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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

How to Make a Graphic-Text Mash-up to Promote Blog Content on Facebook

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How to Make a Graphic-Text Mash-up to Promote Blog Content on Facebook was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

I’m in a few Google+ groups focused on SEO, social media and content marketing. The question of what stock photo service to use and where to get free images has come up a couple times. It got me thinking about the process I use to find, modify and use images in my day-to-day.

As a community manager and a blogger, I have 2 main needs for images:

  1. Including them in BCI blog posts to break up text and add visual interest
  2. Posting images to social media to share blog and other BCI content

What you’ll know by the end of reading this is:

  • Where I get images, both free and paid services
  • How to make a graphic-text mash-up using Google Drive that will get noticed in the midst of noisy Facebook, Twitter and Google+ streams


Free Images and Paid Stock Photo Services

The stock photo site I use is because the price is right and the selection passes muster. If you use advanced search to set the price slider bar to the lowest setting, you’ll find images available for 1 credit in the extra small size. Extra small is usually around 480 px by 320 px, which is fine for both my purposes (blog posts and social media posts).

panda on Dreamstime stock photo service

Credits will run you $ 1.36 if you buy the smallest credit package to about $ 1 if you buy 120 credits at a time; 250+ credit packages save you even more cents.

Other Stock Photo Services

I checked out some stock photo site comparisons to get an idea of what else is out there and how they stack up. In 6 Stock Photography Services Compared I learned that Stock.xchng is the most popular free stock photo library, yet it has a limited selection. Among the most popular paid services, iStockphoto has the most massive library and Getty Images has a complicated pricing and licensing scheme.

Getting Images for Free Online

As long as you’re not looking for high-res or print quality images, you’ve got good free options online.

Creative Commons

When using images with Creative Commons licenses, the attribution requirement adds a hurdle to the graphic mash-up use for images I describe later since it adds another element to what must be included in the graphic. But, CC images are great for blog posts.

panda on flickr

This panda image has a Creative Commons license that requires attribution. Flickr makes it easy to post the image to your blog by copying code that includes the required attribution.

For a long time, I used Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr that allow commercial use and derivatives. For use in blog posts, Flickr makes it easy to use Creative Commons licensed images, and the “share” function gives you HTML code including the required attribution. The Creative Commons site search includes Flickr, Google Images, Open Clip Art Library and Pixabay for images, and a number of media and music sources as well.

Author Elizabeth Jolley and (younger) sister Madelaine Winifred in the garden, 1927

This image was found in The Commons using Flickr search. It was taken in 1927 and is part of the State Library of New South Wales collection.

You can also search Wikimedia‘s library of free images, a collection with Creative Commons copyrights, free documentation licenses or no copyright.

For free images you can also search, a search engine for free photos across a number of sources and including a variety of license types.

Public Domain

You can also search Flickr’s collection The Commons, images that have passed into the public domain and belong to everyone, mostly due to their being old. You’ll find awesome vintage photos, advertising, illustrations and art that have passed into public use and can give modern blog and social posts refreshing classic flare. Since they don’t have copyright or licensing requirements, you can use public domain images for the graphic mash-up use which we get into next!


The Graphic Text Mash-up Promo

This is my little trick for sharing blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to get a little more attention than straight text updates.

As you may have noticed, recent layout updates to Facebook and Google+ have put an emphasis on visual media. Skyrocketing mobile use of Facebook, along with other social media apps, was a big reason behind Facebook’s update last March. Images show up larger in the News Feed and may also get priority in the ranking algo. An update to Google+ around the same time also made images feature more heavily. And in the endlessly updating churn of a Twitter stream, a picture attachment makes tweets stand out and, as pictures are worth a thousand words, lets you extend your message past 140 characters.

The graphic should include these three vital components:

  1. Image to grab fan/follower attention within a feed or stream
  2. A link to drive a viewer to your site
  3. Text that promises a payoff from clicking through

You can opt to include a logo for branding purposes as well. Note that if there’s text in the logo, it would add to your text to image ratio which Facebook limits to 20% for ads and promoted content. More on that below.

Creating A Graphic with Google Drive

I use the drawing function in Google Drive to add text on top of images. It’s super easy and Google gives you a ton of font options as well as shapes, arrows and call-outs you can add to the drawing. Here you can see a graphic mash-up I created last week to promote our Thank You page series.

elvis says thank you

I shared this image on the BCI Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote a 2-part series on Thank You pages optimization on the blog.

