Have you ever shared an article or web page on your Facebook business page, LinkedIn company page or other social media sites and the post looked just plain unappealing? The image was missing, or there was a totally different image than you expected. The link title was all messy and the link text was a bunch of jibberish. It happens often, and it has to do with social meta tags (or the lack of them) on your website.
Social meta tags allow you to control the experience your content produces as it shows up on social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. When a link is shared on a social network like Facebook, the network scrapes the associated web page and read its <meta> tags to display the appropriate information.
The good news is, you have control over how the information displays. Social meta tags allow you to control the way your content is displayed in feeds rather than letting Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms generate the headline, description and image for you. This is very important since now some of the major social platforms like Facebook are no longer allowing users to manipulate how this information displays on their platform.
Here is an example of a post I ran across recently on my Facebook newsfeed. As you can see, the post is not very visually appealing because the page that was linked in this post does not have the proper meta tags set up. The image that is pulling in is blurry and not really relevant and the link text has strange characters, among other issues.
On the other hand, here is a post that really caught my eye as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. Large, clear graphic that tugs at your heartstrings, clear link headline and descriptive link text.
Notice the difference? Which would you be more likely to click?
If your website is built on WordPress, several plugins make it possible to implement social meta tags without ever having to write a single line of code. My favorite is Yoast SEO.
This plugin makes it super easy to associate custom headlines, descriptions and images with your WordPress posts and web pages on a page-by-page basis. Here’s a quick peek at what Yoast SEO looks like behind the scenes.
If you’re using different software to operate your site, speak with your current provider on how you can optimize your website pages for social sharing. They can start by setting the appropriate Open Graph tags.
The Open Graph protocol is Facebook’s standard for implementing social meta tags. It has also become recognized by all the major social platforms, including LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. This means that Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ will often pull the headline, description and image indicated in the Open Graph tags.
Much like page title tags and meta description tags help boost organic search engine rankings for your website, social meta tags are elements in your HTML that boost social exposure, increase social media traffic and improve click-through rates. Start thinking of your social media content like social advertising and optimize the meta tags that control social media content.
At abrMedia, we integrate proven digital marketing strategies, develop compelling digital marketing content, and manage all aspects of comprehensive social media campaigns for our clients.