Every day millions of links are shared on Facebook. And we know that the best way to get people to click on those shares is to have a good visual attached to them.
So when you have a piece of content that you want to share, you want to make sure it appears how you want it to appear. Nothing is as bad as a link share on Facebook that has an incorrect image attached.
That’s when Facebook Debugger can help.
What is Facebook Debugger?
Facebook Debugger is a tool that allows you to see “helpful feedback about your page markup,” Facebook says.
That means you can use it to see how the code of the website displays when shared on Facebook.
The results page will spill out a lot of technical information on what Facebook is seeing in the URL that you input.
How do you use Facebook Debugger?
All you need to do is open up Debugger and paste the URL into the field. The results page will give you the following:
- scraped information
- object properties
- share preview
- raw Open Graph document information
- like button warnings that should be fixed
- Open Graph warnings that should be fixed
How can you use this information?
Simply put, you can use this to make sure what you are about to share on Facebook is displaying how you want it to display. This is especially helpful to content creators.
One error that I see frequently is the correct thumbnail image is not displaying with the link preview. Using Facebook Debugger works to make sure the correct thumbnail image displays or can be chosen from among a handful. That ensures that the visual content you want shared is displaying correctly.
New share preview
As I mentioned, the results page gives a share preview. This is a new feature of the tool, and it’s one of the best features of it. Take a look at it:
— Dan Shure (@dan_shure) July 11, 2014
Spread the word:
Note: This post was written before Facebook apparently allowed at least some pages to again post link shares with no thumbnail image. So thank you, Facebook. – Dan
Facebook has undergone a lot of changes in the past year, but one that has stuck a thorn in the side of many people is that pages must post an image when sharing links.
Facebook took away the option to post link shares with no thumbnails last summer for the pages that I manage. And I have been hearing and reading from others that they have lost that option since that time, too.
We don’t care if you took it away to make people’s News Feed more visual. We just don’t care. Sometimes, we (as marketers) want to share links that don’t have an image. We know you gave us the option to upload our own, but that’s not always possible or applicable.
So quit acting like a belligerent teenager who’s making incessantly annoying rules in your own bedroom.
I was planning to post this asking Facebook to bring back the option for pages to post links with no thumbnail image. But Facebook beat me to the punch.
As you can see with the photo that accompanies this post, I have the option to post link shares with no thumbnail image on all the Facebook pages that I manage.
I had not heard that Facebook was bringing this feature back, but I am very thankful that they did.
Let’s face it, Facebook should give the page managers the option to do so. And why not? If the content they share is not ranked highly, let it be so. Maybe marketers will stop sharing them automatically.
But maybe not. Maybe they want to share it because it’s a key part of their strategy.
Either way, thank you for giving us (or some of us, at least) the option to post link shares without mandating that an image accompany the link.
Note: If you manage a Facebook page, leave a comment to tell me if you have this option. Thank you!
Spread the word:
If you’re like me, when you use social networks, you get inundated by the full stream of status updates, tweets, posts or whatever else appears.
That’s why you use segmented features to navigate the social networks that you use frequently.
Facebook and Twitter have lists while Google+ has circles and Pinterest has boards. As more and more people jump onto more and more social networks, segmented features become an invaluable tool for social network users to navigate through the parts that are most important to them.
That’s exactly how I’ve come to use Facebook. I rely heavily on Facebook interest lists.
And that leads me to my social wish list, a list of feature that I would like to see on social networks. For Facebook, that means shared interest lists.
Right now Facebook lists work like this: You can combine pages and friends and people you follow onto a list. Do you want to have all of your TV shows together? Make it a part of an interest list.
You can do that for any topic, from hobbies to sports to entertainment and more. (I recommend making one for your hometown, including all the restaurants and municipal pages together, so you can keep tabs on what’s happening around your home.)
You can then share your list, and others can subscribe to it.
But what happens when someone who is following your list finds that they have a page to add to the list? Right now, the only choices that person has is to start their own list, replicating all the work already done, or to contact the list owner and let them know they are missing something they might want on their list.
That’s certainly the situation that I have encountered with some of the lists that I follow. Some of my Facebook friends have similar interests to me, as surely some of your friends have with you. So why do I need to make my own list of Wisconsin food producers when I could allow my friends to help me build it together instead of building ours independently?
How it could work
To me, shared Pinterest boards should be the model Facebook emulates. By that I mean one person starts a Facebook list and can give co-ownership to others to help curate that list. And, just as on Pinterest, others are free to subscribe to (or follow) the list.
Another example of what Facebook interest lists could strive for is Listly. On Listly, users make lists and can allow others to help add to those lists. Facebook lists could be set up similarly. Allow list creators the ability to open up list curation to others.
So, please, if anyone at Facebook is reading this, work on allowing users to give co-ownership of lists to others so that lists can be harnessed by the power of community.
Spread the word:
When you interact with a page on Facebook, those are the two most common ways you will do so.
And, a new Facebook marketing is asking you to choose one of those responses.
This is what happens: A page will post an update (link share or photo, generally) and ask those who see the post to like if they agree with one option and comment if they agree with another option.
In other words, it’s a poll using Facebook actions. You can see an example above from the KLM UK Facebook page.
Legitimate or lame?
Why this tactic could be legitimate: Likes and comments are at least two of the metrics you measure for your Facebook success.
Why this tactic could be lame: If you want to set up a poll, you can do so; Facebook has that option already.
