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You're not alone. I was participating in a group ‘challenge' recently, all of us solopreneurs encouraging each other to create and share useful content for our different niches. It was awesome! But … so many folks in the challenge had problems with their blogs not sending an image to Facebook, or not the one they expected. Grrr. And this problem has gone on for YEARS![NOTE: I've updated this post several times – because open graph tags and images not showing up are STILL an issue – and because weirdly this has become my most read blog post EVER. Most recently updated 2/2022]
Sometimes our WordPress sites, the cool plugins we use to make things happen and look good without needing to be web-designers, and social media don't all play nicely together. So I put on my research hat (hah, like I ever take it off!) and made this post for you to bookmark when you run into the same problem.
Because Facebook is a pain in the …
No, no, no. Well, maybe. 😉
But the most common answer is too many tools each trying to control Open Graph tags for images.
Let's step back for a minute to talk about WHAT is Open Graph.
From the linked article by Neil Patel about Open Graph tags …
Facebook introduced Open Graph in 2010 to promote integration between Facebook and other websites by allowing posts to become rich objects with the same functionality as other Facebook objects.
Put simply, it helps optimize Facebook posts by providing more control over how information travels from a third-party website to Facebook when a page is shared (or liked, etc.).
If you really want to dive into advanced stuff with Open Graph, read the entire post from Patel – he's known for extensive, deep-dive guides.
Here's another article to learn more about what OpenGraph is – how it lets social media read, interpret, and show objects or web pages from other sources, and treats all of them the same. OG has code and tags on your site that tell places like Facebook what to show if someone shares a link to a page or post.
If that just sounded like I spoke French or German – in a nutshell, since so much website traffic is driven by social media sharing, stuff needs to talk to each other and connect in more seamless ways. When confused here are some articles I've turned to in the past to work things out and make sure images appear as we intended them to.
How to Use the Facebook Debugger Tool to fix those “OG” link issues, from WordPress theme design company, Elegant Themes.
Now that you've read the excellent post from Elegant Themes, go bookmark the Facebook Debugger page. You'll need it.
I LOVE the site WPBeginner because if you have any question about anything WordPress, chances are they've answered it and kept it simple and easy to understand. You don't have to be a web builder. Here's their tips on how to fix it if Facebook shows the wrong thumbnail image from a post. What can cause the problem? Conflicts between plugins like Yoast and Jetpack each adding OG tags, or …
… among other causes are caching plugins, CDN issues, missing open graph meta tag for the thumbnail image. etc. It is really hard to guess what’s causing the issue because there are no specific error messages displayed when using the debugging tool.
If you aren't already using the awesome plugin Yoast SEO (seriously, it's more than SEO help and one tool I recommend for EVERY WP site owner) go get it and you can also use its feature to override the image selected for Facebook. It can also set those pesky OG tags. You can override your blog or website's overall default settings and insert a chosen image here via Yoast.
If you like my hot tips on social media – like fixing when images won't show nicely –
you might like my list of top social tools and my emails with more marketing tips and cool tools:
The image problem is most prevalent in Facebook, but searches show it has been an issue off +on for Twitter and LinkedIn as well. It can might depend sometimes on what tools you use to schedule or post from your site to Twitter. This is a discussion of the Twitter Cards vs. Featured Image issue from the WordPress support forum.
I checked to see if Twitter Cards were still a thing in 2022 – yep the developer and support threads on Twitter cards are still around and Buffer has an article explaining Twitter Cards if Twitter is your main social platform.
I wish the tips from LinkedIn support on sharing images were a little better, but oh well.
Update: there's a recently (in 2021-2022) updated help article from LinkedIn on sharing photos or videos. And since LinkedIn has become much more of a content sharing site in recent years, they do have answers or multiple articles on adding images or other rich media.
Other little tips or tricks:
And now you can feel comfortable that you're not alone. This is an image that has plagued thousands, maybe millions, of us with websites and social accounts. Sheesh. You'd think the social sites would fix something rather than each of us having to research and then fix something on our own sites.
I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.
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