Shrink links (URLs) in social posts to save characters, and to keep your posts looking tidy. The Hootsuite dashboard uses the ow.ly link shortener by default, which tracks click stats that can be viewed in Hootsuite Analytics. Note that links on Twitter always reserve 23 characters in tweets.
Learn more about link shorteners
Professional plans and up have the option of adding custom URL parameters to shortened links. Team, Business, and Enterprise customers can also set up a vanity URL to use as a link shortener instead of ow.ly.
To shrink a link in the compose message box
- Place the cursor in the compose message box where you want to insert the shortened link into your message.
- Click Add a link.
- Paste the link, and then click Shrink.
To shrink a link in the Composer
- Paste a link into the text field of the Composer. Link Settings will appear at the bottom of the Composer.
- Click Edit to the right of Link Settings.
- Click None under Shorten my links, and then select Ow.ly.
- Click Apply. The shortened link will display in your message preview on the right. Learn more about publishing from the Composer
To change the default link shortener
- In the compose message box, click Add a link, and then click Advanced .
- Under URL shortener, select a default shortener from the drop-down menu, and then click the X in the top-right corner to close the Advanced box. Vanity URLs will appear here to team members that have been granted permission to use them.
This setting is saved after signing out of the Hootsuite dashboard.
When social posts include a link to a website, they often display a link preview. The preview is a summary of the content found at the link destination, usually consisting of a title, description, and image.
Link previews generate automatically, but each social network pulls this information differently from the link’s website. This means that the resulting link preview for a given link may not be the same on each social network.
Link previews will only display in tweets when the link’s website has Twitter Cards enabled. While Hootsuite may show a sample preview image in the Composer, the preview won’t publish unless a valid Twitter Card is present. To verify if the site you’re linking to has a Twitter Card, and to see what it will look like, enter the link into Twitter’s Card validator.
To guarantee that your tweet contains an image, you can attach your own, or select any Suggested images the Composer may have retrieved from the link. However, attaching an image will override the preview if the link does have a Twitter Card. The published tweet will contain a clickable link, and a separate, uploaded image.
Note: Twitter Card link previews publish to Twitter natively, but don’t appear in Hootsuite streams.
Learn more about Twitter Cards, and how to add them to your website.
Google+ posts generate link previews based on the data that Google extracts from each website.
Add Google’s code to your website to control link preview content.
LinkedIn posts generate link previews based on the data that LinkedIn extracts from each website, but these previews can be customized when publishing.
Facebook posts generate link previews based on the open graph meta tags (eg. og:image) that Facebook’s link scraper pulls from each website. If these tags are missing or incomplete, the link preview will be incomplete. Note that when publishing links to these sites on Facebook natively, Facebook will try to fill in the blanks with the data available, so link preview results may differ.
Enter a link into Facebook's Debugger to see how its preview will look when published to Facebook. The tool will flag missing meta tags and anything else that needs to be fixed on your website to generate a complete link preview.
See Facebook’s documentation to ensure that your own website is set up to generate optimal link previews.
Facebook Page post link previews can be customized when:
- The link being shared is from your own website.
- The website domain has been verified through Facebook’s Domain Verification process.
- The Facebook Page has been associated with the verified domain in the Facebook Business Manager.
To customize a LinkedIn or Facebook Page link preview in the compose message box
After shrinking or pasting a link in the Compose message box, a link preview will automatically generate.
- If more than one image was retrieved from the website, click the arrows on the thumbnail image to select one, or click Replace image to upload your own. Images can be a maximum of 5MB in .jpg, .jpeg, .gif or .png formats. Content library images cannot be used for link previews.
- Click the title or description to edit its text.
To customize a LinkedIn or Facebook Page link preview in the Composer
After entering a link, a link preview will automatically generate.
- Click Customize below the link preview.
- If more than one image was retrieved from the website, select an option, or click Replace image to upload your own. Images can be a maximum of 5MB in .jpg, .jpeg, .gif or .png formats. Content library images cannot be used for link previews.
- Click the title or description to edit its text.
- Click Save.
To replace a link preview entirely and upload an image instead, click Replace link preview with media.
LinkedIn requires link previews to have a thumbnail image, title and description. Facebook requires at minimum the thumbnail image. If any of these elements are missing from your link preview when a post is published, the social network will fill in the missing data.