A lesson from big brands
Marketing tactics can sometimes have a trickle down effect, meaning big brands use them and then smaller brands adopt them. However, I perused most of the Top 20 brands on Facebook, according to FanPageList.com. None of the brand pages I looked through were using this tactic.
In fact, most brands often posted unique, brand-specific content as opposed to memes or other content that was not original to the brand. (Surely that’s one reason those are top brands on Facebook.)
But I digress: My point is KLM UK could have found some other way to use the above content without asking for fans to vote via likes or comments.
Measuring the efforts
Think about this: If a brand posts a one of these (a Facebook-action poll), does it hurt engagement numbers? For instance, if someone really wanted to like the photo above but didn’t want to vote for Africa, they might have left the content without liking or commenting.
Brands could measure this by comparing Consumers vs. Reach for Facebook-action poll posts versus other similar (photos to photos, link share to link share) posts as Jon Loomer suggests as a Facebook Insights ratio to monitor.
This is not a tactic that I have used, though, so I have no data to compare and contrast.
A call for action
But brands asking for likes or comments usually is not a bad thing. In fact, as Hubspot points out, calls to action on Facebook lead to more likes and comments (and more shares if the CTA is “share”).
In that light, providing a CTA is not a bad thing. But posturing the content as a Facebook-action poll could be.
What do you think: Is this a tactic that should be embraced or scorned by marketers?
Spread the word:
Facebook has the ability to be outstanding and ever so frustrating, and anything in between, all at once.
It was the frustrated end of the spectrum that I felt recently when I found out Facebook took away the ability to post a link with no thumbnail as a page.
Before, Facebook would give me an option below the thumbnail preview to use no thumbnail. Now that option is gone.
In general, it’s not a big deal. But there are some links that I post that I do not want to use a thumbnail, mostly because the thumbnail options that populate on Facebook don’t have anything to do with the link that I want to post.
However, on my personal account, I can still choose to post a link without a thumbnail. This change seems to affect only pages that I manage.
There are other options to post links without thumbnails. The one that I have used is Hootsuite.
Your reaction: Have you seen this change? What do you think of it?
Spread the word:
Facebook announced its Graph Search feature recently, and my first thought was “Good.” Anything should be better than Facebook’s previous search function.
Thinking it through
But then I let the implications of the Graph Search stew. And I came to realize that it’s a double-edged sword.
Of course you understand why it will be helpful and how it could affect brands, marketing and a host of other things.
But the flip side to it is that more people than just your Facebook friends will be mining your data when they use Graph Search.
Searching, searching …
Think on this: Are these the types of searches you want your data to be available for?
- Friends of my friends who went to (my high school)
- Friends of my friends who are married
- Friends of my friends who are named “(name)”
- Friends of my friends who use (name of application)
These are just a few test searches I performed to see what results I would get.
Built with privacy
Graph Search was built with privacy in mind in that users can search information only made public to them or information that was public.
You might not have cared what information you are sharing with certain people before because of Facebook’s EdgeRank, which showed less and less content of those friends you don’t interact with much.
So, essentially, those Facebook friends go out of sight, out of mind.
A defriending nation?
With Graph Search, though, they will see you and your data and data from your network if you remain friends with them on the network. And it will be available to them without them having to singularly search you out.
But do you want them to have that access?
Do you want to leave that data above to college friends you never talk to anymore? Do you want to leave that data available to people who were in your life for only a month?
An issue on the fringe
I’m not saying that there will be an onslaught of defriending as people realize the impact of Graph Search. I see this as affecting those connections that were tenuous at best, those connections that have been forgotten but not broken (at least in the defriending sense of the word).
You could, of course, choose to stay friends with those people and simply create a list to share content and information to and keep them out of it.
But it’s worth considering how and to whom you want your information searchable.
Feedback: Will you be defriending these types of Facebook “friends,” or will you continue your Facebook use unmodified?
Spread the word:
If you use social media tools every day like I do, then you’re bound to find a hoop here or a hole there that you have to jump through.
Sometimes it would be easier if that wasn’t the case. Sometimes you find yourself wishing for something that would make your life easier.
These are the things I hope happen. This is my wish list for social media for this year.
Too often do brands or bloggers or whoever post content on social sites that is, frankly, not good. Too often do they do the gimmicky thing and post something that isn’t necessarily relevant to them just to garner likes or comments.
Let’s stop this.
Let’s start posting content that is better than that, content that is relevant to the brand and its customers, content that unique.
Networks playing nicely together
Be honest: You, too, got sick of the bickering among networks last year. Most recently, Instgram and Twitter having a tiff over not showing photos in tweets. But there are certainly more examples.
Social media users are tired of it. We just want to use the networks we want and for them to get along. (Yes, I know this is a pie-in-the-sky wish and that it will not happen. Still …)
Mulitple managers for Facebook interest lists
Here’s a more tangible wish. I love Facebook interest lists, and it’s how I navigate the network now.
But I would love to be able to share managing duties of a list with another Facebook user. Already I have encountered a handful of situations where I had a list but a friend made their own because they could not add to mine. Make it happen, Facebook.
What do you wish to see in social media this year?
Spread the word:
Publishing Schedule and Contact Me
New #FictionFriday short stories and other writings on Fridays.
Contact me at polleydan(at)gmail(dot)com.
Find my guest posts from around the web on my List.ly list.