For Bloggers: Optimizing Facebook and Instagram Engagement

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the iFabbo Social Media Conference for fashion and beauty bloggers and brands. I represented Facebook and Instagram for a Social Media panel discussion, alongside Alex Loscher of Google+, Marlena Stell of Makeup Geek, and Jen Mathews (MyBeautyBunny) of Top Tier Media. The breadth of perspective across our panel made for an informative session and lively discussion, and energy and interest from our well-put-together audience was awesome. Thanks for all of your enthusiasm and questions!

iFabboCollage [Photos courtesy of MyBeautyBunnyTriple Delights, and TheMakeupSnob]

(Quick ‘missed connection’ request: Someone pursuing a masters degree in engineering while blogging (and wondering how to balance/evolve interests), immediately approached me after the panel. We were supposed to chat later, but didn’t get the chance to, and I’d love to continue the conversation. If anyone knows who may fit this description, or if you’re that young lady, please feel free to get in touch with me!)

Now, as promised: a re-cap of what I discussed during the panel, plus a few bonus details!

As a blogger, a main social media goal is to maximize your reach and engagement. That aligns well with Facebook’s goal of maximizing user engagement by providing the most valuable content from connections and surfacing relevant content at the right time. To help make Facebook an effective marketing channel for you, we offer detailed data insights and narrow audience targeting.

How do bloggers best engage with users on Facebook?

  1. Utilize the sharing functionality between Instagram and Facebook. Not all Instagram posts will be relevant your Facebook messaging, but for those that are, this is an easy way to post to both platforms.
  2. Use the Pages Manager mobile app (for iOS and Android) to view notifications, post, and reply to comments and messages on the go.
  3. Check out Page Insights on the desktop, a detailed metrics interface in the admin panel at the top of the page. There’s a plethora of great information, spanning a 7-day overview of your page’s performance week-over-week, fan growth, post reach, breakdown of page activity, post performance (and when your fans are online), and demographics of your fans and engaged users. In particular, I enjoy diving into my fan demographics to better understand with whom my posts are resonating the most. Knowing this informs the type of content I promote on Facebook, and who is most likely to engage with a boosted post.
  4. Post high-quality content. It should be timely and relevant content that you think your audience is likely to engage with. Focus on unique and informative content rather than spammy meme posts, as you want to build and maintain credibility and trust with your following. When creating a post, ask yourself “would I want to share or recommend this to friends?” Post at a regular interval that makes sense for you and your brand (at least once a week is recommended; I know most bloggers are more active than that, so this isn’t much of a concern). ;)
  5. Based on the data from Page Insights, use the Post Scheduler to launch a post when your fans are most likely to be online.
  6. To increase the reach of your post (to both your fans, and unaffiliated users of a target demographic), use Post Boosting. This can be effective in getting people to engage with your brand in a way that provides more context and information than a ‘page like’ ad campaign. It can be particularly effective when promoting a local offer, as you can target at the city level (in addition to gender and age).

How does ‘Suggested Page Likes’ work, and how do I adjust Page Profile settings to get more followers?

  1. After a user ‘likes’ a page, a “Similar Page Suggestions” unit pops up with a listing of other related or similar pages. This is a great way for the user to discover new pages they would not have found out about otherwise. As a page admin, you can opt in or out of this feature. We recommend that you enable it, as it’s effectively free distribution within a cross-promotional network.
  2. Build your audience via emailing your friends (for pages with less than 5,000 fans), invite Facebook friends, or share the page (via timeline or in a group).[Note: A question about Topics functionality was raised, and I'm looking into it. I'll update if and when I have new information.]

How do bloggers best engage with users on Instagram?

Instagram is its own little universe within the Facebook ecosystem, running independently. Users on both platforms should focus on generating high-quality content and engaging with their audiences, but the approach on Instagram is distinctly different. If Facebook is a communication channel between you and your users, Instagram is all about building a community in which people can follow others, consume beautiful content, and meet and engage with like-minded people. Your goal is to build community around your brand. Here are a few key ways of how to do so.

Be authentic. You have a unique personality, perspective, and sense of self. Identify what your brand messaging is, and how you want to convey that. Showcase original, thoughtful content. Let the photo content shine, versus making a sales pitch with text overlay. Make your photos accessible and personal. You’re not going for a perfectly-staged, over-produced photo shoot look with perfect front and back lighting. Your photos should have a genuine, of-the-moment feel. They may be snapped with a dSLR, but should still have an accessible feel, as if they could have also been taken with your phone. Aimee Song, Eva Chen, Brian Boy, and Leandra Medine the Manrepeller are some good examples.

Be creative. Instagram is all about showcasing beautiful content first and foremost. You can approach your content as your brand campaign to promote your brand image/lifestyle. Look around the photo streams to take in the visual manifestation of creativity. Visual elements of good photography, including balance, symmetry, framing, and focus, are valued. #thingsorganizedneatly is an intriguing example of how people showcase physical products. Rather than showing a product in isolated glory, it’s all about the context of placement.

Tell a story. Share about your personal experiences, and what inspires you. Tell the story of how a project develops, such as a bolt of colorful cloth that is transformed into a tropical summer resort sarong. From an expository writing class in college, I was challenged to take a photo and write – not about the photo itself, but about the unseen story surrounding it. What’s happening outside of the frame of the photo? What caused the photo to be taken? What is the sentiment or if, and is there a transformation – a moment  of change – being captured by it? I challenge you (and myself) to consider those questions when creating your content.

Carefully curate two or three main facets of yourself that you want to portray, versus posting a little bit of everything. Identify your aesthetic and stick with it. Be consistent. If you are known for a certain style or type of photo, and then drastically switch it up, your followers may feel betrayed and un-follow you. That’s not to say you can’t have a breadth of content – just try out different approaches within the same aesthetic style. A couple of brands that have great Instagram branding are Gap and DVF.

Lastly, here’s a small but important piece of hashtag advice: use hashtags when they make sense. Don’t tack on a series of over-used, ‘spammy’ hashtags like “love”. You want people to discover your content in quality places. An advantage of that is that you’ll also get higher-quality followers. :) For ideas of current hashtags that do well with the Instagram community, check out the Instagram blog.

Remember, the number of followers should be your measurement of success. Likes and comments, while providing quick gratification, are proxies, not measurements of success. Have fun, and good luck with building your brand and community!

Hope this helps you in your social media endeavors; please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!

xoxo,
lauriel

 

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