The BEST Way to Post to Facebook Without Using Facebook
Ok, hold up... is there really a BEST way to post to Facebook?
I suppose, to be fair, I should amend that to say, "The BEST Way to Post to Facebook Without Using Facebook (as of Today)." Since, as we all know, there are no rules to social media, only guidelines.
And yes, there absolutely is a "best" way. We discussed it at length, if you recall, in the seminal work, "The Facebook Hack That Will 10x Your Reach." To review, that article (and our experimentation) concluded that Images and Videos make the best posts in terms of reaching Facebook fans, while Text and Link posts perform the worst.
That means that if you want to share a link to your latest blog post, you must share that article as an image that has a link to the article in the description, like this one:
Technically, video is even better, but it's unlikely that you have the time to create a video for each and every piece of information you want to share to your Page, making that option less practical. Therefore, Image shares are best.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the second part of that statement... "Without Using Facebook." If we aren't posting to Facebook, what's the point?
Well, my smart-alecky friend, the point is that sometimes we want to post to Facebook without actually opening up Facebook.com or the Facebook app and posting manually. Particularly if you're a business running a Facebook Page.
While posting directly to your Facebook Page is an option, it's definitely not the easiest option, especially if you're not already on your Facebook Page.
First, odds are, what you're doing is reading an article that you think your Facebook Page audience might be interested in (like this one!). You could use the Facebook Share button that's on the actual article, but then you'd be sharing a link preview and if you do that, I'll have to hurt you.
Additionally, there's the consideration that right now might not be the best time to share this content. If it's 7am and you've already shared an article you found a moment ago, sharing another one right away is a bad idea. Facebook posts, more than any other network, need to be shared at the right time of day, and they need breathing room.
The right time of day, of course, depends on your audience. Generally speaking, you'll see your best results when you share content during times where the majority of your audience is online - referred to as Peak Activity.
To find your own Page's 'peak activity' log into your Facebook Page and click on Insights. Go to the Posts tab on the left and look at the 'When Your Audience Is Online' graph (default view).
The graph shows you how many of your fans were using Facebook over the past week, during which hours, so that you can see when your fans are most likely to be online. For me, it's between the hours of 7am and 3pm CT, with a peak at 11am.
If you mouse over the days of the weak above the graph, you'll get a line graph superimposed over the first chart showing you how each day differed from the week's average. For me, that made little difference, but your audience may vary.
Since it only shows the previous week, regularly look at this report to determine whether there's been a shift of any kind. And, obviously, schedule your posts within the target High Engagement Zone.
PRO TIP: Consider using AgoraPulse to manage your Page and retrieve more extensive analytics, including a greater date range.
Breathing room refers to the negative impact sharing too often to a Facebook Page can have on previous post's Reach. In other words, if you share two posts in a row, within a few minutes of each other, fans will be more likely to only see the second post.
Instead, it's best to space out those posts by at least a couple of hours (this assumes that you're running a normal business Page and not a media outlet or celebrity, where high volumes are more tolerated).
The additional time between posts also gives your audience a chance to react to the first post, improving the likelihood that they'll be shown successive posts.
So, if we want to make sure we're sharing at the best time, and that we're giving our posts adequate time to reach fans before posting again, that means we need to schedule those posts.
Of course, Facebook Pages do come with built-in scheduling options, but again, if you're not already on your Facebook Page, that introduces another step.
What if, instead, we could use one of our social media management tools to post content to Facebook, and at the same time, make sure that we're posting the optimum way?
Posting to Facebook the BEST Way Using Social Media Management Tools
In order for this to make sense, we'll need to use a social media management tool that includes a browser extension. Extensions are tools that we add to and integrate into our favorite browser - typically to save time. A browser extension for a social media management tool gives you a button in your browser toolbar that allows you to send whatever website you're on to your favorite tool to begin the process of sharing it to connected social media profiles.
I'm going to use AgoraPulse throughout the rest of this tutorial as that's my preferred all-around social media management tool, but you can substitute most of the other available tools as you wish.
Once you have a social media management tool where your Facebook Page is connected, and you have their browser extension installed, you're ready to proceed through the following steps.
First, find an article you want to share to your Facebook Page [ feel free to use this one as a test! :) ].
Second, right-mouse click on the article's featured image - or whatever image from the article you want to share to Facebook - and select Download Image or Save As, and save that image file to your desktop (I always save files to my desktop initially so that I can find them easily - they can be moved or deleted later).
Third, click on the AgoraPulse browser extension button (or whichever social media management tool you're using) to initiate a share to your Facebook Page.
Fourth, select your Facebook Page from your available social profiles.
Fifth, highlight and cut (CTRL-X) the auto-detected URL for the article you wanted to share.
Sixth, click on Upload and select the article image from your desktop to upload it.
Seventh, paste the URL into the text area and edit the message you want to share to suit you.
Eight, publish immediately, schedule for a specific time, or add to your queue to be shared out at a predetermined time.
It seems like a lot of steps when it's spelled out like that, but in reality, you can move through them quite quickly.
This method also has the added benefit of giving you the option of scheduling the same article to multiple social networks. There's no reason why the article I just queued up to be shared wouldn't work on LinkedIn and Google+ as well as Facebook.
And in fact, AgoraPulse gives me the option of editing shares for specific networks, so I can queue it up for Twitter and make sure the text is short enough, or add Google+ formatting to improve the presentation.
Using tools like AgoraPulse to schedule out your Facebook Page activity also makes those scheduled posts far easier to manage.
If you schedule using your Facebook Page, all you're treated to is a list of scheduled shares, whereas scheduling tools give you cleaner options to view in calendars, for instance, alongside content you've scheduled for other profiles.
The important point is to make sure that, no matter what, you stop sharing content to your Facebook Page as link previews and, instead, share beautiful images with great descriptions (and links within the description). Your fan reach will go up, and if you use a tool like AgoraPulse, your time spent managing your social media will decrease.
Give it a try and compare your Reach and Engagement to past posts where you shared a link, then let me know in the Comments below how it worked for you!
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By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, award-winning Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."Follow @Mike_Allton