Good morning internet fans, it’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It is Wednesday morning, therefore it is Social Media Wednesday. We have a lot of action. I shouldn’t say a lot, but we’ve got a couple of really exciting topics, some late breaking news, and since it is social media Wednesday I have Sarah Giometti with ICT Marketing on the other side. Good morning Sarah.

Sarah Giometti: Good morning Ryan, how are you?

RP: I’m doing wonderful, thank you. We got a couple of topics, so I want to get right into it. The first one that you brought to my attention, which I know I think people… I shouldn’t say people, but I think specifically Facebook, and I don’t even know if it integrates into Google Plus because of their security. But using a third party application such as Hootsuite has a lot of benefits in the fact that you’re able to post data in the future. If you wanted to post data at 2 o’clock, instead of me having to wait by the computer and at 2 o’clock being, “Okay.” The nice thing about software like Hootsuite is that you could say, “Hey, at two o’clock I want to say this and post it to Facebook.” Some recent news is kind of stating otherwise, that maybe it’s not feeding properly, maybe it’s not getting the same visibility. So, from a visibility point of view and functionality point of view, maybe that’s not the best solution right now today.

SG: Well, Hootsuite has it’s place. It was primarily made for Twitter, and it’s fabulous for Twitter. Twitter shows your newsfeed, literally in chronological order, so it doesn’t matter, you can schedule, yeah, so you can schedule things out on Twitter. You need to do 10 to 20 a day to really get some exposure, so Hootsuite and some of the other platforms out there as far as social. They are really great for things like Twitter, they also work well for Google Plus. Facebook, on the other hand, has never really liked them. They allow them and they work fine, but they really want to convey that you are sitting there. Which is why a couple years ago Facebook created their own scheduling within the Facebook platform. So, you can manually schedule your posts into Facebook one by one for the future. Where the beauty of Hootsuite is you kind of do… You can create ‘em all in an Excel spreadsheet, or in Hootsuite and kind of upload a whole bunch in one shot with the timing already scheduled. Facebook gets a little more cumbersome one at a time, but Facebook does take part like that. They like you to do it there, so you at least appear to be real time.

The problem we’ve also seen with using Hootsuite, we use it for Twitter for lot of our clients is, links don’t always come over in the proper format. The proper format is the way that Facebook wants it to show up. Which is, you have a little bit of the text for your post, but it also displays a really big nice pretty picture, that fills up the size of the newsfeed. And we’ve had a lot of problems with Hootsuite sometimes working, sometimes not in the showing the picture properly. And as we’ll discuss today, Facebook announced a couple of days ago some changes on how they treat links. That one of the things is, they got feedback from surveys they’ve done that people prefer the native Facebook link exposure. So, you’ve got a little bit of description, the link is in the description, but you see the nice big pretty picture with the headline below it. They’re going to give preference to links that are shown in their native proper way.

RP: Okay, so let’s… We got a couple of things going on here, so for those business owners that are using Hootsuite as a tool for Facebook, and we’re talking specifically about Facebook right now, not any of the other social media platforms. But we have two things going on. First, let’s talk about what you’ve seen as far as images not showing properly. Is it that they’re being resized? Is it that they’re not scaling correctly? Is just that they’re missing, what’s going on with the images?

SG: We’ve kind of seen a little bit of all of the above. We’ve seen them come in at half size, so they’re these little tiny squares that people can’t really tell what the picture is. We’ve seen, not the right picture show up, no picture at all. We’ve kind of seen across the gamut not work properly. And so, we have opted, and we recommend to our clients that, just don’t use it for Hootsuite, especially if you’re going to do links. It’s fine for pictures, for straight text, but for the link ones we recommend you manually go in and schedule them through Facebook. So, that you ensure that they show up properly.

RP: Right, and you gotta consider it from a branding point of view as a business owner. We know you’re busy, we know this is just one more change that some social media company is making on you, and that’s just the reality of the situation. But think about it from a branding point of view, and how that effects your brand. Especially if it’s a potential new client that’s checking you out, doing some research. And they go to your feed and they see pictures are missing, or that they’re so small they’re really not legible. What does it say about the quality of service, or products that you provide?

