Facebook Myth or Magic: Link in First Comment

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Bloggers have been facing a major challenge. Ever since Facebook dramatically changed their EdgeRank algorithm and fewer of our posts are being seen by those who have liked our brand pages, our total reach and engagement has dropped. Now I know some bloggers have been able to beat Facebook at their own game. That’s awesome! But for the rest of us, Facebook is like a giant elephant blocking the entrance.

Here’s what seems to be happening right now in Facebook land. If you post an update without a link the visibility of your post will spike. Posting images also gives good visibility, so long as people are interacting with your content. So how in the heck do you get your blog posts seen by those interested in reading what you have to say? You have to link back to your blog, right? The truth is, Facebook wants you to pay to promote your page. At the same time, they really don’t want people leaving Facebook. They don’t want someone clicking on a link to your newest blog post and leaving THEIR site. So what’s a blogger to do?

One workaround that I see a lot of fellow bloggers using is placing links to their blog posts in the first comment after posting an update. Something like this:

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Or this:

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Makes sense because you are essentially posting a text-only update which, supposedly, reaches more people. How effective is this approach? And does it really work? I poked around online, but found no solid statistics to support this strategy. So I went to my fellow bloggers. Here’s what the gals over at The Dose of Reality (one of my favorite blogs!) had to say:

“Yes, we do have better reach putting the link in the comments. Truly do not know the exact numbers, but overall we would say probably 30-40% more.”

That’s pretty significant! When looking at their Facebook page, they appear to be one of those brand pages who has Facebook beat. They have 1,129 people who have liked their page and 937 are “talking about this.” That is crazy good in the world of Facebook!

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Another of my favorite ladies, The Orange Rhino, gave some deeper insight into what she is experiencing with her Facebook page:

“All text posts definitely get seen by the most people so putting the link in the first comment line helps. That said, once there are a lot of comments (if there are) people have to scroll to find the initial link and that is a nuisance. I believe that putting the link in the post is the most consumer friendly – it’s easy to click and you get a picture to help tell the story. The best of all worlds. It is just a challenge because it definitely can get lost if it is not a story of interest to people. I have played with times of days to figure out if there is one time to definitely post and one time to avoid. I am starting to get a sense of that and timing sometimes seems more important that post content/format. Bottom line: I have found no most successful way! The only guarantee is to have content that is relevant and truly meaningful to my audience and to attempt to share it at the most popular time for your group (my time seems to by 9ish EST during the week and 830ish AM on the weekends.)”

In my opinion, she is another blogger who has it down to a science. She is building a true community around The Orange Rhino Challenge and receives significant engagement on nearly all of her posts. Just look:

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It appears there is an advantage to placing your links in the comments, as opposed to linking directly from your update. As Orange Rhino points out, however, it’s a bit of an inconvenience for your readers, especially when you have an audience the size of hers. There’s also the possibility that Facebook will catch on and, if and when they do, crack down on this tactic.

Now Facebook has a so-called solution to all of this. Of course and yet again, it involves paying Facebook. At the bottom of each post is a small “Boost Post” button which innocently implies that for a small sum of anywhere from $5 to $100 (some accounts go higher), you can have your post reach hundreds or thousands more people. This is equivalent to advertising rates typically paid for premium ad inventory. Sounds like a good idea? Well, keep in mind that this is simply for your post to appear fleetingly on a person’s news feed. There is no guarantee that anyone will ever see it or even click on it.

I’ve promoted a number of my posts. The results were a mixed bag. Some promoted posts received significant reach, while others fizzled. If you want to try paying to boost your posts, start conservatively and test when your posts receive the most reach and engagement. Also jot down what type of posts did best when promoted.

For those of you not interested in giving Facebook your hard earned dollars, placing your links in the comments just might be the answer to getting your content in front of more eyeballs. Give it a try and let me know how it works out!

Posted on by Crystal in Lifestyle

54 Responses to Facebook Myth or Magic: Link in First Comment

  1. Pingback: Facebook Myth or Magic: Link in First Comment

  2. Lynn from For Love or Funny

    Hm. I had no idea. I always put my links in my posts…perhaps I should rethink it?
    Lynn from For Love or Funny recently posted..I fought a Juniper, and the Juniper won

  3. Alison

    I’ve tried it, and I don’t know how many more people saw my post. I actually did an unofficial poll on my Page, and many said they were annoyed with having to click on comments, then click on the link. And if you link your FB page to Twitter, then it looks obnoxious on Twitter, because ‘link in comments’ doesn’t make sense there.

