Changes to Facebook Link Preview

In late June, Facebook announced they will no longer allow editing of link previews for posts as part of its mission to reduce fake news on the platform. While we commend Facebook’s commitment to authenticity, this change to the API is going to present a few challenges for digital marketing strategies.

When Facebook announced the new policy, which goes into effect on July 18, they said, “We’re working to find other solutions that allow publishers to share customized content on our platform, and we will have more to share in the coming weeks.” Unfortunately, we have yet to see an update or solution for how brands and publishers can customize post content.

At this point, Top Shelf’s President and Executive Director is not confident Facebook is going to put together a new custom link process prior to the API change this coming Tuesday and our team is proposing some changes to our existing digital marketing strategies to circumvent the effects of Facebook’s update. Moving forward, until an updated API allowing customization goes into affect, we recommend the following:

For links you share that your brand does not own, for example any link external to your own websites, we recommend reformatting lead-in content to include a short link to the web page. This retains the look and feel of customized link posts and doesn’t compromise the graphics you’ve created. Most Facebook users are web-savvy enough to know to click blue text to follow links, and they’ll likely notice that the photo is no longer part of a link.

The above strategy is also recommended for links that you do own but want to employment custom marketing for. An example of this would be a web page that you promote using various images as part of a larger campaign.

For links that you own, things like blog posts or static web pages, we recommend following Facebook’s best practice to use Open Graph meta tags to tell the API exactly what you want to put in the link preview. For Top Shelf clients, we are able to put together the information and the images for the tags, but who executes them in the backend of the site depends on how the site is currently managed and what platform its built on. Until we get a protocol for this in place, we’re able to share blog content in the same way that we recommend sharing external web links.

Have questions about how Facebook’s API change is going to affect your content marketing strategy? Give us a call and we’ll help you identify your strengths and opportunities for improvement.


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What Marketers Should Learn From Pepsi’s Commercial Fiasco

Photo credit: Business2Community

By now, anyone and everyone knows about the recent Pepsi advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner offering an officer a Pepsi in peaceful negotiation. The commercial immediately caused outage amongst many, and Pepsi pulling the ad the same day it was posted. Pepsi, like so many other heavy hitting consumer companies, is trying to engage with its target market through current events. Unfortunately, Pepsi’s commercial has now become a “what not to do” example for other marketing and advertising agencies to follow.

In an effort to try and connect with its audience by riding of the coattails of the current political environment, here are three lessons that other marketers can learn from the Pepsi fiasco.

Don’t Be Opportunistic

Many brands and marketer’s messages fall flat or are considered offensive when brands capitalize on a movement to promote and sell products, as opposed to supporting a movement’s cause. Brands tote a very fine line between supporting a movement that’s important to their target audience and exploiting current events for personal gain.

Messaging is Key

Market research is essential anytime a company is crafting a message and this is particularly important when tying a brand to a current event. Brands must make sure the messaging compliments a movement’s needs and actions, and these questions can help guide you on the right track:

  1. Does your message’s tone match the tone of the movement?
  2. Does the voice of your advertisement match the true feelings of those that have experienced violence or oppression? 
  3. Is your brand trying to newsjack a current event that is loosely related (or not at all related) to your product/service?
  4. Is this current event or movement important to your target audience or your company culture?

Look for Outside Perspectives

One the best ways to avoid rubbing consumers the wrong way is seeking or consulting outside opinions and perspectives. If brands are going to engage in cause-based marketing, the main focus should be on helping people share their stories and get the word out about an injustice, current event, or movement. Steven Tulman uses Ford as an excellent an excellent example of brand that used their reach to connect with a cause through their work with WE Charities in this Business2Community blog post.

In today’s world, social media platforms dominate the marketing scene so brands must be extra attentive in how the deliver their message. If done right with a well thought out plan and researched messaging strategy, marketers can produce positive effects and help to solidify a brand’s position as a positive change-maker.


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Facebook’s New Algorithm Strives to Eliminate Fake News

Facebook Algorithm

Image source: Techcrunch

You may notice a few changes to your Facebook Newsfeed in coming weeks as the social media giant is again updating its algorithm to rid itself of “fake news.” No one knows exactly when the changes will be happing, but we do know Facebook will be implementing new ways in which content is ranked on the Newsfeed in order to prevent “spammy”, “fake” or otherwise deceptive and misleading stories.

Facebook has recently made several modifications to minimize the prevalence of false reporting including changes designed to prevent fake news websites from generating revenue through Facebook, and the recent launch of the Facebook Journalism project, which strives to support and to create ties with journalist and news publishers.

In addition to past regulations and guidelines, here are the two changes that are coming to your Newsfeed:

  1. Posts and content appearing on the Newsfeed are now going to be ranked by authenticity. What exactly does this mean? Facebook has a created a new “categorizing model” which will search out Pages posting spam and show fewer of their posts in people’s Newsfeeds. The ultimate goal is to reduce the ability of these nefarious pages to promote “fake and misleading news”.
  2. More weight will be given to posts related to trending topics, and content with higher engagement such as likes, comments and shares will populate Newsfeeds more so than content with little to no engagement.

For example, if people watching are watching a major event such as the Super Bowl and posting content about it, than anything related to that particular topic will see an increase in visibility and a temporary boost on Newsfeeds.

While we applaud Facebook for its efforts toward eliminating one of its biggest problems in 2016, we wonder what these changes will mean for brands. Our prediction is that, yet again, marketers will have to re-think they way they present content, and earning engagement actions will be more important than ever before.

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The Future of Social Media’s Fake News

2016 is officially the year that social media surpassed traditional news and media outlets as the “go to” for current events and news. The Pew Research Center reported that 62 percent of adults obtain their news on social media, and that a large percentage of millennials also rely heavily on social media platforms to keep update and informed. This circulation of fake news through social media became even more apparent in the 2016 presidential election – which is why both social sites and individuals need to be accountable. Continue reading The Future of Social Media’s Fake News