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Facebook Branded Content Policy and Verification for Bloggers

** Originally published April 29, 2016 ** Updated: May 23, 2017 **

The updated Facebook Branded Content Policy first impacted celebrities and brands (April 2016), but has finally trickled down to bloggers as we assumed it would.

The good news… bloggers no longer need to strive towards being a verified page.

The bad news… all sponsored or influenced content must be tagged using the “handshake” tool and using it incorrectly (or not using the handshake at all) may get you in trouble.

What does the Facebook Branded Content Policy mean for bloggers and how to use the

When the Branded Content Policy was first changed in 2016, I was stunned to learn that I had been violating rules for promoting sponsors.

Reports by The Drum state, “Previously, publishers running branded content on Facebook was completely against the rules, unless they received approval directly from the social network.”

And in case you were in doubt, the erroneous use of Facebook to promote other brands was also called out on Ad Age:

Facebook has long prohibited publishers, celebrities and influencers from taking advantage of its vast platform to post branded content on their pages, unless it was part of a paid ad campaign on Facebook.


Then, Facebook got hard-nosed about the policy and required celebrities and brands to be 1) blue verified and 2) use the “handshake” tool to tag sponsors.

Explaining the new Facebook Branded Content Policy

Let’s take the current policy (2017) line-by-line as it reads and compare it to the previous update (2016), making careful and deliberate decisions NOT to find a loophole but to understand what it says.

Read the Facebook Branded Content Policy Here. (Opens in a new tab.)

The 2016 policy opened with:

Branded content on Pages is only allowed from Verified Pages (with the blue badge) on Facebook and must adhere to the following policies.

Emphasis on the words only, verified pages, and blue badge are mine.

The 2017 updated policy reads:

Branded Content may only be posted by profiles and Pages with access to the Branded Content tool.

Again, emphasis is mine.

The change deemphasized the focus on verified (blue badge) pages and created a sweeping and inclusive environment for ALL profiles and pages who have the “handshake” tool available.

But what is “branded content”?

The next sentence of the 2016 update stated:

Branded content on Pages is defined as content originating from a Page owner that features third party products, brands, or sponsors that are different from the Page owner.

The 2017 policy says:

We define branded content as a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.

What does “features” or “is influenced by” mean in terms of posting content to Facebook? Simply phrased, this includes any status update, video, photo, or live broadcast where you were asked to use a product or mention a product/page.

Are you FED UP with Facebook? Should you ditch it?

An example scenario (according to my understanding of this statement) would be if I, as the owner and content creator for, mention any other product, brand, sponsor, etc. from any source other than my blog where I have received ANY form of compensation, including but not limited to:

  • product in exchange for a review/promotion (as the product has value);
  • promotion in exchange for review/promotion (as the promotion has value); and
  • payment in exchange for review/promotion (as the payment certainly has value).

The term “exchange of value” will be interpreted differently by many – and perhaps I am drawing extreme conclusions – but the fact is, this is a very broad statement that can be used to include anything Facebook decides is value.

It’s their contract. Their jargon. Their rules.

Using the Branded Content Tool

The “branded content tool” is represented in the Facebook page composer on desktop and iOS, the Marketing API, and the Mentions app on iOS as a handshake icon. In the Ads Manager and Power Editor, the “Sponsor” field in available under the Advanced Options section.

What does the new Facebook Branded Content Policy mean for bloggers. Includes a tutorial on how to get the verified blue badge.

Tagging branded content is required for photos, videos, links, text, Instant Articles, and 360 videos at launch. Eventually, live videos will also have the branded tool functionality and will require branded content to be tagged.

Learn more about branded content tagging.

However, some content will not be allowed even WITH tagging:

The following types of branded content integrations are prohibited:

A.    Within videos:
  1. Pre, mid, or post roll ads.
  2. Content that features third party products, brands, or sponsors located at the beginning (within first three seconds) or persistently (over three seconds) throughout the video, including but not limited to the following types of branded content:
    • Title cards featuring the sponsor; or
    • Graphical overlay and watermarks.
B.    Within photos (including link preview images):
  1. Banner ads featuring third party products, brands, or sponsors.
C.    Third party products, brands, or sponsors featured within cover photos or profile pictures.

So… what IS allowed?

The following types of branded content integrations are allowed with the use of the Branded Content tool:
A.    Promotions (Please refer to section III. E. of the Pages Terms);
B.    Videos or photos featuring third party products, brands, or sponsors that differ from the Page;
C.    Endcards;
D.    Product placement;
E.    Sponsor’s logos (Aside from ad elements and from any third-party logos which are displayed within video by virtue of having been recorded during the filming of the video subject matter (e.g. in stadium signage); or
F.    Posts that clearly disclose the content is sponsored or provided by a third party.

Why would Facebook do this?

According to VentureBeat, the purpose is to supply brands with more insights about their reach.

When a branded post is published, the marketer will receive a notification, and they will be given insights into how the post is performing — this includes clicks, reach, engagement, and so on. Then Facebook will offer the marketer further tools to promote the post, which then opens up more opportunities for Facebook to earn from the initiative.

If an influencer pays to boost a post, the tagged brand will also have the ability to see those insights and will be notified if the post is shared or boosted.

Apparently, the advertising will also shift on Facebook to allow brands to align sidebar advertising with page updates in which they are tagged.

