Have you ever shared a page or post on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter from your site or blog and the image and copy that appeared up is not the one you wanted or expected? Or what if you changed the main image of that page and Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is still showing the old one. This is frustrating indeed – but there are hidden tools that these social networks provide that can help you solve this problem.
1. Setting up the correct image on your web page for social preview
First, you need to add the image ON YOUR WEBSITE that you want Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to pull from that particular page or post. Usually, that is called the “Featured Image” in the backend of that page. Upload a relevant image for your post/page, making sure the image is large enough and optimized for social network environments. I usually make my images horizontal(600x400px) or if you want a square to share easily on Instagram, 800x800px is best.
Note: The image is uploaded to your website, NOT to the social networks. Social networks don’t allow you to add or change an image for a link. The image needs to live on the webpage you are linking to.
This snapshot is from a WordPress website. If you are using a different website platform there usually will be a featured image box/field similar to this one.
2. Editing the Snippet: Title & Description on your web page
Edit your “snippet” on your web page: This is the title and description that is shown under the image in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter but needs to come from your website. The easiest way to update this in WordPress is with the SEO plugin called Yoast SEO.
Scroll down on any page or post editing screen and find the Snippet Preview and then click Edit Snippet. Below the button is where you edit the title and description for that post/page. Keep in mind that the title and description may have different cut off locations in the social networks.
If you are not using WordPress for your website look for an SEO editing section for your page/post and edit the title/description. It should work the same.
Make sure you save the page after you update the image and snippet.
3. Force the New Preview on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn
This is the fun part. Use these hidden tools to force the link preview you want in these 3 social platforms. It is ok to use these resources to test new pages or changed images/snippets. It’s no fun to publish a post and then link to it on Facebook and it shows something totally different. I suggest adding this step to your procedure after publishing your post.
FACEBOOK PREVIEW TOOL
Go to Facebook’s Debugging Tool: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/ (Save this link in your bookmarks. It will come in handy! I use it ALL the time)
Enter the URL of the post/page and click Debug. Is it showing the correct image? If not Click Scrape again and then Scrape Again if still not showing. Sometimes it takes 4-5 times of scraping and pausing for it to go to the site and grab the correct image. Warning though….if you click Scrape too many times, the debugger will not let you scrape anymore for that URL. I have clicked impatiently too many times and my URL has been banned from the tool for a while.
If the image and information looks to be good, then test by pasting your URL in a Facebook status update (without clicking publish) and wait until the information for the link appears. What you see is what everyone else will see when that link is shared.
PRO TIP: If your info is still not showing up correctly, make sure you cleared your cache on your site (if you have a caching plugin). Finally, if you want a different preview for Facebook than in the other social platforms you can do that in Yoast by clicking Social and editing the info there for each post.
TWITTER PREVIEW TOOL
In Twitter, the link preview is called a Twitter card. Go here to update/preview your link before posting it on Twitter: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator
PRO TIP: If your info is still not showing up correctly, make sure you cleared your cache on your site (if you have a caching plugin). If you want a different preview for Twitter than the other social platforms you can do that in Yoast by enabling Twitter cards and then clicking Social > Twitter and edit the info for each post. Steps below.
LINKEDIN PREVIEW TOOL
This is a newly discovered tool and I am so excited LinkedIn now has this resource to preview or rescan links.
Find it here: https://www.linkedin.com/post-inspector/
When you click the Inspect button you will rescan your link and refresh the preview.
One thing to note about LinkedIn’s link title is that it will pull your Page Title, not the one noted from Yoast so make sure your page title doe is not saved as “Home” like below. I changed mine to “Cascade Valley Designs | WordPress Websites for Small Businesses”, clicked Inspect and the title refreshed correctly!
I hope these tools help when sharing your links to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. Make sure to bookmark these preview resources and make it a part of your sharing process.