Do you remember the last time you clicked on any website result on a social media post?
(Perhaps it was a link to this post?)
It’s likely that there was something that caught your attention, whether it was the image they used or the copy on the shared link.
But that image and link didn’t always auto-generate.
It was likely what it was because the social media meta tags for the page were added.
And they are critical if you plan on getting a lot of clicks & shares on social media.
What Are Social Media Meta Tags?
Social Media Meta Tags (also known as Open Graph Tags, Social Cards) are the title, description, and image that you often see for a shared web page on social media. If you don’t see these on a shared link, it’s usually because the person that shared the link decided to turn them off and instead just share the link along with a graphic. It’s usually best to keep this as it allows people to have a better understanding of what the destination is for, for the link being shared.
Where Can I Edit The Social Media Meta Tags?
If your blog runs on WordPress, there are a lot of plugins that you can install that will help make it easy to edit your social media meta tags. My favorite to use is Yoast SEO (it’s only available on WordPress). Yes, the same favorite SEO plugin that I talk about often, also lets you edit them.
The neat thing is that if you’re okay with using the same image, title, and description for all social media meta tags, you can actually just make sure that your meta title & description, and featured image are on your blog. It’s awesome because you not only take care of a critical SEO task for your blog, but you also have these social metas set.
If you don’t have WordPress, I’d suggest looking up for plugins related to “social media meta tags, open graph, or cards”. I’ve only used Yoast myself, but I know that there are others out there that are dedicated to just social media.
If you’re able to just edit or prefer to add some HTML codes to your blog, then I recommend checking out the CSS-Tricks site to get the code that you would use for Facebook & Twitter. This is essentially the code you’re creating with the plugins (if anyone has any questions about it, please leave a comment below).
Should I Create Different Ones for Each Social Platform?
It really depends on what you choose to put as a description. Each platform has a different limit on how many characters are shown for the title & description. They also have their own featured image dimensions. We tend to just do one for all, but you could change all three things around to see which of the two meta tag sets does best. We also tend to use the same featured image because it usually still shows our blog post titles but if yours doesn’t, you should consider creating one for Facebook & Twitter.
Why Are Social Meta Tags so Important for Bloggers?
If you decide to promote your posts on social media (which is a great thing to do, especially when you’re starting out) you need to be making sure you have control over the appearance of your links. If nothing is added, social media platforms tend to grab whatever title you have on your blog post, the first sentence or two of your posts, and whatever image they can find on your posts.
And it may sometimes be an okay link but if you don’t control what’s on there, you won’t be maximizing the number of visitors that you can get from social media.
You may also be asking, “what if I don’t have a social media page for my blog?”.
Well, if you don’t have one, your posts may still be shared by your readers and do you really want them sharing a post that might not get as many visitors?
Side note: I’d recommend you still create social media pages for your readers to follow your blog somewhere (and to promote your posts on them too).
What Should The Image Be?
I find that it’s best to just use the featured image feature on WordPress, but again, you could change it to see which one works best for social media.
As you may have already seen, I like to add a title (usually different than the one I use for meta titles) on the image so it stands out more when being shared.
You can also just have an amazing, high-quality picture from a website like Unsplash (an amazing free tool for bloggers, by the way) and have the image be related to your blog post.
Both work great and can help your blog stand out on news feeds.
What Should The Title & Description Be?
As mentioned earlier, we tend to use the same title and description that we used previously for our meta title and description for SEO purposes. So if you want to use the same, you can use the same title.
But, if you have more ideas for your title and description, go ahead and use them.
Generally, you want to make sure that your title captures the attention of someone going through their news feed on social.
The description should also provide additional details about the blog, without giving away the main idea about it.
Say I wrote a blog post on computer science that was meant for college students who may have already decided on a major (that wasn’t CS).
Title: “10 Facts You Won’t Believe About Computer Science”
There’s a number at the beginning, and “Won’t Believe” gets you interested in reading the blog to see if it really will provide incredible things (although if you’re a computer science major, you probably will believe those things already).
Description: “If you thought you knew everything about computers, think again. These facts might make you change your mind about your major.”
The description continues to encourage you to check out the blog post to really see if you won’t believe these facts.
Of course, if you’re creating titles like these, make sure that your readers will find most, if not all, of the information hard to believe.
How Can I View How They’ll Look?
Depending on the plugin you use, you may be able to view how it’ll look on your edit screen itself. In the case of Yoast, you’ll need their premium version in order to get a visual preview.
But in the event that you’re not (or would rather use the Yoast free version like we do), don’t worry.
Simply go on any of the social media platforms and create a post. Then wait to see if a preview appears.
If no preview appears, try posting it and then seeing what it looks like.
If you just get the link itself without the preview (or the default one that social platforms show if there are no tags set up) go back and check your plugins settings (or review your code if you added code).
And if you still can’t figure it out, feel free to leave a comment below.
Social media is going to be around for a while more. It’ll definitely change but in the meantime, make sure that you have your social media tags setup. It’ll make a big difference when it comes to getting more traffic to your blog from social channels.
Do you usually edit your social media meta tags? Or is this the first time you learn about them?