One of the main priorities of Facebook Page owners is to drive traffic back to their business website/blog. I know this is obvious– but I mention it because there’s an interesting problem that Pages face regarding link-type posts on Facebook.
Simply put, link posts don’t perform nearly as well as other types of posts on Facebook. In fact, some research has shown that photo-type posts garner as much as 20x more engagement. The graph below from TrackSocial gives a good visual for the disparity in engagement between different post types on Facebook.
Source: TrackSocial Blog
And yes, I am aware that Facebook is making link preview images bigger on the Newsfeed. And yes, that will probably improve engagement for link-type posts. But at the same time, let’s be real. This change isn’t going to overcome the 20-1 engagement ratio cited above. Maybe photos will only be 10x better for engagement than links after this change– but the problem remains. Keep in mind,engagement doesn’t only mean likes, comments, and shares– it’s also means [link] clicks.
Creatively Overcoming the Problem
Desperate to increase traffic from the links they post on Facebook, Page owners have ‘hacked up’ a new way of posting to improve performance. This new way seems to have gained popularity over the past few months, as everyone from big brands to the top minds in social media are using it. Check it out below:
Posting Links as Images
The ‘hack’ is simple– post a link as an image [from the article] and include the link in the body of the post. By doing this, Pages benefit from the increased weight factor of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm (because people freaking love photos) which leads to more reach, more engagement, and ultimately more link clicks.
It’s important to note here that in this case, the photos are not hyper-linked. In other words, clicking on the photo will not lead a user to your website– but instead to a larger version of the image (as Facebook typically does with images).
While the concept here is incredibly simple and effective, the process is an absolute nightmare. Here’s the breakdown.
- Paste link into post box on Facebook.
- Click the ‘x’ to remove the link preview.
- Click back to the article in another tab.
- Find the image you’d like to use and save it to your computer.
- Click back to Facebook.
- Click to upload an image.
- Find the image on your computer and select it.
- Type in the article title manually, along with any other post message.
- You’re finally done! Click Post!
I’m excited to share an easier way to do this through PostRocket (try it out now!). This is what we call SmartLink. It makes this process so incredibly simple. When you paste a link into your post box in PostRocket, this is what you see:
PostRocket Link Post
Between the post box and the link preview, you’ll notice a small section that says ‘Format Post Type’ which is followed by a switch. The switch can be toggled with a simple click– changing the post type from a link to a photo. The picture below shows what happens when you click on the switch:
SmartLink Switch Activated
Let me point out a few key things in the picture above that happen as a result of clicking the SmartLink switch. First, the text in the post box changes– the title of the article is automatically inserted before the link. Then, the images from the article are shown in a carousel. You can use any image from the article as the photo for your post, or click to upload your own image [in situations where the article doesn't have any great images]. Note here that you can also click on the photo to add text on it and even add a filter.
Other notes regarding SmartLink
- We purposely do not use link shorteners in SmartLink, as studies have shown they have a lower CTR (click-thru rate) than full URLS, as many people are hesitant to click them.
- We don’t recommend using SmartLink for YouTube links. When these are posted as links, they give the user the ability to play the video on Facebook. This is a much better experience than posting a photo of the video and forcing the user to click-thru to Youtube to watch the video.
First published on PostRocket