Of course, you can use any of the social networking platforms to do this, but right now Facebook is by far the most popular such site, so that is where I will focus. Also, Facebook has worked for me, and it is the platform that I use for most of my social networking, so I find it always best to write about the things you really know about, and Facebook is what I know.
Increasing traffic on your website by using Facebook is not an instant thing. You can’t expect to join Facebook in the morning and by the time you go to bed have a few extra visitors to your website. It’s not that easy. Things that are useful and helpful take work, and this is no exception.
I originally joined Facebook about 4 years ago, as I recall. For at least 2 of those years, I did nothing with it, other than just having an account and a few friends on the site. Every now and then I would get an e-mail telling me that somebody had “poked” me, but I had no idea what that was, and just ignored it, although I felt that poking somebody was not a kind thing to do! 😉
About 2 years ago, though, I decided to get serious about using Facebook and to learn what it was really all about. At that time, I had no idea that I could use Facebook to increase the popularity of my own websites, although I have certainly learned that now!
Your first job, before you even start thinking about using Facebook to drive traffic to your own site is that you need to start building a network of friends on Facebook. If you have 30 or 40, or even 100 friends, truth is, you won’t be able to accomplish very much in terms of driving traffic to your site. In my opinion, you need to gain a friend list of at least 500 before you can start using Facebook to impact traffic on your personal site. Building a network of 500 or more friends takes time and effort. It’s not an overnight thing. But, you can do it in a month or two if you try hard enough.
How to build a friend network
The first thing you have to do is get serious about gaining more friends. Facebook has the ability to search for the addresses in your e-mail address book. Use that first to invite all of the people that you really already know. Your next step is to go to all of your friends and look at who their friends are. You may know some of them, and you should invite them. Heck, if you see somebody leave a comment on your friends’ posts and you like what they have to say, invite them too, even if you don’t necessarily “know” them. Technically, this is something that Facebook does not want you to do, but honestly, it is the way Facebook works, even if they don’t admit it. I see a lot of my friends end up on other friends’ lists, even though I know for a fact that they don’t know each other.
I will offer one word of caution, though. If you invite too many friends in a short amount of time, Facebook will shut down your account. So, go slowly. Invite maybe a dozen or so people at a time, and then wait for the next day before inviting others. If you do it this way, you will not have a problem with your Facebook account.
After you build up your friend list
After you have at least 500 friends, then it’s time to get serious about using Facebook to drive traffic to your own site. The first thing that you need to do is set up “Fan Pages” for the websites that you own. For example, I have a Fan Page for this site, Virtual Earner. This page will be a totally new page that is not the same as your Personal Profile page. In order to set up a Fan Page for your site, you should go here.
When you get to the “Create a Page” site, you will be asked what kind of page you want to create. For a website, you should select “Brand or Product” as your main page category, and you will have a drop down box, under which you should select “Website.” Once you do this, everything is self-explanatory and you can proceed to create your page.
Now, if your page is already created there are several things you can do:
- Invite all of your friends to “like” your page. When they “like” your page, they will then receive page status updates on their Facebook News Feed.
- Customize your Fan Page with pictures, posts, and all of the information that you wish to put there.
- If your website is using WordPress as it’s Content Management platform, install a plugin on your WordPress installation called “WordBooker” which integrates your WordPress site with Facebook. Note: I am not talking about a WordPress.com blog. I am talking about your own site, which you own, using WordPress self-hosted software.
- Set up the Wordbooker plugin so that whenever you post a new post on your site, a snippet of it gets posted to your personal profile on Facebook, and also to your Fan page for the site.
Another thing that is important, at least to me. Once you get 25 people or more to “Like” your Facebook Fan page, you can then choose a Vanity URL, so that instead of having some super long, nonsensical URL on Facebook, you can have the URL of your choice for your Fan Page.
Anyway, this post should give you a nice overview of how to set up Facebook in a way that you will receive the most benefit to your personal sites. I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.