SG: Right, I mean first and foremost social media is about your brand. You want to make sure you represent yourself the best way possible. But one of those is, if you… Everybody’s kind of conditioned now about how pictures show up in the Facebook newsfeed, how links show up in the Facebook newsfeed. Even when they make the changes, we know it’s a big pretty picture. And so, someone goes to your site and sees that you’ve got these links with tiny pictures, or not with pictures at all. It’s a sign that one, you’re probably not posting real time even if you’re scheduling on Facebook. Or, yeah, you’re not paying attention to detail. And, for people where detail really matters to them, they’re going to notice those kinds of details, especially, over time. And it could really negatively affect your brand. And, if you do pride yourself on being high quality, attention to great detail, really good, you want to make sure you don’t accidentally portray that you may not pay attention to detail.

RP: Right. Okay. And then I think the second thing that you talked about is… A recent post… Was it actually by Facebook talking about the fact that, if you post natively in their software, that they… It’s going to give preference to those feeds. So, if we’re talking about an ROI, an ROI doesn’t necessarily have to be a financial ROI but it could be, “Are we meeting our goal of getting X number of views, of getting X number of likes? From that point of view, you’re stating that, if you use a third party application, that you may not be getting the visibility versus posting directly in Facebook?

SG: Well, it’s more that Facebook has changed how they’re handling links. So there’s multiple things that they’ve done. One, they are trying to reduce the click baiting headlines. So you see the newsfeeds or things in there where it’s like,”You’ll never believe which two stars got in a fight on the red carpet. Click here to learn more.” And so, you know, the feedback they’ve gotten is that people want headlines that tells them what the article is about so they can decide whether or not they want to read the article before they even click through it. And so Facebook is trying to minimize the exposure of these click baiting links. And one of the ways they’re doing it is tracking how long… If you click on a link, how long do you stay away from Facebook? Do you click the link, then you’re immediately back on Facebook looking through your newsfeed? Or did you go over and stay for a while? That’ll tell Facebook if that link is more likely to be spamming click baiting or if it’s legitimate. And that’ll affect the exposure of those links so that, hopefully, over time, you’ll see less and less of that in your newsfeed.

SG: They’ve, also, gotten feedback that people prefer the native Facebook link format where, like I said before, you’ve got a little bit of text explaining it, you’ve got a proper headline telling people what the article’s about with the picture. Because links have always gotten… They tend to get the least exposure and the least interaction. And so people have gone to doing things like uploading a picture and putting the link in the description or at the caption of the picture. And Facebook got feedback that people preferred the true native link format. And so they’re going to prioritize those over putting a link in a picture. So they’re making some changes in their newsfeed on how things are treated. So, the good thing is that means links, hopefully, will start getting a little bit more exposure interaction than they have in the past and that the links that you’re… The headlines and links that you’re getting in your newsfeed are more relevant to what you want to see and actually tell you what the articles are before you click through so that you’re not wasting your time clicking through and coming back.

RP: All right. Perfect. Okay. I think… And you brought up two different things, one being the link baiting. And a great one that I see all the time is this interesting picture and there’s something that’s circled with an arrow pointing to it. And it’s like, “Oh, what is that?” And then it ends up being something that’s stupid and non-relevant. So I understand and appreciate the fact that Facebook is trying to eliminate that type of… It just doesn’t add a lot of value to the feed. So I appreciate that.

RP: A separate thing that you brought up, though, is actually where you embed the link in. I know, gosh, probably going back to a couple of years ago now, the whole idea of you going from a business point of view for Facebook is to be able to share information. And so a lot of people would link back to their website, link back to their blog, which, if you have value, I think is a great idea. However, Facebook didn’t. And what they started doing is, as they start incorporating the filter, they started removing your feed if you had a link in it. You would have less visibility versus a link that was just strictly text or just a picture. And I know a lot of people like you were saying, “Okay, well I’ll put the link to the website in the description of the picture so that, when people click on the picture, boom, you could see the link. Or, I know, my sister, she found what was successful for her, is she would type her message and then she would say, “See the first comment to find the link.” And that was how it could boost the visibility. The problem with that is that, if you really want to see what this is all about, now I gotta chase to find the link versus, why can’t we just have the link in the post itself? What you’re saying is that Facebook is kind of going back to the fact that, “Yes, we just want to see the link in the post itself.” Is that correct?

