Ah, Facebook. The bread and butter of every digital marketing strategy. The network continues to dominate the social media world with 2 billion active users and its ad platform gets more sophisticated every day. It’s nearly impossible to market your business effectively without it.
As a juggernaut, Facebook has the luxury of telling marketers how they want us to market. And we have to deal with it. Over the past year, Facebook has introduced several new updates that have caused countless marketers to facepalm in frustration.
The cause of our latest facepalm is how links appear on Facebook.
For years, Facebook Business Manager has allowed us to customize a link’s photo, headline and subheadline (called metadata) before posting it. This gave marketers creative control over the content we shared.
Election 2016 happened. Facebook users – eager to share the latest antics from Donald and Hillary – created a frenzy where fake news stories easily became trending topics. Since then, Facebook has been retooling its algorithms to prevent fake news from appearing in your newsfeed.
So Long, Editable Links!
Last month, Facebook started to discontinue the ability to overwrite the metadata on link posts. This prevents pages from creating clickbait and spreading fake news. Good for users, bad for marketers.
Before if you wanted to share an article about the best happy hours in Orlando on a client’s Facebook page, you could modify the headline and subheadline to be in-line with the client’s branding. You could even change the display photo to be a mouthwatering dish on the menu – even if the photo did not appear in the article.
Now, these fields are disabled. You cannot edit anything (other than the caption) and you are stuck with what you get. This is the case whether you’re posting to Facebook directly or using a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite or Agorapulse.
Facebook is gradually rolling out this update. If your business page isn’t currently affected, it will be soon. The only exception to this rule is content publishers. Publishers can modify how its own articles are displayed with a new feature, called Link Ownership, in Facebook’s Power Editor. If you qualify for Link Ownership, you need to contact Facebook by September 12, 2017.
What Does It Mean For Marketers?
Although these changes are frustrating, it’s all part of the digital marketing game. It keeps us on our toes. Facebook has put us through worse, and we’ll make it out of this one stronger than ever. (Cue Stronger by Kelly Clarkson.)
Here’s How We Can Tackle This, Together.
Video Is Your Friend
A short-term solution is to skip the links altogether and opt for video content instead. Facebook’s algorithm shows videos to more people than other types of posts – like photos and links. Videos (especially live videos) are an effective way to reach more Facebook followers for free.
Share Your Own Content
If you aren’t producing content, you aren’t marketing effectively. Blogging, videos, infographics, white papers – there are tons of ways to create content for your business. Facebook’s update only allows the publisher of the content to edit how that content is displayed. So, become your own content creator and remain in control.
Make The Most Of Your Metadata
Facebook users (businesses and individuals alike) will not share ugly links. It’s crucial that all of the landing pages on your website are built with text and images that are optimized for social shares.
Try this. Copy and paste one of your company’s landing pages into Facebook and see what populates. Like what you see? Great! You’re ready to break the internet. Don’t like what you see? It’s okay, we know some guys who can help.
Invest In Social Advertising
Posting cool content on your business page isn’t going to cut it anymore. No matter how amazing your posts are, Facebook will not show it to anyone. A recent study suggests that posts are shown to just 2% of a Facebook page’s total followers.
Consider spending less on organic content no one will see, and more on hyper-targeted Facebook ads. You’ll have control over what you say and exactly who you say it to.
Move Away From Me-Centric Posts
It’s called social media for a reason. Keep it social. Many brands hesitate to share content that is not all about themselves. That’s like going on a date with someone who only talks all about themselves. You wouldn’t want to socialize with them again, would you?
The trend is moving away from me-centric content and toward more engaging content. Join the conversation instead of trying to be the conversation. Share links about topics your followers find interesting and engage in a two-way conversation.
Love it or hate it, Facebook is tool marketers just can’t live without. If we can help you navigate this, or other facepalm-inducing Facebook updates, feel free to contact us. We’ve been there and we’re happy to help.