This tip may be so obvious that you are already using it. But if you are not, you should definitely test it out.

Upload a picture with every Facebook post

Sharing a link? Upload a picture first.

Just sharing a text update? Upload a picture first.

Two months ago, I noticed that pretty much the only thing I was seeing in my own personal Facebook feed was photos. I didn’t mind it much because photos (often of funny cats and dogs) were an improvement on what I was seeing on Facebook before (two day old stories, that I already had seen on Twitter). But it took me over a month to take that knowledge and apply it to the @free’s Facebook posts.

For all the talk about the new ways you can promote (read: purchase) your way to reaching more of your existing Facebook fans, simply adding a photo is a free and easy way to dramatically increase your Edgerank and thus get more of your fans seeing your updates.

Results

The results of making every post a photo where dramatic.

Since I started using this technique on June 22, the @free Facebook page has seen a:

  • 400% increase in people “Talking About This”
  • 300% increase in “Viral Reach”
  • 300% increase in “Total Reach”
  • 38% average user reach for our last four updates

I can’t promise you the same results. At the same time I got started posting pictures, I also started adding a question or Facebook specific call to action (either share or like) with about one-third of the posts. However, in testing adding images for other accounts I contribue to, and in these case no other changes were made, I have seen a significant improvement. Anywhere from 50% to 200% increase in the key Facebook metric I mentioned above.

Why?

The bar has been raised. Sharing a link by copying and pasting it gives you a very small image and a little bit of preview text. By uploading a photo you get an image that is often 2000% bigger (398 x 398 vs 90 x 90), and you can include whatever text or link you want by typing it in to the update box. As users browse through Facebook, images stand out, and images that span the feed are tough to miss.

VS

It is a little more work

Sourcing a suitable image for each post can be difficult. If you are sharing your own content from a blog, then you likely are already visual content on the blog post; just use that. If you are sharing other people’s stories, you can always find a royalty free image for around a dollar. I use 123RF (note this is an affiliate link, I purchase $200 in images a year, so I am a big fan and would recommend them either way). I also recommend ReciteThis which lets you create text based images for free.

I have been adding my posts directly in Facebook. Since third party Facebook apps don’t always process the image first, it can throw off the formatting. Depending on what apps you use, this may not be an issue.

Finally, I have been using link shorteners for links in the body of the post. This takes up less room in the post and is much cleaner looking. I haven’t seen any difference in performance between ow.ly or bit.ly, so you can use whatever shortener you like.

I hope this helps. Let me know what kind of results you get.

 

 

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5 Responses to One simple tip that can dramatically increase your Facebook fan engagement and reach.

  1. Good tip – we wouldn’t dream of posting anything without including a picture :-)

  2. avatar Cary Heise says:

    If you were linking to another website or article, couldn’t you download the image that is used for that post as long as you credit it with the link? I’m always careful and use my own images, but seems like this would be okay??

    • avatar Josh Davis says:

      Hi Cary,

      I think this is a gray area. I think most people would be happy to get the extra promotion that comes with having their image used. Since Facebook does use a small image automatically, uploading a larger image isn’t much of stretch.

      I am interested in what other people think of doing this?

      Josh

  3. avatar Celebrate Woman says:

    Josh,
    Great post!
    I could not agree more with you that posting photos on Facebook creates more conversation and more reach with great response.
    Wonderfully done!

    • avatar Josh Davis says:

      Thanks for the comment! Photos have certainly improved my approach. I am glad to hear it has worked for you as well.