Have you recently attempted to schedule or post a link organically on Facebook only to find out that you can no longer update the image that is automatically pulled in, headline, or description copy? Facebook is working to combat fake news and misleading headlines in order to become a more reliable information source. This means, you can no longer edit the message your Facebook link shows, or even remove the auto-pulled in image.
However, luckily, you can still add your own image if no image is preset. While setting your own custom link images was a creative opportunity to add a CTA to your links, and customize your messaging for your audience, this recent change doesn’t mean you can’t still drive traffic to your site from Facebook. Our solutions and workaround to this recent Facebook link change will assure that your brand continues to drive engagement and traffic with your link posts.
Tag Your Products In Your Photos
In 2016, Facebook began allowing brands to tag their products in photos or videos which would create a shoppable “store” on your brand’s Facebook page. This strategy is becoming increasingly important as Facebook makes more changes to keep users directly on the platform. Tagging products in your photos is a great way to still drive product awareness and sales, even without being able to customize your link message.
While you can’t change the description or headline when linking directly to a product page anymore, you can make these changes when tagging products in your images. You do have the ability to set the description, name, price (or sale price), and image of the product you’re tagging. This allows you to make sure the message surrounding your product is perceived exactly as you want it to be.
Once a product is tagged in a post, it is automatically added to the “Shop” tab of your Facebook page. Facebook offers many tips to better optimize your shop page which can help social media because a driver of revenue.
Tagging products in your photos is a great opportunity to get more use from your influencer photos. Influencer photos often times show your products in a beautifully displayed, creative visual – the perfect presentation for social media.
Now, when someone scrolls their NewsFeed and sees a photo of an influencer wearing a shirt or watch they love, they can directly buy that item as long as the brand tagged that product in the photo. This strategy bridges the gap between influencer photos and social sales, making it a win-win for brands and consumers alike.
Use A Combination Of Video Content And Bit.Lys
Facebook for years has worked to develop higher quality content from brands. The main change Facebook did to encourage brands to post what their audience actually wants to see was their algorithm change for engagement. This change made it so content that was engaged with, would trend higher in the NewsFeed and brands that had an average higher engagement rate would have higher reach.
With the most recent change, you can still receive high engagement on your link posts by going back to the basics for engagement: video content. Video content is traditionally known to receive more shares and higher engagement numbers.
By posting a fun, energetic video combined with a custom bit.ly in your caption, you can reach a larger audience while still driving traffic to your website. We recommend using a bit.ly rather than your general landing page URL for a cleaner look and to customize actual URL you are using.
Bonus: Facebook offers an in-platform video tool referred to as “Slideshows”. This tool lets to create video content easily from the Facebook platform using a series of 3-10 images. You have customization options available like music, frame speed, and even frame fade. This is a simple way to incorporate video content into your social strategy.
Develop Custom Carousels
While you can’t remove the auto-pulled in image when sharing a link, you can add additional images. Adding multiple images to one link will automatically turn your link post into a Facebook Carousel. Better yet, Facebook still lets you customize the headline for carousel frames, allowing you to use custom CTAs (call-to-action) on each frame. Carousels are a great way for brands to showcase multiple products in one post, and drive traffic to unique landing pages.
Using carousels as a workaround to the Facebook shared link change will give you the ability to still customize your message and creative. Carousels are a great opportunity to tell a story with your links. These are great for things like testimonials, multi-product posts, or general site information. Since each frame can have a different message and even link to a different URL on your site, you’ll truly have the ability to tell whatever message you’d like to your audience.
Keep in mind that carousels are naturally heavily promotional which tends to receive lower engagement on Facebook. With engagement being so important to maintain a successful organic social strategy, you’ll want to be careful to not utilize carousels too often. You’ll want to keep a healthy balance of both promotional and engagement-focused content.
Optimize Your Landing Pages With Socially Optimized Images
The most direct way to continue to post the exact message you want is to make sure your landing page is optimized with the correct share image and messaging. Since you can’t edit the image, headline, and description copy that automatically gets pulled in from Facebook, you’ll want to make sure these messaging points are correct on the landing page.
This means, optimizing your title tag and meta description to properly depict what is on the landing page. When it comes to SEO, it’s a best practice to have an optimized title tag and meta description on every page, so making this update something you should do regardless of this recent Facebook change.
Some website platforms, like WordPress, actually allow you to preset what the shared social message is per landing page. While this is slightly more technical than simply updating the headline directly on Facebook, it can allow you to set a custom social message.
Keep in mind, whether you update the title tags and meta description, or update the share message from within your backend, this will set the social share message for anyone who shares that link on your landing page. In this case, you’ll want to make sure that the messaging works whether you share that landing page (as your brand) or if your customers share it directly.
Save Your Promotional Content For Your Paid Ads Strategy
As Facebook continues to make it harder and harder for publishers to get their content shown organically, they make it clear that the network is becoming increasingly “pay to play”. With that being said, Facebook might not be the best place to push for sales organically, especially given the recent change to customizing Facebook links.
If you can’t customize your link message to better speak to a new product launch or sale, perhaps you’ll want to save that messaging for your paid strategies where you still can change your link image, headline, and description text.
Your end goal with your organic strategy should always be engagement. That is how you grow a loyal following and use social to build an aspirational lifestyle within your brand. No one likes to feel like they’re being sold to, and promotional posts can be quickly dismissed as a user’s eyes become “trained” to skim over ads. With that being said, perhaps this change is for the best as it requires brands to save their promotional messaging for their ad strategies.
Consider using your organic posts as an opportunity to add value to your audience or show off great lifestyle shots, rather than push promotions. Your organic strategy can also be a great opportunity to share blog posts as traffic drivers since blog posts add value without asking for a direct conversion.
Blog posts are often optimized currently when shared on social with the article title and header photo. Leave your social posts thats are asking for a sale to your paid social strategy! You can still customize your link graphics, headlines, and descriptions with Facebook ads. With that being said, if you have a big sale or promotion coming up, consider running a social ads campaign alongside your organic strategy.
…What’s The Future Look Like For Links On Facebook?
While it is definitely inconvenient to no longer be able to set your own custom message with Facebook links, it gives us more insight into the direction social is heading for brands. The more natural the message, the better it is received. With clickbait articles and fake news making social a less reliable source of information, platforms like Facebook need to find ways to better control content that is posted.
This change will be the first of many to ensure that brands are only able to post accurate and relative information. Often times, what seems like a terrible change for social as a brand is a great change for social as a user. The end goal of social media is for users to be able to connect with friends, family, and communities around the world in a trusted and safe way, this recent change just brings us one step closer to being able to use social a reliable source to share information.