The Best Way to Share Links on your Facebook Page

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Best Way to Share Links on your Facebook Page

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The Best Way to Share Links on Facebook Pages and Engage Your Followers  
Social sites like Facebook, Google and Stumbleupon all use a personally-written algorithm for tracking the activity of users on their sites. The way these algorithms work is usually kept as a secret to prevent people from manipulating it and profiting wrongly.

Facebook's algorithm changes, although they happen less frequently than Google's and with less fanfare, are still vitally important for bloggers and influencers. 

Unfortunately, in 2013, Facebook released a massive algorithm change that greatly effected pages and the information page owners share with their followers. If you've experienced your content being viewed by less than 2% of your followers, then you have been effected and this tutorial is written with you in mind. 

Update: Although I have been sharing links this way, I have not noticed an increase in my number of views. Facebook still maintains that this is the best option for sharing links, however.

Find more blogging tutorials to pin:
Engaging Followers on Facebook
One of the biggest struggles for Facebook pages is engaging their followers. Facebook is arguably the biggest social media platform and at one point, it was the most important tool bloggers and businesses had for engaging followers. (Of course now there's +Pinterest  and G+ ,both of which are rivaling Facebook and making it easier for content to be shown to followers than Facebook does.)

There are three different ways to share links and content in your status updates, but only one that Facebook has, for the first time ever, explicitly recommended for page owners. In fact, Facebook claims that this method is the best for sharing links. Let's have a look at these three ways:

Text + Photo + Link embedded in comments
Near the end of 2012, Facebook rumors started to spread that if you used a photo in your status, the status would take priority in people's news feeds. By the end of 2012, the strategy was further improved to remove the link from the status update. It was thought that by having a link in the status, Facebook would penalize you for doing so, so many page owners began to leave the link in the first comment of a post, like this:

Text + photo + text in comments Facebook sharing

In 2014, this type of posting is no longer necessary. Writing posts this way doesn't guarantee that more people will see your content pop up on their newsfeed and it doesn't encourage participation. If anything else, it could be off-putting for some of your followers who may not want to go the extra effort and actually scroll to the comments and hunt for the link. (If you have received a lot of comments on a particular post, they could be especially inconvenient.)

Photo + Text + Link embedded in status
2013 saw some of the most aggressive Facebook algorithm changes in regards to what's shown on people's newsfeeds. Here's where Facebook made a big error and many bloggers began to get frustrated with them. Their content simply wasn't being seen. Pages with thousands of followers had content that was only seen by 20 or 30 people. If your content was being seen by 10% of your followers, you were considered to be doing well. Someone cracked the algorithm change and reported that if you posted the photo first then added text and embed the link in the status, that your numbers would increase. Like this:

Photo + text + link in status Facebook sharing

It wasn't completely untrue as Facebook did say that they gave weight to posts with photos in them first. Facebook thrives on photos and it's what attracts attention on newsfeeds. So, Facebook preferred page owners to make the photo their biggest priority.

But in late 2013, Facebook performed a data analysis and concluded that when Facebook users see text-based status updates from their friends, they are more likely to write their own text-based status updates. As a result of this new data, Facebook began to give status messages that were just text much more weight than photo-based messages.

Once again, page owners began to complain that their engagement analytics, even the number of people viewing their posts was dipping dramatically. Facebook looked into the situation and determined that text based statuses from pages don't perform nearly as well as text-based statuses from actual people. In fact, text only status updates from pages have lower engagement rates than statuses with photos or links them. More people may see the text only status updates but they weren't engaging with them. 

Facebook needed to take action and come up with a solution mutually beneficial to ordinary Facebook users and to pages. And they have. 
Facebook states that the method I am about to show you is "the best way to share a link". Facebook says that these posts "get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds."