How does this impact bloggers?

If you are feeling confused and wondering how this will change your approach to Facebook, you are not alone.

Cathy Hackl (@CathyHackl), social media expert and consultant, says:

Facebook’s new branded content policy seems straightforward at first glance, but I think it still leaves bloggers with lots of questions. I foresee lots of posts getting deleted or accounts flagged because there are always gray areas.

How to get the Facebook Verified Blue Badge

Unfortunately, you cannot be verified as a “blogger” right now.

Due to a backlog of work, Facebook is only verifying pages for celebrities, public figures, sports teams, media and entertainment.

What does the new Facebook Branded Content Policy mean for bloggers. Includes a tutorial on how to get the verified blue badge.

But, if you think about it, as a blogger you could choose Author or Public Figure. [See how to declare “public figure” and use the Mentions app to be verified.]

How to change your category

You can easily change your Facebook category.

  1. Visit your Facebook page from your desktop.
  2. Scroll down to the About box.
  3. Hover over the upper right corner until the pencil icon appear. Click to Edit.
  4. Page info will appear. Hover over the right side of the category and click to Edit.
  5. Select People from the drop down menu and then the subcategory.
  6. Click to Save Changes.

How to apply for verification

Once you have selected a category that can be verified, you can request to be verified.

You will need to provide Facebook with some personal identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.

But do not apply for verification immediately.

The verification process has several mysterious checkboxes to which we do not know the extent. However, some details have been shown to speed up the process and increase success:

  • Have your picture in the cover or as your page’s profile picture.
  • Include a lot of information in the biographical area of your profile.
  • Encourage personal pages and unbranded pages to tag your blog’s page.
  • Post content from your blog regularly.
  • Pay to boost a post linking to your page or product.

Questions about the Facebook Branded Content Policy

If I am not a verified (blue badge) page, must I use the handshake?

Yes. If you have access to the “handshake” tool, you must use it for tagging brands and being a verified page is no longer relevant.

What’s the benefit in verifying your business page?

Supposedly, verified pages are ranked higher in the Facebook algorithm. They also receive the benefit of new tools before other types of pages.

Also, if a brand is wanting to access these analytics, they *might* seek out pages who have verification.

Is a gray badge the same as a blue badge?

No. Gray badged pages will not qualify for using the branded content tool. [Read more about the different colored badges.]

Do you still need to disclose sponsored content if you are NOT verified?

Yes. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you must disclose when you are being paid to represent content on your blog or on your social media platforms.

Facebook asks for a phone number. Can I just use my cell phone number if I don’t have a dedicated business phone?

Since many businesses use a cell phone for their business phone, I do not think this will be a problem but cannot be 100% certain.

If you are not blue badge verified, are you not allowed to have a brand partnership?

You may create partnerships with brands. However, how you mention them on Facebook will be impacted. You may not share from a brand’s blog or website on Facebook without using the “handshake” tool. However, you can include mentions of a brand within your post and share the post to Facebook.


Can I share from other bloggers if they are not branded?

You are safe to share content from another blogger as long as the content is not branded.

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Facebook Algorithm Changes – Should bloggers still use Facebook Pages?

Are the constant Facebook algorithm changes making you crazy? Are you perfecting your Facebook marketing strategy only to see a dip in your Facebook reach?

But here is the better question… Is the time you are investing on constantly babysitting your Facebook page, seeking and curating viral content, and responding to commenters worth the number of page views you receive from Facebook?

How much time do you spend on your Facebook page? Are you tired of constant Facebook algorithm changes? Test your efforts to see if your time is worth the effort.

I will admit it… I am a HUGE Facebook skeptic.

When I started my first blog page on Facebook, it was during the golden age when the rules were few and followers could actually see my content. It was GLORIOUS. And addicting.

I knew that if I wanted instant traffic to my blog, I could post something and BAM! Response. It was like giving a dog treats for good behavior. I posted and my master, Facebook, responded by giving me the reward of page views.

Now, after constant algorithm changes, everything on Facebook has shifted, but me? I am still there. I am an established Facebook user. Habitual in my routine. Determined to beat the Facebook system.

Over time, I have altered my strategy slightly in order to jump through new hoops placed by deviations in the Facebook algorithm, but I was still checking my Facebook page daily. I was still pushing my amazing content into the Facebook feed. I kept doing my part to give Facebook material to use, but I was no longer rewarded with treats.

I was a very obedient and well-trained puppy.

>>READ: Facebook Algorithm changed again on June 29, 2016.

But this dog was tired. My tricks were tested for long enough. It was time to see if my master, Facebook, was worth my devotion or if I should find a new place to play.

So I devoted four weeks to analyzing my time spent on Facebook and compared it to the number of pageviews Facebook was sending me as a reward.

The results? Dismal. I actually saw an increase in my Facebook reach when I did less. Yes… LESS. But I will get to my specific changes and results in a minute.

Facebook Case Study

A group of bloggers participated in this Facebook challenge with me and the numbers were SHOCKING.

The percentage of traffic that Facebook was sending to most blogs averaged 6% of total traffic with some bloggers receiving less than 0.5%.

How much time do you spend on your Facebook page? Are you tired of constant Facebook algorithm changes? Test your efforts to see if your time is worth the effort.

That number is insane when you compare the time bloggers pour into Facebook pages.

