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  Article updated: August 05, 2022

Work with link previews

When you add a link to a post in Composer, a link preview often appears. Link previews summarize the content at the link destination with a title, description, and thumbnail. Previews are generated automatically, and each social network generates them differently.

If you don’t want to see link previews, you can add an image instead. Attaching an image overrides the preview, so the published post contains a clickable link and a separate image.

This article explains what to expect from link previews, and how to customize them for Facebook and LinkedIn. Learn how to shorten and apply link tracking parameters to links.

About link previews on each social network

Each social network pulls previews differently from the link’s website, so previews may look different on each social network. Here’s what to expect from link previews on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Note: Link previews aren't generated for Instagram because Instagram doesn't support hyperlinks in post captions.

Facebook

To create a link preview, Facebook's link scraper pulls open graph meta tags (for example, og:image) from the link's website. If these tags are missing or incomplete, Facebook tries to fill in the blanks with the data available. As a result, Facebook's link previews can differ or be incomplete.

If the link you're trying to share was published recently, Facebook may not have pulled its data yet. Wait and try your post again.

Preview and troubleshoot a link - Enter a link into Facebook's Debugger to preview how it will look on Facebook. The tool flags missing meta tags and anything else you need to fix.

Optimize previews for your website - Visit A guide to sharing on Facebook to see if your website is set up to generate optimal link previews.

Note: When publishing from third-party tools like Hootsuite, Facebook doesn't create link previews for Facebook.com links, such as a link to a Page post.

  Twitter

Twitter only displays link previews in tweets when the link’s website has Twitter Cards enabled. To verify the site you’re linking to has a Twitter Card, enter the link into Twitter’s Card validator. Learn more about Twitter Cards, and how to add them to your website.

To guarantee that your tweet contains an image, you can attach your own, or select any suggested images pulled from the link. Attaching an image overrides the preview if the link has a Twitter Card. The published tweet will contain a clickable link and a separate uploaded image.

Shortened YouTube or Vimeo links display a playable link preview on Twitter.

Note: Twitter Card link previews don’t appear in Hootsuite streams.

  LinkedIn

LinkedIn creates link previews based on the data it pulls from each website. You can customize these previews in Composer.

Enter a link into LinkedIn's Post Inspector to see how it’ll be read and processed. The tool helps you identify missing data on a page that could improve its link preview.

Shortened YouTube or Vimeo links display a playable link preview on LinkedIn.

Customize a link preview

You can customize link previews for LinkedIn Page posts, and for Facebook Page posts that meet the following requirements from Facebook:

  1. In Composer , enter a link in the body of your post. If a LinkedIn or Facebook Page is selected, you’ll see a link preview.
  2. Select Customize link preview.
    The Customize link preview option highlighted under a link preview.
  3. Choose from the available link images, or select the icon to upload your own (see Image file requirements ). Images from a content library cannot be used for link previews.
  4. Enter the title and description, and then select Save.

Link previews on LinkedIn must have a thumbnail image, title, and description. On Facebook, you need at least a thumbnail image. If your link preview does not have these elements when you publish a post, the social network will fill them in.

Troubleshoot link preview errors

Try these troubleshooting steps if you get either of the following link preview errors:

  • We couldn't populate a link preview - This error appears when Hootsuite is unable to read the metadata at the URL provided. Verify that the URL is a published link. Hootsuite can't show a link preview until the website is live and accessible to the public.

    If you've confirmed that the link is live, see the previous sections in this article for ways to optimize your link for each social network.
  • Link preview customization is not permitted for this URL - This error appears if you try to customize a link preview for Facebook that doesn't meet requirements. Revisit the Facebook Page post requirements listed in Customize a link preview.

You can also try creating your post with Hootsuite open in your browser's private mode. This bypasses the cookies, cache, and add-ons that might be disrupting your link preview (see Troubleshoot display issues).

 

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