  1. Sign in to Google Drive at and create a Drawing.

  2. Insert an image that you own or one sanctioned for public use.

  3. Create a custom short link to the content. If you’ve got a registered Bitly account you can customize links, and in the Elvis example here you can see I created a custom link “typagecro,” which I chose to suggest “Thank You page CRO” (conversion rate optimization). Another bonus of a registered Bitly account is that you can track clicks on your short links.

  4. Insert text on top of the image. These are elements #2 and #3 in my list of three critical components.

    (#2) Include the custom short link, which a viewer can type into their address bar since it’s short and easy to understand. Of course, also include a hyperlink in the image caption or tweet.

    (#3) Include a promise of what’s to come in the full article, or hint at what the full content contains. If it’s a “Top 3 Reasons Why…” post, you may want include the three reasons right there in the image with an invitation to get all the info in the full post. In the Elvis example I included a brief description of what was covered in each of the two-parts of the Thank You page CRO series. Try to make this message seductive, whatever that means for you and your content.

  5. When the graphic is done, go to File > Download as > JPEG and save it.

A Quick Note About Design

I’ve taken one graphic design class, one web design class and a handful of painting and photography classes, so while I’m not a professional designer, I’ve been exposed to the rules of good composition. I think these are the basics to keep in mind when you’re creating mash-ups.

  • Make sure text is clearly legible. Black on white is best. White on black is hard for the eye to process. If text is anything besides dark text on light, not-busy background, make sure text is legible in other ways, such as increasing font thickness or putting a background color behind the text.
  • Use no more than two font types. At least one should be extremely easy to read; sans serif fonts are generally easier to read online than serif fonts. The other font can be stylized, used as an accent and in small amounts.
  • For the most part, text should align left. It’s hard for the eye to follow a ragged left edge
  • White space is a component of good design, especially in the modern aesthetic. While the graphic will likely be dense as you’re trying to communicate a lot in a little space, available white space should be a consideration in choosing the image.

If you want to get a background in some basics of design, I recommend Bootstrapping Design, a $ 39 ebook. It’s written for programmers, but I like it because it’s accessible design fundamentals for a non-artist set. Considering we’re in an age where everyone can publish online content, learning the basics of good design is an investment that will payoff.

Facebook Guidelines for Text in Images

12 percent of image is text


60 percent of image is text


Shortly after Facebook’s update in March, it made a new rule limiting text in images used in ads, sponsored stories and Page cover photos to 20%. If you plan to “promote” the Facebook post including an image, pay to boost its visibility or turn it into an ad, the surface area of the image that includes text has to stay under 20%.

wall post on facebook

Text placement fail. The sides of landscape images are cropped in the viewable portion on a Facebook wall. Clicking on the image displays it in full for the viewer.

I’ll also note here that image posts as they’re displayed on a Facebook Wall favor portrait orientation and will cut off the left and right sides of landscape oriented images. If you’re using a landscape image, try to keep the text within the area that is “center square” to the height of the image. I’ve illustrated the center square in this drawing.

diagram of landscape image cut-off
Yep, made that in Google Drive, too.

Bruce Clay Blog

4 Ways to Start Optimizing Your Facebook Presence

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4 Ways to Start Optimizing Your Facebook Presence was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Companies will often have a Facebook presence but are still not quite sure what to do with it. And while the opportunities are seemingly endless, we’re gonna get back to the basics on this one and talk about how a few simple steps can help you lay the foundations for a more successful Facebook experience. Today we’ll go over:

  1. Understanding your Facebook Insights.
  2. Promoting your status updates.
  3. Optimizing your about section.
  4. Creating a schedule for posting.

1. Understand Your Facebook Insights

As a Facebook Page owner, you have access to Facebook’s analytics for your page, Facebook Insights. Get intimate with your Facebook Insights to understand what your audience is looking for. This is an area that should be monitored regularly to see how your community is engaging, and what sorts of things it responds to. The goal is to experiment, and give them what they want.

For a crash course, check out this document from Facebook circa 2011 on getting to know Insights.

The following snapshot shows the Insights landing page graph — what you first see when you go to the analytics from your page. There’s a lot of data to mine., but let’s just look at a couple you can learn from quickly.

Explore the data on the main graph on the Insights home page as well as the data below it. This is where you can see how the page is performing over a specified period of time, and which posts have proven to have the most engagement.

Facebook Post Insights

Find the posts that have a higher engagement percentage or “virality” (as indicated by the shadow boxes), analyze those updates and use that as fuel for creating more posts like those to see if they consistently receive higher engagement.

