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What Does Facebook Know About the Links You Share?

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Have you ever wanted to see how well links performed in the past on Facebook? Have you ever posted a link to Facebook and the picture is too small or the text is completely different? Facebook offers a great, free tool that lets you preview a link and tells you what the platforms knows about the link.

Read on to find out what Facebook knows about the links you share:

The Tool

Facebook Links Sharing Debugger

Facebook itself has written that “people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions”. This means that links are one of the most important ways you’re sharing content on Facebook, and, therefore, knowing exactly what Facebook knows about your link is crucial. Luckily, they provide a tool that lets you know exactly what they know about your link: the Sharing Debugger.

What the Tool Shows You

The Preview

Why Your Website Needs to Be Faster - Facebook Link Preview
Note: Feel free to click the pictures if you want to learn more about the topic.

It will show you exactly what the link will look like on desktop before you post it.

Likes, Shares, and Comments on Facebook

See Facebook Likes Comments Shares on Links - 10 Questions With Facebook Partner Manager Ramiro Sarabia

That’s right. Facebook tracks how many likes, shares, and comments every link gets and stores it for future reference. One of the many reasons you’ll find this tool is useful!

Other Info About Your Facebook Links

Facebook Links - URL, title, description, type, tags, site name, author, publisher, and locale - 5 Things Every Great Instagram Photo Needs

The Facebook Sharing Debugger will also pull the URL, title, description, type, tags, site name, author, publisher, and locale from the link, as well as the last time it was updated.

How it Works

The tool identifies information about a link in a very similar to the way that looking at someone’s driver’s license can tell you their age, eye color, and height. When you copy the URL into the Sharing Debugger, it will pull data. Instead of a card, Facebook, along with every other social media site, uses code included in websites called “OG Meta Tags”.

Driver's License Example

For instance, just like if you have brown eyes, your driver’s license might say “EYES BRN”, if the title of your blog is “How to Natively Schedule Posts on Instagram”, the code simply will say “og:title” and “How to Natively Schedule Posts on Instagram”.

Why is this Significant?

Facebook Links Picture too Small Example - 5 Things Every Great Instagram Photo Needs
In this case, the picture is too small.

On face value alone, the information the tool shows you is extremely valuable. You can adjust to make sure your link is set up for success and it allows you to see what picture will be used and how it will look. If you see that it has very little engagement in the past, it’s worth refreshing the photo, title, and description – and possibly the content, too!

How to Use this Information

Ensure the Information is Correct

Ensure the Information is Correct - Checklist

The first thing to do is ensure the information is correct. Ask yourself:

  • Is the picture what it should be?
  • Are both the “title” and “description” accurate?
  • Is the “type” appropriate?
    • If it’s a blog, make sure it says “article”.
  • Do the tags make sense?
    • For instance, if it’s a winter activities landing page, you want to make sure “summer fun” isn’t tagged.
  • Is the site name right?
  • Does the locale say “en_us”?
    • This means that it’s in English, and its country of origin is the United States.

Optimization

Optimizing or Fixing

The next step is optimizing the Facebook link. If the picture is too small or generic, swap it out! Make sure the title, or headline, is interesting and actionable. Next month, we’ll dive deeper into the subject of optimizing your links.

How to Change Your Preview

Talk to your webmaster about Facebook Links

The easiest way to change what your link preview looks like is to talk to your webmaster. However, you might be able to do it yourself, as most website platforms have “Featured Image”, “Title”, and other similar options in the editor.

Want to Do Some Coding?

However, if you’re able to add some code to the “header” section of a single page, Meta Tags is a tool that can be used to debug and generate the Open Graph code for any website. With Meta Tags, you can experiment and edit your content, then preview how your webpage will look on Google, Facebook, Twitter and other sites.


Conclusion

Link-type posts are the best way to drive traffic to your website from Facebook, and this tool gives you an insider look into the social media platform’s data so you can optimize your link for success. If you’re looking for new ways to stay updated on destination marketing, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter or follow us across social media at the links below! 

A Beginner’s Guide to UTM Codes

When you hear “UTM codes”, you may think that it’s far too complicated to try and understand. However, if you think about them like “Name tags” for your link, then it may be more digestible. These ‘name tags’ appear in analytics reports and let a website know exactly where the traffic is coming from. They also allow you to get the credit you deserve for clicks and the performance of marketing activities on your website. If you’ve struggled in the past with marketing attribution, read on for our Beginner’s Guide to UTM codes and they’ll be your close friend in no time.


UTM codes are a simple string of characters that are added to the end of a link in order for it to be tracked in Google Analytics. By putting a “?” at the end of your link, you are telling Google Analytics to start looking for the different name tags that you have assigned to the link. All you have to do is simply add ‘name tags’ (or parameters) to the end of your link for the feature to be activated.


There are several things that you can track when you are creating a campaign code, but we’ve found if you focus on the following three parameters, they will be the most useful to your marketing efforts.


Traffic Source

What it tracks: where the traffic is coming from. Typically, this means a specific website. Common sources include Facebook, Google, Bing etc.

Displays as: utm_source

Example: utm_source=twitter


Medium

What it tracks: the type of traffic the click is bringing into the site. This can answer questions like if it’s paid, social media or from a newsletter. This can include cpc, email, social, referral, display etc.

