Mari Smith Interview
We know you as The Queen of Facebook, but most of our visitors are web newbies so – could you introduce yourself a bit to our readers, tell them what you exactly do and what they can learn from your blog?
I specialize in Facebook marketing success strategies for small, medium and large businesses around the world. I’ve been a passionate evangelist for Facebook for almost 11 years and my enthusiasm has never waned! Facebook has evolved each year to become one of the most powerful and effective ways for businesses to connect and engage with their respective audiences. On my blog, I publish regular in-depth tutorials and guides on how to optimize Facebook, plus I share a weekly roundup of popular articles that help readers stay on top of the social landscape.
When did you decide to start blogging – did you have any help or was it all a DIY project?
I first began dabbling with blogging in the early 2000’s and then more seriously in 2007. I started out with a simple Facebook blog, sharing tips on how to enjoy all the benefits of the Facebook features as well as utilize the platform for business. In addition, I also published a travel blog at the time while I was on the road in an RV for a year and a half – I would share “digital nomad” tips and tricks from the trenches. I’ve always been a ‘tecchie’ (or ‘chic geek’ as I like to call myself!) ever since my teens, so I am a DIY-er!
And which platform you used/would gladly recommend others to use when creating a blog and why?
Back in the year 2000, I used Blogger.com. Later, I migrated to WordPress and would highly recommend this fabulous platform, given its myriad themes and plugins out there. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and powers almost 30% of the entire internet.
What types of posts would you say perform the best on Facebook? And also, what would be the best way to drive interactions on a Facebook page?
Video posts are by far the best performing types of content on Facebook for both organic and paid reach. Ideally, try square video format for even better performance and view-to-completion rates. Plus, square videos can be used in Carousel Ads where you can place up to ten square photos and/or videos in one ad unit, each one linking to unique destinations.
The best way to drive interactions is broadcasting with Facebook Live. Ideally, go live regularly on the same day(s) each week and time, if possible. Consider building out your own television-style show with episodes. Facebook just launched the Creator App to encourage influencers and content creators to use video even more and build up their audience on Facebook. If the Creator App is not a fit for your business, for sure use Facebook’s native Live video tools on the native mobile app and desktop platform. Plus, there is a wide variety of third-party Facebook live tools to try out, such as BeLive.tv, Wirecast, BlueJeans Network onSocial, Zoom, Ecamm Live and more.
How often should people post website content on their Facebook pages? Would you say there are some general rules for that?
Aim for one post a day. Experiment with up to three a day. Unless you’re a news site, it’s best not to go too crazy and post once or twice an hour. As organic reach has declined over the years, some Page owners attempted to gain more reach by increasing frequency of content publishing. But this could actually have the opposite effect. The Facebook algorithms want to reward engaging posts and Pages. It’s much better to have fewer posts that have a good number of reactions, comments, shares and video views, vs. a high volume of posts with scant engagement.
When it comes to Facebook Ads, what are the top three things that beginners should pay attention to when starting a campaign?
- Only allocate 10% of your budget to using the Boost button. The remaining 90% should be placed inside of Ads Manager where you will have much more options. The Facebook Ad algorithms view the Boost button as a ‘lightweight’ ad interface. Whereas the algorithms perceive ads placed inside Ads Manager (or Power Editor) to be from a more sophisticated advertiser.
- Ensure you have placed the Facebook Pixel on your website for tracking, for building Custom Audiences of your web visitors and to then retarget them.
- Pay attention to your Relevance Score. This is an ad score from 1-10. The closer to ten you can get your ad, the more your audience is resonating with the ad. If your ad isn’t performing well, it’s best to pause that campaign and create a fresh one. Your Relevance Score goes hand in hand with the audience targeting you choose. The more you know about your audience, the more you can refine and perfectly target your market, and the more likely they are to respond favorably. This is what Facebook wants – not more ads for the sake of having more ads, but more relevant ads.
By implementing these three best practices for advertising, you may also see your organic reach perform better.
Facebook Live is also very big now! Could you share with us three best practices for a good FB Live, including the recommended length?
- Ensure you have good lighting and ideally a professional microphone and camera. Facebook continues to place a huge emphasis on video – both live and recorded – and it’s only going to get more challenging to really cut through and stand out. To do this, ensure your broadcasts are quality… even television-quality, if possible. I recently put together my own Video Gear List – a fabulous free 28-page resource that your readers can download at www.marismith.com/fblive!
- Ideally, map out your own show with a core concept and regular episodes. Just start out by going live on the same day and time each week, if you can. Visit Facebook’s new Creators learning center to educate yourself and get inspiration for what’s working today on the platform. Suggestions include how-to videos, comedy sketches (people love to laugh!), and talent showcase – perhaps you’re a singer, musician, artist, technical genius, or specialist in a great niche.
- Facebook Live maximum length is currently four hours. Facebook wants broadcasters to go live for longer periods of time, which means anything from 10-20 minutes or more. Facebook is rapidly building a new digital streaming television destination and will be monetizing with ad breaks—ads between 5-15 seconds in length, placed at varying intervals in longer videos.
What’s the most common question you were asked about Facebook marketing that we perhaps, didn’t ask you here? 🙂
Is it better to just use your personal profile and a group on Facebook, or do we really have to have a business Page?
I get this question a lot from smaller businesses and especially those in the direct sales industry. There is a great big myth out there that Facebook does not allow the use of our personal profiles for business. But, the rules are actually around “commercial purposes” such as selling your cover image or a wall post to an advertiser. But there are no rules around talking about anything to do with our business on our personal profile. However, the big caveat I always tell people is that it’s only on a Business Page that you can then strategically amplify your content to your exact target market through ads. A personal profile is rather limited if that’s all you’re using for business. Running and joining groups on Facebook is a great adjunct to your business Page.
Though you are the Queen of Facebook, it is not the only social media platform you’re active on 🙂 You’re very active on Twitter and Instagram too, so if you’d had to choose just one between these three networks (regardless of the connection between FB and Insta and all the feelings aside) which one would you choose to be active on?
Hands down, Facebook. On a personal level, everyone I know has a Facebook account. All family members, all friends, even people I went to elementary school and my elementary school teacher! But, even if there were a whole separate platform we all used just for personal, I would still choose Facebook over all other platforms given its sheer size (2.07 billion active users worldwide), the depth and breadth of ad targeting options, the array of fun features and live broadcasting ability. Oh, and now I’m in love with the newly revamped and relaunched “Local” app, which is bound to be a big competitor to Yelp, FourSquare, possibly even Meetup and Eventbrite. The new Local app makes it super-duper easy to build out your “in real life” social life with a vast array of easy-to-use filters, a map view, a personal calendar, and more. And, the social graph is of course totally baked into the app, meaning I can see which friends are going to what events, who’s invited me to their event, etc.
Photos ©: MariSmith.com