This article was originally posted on Inapub’s Trade News website on Thursday 24th January 2014:
There’s a general rule of thumb that says images in social media posts get more engagement from viewers of your content than just text updates.
Hence, Twitter cards were launched last year to help give a more visual engagement when sharing links from websites, and each and every social media sharing app for your phone now allows you to play with images to try and make you look more like a professional Instagrammer with every post.
This week, Facebook have upped the ante even further, announcing in their blog[MJD1] that they’ve changed the algorithm for business pages to put more emphasis on posts with pictures in them. In simple terms: post a status to your business page with just words in it and it’s less likely to get shown to your Likers than if you put an image in it.
According to Facebook, they saw that when standard users posted updates with just text in them it generated an average of 9 million more status updates written every day from their friends. This wasn’t reflected in engagement with business pages, however, and Facebook have learned that users reacted more to visual content from pages they Liked than just text based ones.
I am a little surprised that it’s taken Facebook this long to react to this – I always saw greater engagement from customers at my pub if I posted a picture of the glasswasher flooding the servery than I would have done if I’d just written “glasswasher has flooded the bar floor again”, and that was almost three years ago…
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, to paraphrase Frederick R Bernard, and it seems that now Facebook are going to ‘encourage’ you to post more pictures than words by altering their algorithm to ensure images get seen more by your page fans than wordy updates do.
The latest update to their ranking algorithm will now treat text updates from business pages differently to text updates from personal profiles. “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates,” Facebook warns in this week’s blog post, “but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”
In other words, when sharing a link use a proper link-share button rather than simply pasting the website address in to the post, and when sharing events and updates always try to ensure there is an image included with the post. It will stand more chance of being seen by your followers than without.