Monday, December 11, 2017

Best Practices for Facebook in 2018

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Last week I shared Best Practices for Twitter. This week I’m following that up with a follow-up post about Facebook.

While there haven’t been any major changes lately with Facebook, it continues to make changes and updates regularly—especially in the Edge Rank Algorithm.

The Basics
In the good old days, all our friends’ updates show up in our newsfeed in order of when they’d posted. Now we see a mishmash of updates that Facebook deems most interesting to each individual user. That is the Edge Rank Algorithm at work to make Facebook better.

Yeah, not always a good thing.

But it’s a thing and we must learn to work within this paradigm. In addition, through the years Facebook has enabled hashtags, cut back on the organic reach for professional pages, and given us Facebook Live as a video platform. So let’s take a look at how to interact in ways that increase our reach without irritating our friends and followers.

Best Practices for Facebook
1. Make sure your Facebook avatar (profile picture) for your personal account and your professional page is a recognizable headshot. No, it doesn’t have to be a professional shot—although that’s always a good investment—but it needs to look professional. Remember you want to be found and most people are looking for you on small mobile devices so your picture is tiny.

2. Pay attention to your head on Facebook. That’s the long blue rectangle at the top of your Facebook home page. Use a clearly branded high resolution image. And remember your brand is bigger than a single book. Yes, include your most recent book, but remember one book isn’t your brand.

3. Remember that any post you interact with will be noted by Facebook and you’ll see more posts like it. This includes liking it, commenting it, and sharing it. This is important because you want to compose posts that others interact with. So using open-ended questions, requests for opinions, etc are important to use frequently.

3. Vary your posts with these different types of updates:

  • An inspiring quote or Bible verse (with a request to share one of their own) 
  • An open-ended question or request for an opinion 
  • Something funny. As you may have noticed, funny memes and videos get a lot of attention. Just be sure they’re not cruel. 
  • A link to something valuable. 
  • A video—either FB live, or perhaps something you’ve taken on your phone. 
  • No matter what type of an update, remember to use a picture with it. Text only updates get a significantly fewer shares and interactions. 
4. Learn how to use Facebook Live. Yes, video makes a lot of us uncomfortable, but it's going to become absolutely necessary as we continue to grow.

5. Learn how to use hashtags correctly on Facebook. Truthfully, hashtags in the traditional sense (tagging something topically so it will be found in a search) isn’t all that helpful on Facebook. Most FB users don’t use this option. Instead, consider using snarky or funny hashtags to add character to your posts.

6. Keep your updates short. Yes, we can use up to 1200 characters for an update, but the majority of those don’t get read. Think about how many times you click the read me tag at the end of a long post… The most shared posts on FB are either videos or updates that are 100 characters or less in length.

7. Interact with those who interact with you. If someone makes a comment or answers a tweet you sent out, don’t ignore them. Also, if someone regularly shares your posts, look for ways to do the same for them. Remember social media is reciprocal.

8. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Spammers are rampant on FB, so follow the guidelines I use. If I haven’t met you know or already know you from somewhere else online, I won’t accept your friend request.

9. Along that same thought. Don’t friend someone you don’t know. Instead follow them or LIKE their professional page.

10. Remember that on your personal page, anyone friend request you deny becomes a follower unless you block them. This is a good thing. It raises your numbers without impinging on your privacy. Followers can only see and interact with your public posts.

11. Don’t add people to groups. Yes, we have that ability, but it’s the height of bad taste. So just don’t.

12. Also, don’t send a group messages to all your followers asking them to buy your book. Everyone who interacts with you on Facebook is not your customer. Be smarter than that when it comes to marketing.

13. Don’t pass along helpful—inaccurate information. The example that comes to mind is the bogus message that warns about an individual who is a known hacker and is trying to get you to accept his friend request so he can hack your FB account.

14. Don’t tag someone in a post unless it pertains to them directly. If you mention them in your current blog post, yes tag them. Otherwise, don’t.

15. Be sure your Facebook feed is populated with updates that are NOT about you. I recommend Edie’s 5 to 1 rule to keep it from appearing to be self-serving. For every 5 updates you share, only 1 is about you.

16. DO NOT ever buy Facebook followers.

17. Always follow up an in-person interaction with a Facebook interaction. Be appropriate, but it’s a good idea to LIKE someone’s professional page, follow their personal profile, or friend them. We should never assume we’ve come to a place where our Twitter account will continue to grow automatically.

18. Listen to your instincts. If someone is making you uncomfortable on Facebook, block and/or report that account. There are a lot of crazy people out there. Don’t waste time trying to be polite.

19. Schedule and space out your updates. I use Hootsuite, but Buffer is also an excellent option to schedule your tweets.

20. Play nice. Google (and other search engines) cache Facebook updates, so even if you delete something it’s still available online. You’ll never regret being nice, but being rude or ugly can come back to haunt you years after the original update went out.

21. Be yourself. I strive to make sure that no one who’s met me on social media first will be shocked by how different I am in person.

22. Add value, not noise. There is a lot of junk on social media. I try to make sure that the things I share make someone’s life better.

Facebook is still foundational to building an online presence. Take time to learn the culture and then enjoy the interactions that this network will bring your way.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know what you’d add to many list of dos and don’ts for Facebook. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation


  1. Edie - I am constantly amazed and heartened by the depth and breadth of information available to all writers here on your site. Thanks.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

    1. Jay, you just made my day! Thank you! Blessings, E

  2. Replies
    1. Luana, I'm so glad you found them helpful! Blessings, E

  3. Replies
    1. Val, I'm so happy to share what I know! Blessings, E

  4. Thank you so much Ms. Edie! You and your colleagues on this blog site have been such a blessing this year (yes, I voted for y'all). Another article I am going to use PrintFriendly(tm) to archive and keep handy. May all the blessings you and friends have given me come back to all y'all. God's blessings...

    1. Jim thank you for the encouragement! Blessings, E

  5. Great information. I'm saving this article to my favorites so I can refer to it often. Have a Merry Christmas.

  6. Great info Edie. Just beginning again to Write edit and market. Thanks for such great Information

    1. Clella, I'm so glad you're getting back into the swing of things! Blessings, E

  7. I am not a big fan of Facebook. It's become a necessary evil kind of platform. However, since most of my relatives use it, I use too.
    The Facebook writer's groups are good for support but can't replace face to face interaction.
    As usual, excellent post full of useful information, Edie.

    1. Ingmar, it's not my favorite network either, but it has its uses! Blessings, E

  8. Always the best info out there regarding social media, and so much more! You are appreciated more than you know!

  9. Hi Edie,

    I've noticed you're posting a little less on Facebook, is this due to the "new" rules or due to how cumbersome they can become if you let it? I've also found myself denying more requests than ever before, but it was just due my instincts. Thanks for confirming it is in fact warranted. Definitely gonna save this article for future reference.


  10. Thanks. Learned new things with these tips.

  11. Great information will be putting into practice.