facebook-requests

Facebook: Requesting vs. Suggesting

Recently, this blog has been asking people on our Facebook page to participate in different polls we do through the Facebook Questions section. I had made the decision at the beginning to send the question to all of my own personal Facebook friends in the hopes that I would be able to get more people to participate on the page and hopefully get more people to Like the page. The questions were not personal, simply asking about basic opinions on youth ministry, if they use certain social media networks, or seasonal questions that fit the holiday.

Unfortunately, I ran into a problem. One of my friends from college decided that he did not like being asked to answer this question. He kindly asked me to stop sending him requests because he felt like I was simply trying to run a research project on him. I happily obliged, but was puzzled. For the previous five months, I had be posting between one and three articles a day through my own personal account from this blog that would have shown up on his feed, approximately 300 articles in all. Yet five questions over a month and half was too much. Do not get me wrong, requesting my friends shows a notification that I am asking for something, whereas when I post a blog article, it simply shows up on their feed. So there is a difference in the delivery, but I was curious why he was so disgruntled over it. So why the complaint now?

The answer came quickly: Do not mix up the idea that sharing links that someone can ignore and asking for interaction directly with Facebook Questions is the same thing. They are completely different.

Short Term Success Does Not Mean Long Term Success

My goal to share questions from the Facebook page was a short-term tactic that was designed to increase the reach and interactions of my page with people and also improve the number of Likes so that I would not have to do this too much longer. Short-term, the posts did increase dramatically, though after just the third week it did begin to drop. The problem that came was two-fold: My Likes did not increase at all and people were beginning to gain a negative perception of the page and ultimately the brand. You may increase the reach of your Facebook page quickly, but too much in a short time (and that term too much is very subjective) can lead to a long-term lose of fans and views and even a negative connotation to what you have to offer. When coming up with the strategy of how you plan to use social media to promote what you have say, share, or sell, do so wisely and think about how you would react if someone did what you are going to do to yourself.

You might be asking why I am bringing this up, who cares if we offer suggestions or request their opinion. The difference is that ignoring a suggestion is guilt-free whereas ignoring my request brings about a little irritation that I may be bugging them and even a brief moment of them evaluating if it is worth being a fan of my Facebook Page. Combining guilt, irritation, and a reevaluation of committing to your page once in a while (a month or more) is one thing, but as I found out the hard way, even a question a week becomes spam in many peoples’ eyes.

Would you be annoyed at the frequency of requests or shared links you are putting out there?

road to success

Finding Success As A Beginner Blogger

This last year has been amazing for the seventy8 Productions blog. We began with nothing, an empty slate, and ideas to put into words. We have shared our favorite memories, but we did share the details of the stats that we have been so excited. Our first post received a whole three views and that month we had ten unique visitors. Now, we are averaging about 4,000 unique viewers a month, a 400,000% increase in a year… not bad.

The dream of blogging began simply as trying to provide some fun stuff for you and record some other thoughts and research for later use. The added benefit that came out of it is that I was able to better conceptualize youth ministry constructs as I prepared for the different relationships and events. When I added the student leadership program and had a summer intern, I planned everything out ahead of time, went through the feedback I received from everyone, and put it into action. I love to converse with great youth workers and tech people, both on the website and through other venues.

Here are the stats over the last nine months:

[easychart type="horizbar" height="100" title="Monthly Unique Pageviews" groupnames="Months" groupcolors="005599" valuenames="Apr,May,June,July,Aug,Sept,Nov,Dec" group1values="672,761,1202,915,1058,2172,3572,3311,4222" ]

While success is easily measured through pageviews, number of comments, and people who have subscribed to your RSS feed, that is a sterile approach to interacting with people. To measure success means more than cold numbers, instead you need to invest the time and energy that can build relationships, share wisdom, and find great resources to have better your own ministries.

We want to share some of the things that we have found to be success. Here are three things we have found to not only increase the number of people that view our website, but make for a better blogging experience.

  1. Give Away Free Stuff. This is by far the best way to increase the views and benefit others. In fact, three of our five top viewed pages were free resources that we gave out and the category of free stuff accounts for more than twenty percent of our traffic overall. At the same time, people offered up some great constructive criticism that will help make better material for the future to share. If you are not offering free stuff on your blog, you are losing out on what you have to share and the views that come with it.
  2. Content Is King, Always. Regardless of if you plan to write to make the money or just for the hobby, you need to know what you are going to write about and write it well. Success does not just fall into your lap. Writing a post may require experiencing something in life or ministry, taking the time to do the research and flesh out an article, or having some professional opinions of hot topics of the week. This will require using SEO techniques to know what people are searching for and viewing, writing about unique material that you are an expert on (or at least know what not to do), and putting in the elbow grease for your posts. If you do not put in the effort, you will not get the results.
  3. Guests Posts Give A Voice To The Audience We love our guest posts. The response to offering guest posts has been amazing and the quality of content was better than we could ever expect. In fact, we plan to make one of the guest authors a regular on the website this month. Not only do we give a voice to a group of people, that week of guest posts not only freed up a week for us at seventy8Productions, but it was the third most active week for us from viewers. Guest posts are a must for all bloggers! Make an event of it.