Most people that I see are still trying to work out what to do with rooms but from what I can see they could be useful – so I’ve started a ProBlogger Room to see what we can do with it. If you’re on FriendFeed and want to ‘play’ in our room – come join us.

If all we discover together is that rooms don’t work – we’ll learn something – but hopefully in the process we’ll get to know each other a little more and learn more about FriendFeed.