To kick off, we looked at two key reasons why hyperlocal bloggers should care about Facebook. There may be more, but you’re busy and these are the two that really matter:
2. The like button. ‘Like’ has unleashed a force of positivity into the internet. Now your blog doesn’t just have to be full of the haters hatin’ on your articles, you can also sit back and feel the the warm glow of ‘like’. ‘Like’ and ‘Recommend’ buttons can be added to your blog posts to make it really easy for people to share your content. This is important because, as we saw above, most people are on Facebook to interact with friends and family, not with brands.
Here are some quick tips from the Talk About Local blogging community:
If a page for your area has been auto-generated through Facebook, bookmark it to connect with people from your local area by periodically adding interesting content from your site.
Use your page or groups on Facebook to drive traffic to your website and to build up conversations. Sally from Ventnor Blog said that she finds there are many people who comment on a post in Facebook instead of the blog, they prefer it that way. There’s nothing wrong with that: talk to people where they are instead of insisting they come to you.
Be social: you can use your page’s identity to follow and post on other pages. Don’t be competitive, eyeballs can follow more than one thing and your page is most likely to be spotted if it appears in as many places as possible.
Think about mobile access. Increasing numbers of people are accessing Faceook and the web through mobile phones. Can they interact with you even if they only have Facebook? If you’re linking to your site does it convert effectively into mobile? WordPress sites do this by default but test your site – and ask people to give you feedback – if you’ve built it on other platforms.
Think about the audience liking your page and content, as well as those who are not. What are they looking for? You can find out a bit about this by looking at the public streams of a search. What gets the biggest responses, what gets shared and what gets ignored? Being aware of all this will help you do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.
Suggestions of Facebook applications to try on your page: Mailchimp to capture visitors’ email address, Networked blogs, Twitter (to post everything), Selective Twitter (to just post when you include #fb), RSS Graffiti (TAL quick tip: what’s RSS?)
Short links or full posts? We had a debate on this – some people prefer posting an extract of the article including a picture, while others would rather post short links in order to draw people out of Facebook. It’s up to you.
It’s a good idea to nominate a few people who you trust to administer your Facebook pages or groups, in case you fall under a bus or go on holiday. All administrators of a page can post as that page rather than their own profile, although all administrator’s pictures do appear on the page so it isn’t a route to privacy.
We also had a debate on whether you should follow groups with views you strongly disagree with. This is up to the individual, but I’d err on the side of caution – unless you’re really willing to argue in the local paper that you were really just a member for research.
Overall tip: the best reason to be on Facebook is to make it as easy as possible for people to connect, express their views about the area, organise and access information. Keep that in mind and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.