What is this? When a user shares content on Facebook, special meta tags are used to determine how the content is displayed in a user’s feed. These tags determine the specific image for the content that appears on Facebook, the title that gets used, the summary text etc. Use these meta tags to specify a size-optimized photo for Facebook.
Why should I do this? Controlling what image gets shown for your content can increase your click through rate. For example, instead of letting Facebook choose a photo at random which might get cropped, or simply is not very interesting (e.g. a bar graph or a stock image) you can specifically set a size- optimized image that is better representative of your content. The big content blogs even go as far as to create bespoke images with inline graphics such as titles or captions, for maximum effect. Since many users will skim through their Facebook news feed quickly rather than read all the content, an eye- catching visual can get you noticed.
Who else is doing this? Buzzfeed, Viralnova, Upworthy and other heavily social content-driven sites all make use of optimized meta tags for Facebook.
How can I implement this? Facebook has documentation on how to use these special tags, called Open Graph meta tags. Using them is simply a case of including the right tags in the head of your page.
To preview how your content will look when posted to Facebook you can use Facebook’s open graph content debugging tool, also known as the Facebook Linter.