In recent months Facebook has come under scrutiny over how the platform is being used to share “fake news”. To help combat the dissemination of misleading or unverified information, the social media giant has disabled editing of link previews.
What does this mean? That you can no longer edit the headline, meta description or image associated with the article you’re sharing on Facebook. This policy change is great for weeding out spammers, scammers, and click baiters. But it’s not so great for sharing links that don’t have a Facebook-friendly title, description or picture.
Why not? Click-through rates on a link titled “blog post” and lacking any info about what’s inside will fall around rock bottom. And while you can write up an informative post about the link being shared, this isn’t optimal for virality. Or for those who automatically push their posts from their content management system or website to Facebook.
Did you claim “link ownership” to your site via your page prior to September 12, 2017? You’ll still be able to make edits to content posted on your site. If you missed the window, don’t worry.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover: Judge it by its Open Graph Tags
While basic link-editing functionality has been disabled, there are still workarounds publishers can use to edit how their link previews display. The first is to edit your Open Graph tags so when Facebook pulls your content from your site it’s using the right information.
What are Open Graph tags? Stay with me here, I’m about to nerd out for a second.They’re a type of page metadata that Facebook’s algorithm “reads” and then captures when building a preview of your link. Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ also use these tags and making a habit of populating them can give you a solid social media boost. Awesome, right?
For every post, you publish on your site, ensure you’re populating your Open Graph title, description, image and canonical URL data. You can also add tags that show what type of content you’re posting, as well as what topics it relates to. Populating these tags can help your content display in a user’s “interests”, increasing your reach. Even better!
Once your tags are updated, Facebook will pull them from your site – and your post preview will display as intended.
Make Your Content Marketing a Literal Ad for Your Company
Ads are another area where you can tweak your content to make it display as intended. Facebook’s reasoning here is that ads go through a review process to flag any misleading information. Thus “fake news” is less likely to slip through the cracks. (Not wanting to bite the hand that feeds you is probably another motivation.)
There are a couple of ad-related Facebook publishing paths you can take. The first is to post your content as an ad, editing the headline, preview text, news feed link descriptor and display link as you go. You can also submit a custom image or video to accompany your content. Once you’ve added the requisite details, you can post your content as a sponsored post.
How the original link pre-populates in Facebook Ad Manager.
The second approach is to post your ad straight to your page instead of as a sponsored post. The first steps are the same, except you’ll want to “pause” your ad within Ads Manager to stop it running as a sponsored post. After that, just open the Page Post tool in Business Manager and hit “publish”. Your vetted and approved ad will appear as a regular post.
It’s not an ideal workflow, but it gets the job done.
Make friends with Facebook-friendly SEO plugins like Yoast
A third option for getting your shared content sitting pretty on Facebook is to use an SEO plugin like Yoast. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress or Squarespace to post regular blog content, Yoast will make life better – and better converting.
Yoast allows you to customize the title, description, and image preview metadata for your shareable content and gives you SEO recommendations along the way. It also has a “preview” feature so that you can get insight into how your content will display on Facebook before you publish it to your site. The fields on this feature are editable, so you can make changes at any point.
There’s a preview feature for Twitter as well, so you can kill two social media birds with one stone.
Yoast lives at the bottom of your WordPress post editor page.
You can also access it through the “SEO” section of your Dashboard. Oh, and remember what we were saying about Open Graph tags earlier? You can set up Yoast to auto-populate your posts with tags that are social media friendly and SEO friendly all at once. Too easy.
As you can see, we live and breathe social media. If you’re still not sure how to make your social media content editable on Facebook, get in touch with one of our savvy social media managers today.