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Setting the Facebook thumbnail when sharing a WordPress post or page

Selecting the thumbnail used by Facebook when sharing a post can be a bit hit and miss, but here is a simple way to set the image used by Facebook to the Featured Image of the post.

And it’s a simple matter of using a plugin. For this example, we’re going to use the Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags plugin.

This article will focus on the Facebook thumbnail shown when sharing, but as you’ll see this plugin gives you a lot more to play with when sharing with Google+ and Twitter.

Click on any of the images to show it full size…

Add the plugin to your site

Via Plugins->Add New, search for “Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags”, install the plugin, then activate it.

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You’ll then have a new admin menu item:

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Setting up the option for Facebook thumbnail

Click on this new menu to see all the options you have available, there are a lot!

You want to scroll down to the “Include Image (og:image) tag”. Make a note of the advice given, namely:

All images MUST have at least 200px on both dimensions in order to Facebook to load them at all.
1200x630px for optimal results.Minimum of 600x315px is recommended.

Choosing your thumbnail for sharing

When you now add or edit a post or page, you will see below the editor a new box:

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Click on the “Upload/Choose Open Graph Image” button, and you can select an image from your media library:

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To select an image in your media library, click on the “Media Library” tab, then click on “Show” beside the image you want to use (“Show” will turn to “Hide”), and the click on the “Use as Image Open Graph Tag” button:

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If left blank, the featured image will be used, but bearing in mind the recommended dimensions above, it is probably advisable to have one to match the recommended dimensions (which may not match your feature image).

And that’s it! 🙂

Frequently Asked Questions

As the developer of the plugin is showing the following on the FAQs, it’s probably worth replicating here!

WordPress SEO (by Yoast) shows up a big nasty warning if both plugins are active. Is the world in danger if I keep both plugins active?

No it isn’t. You can (and, in our opinion, you should) use both plugins. If you want to use WordPress SEO for your SEO needs and our plugin for social media meta tags you just have to go to SEO - Social and disable settings for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Then set up our plugin as you wish and you’re ready to go. We like to work with everybody, so (if you want to) our plugin can even integrate with WordPress SEO and use it’s title, description and canonical URL.

Facebook is not showing up the correct image when I share a post. What can I do?

  1. Are you using a big enough image? The minimum image size is 200×200 pixels but we recommend 1200×630.
  2. Are you sure you only have one og:image tag on the source code? Make sure you’re not using more than one plugin to set OG tags?
  3. Go to the Facebook URL Debugger, insert your URL, click Debug. Then click on Fetch new scrape information to make sure Facebook gets the current version of your HTML code and not a cached version. If the image that shows up on the preview (bottom of the page) is the correct one, then the tags are well set and it “should” be the one that Facebook uses when sharing the post. If it still does not use the correct image when sharing, despite the debugger shows it correctly, there’s nothing more we can do about that. That’s just Facebook being Facebook.

 

 

 

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