For whatever reason Costa Rica CLOSEUP Facebook feeds stopped showing pictures about a month or so ago. These feeds essentially automated distribution of our content that was posted on the CostaRicaCLOSEUP website into social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Coincidentally, the percentage of inbound traffic from Facebook to our site dropped dramatically.
This relationship between having a picture and not in terms of directed traffic was proven when we started to manually post our content on Facebook and Google+ Simply reincorporating pictures increased resulting visits to the website exponentially. Previously using the automated posting method sometimes the pictures chosen from the feed were not the best, and even incorporated our advertiser images instead of the contextual image for the post’s content. Posting manually put this control over which image was used back into our hands.
There was also a side benefit to this picture posting – the post interaction rates shot up to where posts with pictures were receiving ongoing interactions as defined by Likes and +1′s at a rate that had never occured when the post was simply text. At least in the G+ environment, this form of social valiation is expected to have SEO benefits in prefering such socially validated content in search engine results.
The bottom line to this exercise is that although manually posting content links does take time, the results of being able to include images and being able to choose the specific image outweighs the effort.