There could be many factors contributing to the success of a status update om Facebook. It could be the topic or an element within the post (like including an image or a particular tip, etc.). Consider creating a spreadsheet that breaks down common elements of your status updates to see if the more popular updates have anything in common.

2. Promote Your Status Updates

If and when a post becomes popular as defined by your Facebook Insights, consider using the “promote” option to get even more eyeballs on it. This has worked well in our experience and is a relatively inexpensive solution for visibility. Take care to promote only those status updates that you feel are important to your goals.

Facebook Post Promote

We’ve seen several posts enjoy more reach and bring in more likes to our page from the promote feature. Check out the results of this one:

Facebook Post Promoted

There’s been some controversy about this functionality. Mainly, people are worried that you’re going to have to pay to play in the future; however, a Facebook rep tells us in this post that they apply a similar approach to both paid and organic stories in news feeds:

“Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimize for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t.”

3. Optimize Your About Section

The “About” section is a perfect place for branding your organization. Use this section wisely to clearly communicate what your organization is about and use keywords that are important to your company.

The arrow on the following image indicates the area on the home page where the short description you have created in the Abut section will render. Use this space wisely to quickly communicate what your organization is about and consider putting your website so people can click through directly from the Facebook landing page.

Facebook About

The About section offers ample opportunity to go into more detail about your company:

  • Tell your story and highlight your unique value proposition (what makes you different).
  • If there’s a link you really want your community to check out, include it. But minimize any call to actions to only the most important so as not to split the attention.
  • Use keywords throughout that are important to your offerings.
  • Cross-promote your presence in other places on the Web here so people can find content that is useful to them coming from you. If you have other Facebook profiles or a YouTube or Twitter account, let your community know.

Here’s an example using The Bruce Clay Facebook About section:

Facebook Post About Section

4. Create a Schedule for Posting

Knowing how often to post is never easy, and typically comes with some experimentation. Posting too much can annoy your community, and not posting enough can leave you forgotten.

Using data from third-party tools can be very helpful in giving you a starting point for a schedule. EdgeRank Checker looks at historical data of your Facebook account and comes up with some suggestions on how often to post, and when is an optimal time for your particular community.

Facebook Post Overall Recommendations

And another suggestion:

Facebook Post Best and Worst Metrics

Use that data as a starting point for experimentation on how often you post, which days you post. Here’s a post on social media scheduling that might help you, too.

I hope this has given you a starting point to audit your Facebook presence and start making more informed decisions right away. Comments welcomed below!

Bruce Clay Blog

How’s It Going, Facebook? Feature Updates to Watch For

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How’s It Going, Facebook? Feature Updates to Watch For was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Facebook and me are tight. I like how Facebook’s always asking me how I’m doing. No matter what’s going on in my life, I know Facebook is happy to hear from me.


It’s pretty impressive Facebook can always make the time considering how much it’s got going on. Lately the service has been really busy adding new features to its social platform, so I wanted to take a minute to get an update from the ultimate update sharing service.

Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is still in beta, and is sure to morph before it becomes the community pillar Zuckerberg suggests in the intro video for Graph Search. But if you haven’t signed up for the beta yet, don’t delay. You’ll want to be able to play inside when the doors open to you.

Before Graph Search is out of beta we can expect to see changes to address privacy concerns. And I expect some people will scrub some of the humor out of their profiles when Graph Search is open to the public — unless you like being found in the graph of “married people who like prostitutes” (see Actual Facebook Graph Searches on tumblr).

Privacy issues aside, there’s potential for good stuff in Graph Search for marketers. At Facebook’s press event last month, the company illustrated some of the feature’s uses for business, including job recruiting and, of course, advertising.

Facebook has had a good reputation among online advertisers for its ability to target user interests with never-before-seen granularity. Facebook Graph is a new way to sort and filter user data. Here are a few ways to mix and match Graph Search filters to reach new customers and find influential contacts — just a few ideas to get you started in a creative direction.

Facebook Nearby for Mobile

As far as Facebook updates, we can’t overlook the space the service is carving for itself in the local-mobile arena. A natural growth direction thanks to the hundreds of millions of users connecting to Facebook from mobile apps, including Apple and Android devices.

Read all about the Facebook Nearby feature and how brick-and-mortar businesses should be taking advantage of the review and ratings system to reach new customers through their friends and networks, as shared last week by my colleague in Bruce Clay Australasia.

