Facebook has changed, yet again, the way they determine which of your business’ posts show up in your followers’ News Feeds and which ones are doomed to linger forever in obscurity. This time, it’s the mechanics of linking that are in the spotlight: posts that use Facebook’s link format, including full length URLs directing visitors directly to the content are acceptable, while those posts using a URL-shortening website (such as bit.ly or Tiny URL) will be given a lower priority.
Why Was This Change Made?
Facebook states that the change to favor posts that use the link format was driven by user preferences. The link format gives Facebook users additional information about the content they’re about to consume, such as what website it appears on, any images associated with the content and the beginning few lines of an article. This additional information can help Facebook users decide if it’s worth their time to click through to the content.
Here’s What It Means to You
To maximize the organic reach of Facebook posts, it’s essential to follow whatever rules and parameters Facebook puts forth as best practices. For right now, that means using the link format. URL-shortening services did provide some lovely tracking metrics that made it possible to see what type of content was most appealing to your customers. Now you’re going to need to rely on Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to derive that insight – and that means driving social media visitors to your website.
While you won’t want to abandon sharing content from sites you don’t control, the time to increase the amount of content you’re sharing from your own website is now. Experiment with the different types of content you can share through your blog entries, videos, on product and FAQ pages and more. Make sure to include large, preferably rectangular images in your content – Facebook will pull these images when creating the link for you.
Unique content is always best: think through what you can offer to your visitors that they just can’t get anywhere else. The goal is to have visitors clicking on your links with the same enthusiasm they will give to a HuffPo or Buzzfeed story – with the end result that they’re enjoying spending time in an environment (your website!) where your products or services are sold. What could be better than that?