Facebook Post Changes – What You Need to Know
In our June social media review, we spoke about how Facebook were responding to so-called Fake News posts and links. About how they were employing a warning system to flag up any stories where veracity was disputed.
Well, it seems that the fight against fakery is continuing with new changes to the way we post and share links on the platform. Changes made at the back end of last week have prevented users from editing or amending headlines, images, or content previews to web pages, blogs or other links they post onto their feeds.
Previously, a user was able to add a link and then manually attach an image, and re-write the preview text, which would then appear on the feed looking and reading as you wanted it.
Now, when you attach a link to your post, it will simply appear ‘as is’ directly from the source.
Understanding the reasons
It’s a move that’s clearly been brought in as another measure against the fake news phenomenon that’s blossomed across social media channels in recent times. That, and the rise of articles that are of the overtly click-bait variety; where headlines often bear no resemblance to the content of the story.
And it’s not a change that’s emerged entirely out of the blue. Facebook suggested such changes might come into play back at their F8 Summit in April.
But while it makes sense to ensure the integrity of news items, especially when it’s the social networks from where most of the population get their news updates (where did you first hear about David Bowie’s death?).
It’s a change however, that has implications for social media managers involved with developing, targeting, and engaging with specific audiences.
Restricting Legitimate Marketing Activity
There are genuine, legitimate, and appropriate reasons for amending the headlines, previews, and images of certain links, when it comes to online and social media marketing.
It’s not about changing a story, or even misleading your audience about the content contained within, but about tweaking the angle to appeal to a specific audience; or even withholding big reveals (‘SPOILERS’) that might appear in the preview.
For instance, if you’re marketing a range of furniture items, tweaking the headline can allow you to target the same content in a way that appeals to different people. Or, perhaps, the content you want to share doesn’t have a suitable feature image in its back-end, or where the meta-data is not what you wish to convey, resulting in an unappealing link, or so plain that visitors pass it by altogether.
Sure, often you might have access to the CMS (WordPress, as an example) and be able to add an image adequately formatted for Facebook posts (the Yoast SEO plugin offers this facility) but there will also be times when this is not possible. Those responsible for online marketing won’t always have the appropriate back-end access to the content.
Something else that needs to be considered is the fact that, in order to maximise click-through rates, and optimise audience engagement, split, or A/B testing of content and images can play an important role in the process. However, by restricting the amending of this meta data, you only have the raw content to use, and the hope that this hits the target audience sufficiently.
By No Means a Disaster
It’s not a disaster, and certainly no cause to throw the toys from the pram and stop sharing content. Indeed, the drive towards user feeds free from the clutter of poorly-constructed click-bait is, in itself, something that many of us would support.
However, should the change be a permanent one, then the need for greater (or, at least, different) thought into the construction of content, and how it’s going to look on a Facebook page, is going to be required.