My friend's Facebook page is super-popular. Now what?
January 14, 2014 4:23 PM   Subscribe

So, here's the deal. I have this friend who has been pretty active on Facebook. She talks about being a mother and a recovering alcoholic. She is really funny, and her page has become pretty popular -- people she doesn't even know will tell their friends about the page and tell them to "like" it just for the humor. I'm a communications professional, so she came to me asking, basically -- how does she take the next step? How does she go from this Facebook page, which a lot of people seem to like, to a blog that people will actually go out of their way to visit?

I had to tell her that, communications expert though I supposedly am, I didn't know the answer to that question. Does she just post the first part of every blog post to her facebook page, and link to the rest? Would people actually click to follow such a link?

As a writer, she is a bit similar in tone to the Hyperbole-and-a-Half writer, maybe toned down a notch or two. This seems to me to be fairly well-covered ground, but I've looked at her page and I must concede that it does seem very popular.

Any advice?
posted by Alaska Jack to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
She needs to create a blog and use her page to send out "Hey Come Read My Thing" blasts with every new post.

If people are genuinely interested in reading, they will click.

If they're not, well, then, they're not. Since she's not trying to sell anything or build an audience (she already has an audience, she just wants them to engage with her content in a certain way), she has nothing to lose by starting it and seeing what happens.

The next step is probably to figure out which of the common blog platforms is best for her. I personally dislike blogspot's aesthetic (the platform Hyperbole And A Half uses).

She might want to look into Tumblr, though I think typically it's geared more toward visual media. But if I had to guess, I'd say that a lot of her audience is already there and already is familiar with engaging with Tumblr content.
posted by Sara C. at 4:31 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about weekly blog posts that she links to from Facebook? She could start with two per week, maybe one "feature" blog post and one "links roundup" which also seems to be popular thing for some bloggers to do. Always linked back to on Facebook of course.

Then post a "series" (part 1, part 2 / etc) of 3-4 posts on the blog that are a continuation of one another -- this would let her post more often than once per week for a short period of time to see how it is received.

I think it is very interesting! Since, as Sara C. points out, she already has an audience this is an opportunity to ease into it, instead of trying to start from scratch with a blog, twitter, tumblr, flickr, facebook and so on... Try things slowly and see how they work for her to do on a regular basis, how people respond to them...

Then start looking for ways to expand her audience through channels other than Facebook (blog her, networking with other bloggers, guest blogging/etc).
posted by effigy at 4:51 PM on January 14, 2014

I'm assuming that the main reason she wants to move away from Facebook is so that she can eventually make money off of her writing and web traffic? If so, she needs to make her own blog on a platform that will allow her to monetize it how she wants (sell her own ads, cultivate sponsors, etc). That means that lots of "free" platforms may be out as they often put their own ads on your site in order to make money off your traffic. Some will give you a share of what they make.

If she's willing to invest her own money in this, she should buy her own domain, make a blog, and find a good webhost who responds well to technical problems and changes in traffic volume.

And, yes, she can drive traffic from her FB page by posting short blog excerpts on her FB page with a link that leads to the full post on her blog.
posted by quince at 4:54 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another option might be to reach out to similar-themed group blogs that accept contributions -- especially the kind of sites that show up in links around her Facebook feed. Not content mills, but magazine-y type sites. Disadvantage: you don't own the platform. Advantage: the infrastructure for publishing and ads is already in place.
posted by holgate at 5:07 PM on January 14, 2014

If she's willing to invest her own money in this, she should buy her own domain, make a blog, and find a good webhost who responds well to technical problems and changes in traffic volume.

If she is intent on advertising, Wordpress is probably her best bet. I agree that she should get a domain name rather than being or the like. This is very easy to do from within Wordpress. As are most basic tasks for setting up a serious respectable blog.

She absolutely doesn't need to build her own blog from scratch.

