If you’re in the travel niche, social media is going to be one of your biggest drivers of traffic. Travel content is some of the most popular content across all social networks, and it won’t be unusual for you to be getting more traffic from networks like Facebook and Pinterest than from Google, Yahoo and Bing combined.
What that means is building up your social profiles is not optional, not kind of important, but absolutely essential in building a well trafficked travel blog.
Among the networks out there, Facebook is probably the most impactful for our niche. If you haven’t noticed, travel content rips through Facebook like wildfire. Along with the usual Huffpost bucket list (I don’t know how they make a new one every week, but they do), many travel bloggers get awesome levels of engagement just sharing travel photos, updates, and even asking questions to their followers. Hey, I’m in Milan for two days, any ideas? Stuff like that.
When I started my blog, I was too small to be getting ranked highly in search engines. For the first few months of being online, Facebook was easily the biggest driver of traffic for me, and the small following on my Facebook page was instrumental in building my early readership.
Outlined below are some simple steps you can take to build up your Facebook page and get your first 1,000 fans.
1. Set your page up properly
Let’s just get this out of the way first. Nobody is going to like your page if it’s incomplete or looks like doo doo. Put up a nice profile picture, make a nice cover photo, maybe do some edits in Picmonkey to make it look professional and so on. Fill in the About section, add an active link to your site, etc etc.
If you haven’t created your page yet, simply do it from the top-right of your personal Facebook profile:
2. Start with your friends and family
Nobody likes having a page with zero likes, but we all need to start somewhere. An easy way to get your first likes is to request them from people you know.
Normally when you first go live with your blog, your friends and family will be the only ones that are reading. If you’ve written some truly epic content, like I’ve suggested, there’s a good chance they’ll want to read more. Ask them to Like your page. You can use the “invite” function through Facebook, or simply send them a message or email asking for a favour.
As long as your blog isn’t totally hopeless, your social circle won’t have any problem doing this for you. In fact, they’ll probably be super excited for you. I remember getting my first 100 Facebook likes, mostly from friends, and I was on a total buzz from it all. I’d never expected people to be so excited about my new site, but they were.
3. Add Facebook like buttons to your site
Make it easy for people to follow your page. This means adding “Likeboxes” throughout your site, so when readers are digging your content they can follow along with a simple click.
Some good places to add Likeboxes are in your sidebar, below your posts, within your posts, or even combine them with a plugin like Boxzilla and slide them in while the reader is browsing your pages.
You can also experiment with a popup – the Easy Likebox Plugin above has that functionality built in, so try it and see if it gets you results.
4. Make your Facebook page awesome
Do you know what kind of pages people follow on Facebook?
Is your page awesome? Why isn’t it awesome? If it’s not awesome, why would anyone want to follow you?
Sometimes we over complicate this blogging thing. All the tools and hacks and secret tips can make a difference, but at the end of the day people are just going to follow pages they like. That’s it.
Here are some things that make pages awesome:
- They share interesting stuff.
- They make people laugh.
- They are informative and educational.
- They inspire people.
- They make people think.
- They are run by cool, engaging, inspiring people.
However, you’re not going to be able to do all of these things. Every blogger is different – if you’re a photographer, sure, you can share tons of amazing photos and build a following that way. You’ll be known as the guy who always has awesome photos. If your hopeless at taking photos, maybe you can tell funny stories that happen to you during your travels every week. You’ll be that girl who always tells those funny stories.
Matt from Expert Vagabond has built a pretty huge page and his Facebook page is mostly photos from his travels. Matt’s a little crazy and always travels to crazy places, plus he’s a Rambo photographer, so this works for him.
Driving the rugged & beautiful coastline of Oman.
Earl from Wandering Earl has a slightly different approach. Sometimes he posts photos, but often he just asks questions like, “I just ate these duck beaks marinaded in Kool Aid. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten on your travels?” This always gets a lot of responses and he has built a following around engaging posts like this.
We woke up at 6:00am this morning, hopped on our bicycles and pedaled our way to Anse Source d’Argent. This beach makes…
I usually just like to share interesting articles that I find from around the web by browsing Twitter and other pages.
And I shall raise my future children in Finland.
While the goal is to be interesting and engaging, understand that there are many ways to do it. What’s important is you choose the Facebook strategy that is going to work for you. Don’t try telling lots of jokes and funny stories if you’re not a funny person. Instead you could tell educational stories, or inspiring stories. A good Facebook page should reflect your personality and allow people to get a closer look into what makes you tick. That’s why they followed you!
5. Curate the best content
Here are some examples of how powerful curated content can be:
Even more telling is many of these posts were from a few years ago, when I only had maybe 3 or 4 thousand followers on Facebook. How was I able to reach (organically) 5x, 10x, even 50x the amount of followers I had on my page?
This follows on from my last point, but the key is to share stuff that will spread. Telling people about your day at some waterfall is cool, and will satisfy your current followers, but it’s not the kind of thing people are going to share with their friends, who will share with their friends, and so on.
Think of yourself as a mini Google. People don’t go to Google to look at Google. They go to Google to find other cool stuff. If you manage to consistently curate interesting, entertaining, inspiring content, people will want to follow you.
6. Invite your visitors!
Now that you’ve gone through all that trouble to bring people to your page, invite them to follow you!
Simply click on the number of “likes” you received on your post, and a box should pop up. If there is anyone there that hasn’t already liked your page, you’ll be given an option to invite them to do so:
Invite them to like your page, and a good number will accept (they liked your post, after all). It’s always good to do this within 24 hours, while your post is fresh in their mind.
7. Be consistent
What you’ll soon find is that using the above tips makes growing your Facebook presence nothing more than simple math. Share good content. Get 20 likes. Invite your visitors. 5 accept. Repeat. Getting your first 1,000 likes then becomes a matter of when, not if. And the best part is, you will have done it not by buying fake fans or paying for expensive ads, but by just being a valuable page that people enjoy following.
Therefore, it’s important to be consistent. As I’m quite conscious of being spammy, I only post once or twice a day. Some bloggers post up to 5 times a day, and that works for them too. As long as you set your schedule and stay consistent, your Facebook following will grow with you.
To ensure you’re keeping to schedule, it can be helpful to use a scheduling app like Hootsuite. That way you can schedule all your content at the start of the week and save yourself slaving over Facebook every morning and night. You can also use the Schedule function within Facebook itself.
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