Facebook Myth or Magic: Link in First Comment


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Bloggers have been facing a major challenge. Ever since Facebook dramatically changed their EdgeRank algorithm and fewer of our posts are being seen by those who have liked our brand pages, our total reach and engagement has dropped. Now I know some bloggers have been able to beat Facebook at their own game. That’s awesome! But for the rest of us, Facebook is like a giant elephant blocking the entrance.

Here’s what seems to be happening right now in Facebook land. If you post an update without a link the visibility of your post will spike. Posting images also gives good visibility, so long as people are interacting with your content. So how in the heck do you get your blog posts seen by those interested in reading what you have to say? You have to link back to your blog, right? The truth is, Facebook wants you to pay to promote your page. At the same time, they really don’t want people leaving Facebook. They don’t want someone clicking on a link to your newest blog post and leaving THEIR site. So what’s a blogger to do?

One workaround that I see a lot of fellow bloggers using is placing links to their blog posts in the first comment after posting an update. Something like this:

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Or this:

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Makes sense because you are essentially posting a text-only update which, supposedly, reaches more people. How effective is this approach? And does it really work? I poked around online, but found no solid statistics to support this strategy. So I went to my fellow bloggers. Here’s what the gals over at The Dose of Reality (one of my favorite blogs!) had to say:

“Yes, we do have better reach putting the link in the comments. Truly do not know the exact numbers, but overall we would say probably 30-40% more.”

That’s pretty significant! When looking at their Facebook page, they appear to be one of those brand pages who has Facebook beat. They have 1,129 people who have liked their page and 937 are “talking about this.” That is crazy good in the world of Facebook!

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Another of my favorite ladies, The Orange Rhino, gave some deeper insight into what she is experiencing with her Facebook page:

“All text posts definitely get seen by the most people so putting the link in the first comment line helps. That said, once there are a lot of comments (if there are) people have to scroll to find the initial link and that is a nuisance. I believe that putting the link in the post is the most consumer friendly – it’s easy to click and you get a picture to help tell the story. The best of all worlds. It is just a challenge because it definitely can get lost if it is not a story of interest to people. I have played with times of days to figure out if there is one time to definitely post and one time to avoid. I am starting to get a sense of that and timing sometimes seems more important that post content/format. Bottom line: I have found no most successful way! The only guarantee is to have content that is relevant and truly meaningful to my audience and to attempt to share it at the most popular time for your group (my time seems to by 9ish EST during the week and 830ish AM on the weekends.)”

In my opinion, she is another blogger who has it down to a science. She is building a true community around The Orange Rhino Challenge and receives significant engagement on nearly all of her posts. Just look:

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It appears there is an advantage to placing your links in the comments, as opposed to linking directly from your update. As Orange Rhino points out, however, it’s a bit of an inconvenience for your readers, especially when you have an audience the size of hers. There’s also the possibility that Facebook will catch on and, if and when they do, crack down on this tactic.

Now Facebook has a so-called solution to all of this. Of course and yet again, it involves paying Facebook. At the bottom of each post is a small “Boost Post” button which innocently implies that for a small sum of anywhere from $5 to $100 (some accounts go higher), you can have your post reach hundreds or thousands more people. This is equivalent to advertising rates typically paid for premium ad inventory. Sounds like a good idea? Well, keep in mind that this is simply for your post to appear fleetingly on a person’s news feed. There is no guarantee that anyone will ever see it or even click on it.

I’ve promoted a number of my posts. The results were a mixed bag. Some promoted posts received significant reach, while others fizzled. If you want to try paying to boost your posts, start conservatively and test when your posts receive the most reach and engagement. Also jot down what type of posts did best when promoted.

For those of you not interested in giving Facebook your hard earned dollars, placing your links in the comments just might be the answer to getting your content in front of more eyeballs. Give it a try and let me know how it works out!


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