    In the end, I resorted to the old way of just posting the link straight into the post. Some times, I add a picture, then a short summary & the link. Picture posts get more eyeballs than just text with link, or at least that’s what I’ve been told 🙂
    Alison recently posted..Around The Bonfire: Online Friendships

  4. Rachel

    Great information!
    Rachel recently posted..Grieving the Unknown

  5. thedoseofreality

    Thank you so much for sharing our FB page Crystal! We really appreciate it! FB remains a total conundrum for us, and we feel like we will never truly crack it! We have paid to promote exactly 2 posts and did not feel that it was worth our money.-The Dose Girls
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #336: Walk The Plank, Fatty!

  6. Michelle

    I keep trying different things. Another thing that seems to work is clicking to remove the preview but then no picture. Lately I’ve been adding the picture separately and keeping the link in my text. My engagement seems to be up these last few days.
    Michelle recently posted..Mention: Media and Social Monitoring at Its Best!

  7. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom

    Thank you for the insights! Facebook is such a mystery to me. I have been using the link with excerpt, though I know I could probably be seen more by posting the link in the comments.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..Racing Time

  8. Tamara Camera

    It took me awhile to figure out why people did that! Now I totally get it. I’m a bit different in that my blog doesn’t a fan page because my business does and my business is mostly about posting photos or statuses. And when I do post a link, it fizzles always! Maybe I need to try to link it in a comment..
    Tamara Camera recently posted..A Tale of Six Grandparents.

  9. Tracie

    I have definitely seen the difference in the reach when I put the link in the comments.
    Tracie recently posted..Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

  10. Julia

    Thanks for the insights. I tend to agree with Allison and just put a pic and some text and the link. I usually post the my link more than once a day to make sure I hit all of my readers, and that seems to work.
    Julia recently posted..Make This Place Your Home

  11. Norine & Jessica

    Really helpful! Trying the post in the comment thing. Wondering if it’s overkill tho to have two illos show up. Maybe that’s annoying. Thoughts? We’ve tried the boost post tactic with mixed results. Have found that periodically running FB ads at $5/per has netted us lots of Likes, but not a lot of engagement. Right now we’re 4 months old and have 1119 likes 200+ talking about this.
    Norine & Jessica recently posted..Destabilizing String Theory

  12. Tara at YKIHAYHT

    This is a great post and the topic of many discussions. I find that the link in the comments works really well for me, but so does inserting the link in the status update with no preview. Just as soon as we figure it out though, Facebook will change on us again and we will be back to trying to figure out another way to work the system!
    Tara at YKIHAYHT recently posted..I Swear if You Win This Crappy Prize You’ll Get to Just Pee Alone

  13. Shaun Hoobler

    Hi Crystal – as a new reader of your blog I though I’d just hop on and leave a quick comment here to say I’ve been enjoying it a whole lot. Thanks! Shaun
    Shaun Hoobler recently posted..Video Commission Formula

  14. Pingback: Facebook Fan Page: Link in the Comments, Does it Work - The SITS Girls

  15. Janmary

    Thanks for the info and explanation.

    How effective is sharing just a photo with a link in the comments? Would love to know!

  16. Lisa

    Thank you for a great article… Like everyone I am struggling to understand the best way to promote on facebook…. As of today I have 69 LIKES…which makes laugh in a most immature way!
    Lisa recently posted..Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

  17. Michelle

    Great insight! I definitely seem to get additional reach and interaction when I place the comment in the comment section versus the post itself. I have over 9K fans and am definitely not reaching the amount I’d like to. It is quite frustrating because I’d rather have a fraction of that number if I could have greater interaction with my readers.
    Michelle recently posted..DWP Blogging Circle Spotlight

    • liz@lifedreaming

      Michelle, I’m interested in how many of your 9000 FB fans [and many congrats on having that many fans!] have subscribed to your blog?

      I totally get your frustration and wanting to interact more with readers.

