How to tell Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest what to share

Open Graph is a protocol used by multiple social networks, like Facebook. In fact, Facebook has been the driver of Open Graph since its inception.

Some social networks, like Twitter and Pinterest, have branched out from Open Graph to unlock some new network specific control.

So now you as a content creator have the ability to specify the title, description and image to be shared on Facebook versus Twitter versus Pinterest and beyond.

The question of how to control what image is shared on Facebook is extremely common. That's why we published a podcast episode on the topic in episode 62. You can find that recording below.

Visit this episode's show notes here.

But now we'd like to share some guidance on how to control the images shared from your pages and posts for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

To do this, you'll need to install either Yoast SEO or Social Warfare Pro. The beautiful thing is you can actually use the two together. So if you like the features of both plugins beyond just social image control, then it's a win-win!

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO has the ability to specify the Open Graph settings for Facebook separate from the Twitter Card settings. It does not currently have the ability to specify Pinterest data. So Yoast SEO currently assumes Pinterest will pull the Open Graph data for Pinned content.

Here you can see the Facebook Open Graph settings inside of Yoast SEO. You can specify the Title, Description and Image to be seen in Facebook previews for shared links.
Here you can see the Twitter Card settings inside of Yoast SEO. You can specify the Title, Description and Image to be seen in Twitter previews for tweeted links.

Click on the thumbnails to view the screenshots larger. You will notice that Yoast SEO provides the image dimensions which should be used, because otherwise Facebook and Twitter will automatically crop to the center of the image and potentially make the composition too different from what you want.

Social Warfare Pro

Social Warfare Pro will utilize Yoast SEO's Open Graph and Twitter card data by default. Unless you specify this data inside of the Social Warfare settings for each post or page. Then Social Warfare takes over.

This plugin has the ability to specify Open Graph settings for Facebook, Twitter Card settings as well as Pinterest settings.

Here you can see the Facebook Open Graph settings inside of Social Warfare Pro. You can specify the Title, Description and Image to be seen in Facebook previews for shared links.

Here you can see the Twitter Card settings inside of Social Warfare Pro. You can specify the Title, Description and Image to be seen in Twitter previews for tweeted links.
Here you can see the Pinterest settings inside of Social Warfare Pro. You can specify the Title, Description and Image to be seen in Pinterest previews for pinned links.

Click on the thumbnails to view the screenshots larger. You will notice that Social Warfare Pro provides the image dimensions which should be used, because otherwise Facebook and Twitter will automatically crop to the center of the image and potentially make the composition too different from what you want.

Social Warfare Pro offers additional settings for Twitter and Pinterest settings which are worth mentioning.

Use Open Graph for Twitter Card? That's a setting to make it so you don't have to specify Twitter information and it will take on the default Open Graph settings.

Pin Image for Browser Extensions does exactly what it sounds like. It makes it possible for the Pinterest data to be sent to browser extensinos, like the officail Pinterest Chrome extension, Buffer and more.

Pin Browser Image Location is useful if you prefer hiding or moving where your Pinterest image is on your page or post as to not distract from the important content.

Ideal Image Sizes for Social Media

If you paid close attention you'll also notice that the dimensions Yoast SEO provide are different than the ones provided by Social Warfare Pro.

That's because the dimensions are constantly changing. We recommend paying close attention to this article from Buffer on image sizes for social media. They update it often!

Debugging Shared Links

If you have links which have been previously shared on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and the title, descriptions or images are incorrect then don't skip this.

Each of the platforms have debugger tools which can clear their platform's cache. Doing so will ensure that from then on, any of your links shared for specific URLs will share the way you want. Even LinkedIn offers a debugger, for photographers who offer B2B services.

The last thing we want to point out is that both Yoast SEO and Social Warfare Pro have the ability to automatically generate the content used for social media. So if you don't want to go through the effort of manually specifying the settings, you have the automation as a backup.

If you have a question about any of what was discussed in this article, please comment and we'll do our best to answer it for you.

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