During this test, I noticed there were two “camps” of bloggers participating.

  • Camp A took a laid-back approach to Facebook by scheduling their pages or neglecting them all together.
  • Camp B was ALL ABOUT Facebook and regularly spent a tremendous amount of time scheduling, sharing, and pouring over their analytics.

However, despite the differences in strategy, the statics were roughly the same, and after four weeks of tweaking and twisting, many bloggers decided that Facebook was no longer worthy of their devotion.

Even though I’ve been more involved… the amount [of page views] from Facebook has stayed the same.

I am pretty much just fully automating everything [to Facebook] and then just post manually every once in a while or share something now and then.

Testing Your Facebook Efforts

If you are tired of feeling like a pretty poodle running an obstacle course but getting nowhere on your Facebook page, maybe you should analyze your Facebook efforts.

I challenge you to test your own Facebook page to see it the amount of time you are devoting to the Facebook algorithms is worth the page views you are receiving.

About Facebook Reach

As you perform this test, the temptation will be to focus on reach but remember the purpose of this test is to see how Facebook impacts our blog traffic.

When you change your approach to Facebook, your reach will naturally change. It is a see-saw. So do not hyperventilate over an increase/decrease in total Facebook reach. Instead, focus on overall blog traffic in your Google Analytics.

WEEK ONE – Establish your baseline

In order to test Facebook to see if your current efforts are producing any results, you need to establish a baseline for the test.

Start with TWO things:

1) Every time you work on your Facebook strategy, make note of the time you invest. Make no changes to your usual Facebook habits. Your goal is to create a tally of the time you spend on Facebook over the next 7 days.

The tasks you record should include:

  • Scheduling
  • Image creation
  • Commenting
  • Researching
  • Etc.

If you are doing something that is FOR your Facebook page, write down the amount of time.

IMPORTANT: Be real with yourself. Don’t alter your behavior on Facebook this week. This number needs to be real.

2) Visit your Google Analytics. Change the report dates to include the last seven days and record the amount of traffic your blog received AND the amount of traffic referred by Facebook. So this means you write down two numbers: your page views for the last seven days and the number of people sent to your blog from Facebook.

HOW: To find the number of visitors sent through Facebook, navigate in your Google Analytics to ACQUISITION, then ALL TRAFFIC, and REFERRALS. You will typically see (from mobile traffic) and (from desktop traffic.) You might even see and You can record these numbers separately or combined as I do not think it will make a difference for our purposes.

At the end of the week, tally the amount of time you spent on Facebook and compare that to the percentage of traffic Facebook is referring to your website.

But don’t jump to conclusions yet.

WEEK TWO – Change one thing

If you are a Camp A blogger, approach Facebook more aggressively for the next 7 days.

  1. Make a note of your page views for the last 7 days.
  2. Write down the number of sessions referred by Facebook.
  3. Give EXTRA effort to Facebook this week.
  4. Look for changes.

Now, you can define “extra effort,” but I recommend posting organically once a day. “Organically” means posting directly to your page and not using a scheduler.

Why give more focus to Facebook if you have not previously done so?

Because how can you be sure you need to give up on your current Facebook strategy if you don’t really give Facebook a chance to work?

If you are in Camp B, be more relaxed in your Facebook efforts.

  1. Make a note of your page views for the last 7 days.
  2. Write down the number of sessions referred by Facebook.
  3. Give LESS effort to Facebook this week.
  4. Look for changes.

Just to clarify, your efforts should not be drastically reduced. Facebook hates sudden changes, and if you have been fastidious about grooming your page, I do not want you to incur any damage this week.

Instead, just remove one post a day. You have to treat Facebook with a gentle hand. Nothing angers the Facebook gods more than quick and/or drastic change.

Choosing where to place your efforts

I am sure you have heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” Right?

Well, I look at that phrase a little differently. I want to work smarter so I CAN work harder.

This is what I mean…

When you are working smarter, you have more time to work on other important details. If you accomplish more work in less time, you have more time within your office hours to work on the things truly important to moving your blogging business forward.

So, if you are spending less time on Facebook, you should be spending more time working on another task to grow your blog traffic.

WEEK THREE – Try a different platform

During the third week testing your Facebook efforts, work smarter on Facebook so you have the time to work harder on content, email, Pinterest, or whatever you choose.

Automate your Facebook by either spending time scheduling posts directly through your Facebook page or through a service like Post Planner.

You cannot turn off your efforts for gaining blog traffic from Facebook without increasing effort in another area. So, choose a focus for this week:

  • Building your email subscriber list
  • Nurturing or segmenting your current email subscribers
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Live Video (Facebook Live, Periscope, etc.)
  • Content creation
  • SEO
  • or something else?

Take the same amount of time you normally spend on your Facebook page and invest in this different platform.

At the end of seven days, test your efforts by checking your total blog page views and the number of referrals you received.

WEEK FOUR – Make a decision

After four weeks of analyzing your time and effort, choose whether you need a new approach to Facebook or can maintain your current strategy.

Decide on these facets:

  • How much time will you dedicate to your Facebook efforts? (You should only spend 10% of your office hours on marketing.)
  • What type of content (status updates, links, videos, etc.) will you post? Will you experiment with Facebook Live?
  • Where will you get the content you share? Will you only post content from your blog
  • Will you automate what you post to Facebook? Will you use Post Planner or something else?

