How to Edit the Thumbnail Image that Accompanies a Facebook Link

In my last post, I showed you how to edit link titles and descriptions in Facebook updates.

Let’s say you want to post a link-style update to your Facebook personal Timeline or brand page. When you paste the link into the Status Update field, Facebook automatically populates your update with a thumbnail-sized image (if the article you’re linking to has an image in it), along with the article’s title and a description.

These thumbnails can be blurry and hard to see. Before publishing the update, you can upload a nice, large photo to take the place of that thumbnail.

Here’s how:

1. Before clicking “Okay” to publish the update, click the Photo/Video link, located directly above the field where you typed in the original update/link.

You can then either attach a photo or video or create a photo album. I clicked “Attach Photo/Video.”

2. Click the “Browse” button to search your hard drive or flash drive for the image you’d like to use. I uploaded the full-size image that accompanied my blog post. (Images in my blog posts are usually 300 px wide; in this case, my image is 400 x 400 px).

3. After uploading the image, you can immediately post your update or schedule it for later publication. I recommend scheduling it, even if you plan to publish it within minutes. Scheduling allows you to preview the photo.

4. To schedule your post, click the clock icon in the lower lefthand corner of the update and select the appropriate year, month, day, hour, and minute you want to publish your update.

Click “Schedule.”

5. You’ll immediately see a pop-up alerting you that your post has been scheduled and prompting you to view it in your Activity Log. Click “View Activity Log.”

6. You’ll be able to view your update as it will display on your page. If you want to publish the update immediately, change the scheduled time, or delete the update, click the down arrow in the upper righthand corner of the update.

How to edit the image’s caption

The other advantage of uploading an image to accompany your post is that you can edit the “caption” that accompanies the image after the update is published.

To do this, click inside the picture on your published update and then click “Edit” to change the text, add a location, tag faces in the photo, or change the date published.

You can also access the photo editing options by clicking the “Photos” tab, located directly below your Timeline cover photo. Your photo stream will open; find the photo you want to edit and go for it!

BONUS TIP: How to reposition a photo in a Facebook update

After you publish an update, you may want to align it better within the space provided. Here’s a picture from my Facebook page that’s positioned poorly.

To reposition it, I clicked the pencil icon in the upper righthand corner of the update.

Next, I clicked “Reposition Photo…”

Then I dragged the photo around until it was positioned more advantageously (in this case, the photo was too large to do much with, but them’s the breaks).

When I was finished tinkering, I clicked “Save.” Facebook also gives you the option to revert the photo to its original position or to cancel the action.

Here’s my new and slightly improved picture position. I can see that I still have some experimenting to do in terms of appropriately sizing and positioning the images I upload to Facebook. My latest discovery is that one-column wide Facebook pictures should be 403x403px, and two-column wide pictures (highlighted or milestone images) should be 843x403px. I’m learning, right along with you!

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  • Dennis George

    It appears that you have to leave the text url in place if you want to use a different photo from what is available as a thumbnail from the linked article. I found that the new photo gets added nicely, but the original link is replaced with the photo. ??

  • Laura Christianson

    Dennis – Yes, if you want to continue to link to a particular web page, you need to leave the URL in the update itself. But you can upload any photo you wish to accompany that link. The original link that Facebook auto generates will get replaced by the picture, but if you make sure to leave the full URL in the update itself, people can still click on it. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • John Ramos

    This isn’t at all the same thing as leaving a link, and it won’t get treated the same way. When people see a photo they look at the photo, and almost never at the accompanying text. Therefore you get essentially no clickthroughs. Facebook offers links because they’re displayed in a way that makes people click on them, while the thumbnail offers a small sample of what’s to come beyond the link. Quite frankly this is terrible advice.

  • Laura Christianson

    This post might be more to your liking, John, because it specifically discusses how to edit the links FB generates for a link-style update (sans image). This particular post is a followup to that one, and essentially, it explains how to create an image (that includes a text caption + link) out of an update that was previously a link-only update. I disagree with you that people do not read photo captions or clickthrough on photos. I get a tremendous amount of clickthroughs on the photos I post with links attached. I’m guessing that it probably depends on who your audience is. Some people would be unlikely to read photo captions or clickthrough to the links in photos, and others will read/click almost every time. That’s why I published this tutorial — to give people who do enjoy clicking through on pictures the knowhow to create those types of updates. It is simply an additional type of update every Facebook user should have in his or her arsenal.

  • Samuel

    Thanks but how do I do it such that when people click on the photo, it still takes them to the website like a link would? After following the steps you outlined, clicking the picture just opens it for preview like pictures normally do on Facebook. It doesn’t replace the auto-generated thumbnail

  • Samuel

    Never mind, I found out that there is an “upload image” option below the suggested thumbnail. Thanks anyway

  • Laura Christianson

    Samuel, Before you upload a larger image (403 x 403px is the current correct size for in a status update), add a link to the web page you want to direct fans to. That part will display in the text part of the update.

  • Samuel

    Thanks. I tried but still I haven’t found a way to make the image click-able (like a text link) unless I go via the method I illustrated above. The problem with it is that the thumbnail preview size is too tiny. I would be happy if I knew how to make an image-link preview in its full size (like you indicated 403 X 403px)
    Thank you.

  • Laura Christianson

    When you upload a large size image, the link attached to the thumbnail is replaced with the larger image; thus, the image is no longer a click-through to the outside website. That’s why, when you upload a larger image (which will go into the Facebook “Photos” tab, you must include the link to the outside web page in the update itself. That is the workaround for making the entire update “clickable.” All the user does is click your hyperlink that’s in the text part of the update.

    To make the image display 403×403 px, you first need to edit the image you’ll be uploading using photo editing software. Then, when you upload it to FB, it will be the correct size.

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