It hasn’t been that long since Lara and I posted about our social media pet peeves, but one of them needs a bit more attention. In the post we wrote a couple of weeks ago, I said this about the practice of posting links in the comments:
Oh, EdgeRank dodgers, there are easier and far less annoying ways to reach your audience!!!
Consider this, you’re a user and you’re on a phone and clicking to the comments slows you down (A LOT), so you actively avoid clicking through to the comments to click the link.
What, my dear EdgeRank dodgers, will that do to your EdgeRank?
The bottom line is that if annoying your audience is the cost of reaching them, then the price is too high. We recommend avoiding that particular problem. A far simpler way to have a text update is simply to click X and close the thumbnail preview. There’s no need to post the link in the comments.
Page admins are trying everything under the sun to keep EdgeRank from thwarting their efforts to capture eyeballs and clickthroughs. A friend tipped me off to one page admin that put a period in the status and posted their entire update, with link, in the comments.
Can we agree that things have gone a bit too far?
A while back, Mari Smith shared an image on her Facebook page that referenced the stats from the PostRocket blog (link above). In the image description, she said:
One way I use regularly myself is exactly like this post - upload an image with the link! Another way is to ‘x’ out the link preview (and it then posts as if a regular text status update).
I’ve conveniently left out her advice to post the link in the first comment because I think it’s advice that will hurt page engagement and EdgeRank in the long run and here’s why:
- Mobile users. In Q4 of 2012 mobile use of Facebook finally surpassed desktop web browsers. That means that people who want to see your link in the comments have to tap to a new screen to expand comments, then they have to tap on the link.
- Close the thumbnail. As Mari pointed out, all you have to do is paste the link in the status and close the thumbnail once it loads. Voila! Text update. Why annoy users when you don’t have to?
- Comment barrage. As soon as you start racking up enough comments that they get nested and you have to click to load more, you’ve lost people. It doesn’t matter where they’re accessing Facebook, they shouldn’t have to work that hard to get to your content. (Ever heard of the three click rule?)
What works for your audience?
I recently posted a whole series of about 10 articles to our Facebook page with thumbnails intact and no link in the status. The reach was comparable to any other post we’ve shared. And this is my bonus reason #4: Just because the stats say it works, doesn’t mean mean it will for you. Every audience is different. Test out different post types and times and don’t get caught up in the stats. I can find you a different study that will give you totally different results.
It’s frustrating to know that EdgeRank can have such a dramatic impact on what your followers see, but gimmicky trends are not the answer. A frustrated fan is not an engaged fan and that will hurt your reach/EdgeRank more than it will help.
I think it’s more sensible to use solid tactics that work to increase engagement rather than potentially damaging ones.
What are your thoughts on this practice? Do you like it or hate it?