And, because the Facebook algorithm changes often, set a reminder to recheck your strategy quarterly. Do not fall into the trap of being a well-trained dog again.

How much time do you spend on your Facebook page? Are you tired of constant Facebook algorithm changes? Test your efforts to see if your time is worth the effort.
Complete the form below to receive the Testing Your Effort on Facebook Guide by email.

How I changed my Facebook strategy

My Facebook marketing strategy prior to the test was to post viral content as often as possible to my Facebook page. Each time I published a new post, a link was sent from my blog using Social Networks Autoposter (SNAP).


When I viewed my statistics, I decided that I was spending way too much time on Facebook for the blog traffic I received. But brands still love Facebook and I needed to maintain an active page for that one reason.

I also noticed that Facebook was a timesuck. The more time I spent working on my page, the more time I spent distracted by my newsfeed or groups.


I chose to post less during week two but became very picky about what I shared. My goal was to only share MY content or content that matched my blog’s goal: providing families with solutions for living a generous lifestyle on a budget.

Deciding to only share content that represented my brand eliminated a lot of the time I spent scouring my newsfeed and Post Planner for viral content.


During the second week, I turned my attention to my highly neglected email subscribers and started planning out newsletter content and a way to segment my list.

By chopping my list up by interest using tags in ConvertKit, I saw an increased open rate resulting in more clicks through to my blog.


Despite my determination to break my co-dependent relationship with Facebook, I did maintain a presence after the testing, but I stopped killing myself, trying to find viral content and no longer post more than once a day. Sometimes, I post every other day.

In a nutshell:

    • I post less often on my Facebook page… maybe four times a week?
    • Most of the content I share to Facebook is my own.
    • I have a highly defined definition of what I will share on Facebook.

The final results after these changes? My blog page views are the same. The amount of traffic referred from Facebook is a little better but not enough to thrill me.

But, my Facebook reach… has skyrocketed.

Previously, my Facebook updates (on a page with over 13,000 followers) would reach between 100 and 400 people. After tweaking my strategy, each post reaches between 1,500 and 4,000 people. Crazy, right?

Roughly 80% of the content I share on Facebook is my own. From my own blog. Automated with Social Networks Autoposter. These posts have gone from a reach of 100 people to over 1,000 people and higher.

I also push one or two Instagram posts through to my Facebook page each week. These updates have a reach of at least 1,000 people but typically score over 3,000.

Rarely, I share content from other bloggers but ONLY if it matches my brand message.

Lessons learned

Through this experience, I think the most important thing I learned was that Facebook is not as necessary for driving traffic as I believed.

    • Yes, bloggers need to have a Facebook page.
    • No, bloggers do not need to focus so intently on posting to Facebook.

By choosing my content carefully and posting less, my Facebook reach has grown and my referral traffic is unchanged. I have more time to spend on other social media platforms and… more importantly… my email subscribers.

Will you get these same results? I cannot say with certainty. But I encourage you to test your Facebook strategy and see for yourself. Do you feel the results are worth the effort?

Are you wasting time on Facebook?

Testing_your_facebook_efforts_cover_250 Test your Facebook strategy to see if your efforts are being wasted with this free 25-page guide.

No spam ever. Guaranteed. Powered by ConvertKit

More about the Facebook algorithm changes

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Periscope vs. Facebook Live

Over the last two weeks, I have struggled with whether or not to abandon Periscope to use Facebook Live exclusively as my live broadcasting application. There are certainly benefits to both platforms, making the decision even more difficult.

If live broadcasting is a game-changer, which app should you use? Learn the pros and cons of Periscope and Facebook Live as well as tips for using Facebook Live. (Free Guide)

Live broadcasting is necessary

If you look over the last few years, you can easily discern the rising popularity in video as a way to market your blog. Video has crept into the newsfeeds on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

But people want more than video can give. Studies show that social media leaves people feeling isolated. [SOURCE] But how does that relate to live broadcasting?

Human touch

I believe people are craving a more human touch and live broadcasting provides entertainment and companionship.

My viewers have said things like:

  • I love being able to hear your voice.
  • I like the intimacy of live broadcasting.
  • I listen to you every day.
  • I feel like I really know you.

The transparency of live broadcasting increases the connection between users. In my experience, these relationships result in a stronger tribe, more blog traffic, and increased product sales.

Breaking news

At the same time, a generation is budding under the sun of instant news… and they like it. Students of the information age want news immediately as it is still breaking.

The sudden growth of Periscope is proof.

Why use Periscope?

As an active participant on Periscope since the live broadcasting app was only seven weeks old, I have experienced significant growth (both personal and professional) by using it to connect with my audience and expand my reach.

Periscope gives you the ability to instantly connect and receive immediate feedback through comments and hearts.

The simple sharing mechanism also empowers your viewers to generate interest in your message through social sharing. With a simple tap, viewers can instantly invite all of their followers on Periscope, Facebook, and/or Twitter to join your broadcast.

Why use Facebook Live?

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform of all time and with the rise in the popularity of live broadcasting, this could be a game-changer for Facebook… and for bloggers.

Where the people are

For most bloggers, their established following on Facebook exceeds their presence on Periscope.

Even if a blogger has seen success on Periscope, Facebook boasts over ONE BILLION more users than Periscope with a total of 1,500,000,000 users. [SOURCE] This means the potential for growth is greater on Facebook than on Periscope.

