Using a planned social media image for each blog post will mean your links look bigger and brighter when shared on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Every blog post you write should be associated with a dedicated social media image. When you promote the blog post on social media websites, the social media image will help it to stand out.
For example, it is the difference between a link shared on Twitter looking like this :
and one that looks like the screenshot below. Which one do you think is more noticeable and has the best chance of being clicked or reshared?
You can use an unaltered photo for social media, or you can add text or your logo to it. It's up to you.
To brand an image you might place a logo on it, or overlay it with brand colours, or, to encourage people to click it, you might place a "learn more", or "click me" label on it. You could also personalise the image by placing text over it. Do whatever you think works best for your market.
Services like Canva or Adobe Spark exist specifically to help us create social media images. I use Adobe Spark.
Not all blogs have a plentiful supply of unique images ...
Certain blog topics have plenty of unique images available to them because for those topics, taking photos forms part of the blogging experience. If your blog is a food blog, or a bird-watching blog, or an adventures with my dog blog, photos won't be a problem.
But if your blog is about a less photo-oriented subject, such as finance or psychology, you may have to resort to stock images to add visual interest to blog posts. Try to resist this unless you have a real talent for customising stock images so they enhance your page decoratively without looking like awkward stock images.
However, when using stock images for social media purposes, don't worry too much about what's in the photo. I don't - or I'd spend hours looking for photos.
I found this image on Unsplash after searching for a couple of minutes. I'd gone looking for an image of a group of people who looked happy, friendly and interested in something.
You don't have to edit the mages much. I like to add colour co-ordination which can help brand, or make the images recognisable, as belonging to your blog.
Then, using Adobe Spark I edited the image. I reworked it to make the following graphic that could represent this post on social media. The accent colour used on this blog is purple, so I used the same colour to brand the image.
Once the image has been added, make sure it's tested by checking it in the Facebook debugger and Twitter card validation tools.
Your post's social media image does not appear in your blog post. It's merely associated with it and made available for later use on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The image will eventually represent your post on their platforms.
Once the image is ready, you can add it to the post as a social media image. I do this using the SEO Framework plugin.
If you are my client you will already have this plugin installed on your WordPress site.
Scroll to the bottom of the post, and look for the Post SEO Settings tab. Follow the instructions in above video to complete this task.