The Secret to Increasing Traffic from Facebook without Building Applications

by Shawn Smith on April 22, 2008

young woman shhh! - Flickr photo by said&done

Image by said&done

Want to get some traffic out of Facebook but don’t want to spend moolah on developing an application?

You’re in luck. Facebook provides a number of tools that can help you promote your content and cash in on social network referrals. And the best thing is – Anyone Can Do It!

So what’s the secret tactic? - SHARING!

In this post, you’ll learn about how creating a newsroom network and sharing your content with an easy-to-use tool can get you more visits from Facebook visitors.

THE BASIC GOALS OF YOUR FACEBOOK PRESENCE

Building a Facebook presence for your news organization helps your paper, TV station or website connect with your audience on a site they naturally use and potentially exposes your content to new users. The main goal should be to engage your readers on a more intimate level and find new users. To do this, you should:

  • Participate - Comment, Send messages, Share content
  • Make Friends! – Isn’t that what social networking is all about?
  • Promote - Use Facebook to promote your stories and drive traffic to your stories. You should also tell your readers you’re using Facebook, where they can get more content and interact more with your news org.

HOW TO GET STARTED USING FACEBOOK

If you don’t already have a Facebook account, take the plunge and sign up! Start exploring. Make friends. Be social! The easiest way to start “getting it” is to use the site.

Designate one or a couple people to be the main Facebook aficionados and then encourage everyone in the newsroom to create a personal account. You will quickly build a strong network just inside your news org.

From there, people will make more friends, expanding the newsroom network into spouses, friends and readers!

Are you already thinking about creating a profile page for your news org? That’s a great idea, but you’ll likely be better served by a Fan page, which I discuss in a follow up to this post.

MAKING FRIENDS MATTERS

Awesome image by Gwennypic

Adding friends on Facebook is important for growing your presence on the network. The more friends you have and the more you participate with raise your visibility. Raising your visibility will lead to more friends.

More friends and heightened visibility will lead to more people paying attention to how you interact on the network, which is the first step to getting people to get interested in your content.

And one of the best ways to meet and make more Facebook friends is by participating through sharing content!

WHY SHARING IS IMPORTANT ON FACEBOOK

Sharing is essentially posting to your profile a link to and description of an item you find interesting.

When you share content on your Facebook profile, a note is posted to your newsfeed that says you shared something. A similar item will pop up in your friends’ newsfeeds, noting that you shared some content.

By sharing content, you are making your link available to a potentially huge audience depending on how big your network is.

***Remember the suggestion of getting everyone in your newsroom to create an account? What if everyone had a profile and shared on Facebook the big breaking story of the day?

The exposure to your content shared by multiple people on Facebook could be huge, and the more people that see the shared item increases your chances of a higher click-through percentage to your posted link.

In short, more networked sharing leads to more Facebook referral traffic.

EASY TOOLS FOR PARTICIPATING

One of the great things about Facebook is the number of ways you can interact on the site. You can add an application, play games, share content, comment on your friends’ pages and more.

But Facebook presents problems because you have to be signed in to the site to use it’s features.

Here’s a tool to make your Facebook life a whole lot easier – the Facebook Toolbar. This toolbar works only on the Firefox web browser. If you’re stuck using Internet Explorer, try using My FB Toolbar, which isn’t quite as nice as the Firefox version and it isn’t supported by Facebook (although it does the trick).

What the toolbar looks like (Facebook Image):

The toolbar keeps you alert of the pokes you’ve received, new friend requests and messages and allows you to easily share whatever page your surfing using the “share” button – also the biggest benefit to using this toolbar.

Other tools for easy sharing are:

  • Mahalo Share – See my screencast on how to use Mahalo Share to bookmark and share stories across a number of social networks.
  • Twittersync Facebook application - Using this application will update your Facebook status any time you update your Twitter. If you share links through your Twitter account, your links will also show up on your Facebook status and your friends will be alerted and see the links on FB too! You can also sync your news orgs Facebook Fan or profile page with your auto-updating twitter feed to keep your news org’s Facebook status updated with the latest news.

Have You had Success Sharing Content?

What has been your Facebook sharing experience? Seen any huge traffic spikes with traffic from the site?