13 Startup Founders Share Their Secrets for Driving Pageviews from Facebook

Last month, Twitter had a wildly successful IPO but a recent report from Shareaholic shows Facebook is really where it's at (at least for website owners).

The dominant social network, unsurprisingly, drives the most social traffic to websites. With well over 1 billion monthly active users who like, share and comment on posts on their feed, Facebook has a ridiculously large and highly engaged user base.

That's exactly why you need to use Facebook for your business. But frankly, with all the "Definitive Guides" and "How-Tos" suggesting you use Facebook one way or another, it's easy to get overwhelmed and ultimately fail at Facebook marketing.

So, at Shareaholic, we went ahead and asked 13 successful founders and members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs, to share their best practical tips for driving traffic to your content from Facebook. Here's what they had to say.


1. Think Context

If you blog, don't just autopost your new post immediately after hitting the publish button. For example, Facebook engagement rates tend to be higher on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Also think about the context. What works on Twitter or your email list might not work great on Facebook. Where are your readers at the moment they read your post? At home? On the bus? Craft your message accordingly.

2. Give Them What They Want

Most of our customers are busy business people. We try to make our content as clear and concise as possible while remaining educational. If we wouldn't bookmark it for later reference, then we don't publish it. When we do post something on Facebook, it's very factual and up front -- no teasing or slick ad copy, just directly what you'll learn by clicking on the link.

3. Simplicity, Color, Call to Action

Most humans use Facebook for simple, social reasons and are not thinking critically or deeply when using the site. To get them to take non-social, off-Facebook actions you have to first speak to them in a way that will resonate with their less-focused mindset. Choosing easily understandable photos comprised of complimentary colors to Facebook (orange) with clear calls to action works best.

4. Ask for the Share

Getting your Facebook friends and fans to share your content is key to getting a mass multiplication of click-throughs. During a recent launch for a new company, I asked a large swath of my Facebook friends to help me publicize my launch -- their shares drove the bulk of my initial site traffic.

5. Love and Laugh

I have seen and analyzed hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts. Those with either a romantic touch (love quote or photo) or a short one-liner joke get the most attention, likes, shares, comments and thus potential content traffic.

6. Make It Exclusive

Fans connect with your brand on Facebook because they want to feel like they have access to insider content or information that isn't available elsewhere. Reward their loyalty by offering great exclusive content to fans first. If content is meaningful or important to your audience, they will share it with their friends.

7. Get a Following First

Many people think posting great content is all they need to do, but if you don't have a following, no one will ever see what you post. Paying for Facebook ads targeting your key demographics or boosting posts make a whole lot of sense initially. Once you have an audience, your content will at least stand a chance to drive traffic.

8. Be Brief But Interesting

We've seen the most success from Facebook when we've posted a brief summary of an in-depth topic with a clear message that there's more to read by visiting our site. We've also posted the link in two places: at the end of the update and in the attachment box. We always rewrite the attachment box's headline so it is attention-grabbing, and we make sure to select an eye-catching photo.

9. Post a Short Message and Cool Picture

Facebook users scroll through their news feeds fast. If you want to grab someone's attention, use a pithy headline and a flashy picture. It is all about grabbing attention in those milliseconds when someone glances over a post. Don't give the article away with a ton of text; just use a clear, witty headline that will drive clicks.

10. Appeal to Vanity

People go on Facebook to express themselves. Shift your focus away from asking people to pay attention to you and toward giving them opportunities to make themselves look cool, smart, funny, etc. This is as true of B2B marketing as it is for consumer products.

11. Write Intriguing Article Titles

Your article titles should catch people's attention and make them curious enough to click through to your site. Bland article titles will result in subpar click-through rates. You are competing for your users' attention; mysterious headlines that allude to your content will generate great click-through rates.

12. Venture Off Your Own Wall

Venture off your own wall and comment on the feeds and share the posts of other businesses in your industry. It may be a bit hostile to write directly on a competitor's wall, but services and companies that are relevant to your business in other ways may welcome your contributions and comments because you have overlapping audiences.

13. Take Advantage of Ads

Someone had to say it. With the content from your Facebook page being limited to just 16 percent of your audience, sometimes it pays to get ahead. If there isn't a lot of competition for your target demographic, you can score cheap clicks through Facebook's ad platform.

What tips would you add here?