Digital transformationSocial media best practices

Looking to grow audience on Facebook? Start with the basics

Despite all of the anxiety about the Facebook friends and family algorithm change, Facebook referral traffic has held steady for most publishers.

Facebook has also driven more traffic to websites than Google for roughly two years, according to a Shareaholic study from 2014.

With these two points in mind, is Facebook still an important part of the workflow in your newsroom? Do you spend as much time thinking about planning content for Facebook as you do for your website? Is your Facebook page still just a collection of links without any engagement or context for your audience? Do you know what are the basic things you should be doing on the social media platform in order grow your audience?

Here are the five things that will be sure to drive more click-throughs to your website:

1. Pay attention to the share text. This is more prominent to the user than the link headline, especially on mobile. Keep in mind that the shorter the share text the better as shorter posts perform better (studies from NPR and Buffer confirm this).

Here are some recent examples from GateHouse Media sites that performed well.

2. Don’t repeat the headline. It sounds silly, right? But find a better, more conversational way to introduce your readers to the story. Write a social headline, which can work great for hard news stories that may have a more straightforward lede or headline:

3. When you’re brainstorming share text, be sure to look for good quotes from the story. Just like a pull quote can be used in print, it can also be used in Facebook too. Let the words speak for themselves. No need to add the attribution, unless it is absolutely necessary for clarity:

4. You do not need to keep the URL in the post window. Once the preview link is generated, remove it. It looks junky to leave it there and does not improve the performance of your post. If you are using a bit.ly link to track link clicks for a campaign, consider uploading a photo and then doing a bit.ly link in the share text.

5. Go live. Facebook has been prioritizing live video in the news feed for about a year. This also sends out a push notification to fans of your site.

Here are some more great Facebook Live ideas.

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