Category Archives: Social Media

Complete guide to the image sizes you need to create new social network accounts.

I saw this infographic at just the right time. I had been tasked by a client with putting together all the requirements for creating accounts on a variety of social networks. LunaMetrics put together a graphic that shows all the different images sizes you need to create accounts and post to a variety of social networks.

Included are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Have a look:

Designed by Lunametrics

Thanks to Ben A. Smith for tweeting about this.

Dark Social idea is wrong

Alexis Madrigal’s “Dark Social” premise is flawed.

Alexis Madrigal published a piece to day on how people find content on the web. While I agree with much of his piece including the contention that the web was social long before social media media (think IM, forums, email, etc), and that a large portion of visitors to sites cannot be tracked to the source, I believe he was led the wrong way by his “expert” Josh Schwartz of Chartbeat.

While Alexis acknowledges in this piece that mobile  apps could account for part of this unatributed traffic, he provides a footnote with comments from Schwartz:

Chartbeat datawiz Josh Schwartz said it was unlikely that the mobile referral data was throwing off our numbers here. “Only about four percent of total traffic is on mobile at all, so, at least as a percentage of total referrals, app referrals must be a tiny percentage,” Schwartz wrote to me in an email. “To put some more context there, only 0.3 percent of total traffic has the Facebook mobile site as a referrer and less than 0.1 percent has the Facebook mobile app.”

How is mobile defined here? If they are just looking at screen size I guess is it possible only 4% of The Atlantic’s viewers are on phones, although that seems very low (web in general 16%, news sites 7% reported nine months ago). There is no mention of tablets, iPad specifically. Which leads me too…

What is missing from the analysis is Mozilla Web Kit.

What type of apps could be sending content to The Atlantic? It isn’t much of a stretch to think that the referrer might be one of dozens of popular news reader/personalization apps (think Zite, Flipboard, etc). Those apps generally use their own browser to display pages, and those browsers are almost 100% using a web kit.

As I detailed in my article on underreporting of Pinterest traffic, the majority of apps use Mozilla Web Kit to provide a more integrated experience, and none of these app browser provide referring data. Once you include iPad in your numbers, I have to believe a significant portion of this untracked traffic is coming from apps, and it doesn’t just have to be news apps.

Social traffic is underreported, but much of it comes from the big social networks.

To quote my previous piece:

Jim Gianoglio, Manager of Insight: Social & Mobile at LunaMetrics, told me that many app visits will show up this way. He indicated that Facebook has figured out a way to resolve this issue with their app, but that Twitter, while better tracking referrals with the link shortener, still sends traffic from their own apps  (as well as many third party apps) without clear referral attribution.

My own vist to Alexis’ piece would have fallen under this “Dark Social” traffic. I was using Hootsuite on my mobile phone when I saw a tweet with a link to the article. I clicked on it and read it using Hootsuite’s browser that use web kit. So this “Dark Social” traffic includes, at least in my case, traffic from mainstream social media.

The purpose of this piece was to clarify that there isn’t an unknown majority of people who forgo social networks to share links. Certainly some people email links or share them in chat, but to attribute around 50% of The Atlantic traffic to this group of people isn’t even close to the most likely scenario.


Facebook Pages Unlike

Facebook makes unannouced change that is significantly affecting the reach of your page.

The key change seems to be that Facebook is now making it so when fans share your post, their friends are much less likely to see it. Facebook is doing this to achieve a newsfeed ratio where paid posts are 20% and only 80% is organic.

As an example, you make a post on your page. It is is popular and gets shared by some of your fans. In the past that post would be seen frequently by the friends of the person who shared the post, but a new algorithm change means it takes significantly more shares before Facebook deems it relevant.

Greg Colon of Ogility blogged on September 25th that

Facebook announced last Thursday [my note: that would be Septbemer 20th] that it would alter the algorithm that decides what a user sees on their newsfeed. The crux of the change is centered strictly on organic brand page posts, in an effort to de-clutter the amount of posts served up to mobile and tablet users by brands.

After his post started to spread by social media this weekend, he clarified in the comments on his post that:

There was no PR or public announcement on behalf of Facebook of these changes. This information came from Social@Ogilvy and WPP’s relationship with Facebook on product updates. Thus, one reason you cannot find announcements on AllFacebook, etc. Curious to see if reach is down for many. The algorithm is updated periodically and as stated, may not affect all brand pages equally.

