Hacks for Better Facebook Sharing
The Sprocket Report
Like judging a book by the look of its cover, readers judge your business by the look of your social media posts. Try these tips for more attractive shares.
The whole point of posting on Facebook is to engage with your current and prospective clients. If your posts look boring or silly, your readers are less likely to interact with them. Unfortunately, some of the links you want to share generate unappealing posts. Even though it’s not always your fault, you’ll have to use work-arounds to make them look better.
When pasting a link in a post, Facebook automatically generates a preview of the linked page. Once that preview is fetched, you can delete the long and unwieldy link URL – the preview and link will remain.
Occasionally, it may be important that the actual web page address remains visible in your post. Improve that ugly URL by using a link shortener such as bitly.com.
Statistics show that readers are twice as likely to engage with posts that have images than those that are only text, but sometimes when you share an article, no image is rendered in the preview. You may see a blank gray square that gives you the option to “Choose a file to upload.” That’s an easy fix – just upload the image you want. Your link to the page, the page title and description all will remain in the preview.
In some situations, you won’t get the option to upload an image, so you may choose to use the Photo/Video button. If you do, the image will be loaded, but not as a link preview. This is one of those cases in which adding a shortened link in the text field may be your workaround of choice.
If there is a photo on the page to which you are linking, but it’s not showing up in the preview, it may be too small for Facebook’s parameters. You can upload the right-sized image on the web page if it is your own, but if you are sharing a link to someone else’s page, you will probably have to resort to one of the other hacks.
When there are multiple images on a page that your post is linking to, Facebook’s preview may give you all of them. You don’t have to keep them all – you can delete them individually from your post after Facebook has fetched them. Or rearrange the order in which they appear, if you want to keep more than one.
Sometimes none of the photos are appropriate and then you’ll have decisions to make. You can delete them all and have no image. Or you can upload an image of your own. Unfortunately, your image will be displayed along with at least one of the original images instead of replacing them. In that situation, you could upload two of your own images and rearrange them so that they precede the original ones. Facebook will show the first two images in your post with the rest available in a gallery. It’s not an ideal look, but may be better than the default image.
Fixing Your Own Images
When you are sharing your own website pages on Facebook and you don’t like how the preview renders, you have the option of re-publishing the page. Maybe you forgot to add a graphic or it was the wrong size or the preview image isn’t the one you expected. You or your web tech can fix the issue on the website so you can then post it properly on Facebook.
One of the issues may be in your website’s code. Facebook uses Open Graph API to pull data in and spit it back out so that you can share links to web pages when you post on Facebook. Some websites aren’t ready to work with Open Graph API so you may not get the preview you expect. Your web tech can check “under the hood” to see if this is the problem and fix it for you.
Even after you’ve fixed everything, you may post your link one more time and be frustrated to still see a bad preview. That could be because Facebook already looked at the link when you posted it before and cached that preview so they just keep showing you the bad one.
To tell Facebook to look at the new and improved page, go online to their Sharing Debugger and give them the URL to “Scrape Again.” Changes don’t always register immediately, so you may have to “Scrape Again” more than once. The Debugger previews the link right there, so when you see the image you were expecting, you know you’re clear to go back and post the link on your Facebook page.
Not so long ago you could change the images, the titles and even the text in the preview of your Facebook posts, but of course spammy trolls misused the tools so those functions were disabled. Since spammy trolls are still quite busy online, anything we talked about today may change by tomorrow, but it’s worth using workarounds like these to look as professional as possible to prospective clients.
Frustrated with your Facebook marketing or looking for website assistance? Call us with your questions and let us help make your digital life a little easier.