With its over 1 billion daily users, Facebook is the perfect place to build a community around your blog without investing too much time. At a minimum, you can copy and paste links to new posts with a brief summary.
If you are planning to use Facebook, we highly recommend that you set up a Facebook fan page instead of using your personal account. That way, your followers will not receive your personal posts.
Other advantages of having a fan page are that there is no cap to the number of friends that can follow you. Facebook sets that limit for personal accounts at 5,000. You will also have access to data that help you fine-tune your content to speak to your readers.
What to share on Facebook
The goal of having a Facebook fan page is to create a community around your blog. The time that you spend building that community will determine the size of your fan base. To help you come up with ideas on how to build your community, we wrote a good article on what to post on social media; it includes:
- Interactions with followers (i.e. photo contests, question and answer features…)
- Recommendations (i.e. books, equipment, methods…)
- Links (i.e. other blogs, breaking news…)
- Behind the scenes (pictures and videos of experiments)
- Miscellaneous (i.e. quotes, infographics…)
To save time, we encourage you to use services like Hootsuite to schedule posts (aim for two per day). Posting daily can be too much for busy academics. With these services you can dedicate half an hour one day per week to choose what and when to post for that week.
How to build a community
It will take time to build a community. Before inviting people to like your page, make sure that you have at least five posts. Once you have these posts, invite your Facebook friends, co-workers, and put a link to your page on your blog. This should be enough to build a small following.
To grow your fanbase, the most important tips are to post often and closely track your analytics to understand what your followers like and when they like to see it. Other tips include:
- To ensure that your fans remain engaged make sure to monitor and respond to comments.
- Because older posts get pushed down, pin the most important posts to the top of your page.
- Enable the private messaging feature to make it easier for fans to contact you.
- Do not be afraid to re-post, especially links to older blog posts.
- Create a personalized Facebook url (i.e.www.facebook.com/myblog) to make it easier to find you.
- Always include images since posts with pictures get around 120% more engagement than posts with no photos. We recommend using square images because they fill the most space on screens.
- Use a short and intriguing, quote when posting a link to your blog to capture your fans’ attention.
- Since videos are becoming huge online, post a video of yourself. 5minofscience can create a professional video that you can use on Facebook, on your blog and on your institution’s webpage.