January 10, 2018 • Nick Ruffilo
According to an article on Statista, half of internet users spend 50% of their time on social media sites. That means people are discovering content more and more through social sharing, rather than a regular search engine. It’s more important now than ever how social media sites are displaying your book content to consumers.
The good news is that social meta tags (also known as open graph metadata) can help perfect the way your book displays on social networks.
At it’s core – it’s not. It is not necessarily new data, but it’s providing your already existing book metadata in a format that is easily readable to any service that is looking for it. Open graph metadata populates data elements in a very specific way, to ensure book content displays correctly on each of your social media platforms, and is shareable.
Open graph metadata provides the best visual experience for you book on social sites. By displaying your book metadata in such a visual and easy-to-read way, it can lead to more likes/comments/shares on social. Open graph metadata also helps your content to be found more easily through search engines, thus increasing your books exposure.
For a full list of all the open graph tags and their descriptions, you can check out the Open Graph Protocol page.
At a bare minimum, you should make sure all your pages have the following meta tags:
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Your Site Name"/>
<meta property="og:title" content="Your Page Title"/>
Click Here for a full list of acceptable “Type” values. For example, if your object/content “Type” was a Blog, it would look like:
<meta property="og:type" content="blog"/>
Other “Type” examples could include:
<meta property="og:image" content="Your Book Cover or image representing"/>
By having these 4 tags (and possibly some of the sub-tags listed in the type section) you will guarantee that social networks will show the title, site name, and book cover image you want shared. Additionally, by choosing your object/content type as an "article" or "book", each social network can ensure that it is displayed optimally to its users.
Without open graph tags, a link shared on social networks will only display the title of the document. Two tools that will help you validate and preview how your content will appear are the Twitter Card Validator and the Facebook Debugger. You can go to the website, put in your URL and it will tell you what data it read, as well as how your data will display when shared. It will also make recommendations as to how you can improve your values, or where you might have errors.
With the proper tags, a post will appear like the images below:
How can I get this to work on my blog/website?
If you are using WordPress, there are a host of free plugins you can use, and most SEO plugins will offer you the ability to auto-populate the social open graph metadata. If you have a different blog or content management platform, check to see if they have plugins to do the same. If you have something custom developed, speak with your developer about having the open graph tags added to your global template – as every page will benefit from having this information.
If you’re looking for more of an automated hands-off approach, platforms like Aerio have social open graph metadata automatically built-in, for any book in our catalog or ebook uploaded. This makes our platform a great addition to your sales & marketing strategy, as each book will show up perfectly through social media, allowing your posts to automatically include the cover of your book, the title, author and a custom quality description. This means your social posts through Aerio will have more visibility, be found in searches, and create a better experience that will get more engagement!