Qualified viewers

In addition to the mass of people using Facebook, you also have the flexibility of using Facebook Live on your personal profile, business page, or group.

These people are already familiar with your brand. They have visited your page and connected with your message enough to “like” you, meaning they are marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and primed for hearing more about you.

Periscope vs. Facebook Live

Which platform should you use for live broadcasting? If I was brand new to live broadcasting, had to choose between Periscope and Facebook, and had a larger audience on Facebook, I would choose Facebook Live.



Here are additional insights to consider:

Periscope Pros/Cons

PRO: Periscope yields the opportunity to connect with new people outside your current reach while Facebook is primarily for reaching your existing audience.

CON: The platform often has technical problems involving analytics and broadcast stability while Facebook Live seems to have a stable interface in most browsers.

PRO: The live broadcast seems more intimate than Facebook Live ask the comments flow over the personal broadcasting and hearts float up the other side. With Facebook Live, the comments are restricted in a box below the broadcaster.

CON: Trolls and creepers frequent live Periscope broadcasts and can overwhelm a broadcast with incessant comments, prohibiting the natural flow of conversation. Since Facebook Live is with an existing audience or even within a group, spam is much less frequent.

PRO: If you choose to send your broadcast to Twitter, the live broadcast and replay are available in the stream of people following you on Twitter.

CON: Periscope replays are available for only 24 hours before vanishing forever… unless you save your broadcast to your device or Facebook Live replays are available indefinitely, can be saved to your device, and/or deleted from your timeline when you choose.

PRO: Periscope analytics, although not completely reliable, are much more detailed compared to Facebook Live. After your broadcast, you can see the total number of viewers, average time on the broadcast, and retention percentage. Facebook Live only records the number of people viewing the broadcast.

Facebook Pros/Cons

PRO: Facebook Live counts down with a 3-second warning prior to the live broadcast while Periscope begins broadcasting immediately.

CON: The physical space for Facebook Live is limited to a square while Periscope uses full portrait or landscape mode.

PRO: You can start a broadcast with the either the rear- or front-facing camera on Facebook Live but Periscope requires you start with the rear-facing camera and then double tap to flip the screen.

CON: During replay, Facebook Live appears as a regular video. Comments do not display during the broadcast as they do on Periscope.

PRO: Videos can be edited after the live broadcast has ended. For instance, you can add a video thumbnail to avoid an awkward facial expression unlike Periscope where a blurred image becomes your thumbnail.

CON: The Facebook news feed is filtered by a complex algorithm while Periscope (and Twitter) are still chronological. Currently, Facebook is pushing live broadcasts to the top of the feed but this may not always be true.

PRO: Viewers after a Facebook Live broadcast can continue to comment on the video, encouraging engagement for an indefinite period of time.

Best tips for using Facebook Live

The more I use Facebook Live, the more I like it.

If you feel swayed towards Facebook Live, I don’t blame you. I encourage you to jump in while Facebook is favoring live broadcasts in the news feed.

Use these Facebook Live tips to have the best broadcast possible from your very first Facebook Live.

If live broadcasting it a game-changer, which app should you use? Learn the pros and cons of Periscope and Facebook Live as well as tips for using Facebook Live. (Free Guide)

Even if you are familiar with live broadcasting through other apps like Periscope and Meerkat, be mindful that Facebook is a different platform and should be treated as such.

  • Understand what your followers like.

Prior to a live broadcast, research your existing following through the insights available on your page. Make notes of the items that received the greatest reach and highest engagement. Plan your first live broadcasts on these topics.

Expand on what you know works before dabbling into unknown areas. For instance, if your Facebook page responds well to DIY and crafts, they will probably bounce off a live broadcast focused on Nascar racing.

Should you never live broadcast about Nascar? It depends on the target audience you hope to attract. Just be aware that any sudden changes can send your page spiraling into the Facebook abyss.

  • Have a plan.

Live broadcasting can become addictive. As you see your reach grow and engagement increase, the temptation is there to live broadcast EVERYTHING. That is why I suggest having a longterm plan for how you will use Facebook Live.

Create a strategy that involves one of these:

  1. Increase page views – Perhaps you broadcast each time a new post is published on your blog. Give details about why you wrote the post, why you think it is helpful, and ask for your viewer to share it.
  2. Increase email subscribers – Entice viewers to subscribe by offering exclusive incentives available only to those who watch you on Facebook Live. Have a password-protected page on your website and reveal the password towards the end of your broadcast. Tell everyone the secret too early and your viewers will bounce off to grab the goody.
  3. Increase product sales – Incorporate Facebook Live into the launch for your next product or weave gentle mentions of your existing products into your live broadcast. You can also offer special discounts just for those who view your video. But remember… no one wants to feel like they are being cornered by a salesman, and Facebook Live is not the place for infomercials.

If you are tempted to broadcast and find that the topic cannot include one of the strategies above, think twice before clicking to go live.

  • Get to the good stuff.

When you start your live broadcast, get to the topic quickly. Always introduce yourself and mention your website, but then jump into the conversation about your topic. Facebook viewers have a short attention span and if you do not grab them from the first minute, they are gone.

  • Have notes to stay on track.

If you have trouble staying on topic, have notes nearby. Never ramble. Don’t misunderstand… story-telling is great but if you get too far form the purpose of your live broadcast, people will be bored and disengage.