      Most of my traffic [at the moment] comes from FB as I closed my site for a year and have only just reopened it.

      I think we just keep mixing up our methods and write great content and encourage people to subscribe to our blogs.

      liz@lifedreaming recently posted..Thursday Fun – places to relax + dream + muse

  18. Sarah Parisi

    I tried the link in the comments thing and definitely saw a difference, but I find it annoying so I had mixed feelings. I did test out using the link in the post, but deleting the preview that pops up & seemed to have a similar reach as when I put the link in the comments. I’m wondering if you tried that & what you found?
    Sarah Parisi recently posted..Santa’s Village AZoosment Park Now Open for the 2013 Season

  19. Courtney

    There is a HUGE difference when the link is in the comment for reach for me. But I’ve heard readers say they are to lazy to click into the comment to get the link which I get but the difference is big enough for me that I will continue to put links in comments.

    Facebook stinks these days. I tried Sharing a status yesterday and I had a reach of 30 people out of 10,000+ fans. That is sad. Same when I post a photo.
    Courtney recently posted..SeaSnax Roasted Seaweed Snack Giveaway

  20. Katie Sluiter

    While I know the reach is much greater when I put the link in the comments, the actually click through is lower for me. Plus I know personally I NEVER click the link in the comments. It’s annoying. So I quit doing it. I figured if it’s something that annoys me, why would I make my readers do it?
    Katie Sluiter recently posted..Project 365 {week 20}

  21. Denise

    I don’t have many fans for my blog, which is still young. However, I get more views when I post a link on FB from the fan page, then go share it from my personal page. I think my personal page has more “real” people. Most of my FB fans have been picked up from blog hops, so they aren’t really my target audience yet.
    Denise recently posted..Play is the Highest Form of Research

  22. Chris Carter

    I am still so confused!!! I may try the link in the comments… I am thankful for your information and oh how I love those DOSE GIRLS!! 🙂
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diaries: The Good Samaritan

  23. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement

    I have ALWAYS wondered why bloggers or other people with fanpages put their post links in the comments section! Once I read your article it was like an ‘ah ha’ moment for me; it really DOES make sense and I can see the benefit from it, but I can also see the annoyance factor as well.

    I think maybe I’ll try it both ways and see what outcome I get! 🙂
    Kayla @ TheEclecticElement recently posted..Weigh In Wednesday(5/15)

  24. PamelaMKramer

    I’ve seen this and I think it just depends on your Fan Base. Everyone has their own preference but I do agree with Alison. It depends on if you have a feed to Twitter set up. It doesn’t make sense to put it in the comments.
    PamelaMKramer recently posted..It’s Freebie Friday! Add Your URL to The Giveaway Linky

  25. Jen (tiny oranges)

    I have found more reach when posting my status update with post link from the App on my iPhone! There is no photo, but it reaches 4 x more people than posting from my desktop with the photo image. I don’t know why this is, but I am going to keep doing it!
    Jen (tiny oranges) recently posted..The Bungalows on Laguna Beach

  26. Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections

    I see the “link in comments” thing all the time, and it’s confused me lately until I knew about FB’s policy’s. Interestingly enough, I have never done this practice and get plenty of reader engagement on my posts. I usuaully include a picture though, so maybe that’s why?

    I heard really bad things about the Boost Post feature from some bloggers. They said that they promote the posts in Asia or countries where people don’t speak/read English. So what’s the point of paying for that, even if it is exposure? Seems like a scam to me.
    Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections recently posted..Current State of Mind Survey

  27. Traci

    Come on Facebook! Just when I get comfortable with something it’s always changing on me. Will try this method and see what kind of engagement I get.
    Traci recently posted..Recipe Swap

  28. Sharon

    I just been going through this. While paying did increase my “likes” at first, by the second day I saw a hugh decline. So I’m not sure if paying to “boost” your page is really worth it or not.
    Sharon recently posted..Lexi had her surgery!!

