Linking here on Facebook [EXPERIMENT] – Conclusions

A month ago, I started an experiment of posting a link on Facebook each time I published here. The idea was that my friends from Facebook would get exposed to some of my writing. Maybe some of them would start reading regularly, but that really wasn’t the primary goal.

The primary goal of this experiment was to test the response I would get. In May, I’m planning another bigger, more involved experiment that will include some links on Facebook. I wanted to see how much traction my links could get.

Now this initial test run is finished. I didn’t stick to posting on Facebook every time I published. I skipped a few. I think got the general idea, though, from the times I did publish. Here’s what I learned:

  • A link is not nearly as powerful as a status: I think Facebook is starting to crack down on spammers, probably a good thing. The problem is that now not many people see links. All other things equal, links don’t get the same amount of exposure as statuses.
  • A link doesn’t get as many comments, which means even less exposure: Since by nature a link means the person is going to leave Facebook to read the post, links don’t garner as many comments as a well-written status. With less comments, Facebook thinks the link isn’t as important as other posts on Facebook that get lots of comments, so Facebook doesn’t show the link as much on other friends’ walls.

Overall, I’m really glad I did the experiment. Even though it didn’t produce the results I really wanted, I at least got to see what the results before trying anything more extravagant.

Throughout the experiment, a couple other thoughts came to mind, though, on how to possibly improve the response to links on Facebook:

  • I don’t have many pictures on this site, only one that I can think of, the one on the About page, Marshallosophy. As a result, when the link goes up on Facebook, it doesn’t show an image of any kind with it. This is a big turn off. It just looks like a link, instead of something compelling to check out. In the future, perhaps I could add some images.
  • Timing is huge. If I post something on Facebook in the middle of the night American time, it’s not going to get much of a response from Americans. If I post in the middle of the night Korean time, it’s not going to get a huge Korean response. In the future, perhaps I could time the links to go live when people are actually on Facebook (and have the time to click a link).
  • The more links I posted, the less they seemed to circulate. I’m guessing that Facebook followers how many links I’m posting and starts reducing my exposure the more links I share, especially when they don’t get much interaction. In the future, perhaps I could vary my approach a little more, alternating between links and statuses.

Again, I’m overall pleased that I ran this experiment. It worked well doing it in conjunction with The Flinch experiment, I think. I learned a lot. Plus, a few friends started reading, which is always encouraging, even if it’s not the driving motivation.