Facebook Gifts

Our final update isn’t exactly new, but I used Facebook Gifts for the first time last week and I now have a sneaking suspicion that I have to share. At the beginning of January, a game went around Facebook that looked like this:

Still in the surge of the giving-season I decided to join the “2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward” game. I’m looking forward to sending surprise, for-no-good-reason gifts to a few of my favorite people. Warm fuzzies ahead!

Last Friday Facebook notified me of the birthday of a very special person, and as you may have noticed, that notification comes with the ability to “Send a gift.” A bunch of vendors have hooked up with Facebook, making it easy to send gifts for the home, tasty treats, gift cards, beauty and style products and a lot more for all sorts of occasions. As I was putting together this birthday gift it occurred to me that this makes my gifting game play so easy! Everyone I’m playing with is already on Facebook, after all, and now I don’t have to worry about getting addresses I don’t have from anyone.

Which of course makes me wonder if Facebook could have seeded this little game to get people playing with Gifts? The first reference of the game I found online was dated January 2 on The first commenter said:

“im trying to track the person who originally came up with this idea on facebook. you’re one of the earliest people i can find that posted this idea. are you the one? or did you get it from someone else too?”

And there was no response. Anyone else suspicious of self-motivated origins of this supposedly selfless game? What do you think?

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

In the end, no, I don’t really care if Facebook planted the seed for this game in order to spark a new profit stream. But how can you not enjoy the irony in this mystery and the occasion to play conspiracy theorist? :)

Bruce Clay Blog

Promote Your Brick and Mortar with Facebook Nearby

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Promote Your Brick and Mortar with Facebook Nearby was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

On December 12th, Facebook introduced the “Nearby” feature for its iOS and Android apps. Facebook Nearby allows users to find a place near them based on the recommendations of their Facebook friends.

The app now includes:

  • Recommendations
  • A rating system
  • A search box made of different business categories
  • Functionality that allows users to contact a specific business directly.

Only those businesses (large or small) that have a Facebook Page will be listed.

With the Nearby feature, Facebook aims to become a personalised local recommendation engine.

Local Recommendations are a Natural Fit for Facebook Mobile

check-in arrow

How will you check-in?

By tapping into the social connections and the increasing number of businesses building their own Pages, Facebook is entering the “local” market of other well-established location-based review services such as Foursquare and Yelp. Both have much lower numbers of active users (Foursquare counts approximately 30 million users, Yelp 78 million, Facebook, by contrast, has 250 million users tagging locations every month).

Anyone who has updated their Facebook app since Monday will find the new addition in the menu.

In the Nearby tab, users will see a search bar, a history list, and location categories – restaurants, nightlife, arts, hotels, shopping, etc. Each category also has its own subcategories (e.g. Italian food inside restaurants).

Facebook is not simply listing locations arbitrarily, or based on their global popularity. With Nearby, Facebook is using true social recommendations to find the best places for each user based on friends’ interactions.

What Facebook Nearby Offers Users

Let’s say your Facebook friend Tim just gave an Italian restaurant located near you a great rating when he checked-in last night. It’s likely that Facebook’s Nearby algorithm would show you that specific location above the others. In order to prevent spam and fraud, only people who’ve checked-in to a business can rate it.

facebook nearby

Once a user chooses a location, he will be presented with Facebook’s redesigned location pages, which includes info like friends who’ve been there, hours, a map, star ratings and reviews.

Users will also have the ability to connect to businesses directly within the Nearby tab on their smartphone by performing actions such as liking, checking in, calling or getting directions.

After you’ve experienced the location, Facebook wants you to share that experience with your friends through rating and reviewing. In theory, the more people that participate in this way, the more accurate the recommendations will bec.

Facebook says that 150 million people visit Pages on a daily basis – which means they have a huge amount of like, check-in, and rating data to pull from, making Facebook Nearby incredibly useful and a strong threat to similar applications.

The company also said that this is an early release and that they will be improving the service as it gets more feedback. It also says that it plans to add place info from third party services to it in the near future.

Implications of Facebook Nearby for Brick and Mortar Businesses

Facebook Nearby represents a big opportunity for businesses with a physical location to promote themselves, get found by and connect with new, local customers.

To fully benefit from this update, businesses with a Facebook page should do the following:

  • Update their Page to include all the basic information, including address, store hours, phone number and details about the business in the About section.
  • Update their category to make sure they appear when people are looking for a specific type of business.
  • Encourage consumers to check in, like, rate and recommend the place to their contacts.

Bruce Clay Blog