Once you have lost a viewer to boredom, it is very difficult to get them to come back for future videos.

  • Encourage viewers to comment, like, and share.

Even after the live broadcast is completed, your viewers can keep the conversation rolling in the comments. Any engagement (likes, shares, comments, views) are fabulous for the increasing the reach of your video. However, many viewers think that if the broadcast is no longer live, they cannot respond.

Encourage additional comments while you are live by asking for them. Then, after the broadcast is complete, join the conversation with your viewers so they realize you are still actively participating in the conversation.

  • Make links easy to say and remember.

You can easily monetize your Facebook Live videos with affiliate links but you have to be able to SAY them. Use a link shortener like Pretty Links to make your URLs easy to say and remember. You can direct traffic to a recent blog post, affiliate link, sponsor… get creative.

  • Change your thumbnail.

Facebook Live videos can be edited AFTER the broadcast. Unless you like the awkward face Facebook chooses for your video thumbnail, change it. Update the thumbnail with a piece of stock photography or a graphic that clearly represents the topic of your conversation.

Get these Facebook Live Tips for FREE.

Subscribe to the Inspired Bloggers University and get this free printable emailed to you!

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How to Download Your Facebook Page Status Updates Archive

I recently went on a journey to figure out how to download my facebook page’s status update archive.  Even though I do have a blog, I am more of a Facebooker than a blogger.  When I have something to say, I want to say it immediately without pomp and circumstance.  I want to get reactions immediately, too.  I want to communicate.  For me, Facebook is where it’s at.

Birdsong Analytics... I need a closer look at this!

When I started writing my own book, which is part memoir/part fiction, I wanted to go back and grab some of those life experiences that I had chronicled only on my Facebook page.  I tried the search function for what I knew were some of my much loved posts, but, alas, no results were found.  Regardless of the keyword, it knew nothing.  (Their search function is hit or miss.)

I was, however, able to use Facebook’s built in feature to retrieve my status updates from my personal profile, but I was unable to retrieve my status updates from my Facebook pages. I did try a few different times from within FB, and I was never given my file for my business page.  Maybe it was just an all-too-familiar FB glitch. (To retrieve your archive from your personal Facebook profile, go to Settings and click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.)

About Birdsong Analytics

I tried multiple searches on Google and tried several different sites that promised to deliver me my Facebook page status update archive, but nothing doin’.  Failed attempt after failed attempt.  Thankfully, Tiffany Wong’s (of Real Mom Talk) Google was able to help me out, and she quickly found Birdsong Analytics for me to peruse.

I clicked over and immediately liked their clean and easy-to-use website.  My favorite feature was the chat system which was set to engage me after a few minutes of being on the site.  I took the chat box  up on his offer.  I was now chatting with Jamie.

As it turns out, Jamie is the actual owner of this company.  He and his wife run it together.  As a business owner myself, I was very impressed that he had not outsourced this part of his business.  Customer service is key to any successful business but is unfortunately one of the lowest paid jobs within a company.  It’s best to handle this yourself if at all possible.

Jamie sent me a sample report of my Facebook page that showed me all kinds of numbers six ways to Sunday, and I kept him on chat for a good 20 minutes asking him all sorts of questions, to which he responded with wit and charm.  A bonus feature of any site.

You get lots of great information about your page (or you can download ANY page’s info, not just your own), but the thing that started it all was wanting my archive of status updates from my own Facebook page.

For easiest status updates extraction, you can download your status update file in the .CSV file format.  You will need to open this file in Excel to retrieve your status updates.  The status updates will all be in one column, so you can delete the columns that you don’t want or just work with the data that is there.

The columns are post id, date, status update text, number of likes, number of comments, and number of shares.  These are great columns for me, because I know that the content that I want to share in my novel is going to be what my audience was most responsive to.  The content has already been vetted, so I know it’s good and strikes a chord in my audience.


Birdsong Analytics Results 1


One of the free features that I love about Birdsong Analytics is that I can quickly and easily access some statistical data on ANY page, not just my own page.  This will come in most handy when I am working with clients on preparing their media kits.  I don’t even offer advertising on my own site, but after seeing my 13% engagement rate, I’m thinking about it.

I can also order the detailed reports on ANY page, not just my own.  

What BirdSong can offer is an insight on how your competitors are using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can use it to identify their performance, best time to tweet, most popular tweets and the ability to export their followers. On Facebook and Instagtram you can identify the best performing content and posting times. “–Jamie Riddell

When I told him that I was actually doing research for an article, he sent me my full data.  But, being a small business owner myself, I’m not looking for handouts.  Investing in each other is critical, and we shouldn’t always be looking for a “gimme gimme gimme”.  I went through the process as a paying customer to retrieve my information.  They are in the UK, so the UK price is 19.99 pounds, which translates to $30 US dollars.  (Write-offs are an important part of business, too.)

If you know that you will be needing more than one report (say you want to do one each month with updated statistics), then you can buy a pack of 6 for $120, saving you $60.

To see a sample of the reports, click here.

In my opinion, my $30 was well spent.  I got 3 years’ worth of my life story in a simple to use format.  Even if I wasn’t writing a book, this is information that I can compile for journaling or whatever I want to use it for.  It’s mine.  Facebook shouldn’t own it and be able to keep it from us.  Hopefully they will make this information easier to retrieve at some point in the near future.