So what's the best way to share links on Facebook?
Links shared via an external sharing site.
For the first time, Facebook is telling users that the best way for their content to get seen is to not even bother sharing from Facebook! Sharing from a website using an app or widget like +ShareThis  or +Markerly  is the best way to share on Facebook, according to Facebook. Here's what we're talking about:
This is the number one way to share links on your Facebook page

Remember what they said? These type of posts get the most engagement. When your followers see this post they get everything in a nice little Facebook container: the content and the text you're sharing, the photo (although it's not always the best photo--Facebook is a bit arbitrary with the photos they choose) and the link. The idea is that for whatever undisclosed reason, people prefer these types of posts and they engage more with them.
Maybe it's because they look "more legit"? Maybe it's because they get a preview of the website and they know they mostly likely won't be going to a spam website by click the link? I'm not sure why, but according to Facebook, this is the number one way to share links and engage your followers.
What do you think? How do you prefer to share your links? Have you started using a link share app or widget?
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  1. I am a bit weary of having to rely on an external source TBH to post on my behalf, especially since I cannot choose the photo they pick. Have you found that it's generally a photo you'd pick to feature?

    Thank you for the great read!

    1. Cathy,
      See that's exactly the issue I have! :) Half the time, the external sites choose random photos that are from the sidebar and not the actual post. So it's a bit pointless. I understand that this is what Facebook is saying is the best way, but it doesn't work for me. So I use the second option I shared and get fabulous results with it. I don't care if less people see it, especially if I KNOW that the photo they're seeing actually goes with the post! I think this is something Facebook needs to sort out instead of pawning it off on external companies!

  2. I just post my blog links on my personal FB page. I have a blog FB page, but didn't seem to have as many post views as when I post it to my FB page. Does that make sense?

    1. That does make sense, Lisa. Facebook requires users to choose to "get notifications" from pages, but they don't make users aware that they have to opt in to the notifications from pages that they like. When you post something to your personal Facebook page, it automatically goes in everyone's newsfeed unless they have chosen not to view your posts in their newsfeed. So it's very likely that you will get more views on your personal page if the people who liked your blog page haven't also accepted to receive your notifications in their newsfeed. It's a bit backwards and I wish Facebook would change this, but they won't.

  3. I'm just going to keep doing it the way I'm doing it now. You have great tips on here! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I really don't like this way of sharing a link. I prefer to post a photo so that the whole picture shows in the feed and on the page. I have square photos on the site and when I post as a link, as in your example, the image shown is a horizontal slice taken from the center of the photo which just looks silly, and in my opinion looks less interesting and less legit than if I post a photo with a link. Hmm and sigh. Getting FB engagement is a real puzzle.

  5. I know exactly what you mean, Deby & I agree. It's especially annoying when Facebook chooses images from the sidebar or the footer that don't actually represent the post! I say (as I always do with these algorithm changes) just do what makes more sense to you and what makes you happy becuase at the end of the day, it's YOUR blog. :) It's Facebook's responsibility to improve the site around how its users use it, not to force us into using it the way THEY think we should!

  6. Great post Anyonita!! I have noticed the past couple of days that my readership has increased. Although my readers have increased too so that is probably why.

    Sandi @ A New York Foodie

  7. Thanks for the info, it is very frustrating for sure. Sometimes I just think I want to abandon the Facebook page for sure!
    The Adored Home

  8. G'day! I read this post with great interest today Anyonita, true!
    Thank you for sharing and making something re FB a lot easier to read and understand too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Pinned on Pinterest

  9. You're completely right, Camila. I think Facebook has failed with this change by not telling the one part of the equation that can do something about it: the fans of the pages! I've found myself using G+ more and more, though as I think it's superior to Facebook.

  10. I started doing it this way a week ago and can't draw any conclusions yet on the stats but I can say that it definitely looks better! I'd been doing it the "regular" way - just pasting my link and letting FB generate the image and text, then adding my own status and that never seemed to get much engagement. Then I tried putting the link in the comments because some Chicken Littles insisted that was the way to "trick" FB. But since I've been doing it your way, I at least feel like it looks nicer. As a user, that's the one I'd like to click on the most, so I hope my fans see it the same way! Thanks for another great tutorial!

    1. My experience is similar to yours while it looks better, I didn't see any increase in traffic from it, but Facebook still swears up & down that this is better. *shrug* They've not qualified whether it's just better aesthetically, though, the sneaky little gits!


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