In this guest post, Steve Schwartz, a professional LSAT tutor, discusses how he has used Facebook to promote his Ace the LSAT blog and create a community of readers.
Your blog’s readers probably have Facebook profiles already, and making your own Facebook profile is easy enough. Aside from allowing you to create a profile and connect with your friends from elementary school, Facebook has several features that can connect your blog readers and help you find new ones.
Create a Facebook Group
Your readers have a common interest – your blog’s subject. My readers are preparing for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Maybe yours are interested in knitting, running, or making money online. Just as they have subscribed to your blog, they will join your Facebook group.
At the beginning of December 2008, I created the 2009 LSAT Study / Discussion Facebook Group. Someone else had created a 2008 LSAT Group, and I wanted to be the person to create the 2009 group, so I started early. When someone is searching Facebook for an LSAT group to join this year, they’ll see my group has over 100 members, but someone else’s group on the same topic only has 3, guess which group they’ll join.
Note: I didn’t make the group about my blog directly – I made it broader. Why? So people searching on Facebook for LSAT-related groups would feel welcome to join. If they thought it was limited to my blog’s readers, the prospective member might not even visit the group page, which means he/she would never see the link to my blog.
So I created a group and placed a prominent link to my blog on the top, but it only had one member – me. Not very impressive, right? I didn’t want my readers to think my group and blog were unpopular, so I immediately invited all of my Facebook friends to join the group. Some of my Facebook friends were already planning to take the LSAT, so inviting them to join my new Facebook group had two additional benefits:
1. It informed them of my blog if they didn’t know about it already.
2. Facebook’s news feed told all their friends, making the group a viral marketing mechanism for the blog..
How Readers Use the Facebook Group
Of course, the Facebook group is more than a viral marketing mechanism too. It helps your readers to connect with each other in a way comments don’t. While comments are generally responses to your postings, Facebook’s discussion boards allow direct interaction between readers. My readers have used the Facebook group to find LSAT study partners and form study groups by posting messages on the discussion board and the Wall. How did I tell my readers about the Facebook Group? I posted a link to it on the side of my blog, and I made a brief blog post about it for those who hadn’t noticed the link.
Marketing Your Facebook Group, and Your Blog, in Other Facebook Groups
Search Facebook for groups on your topic and related ones. In each of these groups, you can post a message on the group Wall or discussion board, or you can use the Post a Link feature to notify the group’s members of your group and your blog. Warning: don’t do all three in the same group at the same time – it’s overkill and may get you banned from the group. By promoting your Facebook group at first, instead of promoting your blog, you decrease the likelihood that the group administrator will remove your message.
After doing all of this, Facebook became one of my biggest sources of traffic, and I don’t even have to do much to keep the Facebook traffic coming. In order to get more readers, you need to have a presence where they are. For me and for many bloggers these days, our present and future readers spend their time in social networking sites.
What about you? Have you used Facebook or other social networking sites to promote your blog? Have you found it to be effective?[ad#yaroblueprint]