<![CDATA[Fake news is everywhere! We can’t really blame people for being gullible, though. The headlines we see are so tempting and we just want to believe they’re true. Unfortunately, it means that social media platforms have been forced to crack down and impose restrictions on everybody in response to the damaging actions of a few. At Stryde we believe that barriers are merely reasons to get more creative and thrive with social media.
The most recent of these changes is that we’ve lost the ability to customize the images, titles, and descriptions of link previews on Facebook. This has probably disrupted the workflow of many social media marketers who were accustomed to crafting each linked post so that it came out looking perfect. Brands are at the mercy of the metadata that exists (or doesn’t exist!) on their websites to populate image, title, and description fields in posts. Facebook has said that it will grant the ability for pages to edit link previews from their own domains once again but there hasn’t been any indication of when this will functionality will be available. Currently, only pages belonging to publishers have been offered this option.
Open Graph Protocol
The solution has been available to all of us for a long time. Being able to create effective Facebook posts again is going to require some web page optimization but it’s worth it. And the secret good side to all of this is that links to your page from Facebook will always look the way you want them to, no matter who posts them.
Facebook created the Open Graph protocol in order to pull in more data about web content. The information helps create a data-rich, enhanced display when it’s posted to social media platforms. By including Open Graph metadata on your site, you can rest assured that your content will always look its best when posted on Facebook. Beyond that, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all compatible with Open Graph tags as well.
There are four tags that are required for pages:
There are many other options available with Open Graph protocol. We recommend including the og:description tag to provide people with more information about your content. For more details about what is possible to visit the Open Graph website. Those without programming experience are going to need some help implementing the metadata. Luckily, there are a number of plugins for WordPress and other publishing platforms. This plugin by Webdados makes it easy to add Open Graph tags, as well as Twitter Card Tags and schema for Google+ to your website. Or it can be set to use information from Yoast SEO or other third-party plugins as Open Graph tags.
We’ve noticed that there are still some loopholes with Facebook that you might be able to use until you get Open Graph tags added. For example, Hootsuite notified its users of the recent link preview change back in July 2017. As of the time of this writing, August 28, 2017, it’s still possible to customize the link preview fields when posting through Hootsuite. There’s been no word on when this might change.
The image and description for this post were changed by us in Hootsuite.
- og:title – This is the title of your content as you want it to appear on social media, so make sure you enter an engaging headline here.
- og:type – This tag defines the type of object your content is. For example, video, audio, article, website, etc.
- og:image – The URL for the image that will be displayed with the post. Make sure it’s an eye-catching image that is relevant to the content.
- og:url – This tag is the canonical URL of your content.
Adding social widgets to your site enables readers to share content quickly and easily. Social widgets usually take the form of customizable buttons and counters that reside in the sidebar and/or above and below the page. Major social platforms are all included and you can select which ones appear as sharing options. Widgets usually include counters that detail the number of times a page has been shared, lending social proof to the content. If a lot of people think the content is worth sharing, then many more are likely to think so, as well. Social widgets are fairly easy to add to a site through the use of plugins.
If you’ve been doing things the hard way up until now, Facebook is forcing you to get in line and play by the rules. Hopefully, we’ve shown you that this can actually be very advantageous for your sit. You can dictate how your content is showcased on major social media sites including Facebook. Take that, fake news!
Greg is the founder and CEO of Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.