Lately, a common complaint amongst content creators online involves their Facebook fan pages’ reach decreasing by 40 percent or more due to the social media site’s recent algorithm changes. It seems that online video creators on YouTube are taking a huge hit when promoting their videos on Facebook. While I know the common action amongst most people would be to whine and complain to Facebook, I usually like to take a different course when things like this happen: Find ways to adapt.
After some testing internally through NMR and with some top media creators online, I believe I can safely say that I’ve found a great way to promote your content on Facebook that will increase both your fan page reach and engagement exponentially.
Now before I tell you how its done, I want to give you a brief background on Facebook’s EdgeRank. This is an algorithm Facebook created that determines which stories appear on a user’s news feed. Generally, content with a lot of engagement (likes and comments) get shown on the news feed a lot more. Although not officially confirmed, it appears that any content that links out of Facebook does not fare well in the EdgeRank. NMR has reached out to Facebook to try and can confirm this and will update this post once we receive an answer.
But the solution I’ve discovered is simple. When promoting any links on Facebook that link out of their site, instead of just pasting the link, upload a large and interesting picture that relates to the link you are promoting first, and then paste the link manually as a caption. If this is unclear, see below:
Why does this work?
This works because according to some reports, the Facebook algorithm favors photos and status updates much more than external links. Secondly, if you see the image example below, you will see that links accompanied by photos take up much higher real estate on the news feed than those that aren’t. This size upgrade, by sheer logic, will increase your click-through-rate.
How can I best utilize this technique?
For general content creators, it’s important to upload photos that are eye-catching and interesting enough for users to click on it when they see it on the news feed. However, make sure that the picture relates to the link you are promoting also (don’t link bait!).
In regards to promoting YouTube videos and other online video links, the most optimal way to post on Facebook is to take a screenshot of a part of the video that is eye-catching and include the video player border as well. Viewers will think that the picture is a video, click on it, and then see the actual link to view the video. Yes, this sort of falls into the grey area of link baiting, which I said not to do earlier … so shoot me.
How big of a difference can promoting this way on my Facebook fan pages make?
After suggesting this technique to a few brands that have large Facebook fan followings, we’ve heard of increased reach and engagements of 200% and over. But don’t take my word for it; check out the examples below from some of the bigger Facebook fan pages and compare the difference between uploading just the link and uploading one supported by a photo.
For more advice, check out our YouTube tips & tutorials section.