Facebook Image Hack for Better Engagement
The Sprocket Report
Graphics grab attention when folks are swiping through their Facebook feed, but sometimes the post you want to share doesn’t have an image. Here is a tip for getting around that.
Facebook automatically previews a page when you create a post that includes a URL link. If there is an image available, the post will provide a thumbnail of it. When you are sharing a link to your own website, you have control over what the image will be, but when you are sharing a link from someone else’s website, it gets a bit trickier.
In the example above, the link is inserted into the post, but no graphic image shows up in the preview. If we write a comment introducing this URL and then post it, the text will show up as expected in a reader’s Facebook feed, but it will be less eye-catching and give a slightly unprofessional impression. The post will look like this:
Sure, it’s not absolutely awful, but it could be so much better! Fortunately, the website is configured to have the option of an image – see where it says “Available Images?” The plus sign in the dotted square lets us add an image by clicking on it and choosing a graphic from our own files.
That means you’ll need to have previously saved an appropriate graphic so you can choose it. Sometimes you can find one that you can save for use on the web page you are trying to share or elsewhere on their site. If not, and you have the time and inclination, you could search for an appropriate image on a free images website. When there are no good choices and no time to pursue the search, even their logo is better than that generic blank image.
Once the image is saved in your files, you can choose it to be your “Available Image,” write your introductory post and remove the URL string, if you choose. Removing the URL from the comment field will not remove the link from your finished post. Now you have an image, the website preview, a link to the full article and a clean-looking post – all ready for you to hit the Share Now button or to schedule for later – as seen in the example below:
One word of warning, however: Not all websites give you the “Available Images” option in the preview. When that happens you have two choices. You can either just post the text that shows up in the preview, deleting the URL string for neatness. Or you can use the Photo/Video button to add an image.
When you use the Photo/Video button, it overrides the preview so you have to leave the URL in the text box or your reader won’t be able to follow the link to read more. If the URL string is really ugly, you may choose to use a link shortener such as Bitly.
These simple workarounds will lessen the chances of your post being overlooked when readers are scanning their Facebook feed. Check to be sure your own web pages provide an attractive preview as well. If not, you may need to update your habits or your website. You’re welcome to give us a call to talk it over. We’re happy to help!