While Greg’s post did not explain where the loss of reach would come from, Jon Loomer did extensive research back on September 17th that may have identified at least part of where this loss of reach has and will come from. The first area that Facebook attacked is viral reach:

All along, we’ve been freaking out about Fans seeing our content. You know, EdgeRank is limiting it to only 16% and all. But it would appear that the new problem isn’t reaching our Fans (though that may be down slightly), but our Fans being able to reach their friends with our content.

Jon wrote an extensive piece that is worth reading in entriety; especially his graphic at the top of the post.

I have long been sceptical of Facebook because of how they manipulate who sees what posts from both brands and individuals. I prefer Twitter where once someone follows you, they will see your post if they access Twitter after you post it or in the period immediately after. I have recently highlighted a way to improve Facebook reach by including an image with each of my updates. But Facebook is moving the bar with this latest update.

Greg Colon wrote that:

The change may allow Facebook room to grow its organic/paid offering ratio, in which 80% of content in the newsfeed is organic and 20% is paid in the form of sponsored stories, a form of premium advertising within Facebook.

It is quite possible that if limiting the visibility of fan shares is not enough to get Facebook to this 80-20 ratio, that Facebook will limit the visibility of your page posts by just changing the Edgerank.

This change has had widespread implications. Mari Smith posted a discussion of this issue last night on Facebook and the majority of the 100+ comments are from Facebook page managers reporting the same decrease in reach.

The long term implication is clear. Facebook is becoming more of a “Pay For Play” social network. All those hours and money you spent working to connect with your audience via page Likes could be largely for naught. Facebook not only wants you to compete with all new baby announcements and friends weddings which is understandable, but now they want to take even more of the newsfeed back and give it those who are willing to pay to promote posts.

Shared Count Results

Simple, but extremely useful tool to check social shares from your site and the competition.

My blogging has been less frequent of late due to increased client work as well as a number of projects that relate to Pinterest. But I wanted to take the time to briefly share a simple tool that I have found extremely useful in doing research on social sharing.

This tool is Shared Count. While there are dozens of tools that will track social shares across your web pages (many paid), I love Shared Count for its simplicity. This tool doesn’t require a login, doesn’t have a fancy design and doesn’t cost anything , yet it can quickly provide you with basic social share information for any url that you enter.

1. You enter a url on the Shared Count site.

2. It returns the number of social actions that have taken place on that page by querying  the APIs or publicly available data of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Digg, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Delicious and StumbleUpon.

Here is an example of the results you will get:

See it in action

I put together this Shared Count “report” that tracks the social shares of the three Pinterest infographics I created. Have a look.,,,

Since the Shared Count results are entirely public you can share the results as easy as sharing a link. If you want to capture the information for reports, you can export your results to CSV file.

They same mechanism for sharing reports applies to saving. Just copy the Shared Count url after you have added all the pages you want analytics for. You can save it as text and just copy it into the browser when you want to have a look, or you can just drag it to your bookmarks section in the browser and click on it whenever you want to see the shares for the pages you have added.


Quick Social Analytics

For a number of reasons, you might not want to put a share count with each social button on your site. In those cases, you still may want to see for yourself how many repins/pins, likes or tweets any page is getting. Shared Count makes it simple to do.

Competitive Intelligence

You see a web page or site showing up on a social network frequently (say you see the same pin showing up over and over). You want to understand what type of social activity is causing this page to be popular. In less than 3o seconds you can use Shared Count to understand what type of social shares any page is getting.

Prioritizing Social Share Buttons

If you are thinking about writing a new blog post or even launching a new website, you can use the tool to understand the type of social sharing that already existing content is getting.

Social share information can influence what social share buttons you decide to include on your own site, the order of them and even what type of blog posts you choose to do.

Quirks To Know

Pinterest and Twitter in particular return results that are very specific to the url entered. Having the “www” or trailing “/” in the url can return different results. Facebook and LinkedIn seem to cover all the variations, but the other social sharing service can turn different results based on these variables.

I have found the best format to capture Pinterest pins/repins to your main url is this format:

If it is a individual page you are looking for, you need to see how it is shared in Pinterest and just copy that format. Or type in all the variations and see which one is being shared.

I hope you find Shared Count useful.



One simple tip that can dramatically increase your Facebook fan engagement and reach

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

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.


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.


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.


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 or, so you can use whatever shortener you like.

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