Displays as: utm_medium

Example: &utm_medium=social


Campaign Name

What it tracks: the performance of a specific campaign. It can help you differentiate your Facebook ad campaign and your email marketing campaign, and help you determine what is working best.

Displays as: utm_campaign

Example: utm_campaign_summer-hotel-campaign


This part is what most folks are the most intimidated by, but thankfully it is very easy! First, check out the Campaign URL Builder and follow these steps:

  1. Paste your general URL into the box & create your name tag by filling in the different fields below.

2. COPY your code from the ‘generated campaign URL’ field and PASTE it where it needs to go!


The final step in executing the use of UTM codes is actually seeing them show up in Google Analytics! Follow the steps below to see where to find your campaigns in the Google Analytics dashboard.


To successfully move forward with your digital strategy, it’s crucial to know where your web traffic is coming from as well as what is working and what is not. This will help you focus on the things that are bringing in the best traffic for the least amount of money.

For example: Say you have ‘winter wonderland’ landing page that you’re sharing across multiple platforms and in several campaigns. Without UTM codes, you wouldn’t be able to tell what’s driving the most and best traffic. By using them, you’ll be able to see that visitors from your newsletter are spending the most time on the page and your Twitter campaign is driving the most overall traffic, but spending less time on site.


Learning the basics of what a UTM code is, what it can do, and how to track different metrics is a great step forward in learning to become more strategic with your marketing. These simple steps will help you understand where you results are coming from and will hopefully provide insight into how to move your business forward in the digital sphere.

For more ways on how to stay-up-to-date on the lates digital marketing and tourism trends, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below.

How to Decide What Events to Post about on Social

Events are major destination-drivers and a great way to spread awareness about them is by posting them across social media. Many destinations have several events going on in a single day, let alone over weeks and months. It’s easy to get things muddled up in terms of what happenings take precedence over others. So, how exactly are you supposed to know which ones to post about? Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to decipher what events to prioritize in your social feeds. 


Is this event likely to convert overnight stays?

Start by asking yourself this question: “Is someone likely to travel to your destination and stay in a hotel for the event?” If the event is a small or medium concert, a farmer’s market or even a small art fair, the answer is probably “no.” However, a three-day annual fair, a music festival or an event that is unique to your destination, like Dublin, Ohio’s Irish Festival, is definitely worth posting about.

These types of events are considered “destination drivers”. The event is big enough and niche enough for visitors to plan ahead for. We consider these “major events” that will likely require visitors to have to stay overnight. Typically, specific, unique, niche events fall into this category. Check out the example below of Dublin, Ohio’s Irish Festival.


Is the event relevant to a current leisure traveler?

If the event isn’t likely to convert overnight stays ask whether or not the event is relevant to someone traveling on a leisurely basis. This means you should be posting about things that draw people into your destination rather than things that are tailored to attracting locals. Here are a few instances of events that would be primarily attended by locals: 

  • Storytime at the local library 
  • Salsa night downtown 
  • Midnight movie showings at the local theater 

In other words, if you can find it anywhere, it’s probably not relevant to a leisure traveler. However, if there’s a superlative like; “Biggest Salsa Night in the US”, then its worthy of being placed on the content calendar!

A fantastic example of a unique destination-driving event is the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. This highly populated, 8-day festival, only takes place in Traverse City, making it a significant destination-centric event.


Does the event support a major partner or a larger DMO initiative?

There are ‘special case’ scenarios when an event doesn’t meet the criteria of the first two questions. Ask yourself if the event supports a major partner or larger DMO initiative. This may be different for a variety of destinations, but regardless, its a critical question to ask yourself! This essentially means that if your DMO works hard to promote a specific event that supports your organization or a local partner, its important to post about it across social.

A great example of this is the commonly held “Restaurant Week.” Restaurant Weeks take place across the US, and although it doesn’t typically convert overnight stays, if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into coordinating the event, it’s an excellent opportunity to feature your local restaurant partners. 

Another instance that would match these credentials would be a smaller event that supports a key element of your destination. Suppose that your major attraction like an Air & Space Museum was holding a fundraising event to raise funds for a major expansion. You could use the opportunity to provide more awareness about the museum and exciting new additions coming in the future!

Check out this easy to follow flow chart to help make these decisions quickly. Better yet, share it with your partners so they know what you promote and what you don’t!


What’s Next?

Once you’ve decided whether or not the event is going to make it onto your content calendar, you need to make sure that you have a robust landing page to accommodate the post. If an event meets any of the previous three criteria but doesn’t have a landing page on your website, take time to create a dedicated page to support it. Landing pages are absolutely key!

TwoSix Tip: Try to get away from using the term “event listing” at all costs. You need to build useful landing pages that ignite the discovery process. Just say no to event listings. Say yes to mobile-friendly, fully-integrated landing pages that extend the story for your website users. And, don’t forget those call-to-action items either!



Adding events into your weekly and monthly content plan is an excellent way to spread awareness of what is happening in your destination. Just be sure to select the right ones that help you reach your organization’s goals of driving overnight visitation. 

For more ways on how to best promote your destination, be sure to follow us across social media at the links below and subscribe to our newsletter. Not sure how to take the next step? Click below to contact us for more assistance.