SG: That’s what it sounds like. That’s what their announcement was, is that they got the feedback that people prefer seeing the big picture, seeing the headline. And so they’re gonna give some more relevance to that especially over the click baiting spamming stuff. Because, yeah, over the years, people have had to get creative on how to share links, how to share the valuable content off of Facebook. So they’ve put in this caption of pictures or, like your sister did, she had just a text status update and then the first comment had the link. And so, hopefully, this means Facebook is kind of finally woken up that we’re sharing genuine… A lot of us are sharing genuine content. We’re not seeing spammy articles just trying to get people on our site. We’re genuinely sharing education.

SG: And so, hopefully, Facebook is realizing that, that not all of our links are to our own website. We’re often sharing… I’m sharing stuff from you, from other referral partners that you and I know, I’m sharing it from major industry people who write great relevant articles, and so hopefully this means that Facebook is going to look at links a different way and give them the proper exposure they deserve, and using this… Use the tracking of how long people are gone, is it relevant, that showing that the majority of us are posting relevant links to content, but they’re also saying the creative ways that we’ve been doing in the past, especially the picture one, putting in the caption the picture, is going to get less exposure, less preference, and using the native Facebook link with the big picture, the headline, is gonna get more preference. That’s at least what Facebook is saying these days.

RP: All right. And we’ll see how long that lasts. I think it’s a great idea, I mean just from an end-user point of view. I always tell my clients, if you’re going to put content out there, always make it easy for them to find what to do next. So if I say “Hey, this is a great thing to check out,” but you have to go hunting and searching for the link, kind of defeats the purpose of putting the content out there, so I like it. You know, the one thing I would love to see Facebook do that I like about Google plus, is that if you have a link, they actually have… You click a button and you put the link in there and it automatically adds the content for that link, where in Facebook, not everybody’s figured it out, but you post your link, you wait for that link to feed, and the picture pops up and all that, and then you have to go in and delete the link out of the box, which I always thought was annoying. I don’t know why they’re stuck doing it that way. It seems silly to me.

SG: It does, and it’s just… You can play with leaving the link as part of the post, or removing that once the picture shows up and seeing which one works better for you. I’m not entirely sure which way Facebook is gonna go, if they’re gonna want you to leave the actual link showing, or if we can continue with deleting it out so that you have a pretty comment or a pretty post with the link showing up to click through, so… But totally agree, it just kind of makes it look messy, leaving the link there.

RP: Okay. Well, it’s 10 o’clock, so we need to wrap this up, but I think there’s a lot of good information here. So, a quick synopsis on third-party applications and a quick synopsis on how you should be linking on Facebook these days.

SG: So don’t use third-party software, especially for links, to guarantee that it shows up properly is our recommendation, and then post your links using the Facebook native one. Make sure it’s nice big picture that’s obvious, a clear headline telling people what they’re going to get at the other end of the link, so that they can decide before they click it whether they want to read it or not, and watch your stats. Watch your end-sites to see if links start getting better exposure, and which content is working better, and keep an eye on that to make sure that your content is relevant and Facebook is rewarding you for that.

RP: All right, perfect. And just to clarify with the third-party, we’re strictly talking about Facebook at this point, not Twitter or Google Plus or any of the other social media, but it has specifically to do with embedding links through a third party into Facebook. If you’re doing that, recommend really checking your feed if you haven’t been checking your feed, ’cause I know a lot of people, we get stuck in automatic mode, and we just assume it’s working. Check your feeds, see how clean or dirty those images or links are, and highly recommend considering using Facebook directly for links. Sarah, always appreciate your time and energy, and the insights that you bring on social media, and I hope you have a great day.

SG: Thank you very much, Ryan. Hope you do too.

RP: All right, bye.

SG: Bye.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+