Although the report was supposed to have been delivered to my email in approximately 15 minutes, I know from talking with Jamie the other day that sometimes getting information from Facebook doesn’t go as quickly as planned.  And we all know from the hours that we’ve invested into Facebook that they don’t always play nice.  I mean, I can’t even get their own search engine to work correctly all of the time.  So even though the report took longer to retrieve than 15 minutes, that was not Birdsong Analytics’ fault.

I have worked in the customer service industry for over 20 years, and I am very impressed by Birdsong Analytics services and their customer support.  And I’m impressed with some of my writing, too.  It was great to easily go back through my status updates and see what my former self had been up to over the last three years.

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The Key for Increasing Facebook Engagement [It’s SOCIAL Media, Stupid!]

We have been searching for a way to increase Facebook engagement. The perfect formula for having our pages recognized as valuable and worthy of being listed in the news feed.

Well… I have found it. Or rather… it found me.

LIGHTBULB. Seems so simple when you step back and realize that getting Facebook engagement isn't as hard as we make it to be.

I have been on Facebook for a long time and I have seen the algorithm change over and over and over again. My strategy has changed repeatedly in order to battle against this hidden beast who chose to show my page in the news feed… or not.

Hours of my life have been dedicated to watching other pages, detailing what works and what doesn’t. I’ve attended conferences, watched webinars, had hangouts… and still could not find the key to increasing Facebook engagement. I wanted a perfect formula. A magic pill.

Nothing I seemed to do was working and despite having over 11,000 fans, most of my updates were only seen by 150 or LESS. The frustration was so much that I gave up and started automating my blog feed. (And for the record, those automated RSS posts were seen by an average of 49 people.)

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

Then, one night I was watching an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk and he said something that was like a boom of thunder against the weary recesses of my brain. Lightning flashed and hopes soared as I realized how stupid I had been. How much time I had wasted!

The key to engagement on Facebook is…

SOCIAL media

It’s so simple that you might need to think about it for a minute. I’ll wait…

No lightbulb yet? Okay, let me explain.

Facebook is NOT an RSS delivery service.

Facebook is NOT synthetic.

Facebook is NOT automated.

Facebook is a SOCIAL media outlet. A platform for being SOCIAL.

So, I stopped SHARE-ing with my Facebook followers. I stopped trying to sell them something. I stopped trying to get them to come to my blog. I just stopped almost everything I HAD been doing and went back to what was once fun.

I stopped all of this and started TALKing to them. I greeted my friends and invited them into my life. I only shared what I knew they would LOVE. I got picky with what went on my Facebook feed. I posted less.

Know what happened? After just a few days, my engagement soared!

Facebook is a SOCIAL media outlet. A platform for being SOCIAL.

Give your Facebook fans a KISS

If you want to engage your audience,  you must be engaging! But wait… don’t let that word scare you. To be engaging you just need to remember to KISS them.

Keep it simple, Stupid.

[And I mean no offense. We all know how smart you are, but when all of this hit me, that is how I felt. STUPID.]

Get to know them… again. They followed you once because there was something they LIKE-d. What was that?

I don’t follow any specific schedule or strategy. I am just… me… being me… being social. Chatting as I would with people at church or in the supermarket, and it is working.

Drop all the complicated schedules and routines and just be yourself. Ask questions. Share jokes. Post pictures of what you KNOW they like. And… relax.

Facebook reach grows when you make it more about SOCIAL media than an RSS Feed.

Since this revelation, realizing how stupid I had been, I have grown to enjoy Facebook again. I love the conversations and relationships I have with my readers. I love getting to know them better and spending time chatting about the small stuff.

Try it and please let me know if it works for you.

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How to Pay for Engagement on Facebook

If Facebook is a dead end and you are going to be forced to pay for engagement on Facebook, then at least do it the correct way.

GREAT tips about paying for Facebook promotion to get a good return on your investment.

I’ve played with several different options for paying for Facebook promotions and these are the things I have learned.

What to include in your paid promotion

The details of your status update should be made very deliberately since you are choosing to pay for the promotion.

Promote intentionally

Is there potential for you to gain email subscribers from your paid promotion? Is your update related to an affiliate offer where you will make money? If not, then skip paying for the promotion. Do not sink money into advertising where you will not see a return on your investment.

Choose your status update carefully

As you choose the wording for your Facebook status, remember that you are marketing your blog. Pick your words to be inviting the reader to act on your offer. Buy, click, visit… use action words.

And, consider that the people who are reading your paid status update may not be the tribe that is most familiar with you. Give the details they need to understand what your status is about.

Tag your page

Within your status update, tag your own page. By doing so, you are creating an easy way for new fans to follow you. All they need to do is hover over the link and then click to like your page.

I always work it into my update with something like “Now, subscribers at Meet Penny can receive this amazing freebie…”

Place a link in your update

Your purpose in paying for engagement on Facebook is hopefully to drive traffic to your blog, to capture their email address, and to make them a part of your tribe. So, include a link to an amazing post or landing page, complete with the option to subscribe to your blog, to follow you on Pinterest, and to interact with similar content.

Use a picture

Upload a picture to represent your status update but limit the amount of text on the picture to less than 20% in order to have the ad approved.

