If you truly want to maximize your reach on Facebook and Google+ when you share content, look no further than our client, Angie's List. Many folks (like us) push our content to social media utilizing a host of publishing applications like Hootsuite or Buffer.
The problem is that our articles are seen on Facebook and Google+ with minimal reach. Not too many shares, not too much dialog. We're using a a third party to publish them so we know that Edgerank is already driving our visibility down. The posted articles look like this:
Now take a look at Angie's List and how they publish their articles:
23 Shares, 32 Likes, and 9 comments on the topic, How to Choose the Right Shingle Color! Folks… that's not exactly some amazingly fascinating topic the world was waiting on, was it?
The difference between our sharing method and theirs is that they provide a very nice photo and upload it with a short link to their article. This is a manual process and requires the additional time of developing the graphic and uploading it manually… but it's getting hundreds, if not thousands more people seeing the article by doing so.
The images are displayed at the full width of the stream – a huge difference compared to the small thumbnail accompanying other articles. As folks are scrolling through their streams on Facebook and Google+, they breeze by the text, may catch one or two article thumbnails, but their eyes can't miss these large images! Google+ publishes them at almost full browser width!
You may want to think about developing some kind of template in Illustrator of Photoshop to easily build out these images to post… they really do work!