Are you aware of how Facebook’s most recent update directly impacts the modifications you can make to the preview window when link sharing for your law firm? Curious? Wondering what’s so newsworthy?  Keep reading…

Last week Facebook changed the way the link sharing preview window operates. The bottom line is this – you can no longer modify the content in the preview window. You have to use the content furnished to you from the website that you want to use. This is the content you will pull through for link sharing purposes.

First of all, you may asking, what on earth is the Facebook link sharing preview window feature?

This is the functionality within Facebook that shares a snippet of the article, website, blog or any URL-based content you are sharing. Still confused? Let’s share a visual example.

Open your browser and then open both a window to Facebook and a window to the Practice42 website. Let’s say that you decide you want to share a Practice42 blog post about using Adobe DC in a law firm. You would make a copy of the URL where the blog was located and paste it into your Facebook post.

If you look at the information that automatically pulls from our website, you will see that the title, the image and a brief description of the blog is automatically loaded onto your Facebook post. This is the preview window. It will accompany what you say in your post. Prior to last week, however, all three of these pieces were customizable.

Is limiting or preventing customization new? It is new to Facebook but it isn’t new to the social programming world. Presently you cannot alter the pulled information on Google+ or Twitter. You can still alter data on LinkedIn and Tumblr. Why did Facebook make this move? You can read more on Facebook’s direct reasoning by clicking this link but the main goal is to limit the fake news outlets availability to manipulate data for their own purposes.

With this foundation in place, we can ask the most important question – will it impact you and your practice?

Yes and no (#lawyeranswer). Let’s dive into the three main issues.

First, there are links you may be using from popular and/or newsworthy websites where there is difficulty pulling relevant text-based content through to Facebook. For example, you find a great article you know your clients want to read but the link preview window shows text-based content that is completely irrelevant to what you want to discuss. Does this mean you shouldn’t use the article? Not necessarily.

The second issue comes from the images tied to the articles you want to use. Often images are missing, distorted or irrelevant to the article. Anyone who posts frequently to Facebook knows a modified image might be much preferred and relevant to the content. This strategy, however, won’t work going forward.

The third issue that this raises is we have to make sure our own houses (i.e. law practice websites) are in order. Is our website metadata current? Does the information we furnish through link building strategies satisfy the three part test for people who want to use it?

The three part test we recommend to all of our clients is:

1. Educational,

2. Accurate, and

3. Visually triggers a social conversion or brand recognition..

Where do we go from here? These are our five best practice recommendations after sitting down to strategize on what to do next after last week’s news broke.

1. Double-check all programmed content. Facebook has implemented this change. Any of your pre-programmed posting is not guaranteed to be published the way you want it to be.

2. Check your website metadata. What will your posts about your firm look like? If you haven’t taken the time to get your content optimized for social media, you can’t put it off anymore. We want your clients, the public and all your audiences to be able to use your content, and use it well.

3. Be prepared (and required) to re-authenticate. Anytime there is a major platform overhaul, you may be required to logout and login from any device or programming tool you use. Go ahead, be proactive and do it now.

4. Don’t be misled by your publishing tool. Although most publishing tools are taking this extremely seriously they are also letting us know that they cannot guarantee what a post will look like when it is published.

5. Brace yourself for “good enough” and trust the message. This is a statement that we hate to make to you but this Facebook change means you will not be able to completely control the way the data in the post looks. Even the best programmed post is at risk of poor pulling at the time you use it. This means text, images and sizing may go sideways at any time. Make sure your social media message is relevant and well-written, especially in light of the heads-up that you may have poor preview window content.

Confused? Need help? We hear you! Remember, at the end of the day, you hold the keys to your own success! Need helping getting started? Give us a call at 850-933-5072 or email us at [email protected]

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