Everyone tries to use Facebook to promote their website. Some people are successful, and other people are not. There is one thing, however, that separates the obvious success stories from the obvious failures, and by reading this very short post, you can save yourself at least a week’s worth of research and planning, if you’re like most people who are just starting out.

Winston the Cocker Spaniel

Winston was prepared for Hurricane Sandy, and he hopes you were too.

The Mistake

Here’s the mistake: you have content on your website, and you want to share it with people on Facebook, so you take the link to your website and you drop it right into Facebook. Then you stop. That’s it. That’s the mistake.

What You Should Be Doing Instead

Here’s what you should be doing instead: each time you post on Facebook your post should actually include two elements: an original piece of visual content that is uploaded directly to Facebook itself and lives on Facebook, as well as a link to your website.

That way, you have one big piece of content that people can interact with without leaving Facebook (by liking, re-sharing, and commenting) and they also have a link that they can click on to visit your website to get to know you better. Ideally, once they click on the link, they should find a piece of richer content that rewards them for visiting your website. If they find the exact same thing on your website that they saw on Facebook, then they are very unlikely to visit your website in the future, and I would advise you to STOP using Facebook to promote your website, or at least don’t include a link to your website in every post.

But Don’t Just Take My Word For It

I wrote this post because I saw a really cool Facebook page that has 21,000+ fans. I found them after they used one of my photos of Winston). When they started the page in October 2011, they posted links on the Fan Page with simple descriptions. All of those initial posts had zero comments.

Then, at the end of October 2011, someone must have told them to start doing things differently, and they started posting big beautiful photos right on Facebook, and the text of those photos would include a link to their website. The first time they did this, they had 56 likes and 36 re-shares. For the last twelve months, they have never strayed from their posting strategy, and one of their recent posts had almost 500 Likes and 275 re-shares.

Why Do People Resist This?

I have participated in lots of Facebook strategy sessions, and there is usually a lot of agonizing over whether to follow this posting strategy or not. Typically, people resist this method because they want to force people to visit their website in order to interact with their content. They think that if they only give people one option (to visit their website) that that will yield the best outcome, even if it doesn’t translate into the highest possible amount of interactions. But the reality is that that approach yields close to zero interactions, and ultimately everyone abandons it in favor of the two pronged posting strategy.

So save yourself some time, and just start doing it this way from the beginning.