11 Facebook page optimizations for small publishers

Make the most of your Facebook page by communicating your purpose and providing a path to reader engagement.

Why should you optimize your Facebook page?

Viewing your page on mobile is critical to knowing what you’re communicating to first-time visitors, and which elements contribute most to a good first impression.
  • A good profile can drive News Feed reach: Beyond clearly communicating your mission to users and prodding them to action (tips on both of these items below), the Facebook page also plays an important role in the algorithm. We won’t get into the weeds here, but “profile completeness” is one of the signals used to determine a page’s post reach. Revisiting your page and updating your information could yield better News Feed performance for each of your posts, ultimately drawing in more new readers.
  • Facebook is making big changes to page layout: Updating your page right now is more critical than ever. Even if you already do a page checkup once or twice a year, Facebook is in the middle of rolling out a slew of changes to the way your page is organized and displayed, prioritizing new features and hiding others. Most critically, a recent update to the mobile design is putting the spotlight on profile content that you, as a publisher, might not have emphasized — and they’re pushing posts, the clearest demonstration of your value to readers, nearly out of sight.

How to optimize your Facebook page

When I look at a news publisher’s Facebook page, there are three things I look for.

  1. Credibility: Does it look professional? Can I discern anything about the people or organization who run this page?
  2. Action: What’s the next thing I can do once I’ve made a judgement about the page?

1. The cover photo

On both desktop and mobile, this is going to be the very first thing a visitor sees, so make it count. At the very least use a high quality photo; a grainy camera phone shot from 2013 will quickly cast doubt on your professionalism.

The Facebook cover photo gallery gives you up to five images users can swipe through, and which together can tell the story of your brand.

2. The profile photo

Can you read the text in the profile photo above? You probably shouldn’t have more than three characters, and even that may be pushing it.

3. The call-to-action button

This may be the most important part of your Facebook page. If everything else is doing its job of communicating your identity, it will steer users to take the action you set here.

4. The ‘about us’ section

A Facebook page’s “About” section offers several opportunities to communicate identity, establish credibility and push toward actions. Fill out as much as you can. A lot of the About section is prominently displayed on mobile, often (but not always) just under your Action button, and also on the page preview.

The about us section helps populate important areas of your page preview, including links that can steer valuable traffic to your page.
The links. The beautiful links.

5. The page category

You can also manage how your page is categorized by Facebook in the About section, and this may be more important than you think.

6. The ‘Our Story’ section

Also in the About section, Our Story is a highly visible module that appears on the top right of the desktop view of your page. It was prominent on mobile until the layout update this month, but even though it’s now tucked into the About Us tab it’s still a great opportunity for users looking to learn more.

When users click “See More” they can click a link to the newsletter signup form, see archives, et cetera.

7. Pinned posts

Under the new mobile page layout, even your pinned posts get pushed way out of sight on the page. But if users get there, or if they’ve come by desktop, you should have a great example of your journalism so people can clearly see the kind of information they’ll get if they follow you. You can also put a message about the importance of your work, or a call to action.

8. Photo and video modules

These modules demand the eye’s attention — especially on mobile. Make sure they’re reflecting your work.

You can get really creative with messaging here. The featured photos can become an effective billboard for your publication.

9. Declutter and reorganize your page

Is there anything this sidebar can do without?

10. Reviews and recommendations

The latest update to Facebook prioritizes recommendations, and merges them with reviews. As a page module, recommendations look great if you can keep a four star rating or above. It’s prominent, and bestows immediately credibility.

11. Pay attention to Page Tips

Facebook is always surfacing tips to improve the presence of your brand. It’s easy to dismiss them without reading, but don’t. The tips often reveal new features, warn of upcoming changes, and can also imply ways to improve your reach. Read them whenever and wherever they may appear.

Bonus tip: View as Page Visitor

By default, you will not see your own page the way ordinary users will — and that can lead to some embarrassing oversights. Remember to check your page often from the perspective of a regular user. On desktop you can do this by clicking the “…” option beneath your cover photo and select “View as Page Visitor.”

Final thoughts

Under the pressure of creating quality content for deadline, engaging with users, and keeping tabs on the barrage of algorithmic changes, it can be hard to remember to take a step back and review your basics. But those who take the time to regularly review and make quick fixes to their page setup in response to updates and layout changes, those tweaks can end up driving more followers, subscribers, and conversions.

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University

Ned Berke

Written by

Ned Berke

Entrepreneur-in-Residence @ Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. Audience Development @ Center for Cooperative Media. Audience builder. Dad/husband

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University