We’ve all been there before. You’ve written a great blog post, and you’ve plopped a featured image in there to represent the post on social media, your blog’s main page, and so on.
Then, you hop on your social media accounts and paste the link into a new post. You’re all ready to share it with your network when you notice one glaring issue: The social networks are pulling the wrong thumbnail image! Or worse, none at all. Talk about a pain in the neck.
Not only is this annoying — you were so close to being done — but a bad thumbnail image (or no thumbnail image) could seriously hurt your post’s performance on social. Images are a key play for garnering engagement on your social pages, and data shows they help generate more likes, shares, and comments. For example, posting images on LinkedIn results in a 98% highercomment rate. But that image needs to be the right image — not your logo; not a cut-off picture of your call-to-action button; not some other image randomly pulled from the page.
So, how do you ensure each of your social networks pulls in the image you want it to?
The answer lies with something called the Open Graph Protocol, which Facebook created in 2010. LinkedIn has since adopted the same protocol, while Twitter uses its own open graph system that’s based on the same conventions — although Twitter accommodates the Open Graph protocol if you already have it on your site. Also note that Twitter only automatically pulls in information from a link when you use Twitter Cards, not for regular tweets.