  29. Carli

    I’m going to try this! It’s not something that I’ve done in the best but i’m willing to give it a go. I’m not willing to pay Facebook.
    Carli recently posted..The Five Elements of a Perfect Fitness Plan

  30. Emily

    This is good to know. I started off linking in my post but recently noticed more bloggers linking in comments. I tried it out, and definitely got more views. Engagement is definitely the hardest part of blogging, writing is the easiest.
    Emily recently posted..Meal Pinning Monday

  31. Gracielle

    Thank you! I was wondering why bloggers put the link in the comments and even tried it myself. So does that mean higher reach, but lower engagement rates because audience might not take the extra step to click on the comments for the link?
    Gracielle recently posted..Oh Shoot. Did I Spend Time with My Kids Today?

  32. Nomita from Ebabee likes

    Thanks for sharing this – really useful. Tomorrow I shall try the link in the comment and see how I go. I have found time of day makes some difference and I find that if I post morning – up to lunchtime I get more views than afternoon onwards.
    Nomita from Ebabee likes recently posted..So sweet & so chic…

  33. Kristen

    I’ve often wondered how effective the link in the comments is with Facebook. My FB is admittedly very small (55 likes). I have noticed that if I do a regular status update it says it reaches around 30 to 40 people, but if I just submit the link straight from my blog, it usually says it reaches about 10 to 15 people. I’m going to try putting the link in the comments, and see how many people it says that reaches.
    Kristen recently posted..One month of wedded bliss

  34. Mary-My Life in Scotland

    I do a little bit of everything. I like my page to “look” inviting not just every single post to check the comments for a link. BUT, I do see more results with leaving the link in the comments. People respond to pictures and when I have a good one then I make sure to add the link in the comments. But I am just throwing it all out there at different time and in different ways. I have a very small following but I only just started my FB page. So, I’m pleased. We’ll see where it is in a year
    Mary-My Life in Scotland recently posted..A Few Favs

  35. rekuperatory

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is only placing the other person’s web site link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do same in support of you.
    rekuperatory recently posted..rekuperatory

  36. Tamara (@Turtlestravel)

    Thanks for the info! We had been wondering about this new trend of putting the link in the first comment. It makes sense that Facebook doesn’t really want people clicking away from their site, but c’mon. Everyone leaves the FB tab open all day anyway, don’t they?
    Tamara (@Turtlestravel) recently posted..Dateland, Arizona

  37. Lea

    I noticed a jump in exposure when I started doing “link in comments.” I usually post twice over a period of 2-3 days, once with link in comments and a second time with an image that I upload from the post with the link. Both ways seems to get more exposure than just putting a link in the status.
    Lea recently posted..Runners are Friends You Haven’t Met Yet

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  49. Rabia @ TheLiebers

    This is good information. I’ve just recently started a facebook page for my blog and I’m still figuring out all the nuances. So, can you schedule a “link in the comments” update or do you have to do it manually?
    Rabia @ TheLiebers recently posted..Dominoes is a Dangerous Game

  50. Barefoot Bloggess

    Great info! Another idea is to put certain power words in the post and not short generic sentences like, “Did you like our post”, or “What is everyone doing today?”. I paid for a month to boost posts and it did nothing for me. Most of the people Facebook was targeting were not the audience I wanted for my type of page. Thank you for posting this!

  51. Linda C Smith

    I found your post via BlogHer – I’ve been having the same challenge for artist page. I’ve tried it both ways with the link and I’ve done the ‘boost page’ and tried an ad. Here’s my thought: don’t rely on Facebook to be your only public relations outlet. It is only one and it has limitations. Do a variety of things: for Facebook link in the status, link in the comments, boost a post once in a while [I never go over $10] and once a quarter to an ad to increase ‘likes.’ Again for ads I never go over $30. Facebook’s results for me don’t warrant putting a lot of dollars into their promotional ‘stuff.’ Just my two cents.

  52. Heather

    I had no idea about this. I have always just hit the share button after I write a post. I have noticed the “link in comments” thing a lot. Now I am wondering if I should do that.
    Heather recently posted..“Ooops…my balls fell out…”

  53. liz@lifedreaming

    I’ve done both and not really noticed a lot of difference.

    I do know that a picture seems to attract clicks.

    I’d love some ideas from all you fab women on how to encourage more people to subscribe to your blog.

    My brother designed a special sign up form for me and I give away 6 free activity sheets. The form is also at the end of each post as I read this can increase sign up.

    Any other things you do?

    liz@lifedreaming recently posted..Thursday Fun – places to relax + dream + muse

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