Photos are given more space in the news feed and therefore, capture more attention.

An an extra tip

Upload three photos to your status update and add a caption and link to each photo. This gives you even more opportunities to entice fans to visit your blog.

When to pay for Facebook promotion

A lot of experts recommend paying to promote your status update from the very instance you click to post. However, I have found the estimated reach that Facebook promises to be inflated. Instead, I share my status update in all of my usual groups and ask my blogging friends to share the update. My goal is to exhaust my normal reach without paying.

After 24 hours, I will then go in a boost my post to take advantage of the paid promotion, getting my update in front of those I would not normally reach.

How to pay for promotion

I will never give Facebook a credit card number. Instead, I route my promotions through Paypal. I have heard horror stories of Facebook abusing credit cards by repeatedly charging for services, and I can tell you from experience that even when Facebook makes an error, they claim to never be wrong and you will not get your money back. Ever.

Should you “boost” or set up a Facebook ad

Again, I think I am pushing against many experts when I say, I have seen better engagement by boosting a post instead of going in through my campaigns and ads to create an ad. My engagement numbers are much higher and my money seems to go further than when I try to tweak my update through the advertising center.

Overall, I find that is I am very selective about when I pay to promote a Facebook status, I see a good return. Of course, I still prefer Pinterest where I can expand my reach virally and without having to pay, but there are instances where Facebook can help me boost a post into popularity.

What about you? Have you paid to promote on Facebook? What did you notice? Was it worth it?

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Is Facebook a Dead End for Bloggers? (And what to do…)

Anyone who has been paying attention to their page analytics knows that Facebook is constantly changing the algorithms in order to control what is seen by the average Facebook user. In their quest for “high quality” content, Facebook has given page owners a choice: Pay for engagement or be ignored.

Is Facebook a dead end for bloggers? Four specific tips on what to do as organic reach bends to ZERO%.

In a recent report posted by Social@Ogilvy, the organic reach of most Facebook pages is in a downward spiral that Facebook sources have hinted will reach ZERO. And the larger the page, the more significant the impact will be.

Organic reach from Facebook pages in a downward spiral. Projected to hit ZERO.
Visit Social@Ogilvy

Why is Facebook making these changes? The “why” doesn’t matter. They are a business and the focus of any healthy business is to make money. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that you cannot rely on a third party platform to build your blog. If you have been focusing all of your effort on Facebook, you are now essentially stuck without a way to grow your reach and traffic. So, what should you do now?

How to use the “new” Facebook

I have already started being very selective about what I share on Facebook because I am very conscious of spending my resources (time and money) where I will see a good return on my investment, and honestly… my Facebook pages have been dry for a couple of months.

While referrals from social media account for roughly 60% of the traffic to my blog at, less than 4% is directed from Facebook despite the fact that I have been playing with the paid features.

So, I have cut my losses. I stopped paying someone to maintain my brand Facebook pages and have encouraged the ladies who volunteer on the Inspired Bloggers Network Facebook page to scale back on their efforts. There just is no need to spin our wheels where we are not getting traction.

Should you abandon Facebook all together? No. Because you never know what changes they will make. But, instead of spending the majority of your time and money on a dead end, try this strategy:

Stay active but be intentional

Keep your Facebook page active by posting at least once a day. Save the BEST of your content for posting to Facebook and change the way you present it. Consider a 7-day rotation like this:

  1. Ask your readers a question.
  2. Post a status update with a link. Disable the link preview.
  3. Share a photo with a question as your caption.
  4. Post a status update with a link. Do not disable the link preview.
  5. Tell a funny story from behind the scenes.
  6. Upload a video.
  7. Share a favorite post from another blogger and tag that page.

This is just an example but I think it shows you the general idea of not sharing the same type of content every day.

Also, do not schedule your Facebook page updates through a third party. Instead, schedule directly through your Facebook page. Using another scheduling application might be convenient but it will instantly kill any hopes of organic reach your post might have.

Use the Instagram connection

One exception to sharing through a third party… I am still seeing decent engagement when I share a post to my Facebook page through my Instagram account. But, of course, Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram. They want it to succeed.

Budget for Selective Paid Promotion

If you can profit from what you are sharing, pay for engagement on your Facebook post. And by profit, I mean: you will see an increase in sales or subscribers.

Set aside an amount dedicated to Facebook in your advertising budget and keep a close eye on how much you are spending because it can add up very quickly.

But, when paying for promotion, be very picky and very deliberate about what and how you share. There is a right way to set up a paid Facebook promotion and a way to waste your money. 

Build an audience elsewhere

Focusing on any one social network is always a bad idea. Instead, I recommend that you find what it working for you and put the majority of your social media efforts there. I am willing to beat that you will find Pinterest is your leading referrer. If it is not, you are doing something wrong and need to make changes immediately to take advantage of Pinterest while it is hot.

Pinteresting: Pinterest Strategies for Brands and Bloggers
Purchase my book, Pinteresting: Pinterest Strategies for Brands and Bloggers on Amazon.

Even so, dabble in the other social media outlets too.

Meanwhile, build your subscriber list. Your subscribers are the only numbers you can truly count on. If all social media fails, your email subscribers will still be there.

How will you approach Facebook?

As a blogger, what will your plan be for using Facebook? If you are being specific and intentional, we would love to know what you are doing and if it is working. Please share in the comments.