If you've been using link shorteners, you probably know how valuable they can be. But did you know that if you use the wrong kind of link shortener for Facebook, it could get your posts removed? This seemingly innocent mistake has ironically crippled many brand pages and produced a lot of frustration on the part of admins and marketers alike.
To find out how to avoid this pitfall and discover what is truly the best link shortener for Facebook, I got in touch with the experts at Sniply . Sniply is a snazzy new service built by marketers, for marketers. It lets users add their own message or calls-to-action (CTAs) to any shortened URL so they can turn each click into an impulse purchase. Best of all, Sniply is now available to everyone with no sign-up or registration required.
Sniply also has a powerful image-mining feature that allows you to use Facebook's Open Graph to generate images for posts on your page. There are tons of uses for these custom made images including adding extra CTA buttons, badges and links as well as taking advantage of native photo posts within fan pages. You can also use them in your email campaigns by tapping into the emails you already have permission to send!
Sniply starts off by showing users their default tracking URL which they can customize however they'd like. It supports both shortening URLs with bit.ly, Goo.gl and TinyURL and even offers support for custom ones. Once users shorten their URLs, they need to decide what they'd like to do with them. Sniply provides three options for marketers who are trying to grow their audience, improve conversions or monetize content on Facebook:
As you can see, there are quite a few opportunities here that marketers shouldn't miss out on. What I was most intrigued by was Sniply's ability to add custom images via the Open Graph protocol. These images appear when people share your links on Facebook so it seemed like a good idea to test this out and see how the service worked first-hand.
I liked what I saw after creating my link so it seemed time to move onto testing the results of using Sniply's Open Graph URL. I selected the "Add Open Graph Button" option and was brought to this page:
Here, I could add custom text or an image along with two additional URLs that would be used when sharing the link on Facebook. I decided to go with a simple button that said "Share This Link On Facebook". Once you click save, Sniply will generate your custom images for Facebook like so:
Once you've generated these images, it's time to use them in your posts! The simplest way is by adding them as an extension of your native photo post. To see how this all comes together, take a look at my last FB post below where I added both Sniply images using this method:
You might have noticed that the second image is a bit cluttered and could use some work. Luckily, there's another way to get these images onto Facebook where I think they'll look much better.
The secret lies in the Open Graph protocol which allows you to add custom "actions" for any link on Facebook:
Inside either of these tags, you can add your own text and set an image if desired by inserting an <img> tag followed by the URL where the image lives. Since we already generated our custom images using Sniply's service, we can insert them right into their respective open graph tags like so:
Once this code is in place, it will generate a more subtle call-to-action button when shared on Facebook as you can see below:
I'm quite pleased with the results but I feel it needs just a bit more to really stand out. To get the image to pop, we need to add an overlay and text which will make it seem like a real button rather than another image you might accidentally pass-over while scrolling through your newsfeed.
To do this, we simply insert one final snippet of code into our post:
If we add this tag right before the end of our open graph tags (after the <div> tag), it will allow us to add custom CSS that affects ONLY that specific Facebook post. If you're not familiar with CSS, don't worry because there are tons of free resources online to get up and running quickly!
I decided to go with a red overlay color and black text so the button stands out against my already dark image. Here's what it looks like after adding this final touch:
Now I'm happy to report that my click-through rate has INCREASED by 5% since making these changes (see below for proof!)
And here are the top 3 posts by total clicks over the past 30 days:
As you can see, Facebook really is one of the best channels I've seen for driving direct traffic to my site! Now that I'm seeing great CTR, it's time to start optimizing for conversions inside my call-to-action buttons.
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