Wanting to specifically monetize her blog with banner ads might be a point against using Tumblr. However, I honestly don't know that banner ads are her best course of action. There are a lot of other ways to make money from a blog that might be better in her case, and let's be honest, it's unlikely that banner ads would make her significant money anyhow. There are situations where I can see it being more valuable to use Tumblr even if it means sacrificing the ability to use banner ads.
posted by Sara C. at 5:21 PM on January 14, 2014

One transitional thing she should do is create a Facebook Page for her blog. Let's say she calls the latter "12 step mom". She should then have a page called "12 step mom" that updates with each new post. And honestly, if you're really trying, more often than that -- other stuff online that fits the topic, re-posts ("did you see this on Monday"), etc. She should get people on her Facebook friends list to like the page and share it widely, using PUBLIC posting. Then once it's up and running she can use her profile to indicate it's there but doesn't need to highlight every post ("remember, all my great stuff about recovery/motherhood is now over at 12-step mom!"). She can, if she wants, spend money to Boost Posts on the Facebook Page, which will make it more visible as supported content to other people (you can specific demographics pretty finely). She can also piggy-back at related groups and/or pages, if they allow promotion. But the thing is, if she wants readership, she's probably going to have to pimp it shamelessly and keep at it. I see so many people who think you create a blog or a FB page and let it sit there.
posted by dhartung at 5:34 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just did this. (Though I don't really have any reason to, I just did it to see what facebook looks like from the 'other side'.) Here's one way:

So, what she does is set up a blog on her own domain. Once she's done that, she can set up a facebook app and get a facebook app id. Modify the blog template html to include all the facebook metadata (meta tags in the header.)

Now she can post to her blog, and then 'share' her own stories on her facebook account. It will look just like when you share a link to any other website with a little photo and the title underneath the comment she posts. Facebook will keep stats on impressions, shares, likes, etc. in the insights tool.

She can also put facebook comments and 'like' buttons right on the blog page. I'm not too crazy about that feature, to be honest, and might get rid of it.

If she really wants to get fancy, she can create her own Open Graph stories (the rest of the above link) which will show up as "Jane wrote an article on" instead of "Jane shared a link." Small difference, unless you really want to go into letting the readers interact, publishing "so and so read an article at" I find that annoying, so I didn't do that last part. I just use it to share my own new articles.

Or she could just make a facebook 'page' for herself. It's easier than the self-hosted method, but doing it yourself lets you make it look different than facebook and (if you want) put your own ads.
posted by ctmf at 5:49 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Like others are saying I would have her set up a blog on WordPress with a custom domain pointing to it:

It's a cheap ($13/year plus domain registration costs, I'd recommend NameCheap), stable option to start with that lets her keep control for any later expansion. She can always move the hosting of the WordPress later on if it's ideal to do so--she owns the domain, so she can point it where she likes or move to a different platform even if that's better. There should also be extensions that let her cross post from the blog to FB, Tumblr, Twitter, etc, and bits that give her posts social sharing buttons, like others are saying.

You can host WordPress in a bunch of places BUT it is very security risky unless you stay on top of it. Hosting it at helps avoid that, as they take care of the upgrades.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:57 PM on January 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

My first question is "why?" What does she feel the blog will do that facebook won't.

Anyway, consider tumblr. She can buy a domain name that points to who tumblr page. It's much easier than wordpress. No tech support required. She can try something else when she gets bigger.

This is how shitmydadsays and garfieldminusgarfield got started. Now those dudes are rich.
posted by jander03 at 6:18 PM on January 14, 2014

She should set up a blog where she can:
1. Write more detailed, longer posts.
2. Have the potential to post ads.
3. Be free of any restrictions of Facebook.
4. Actually have a copy of her work in case Facebook crashes, her account gets hacked, etc.
5. Take advantage of search engines, for when people are Googling topics she's writing about a lot.

But continue to use Facebook to:
1. Post teasers for her blog posts.
2. Post shorter clips, thoughts, and pics, that perhaps don't require a full post.
3. Engage her audience sharing other peoples articles and news clips, and seeing feedback about her work (even if blog commenting is available, some people tend to want to leave comments back on the teasers on Facebook.

If she finds she's posting a lot on FB and is looking for easy blog content, she can do a bullet point / round up of FB posts she's made on the blog on a weekly or other basis.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 10:12 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow -- what a great bunch of advice! I need to go to bed now, but I am going to look through these very carefully tomorrow!
posted by Alaska Jack at 10:20 PM on January 14, 2014

If her writing lends itself to Twitter--she should Tweet. Hugh potential, esp if she already has a lot of people who read her.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:48 AM on January 15, 2014

One other idea is to post on facebook asking people if they think she should start a blog. Might be a good way to gauge response, people can be very supportive.
posted by Youremyworld at 4:55 PM on January 15, 2014

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