Blog | Sep 22, 2011 | 6 Comments

[a year in facebook]

Last September 21, with the able assistance of Lori Randall Stradtman of Social Media Design, I started a WagnerWrites Facebook page. This is a status update on my experience with Facebook, along with a few pointers and links from the “experts.”

Be patient as you build an audience, and leverage other networks.

My page now has 168 (or so) fans. That is slow growth–“organic” growth, if you want to put a nicer name on it. I began by asking  friends and colleagues to like the page. Then Lori helped with a social experiment this summer called “Pages Gone Wild,” in which she encouraged small business owners and consultants to “like” each others’ pages. This not only gave a boost to my numbers but connected me to several savvy people who share great content.

My blog, Twitter presence, and Google+ have helped bring in more followers. It’s a good idea to continually cross-promote on all social networks and platforms–but do it within reason, because over-promoting is spammy and counter-productive.

Content is the key to success.

Facebook aficionados will tell you lots of ways to attract followers, but almost everyone agrees that content is #1. You should be coming to my page to learn something (or, failing that, to just be amused). I admit that this is a challenge on a daily basis. My “fans” are a varied group and it takes time to find good quotes or links to post every day. But I don’t have any excuses. As a writer and social media lover, I should living and breathing quality content.

Timing is an important challenge.

The latest infographic from social media analyst Dan Zarella says that the best time to post on Facebook is Saturday at noon EST. In fact, business blogging guru Denise Wakeman, citing Facebook expert Mari Smith, said she is giving up on automation. In other words, she stopped the automatic feed of her blog posts into her Facebook page (grandly called “syndication”) and she posts the links “by hand” now, in real-time.

So it doesn’t really work to “phone it in”  with a pre-scheduled post that will magically appear at a time when I’m usually eating breakfast with my husband or out running errands. Unfortunately, though, I don’t like using social networks for business on the weekends, despite what all these experts say. And I think you should focus on your friends and family during the weekends, too.

My net benefit? Experience.

The WagnerWrites page has not resulted in business leads thus far, but it has given me valuable community management and content generation experience. It keeps me on my toes in the ever-changing, ever-frustrating world of Facebook. And it’s opened my business to a host of new ideas about how to better serve people through social media.

I’m most thankful for the experiences with the smart, generous, and fun folks who like my page. Because of them, I’m going to stay for a while longer.

Please consider liking the WagnerWrites and engaging with us there.

Now it’s your turn: What do you think of Facebook for small businesses and consultants?

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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.

6 Comments

Hi Claire,

Wishing you a happy 1st year- with many more to come!

Yes indeed, things do take time to grow and develop. It is not easy nowadays to handle or manage so many social networking platforms, yet we have to do it. And as we cannot be everywhere, always, things do take a back seat somewhere or the other. But I guess, the friends and community you create along the journey, is what really matters at the end of the day.

Thanks for sharing 🙂

[Reply]

Claire Wagner Reply:

Harleena, it is definitely a journey. I have met so many amazing and talented people, including you, and that is the best reward.

[Reply]

Harleena Singh

9/22/2011

Thanks for the shout out and link, Claire. Using Facebook as a marketing tool is a long term strategy. In addition to your great content, it’s important to make a offer with a call to action every once in a while. Typically I recommend moving people from Facebook to your blog and then from your blog offer a report or freebie of some sort to move them to your database. I’ve seen excellent results and new business with this strategy. Blog on!

[Reply]

Claire Wagner Reply:

Excellent advice, as always, Denise. I’m working on that part!

[Reply]

Denise Wakeman

9/24/2011

As someone who has been using Facebook to promote my blog for over a year, I’m not sold on it’s usefulness to drive traffic to my blog. I get more from people sharing on Facebook rather than the links I post.

That said, there is a different community here that I enjoy interacting with that never comment on my blog.

I’ve also made money from selling t-shirts to my fans on Facebook, so that’s always a plus too.

[Reply]

Claire Wagner Reply:

I’ve just been in a G+ conversation with several brave people who have abandoned their Facebook fan pages. They’ve gotten no business from them. I still think it’s an important proof of concept for people who are involved in social media, but we’ll see what the future holds. Also, I need to order another Bad Social Media t-shirt for a Facebook presentation I’m making with a friend next week. I procrastinated and now I’ll probably have to pay a bunch of $ for shipping!

[Reply]

Jay Dolan

10/5/2011

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