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Using Facebook to Grow Your Traffic: Best Practices for Publishers

June 4, 2013ByAndy Mitchell

People love sharing news articles with their friends. According a recent SimpleReach study, 23% of external traffic to news publishers comes from social networks. Facebook is the top source of social referrals:

Facebook's role in distributing news content is growing. According to a Pew Research study, Facebook traffic to major news websites more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. We've seen this growth continue, with our data showing overall external referrals up more than 50% in 2013.

We regularly work with news publishers to help them enable people to explicitly choose the news-related content that they share with friends. Below, we've highlighted three steps that news publishers can take to drive social referrals while giving their readers control over sharing on Facebook.

Add Like and Share to your website and app

The Like Button and Share Dialog are simple to integrate into your website yet extremely powerful. The Like button allows readers to show interest in articles with one click, while the Share Dialog lets them add their own commentary before posting articles to Facebook.

By adding both Like and Share to their website, doubled its Facebook referral traffic between the second quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013

According to Pew Research, 47% of mobile users get news through social networks on a regular basis. To take advantage of this trend, we’ve introduced a new Share Dialog for iOS apps. Our redesigned dialog lets readers share links without requiring Facebook Login. The dialog will also be available for Android soon.

Our new iOS Share Dialog is easy to integrate, doesn't require Login, and lets people tag friends for additional distribution and context

Publish compelling stories for sharing on Facebook

According to SimpleReach, 67% of social referrals came from just 1% of articles. We’ve found that stories with attention catching headlines, large images, and detailed descriptions perform exceptionally well on Facebook.

Testing multiple headlines for each article helped grow to 10 million unique visitors in one year

Grow an engaged, loyal following using your Facebook Page

Pages are a great way for news publishers to share stories and create an ongoing dialog with readers. Provide unique, visual content in your Page posts and seek feedback using comments. Use Page Insights to learn what content your audience cares about the most and iterate. posts links with teaser content on their Page to entice readers to click through to the website

Learn more about growing Facebook traffic

To help news publishers understand how to get the most value from Facebook, we recently launched a new Facebook media portal with links to best practices guides and case studies. Please check these resources out below. We’ll continue to work with publishers on new ways to facilitate news discovery for the more than 1.1 billion people who use Facebook.