Social Media Thumbnail

Help your news stories get noticed.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer link previews when web links are shared. You now have the option to customize the thumbnail image that is used in the previews for your news stories  and announcements. 

Note: This feature is in beta, and currently available for www.wm.edu Announcements and News Stories only. 

Step 1: Prepare and upload your image.
  1. Crop and save your image at the optimum size:
    • Preferred: 1200 px wide by 628 px tall
    • (Minimum: 484 px wide by 252 px tall)
  2. Upload your image to Cascade.
Step 2: Assign your image.
  1. Edit the announcement or news story
  2. Scroll to the "Thumbnail Images" heading to find the Social Media Thumbnail chooser.
  3. Select Choose File to select the image and click Choose.
  4. To save, select Preview Draft and then Submit >> Check Content & Submit.
  5. Publish the announcement or story.
What happens if you don't provide a custom thumbnail?

By default, if your announcement or story is within W&M News, the Homepage Thumbnail image is used instead. If that image field is not in use, a general image of the William & Mary campus is used.

Does this apply to Borrowed Stories?

When a Borrowed Story is published, it will use the Social Media Thumbnail assigned to the original story at that moment. If you change the Social Media Thumbnail of the original News Story, you should re-publish both the original and any borrowed versions.

How to select compelling photos for social media link previews

Guidance to help you select an image from available photos. Different factors are involved if you are creating social media imagery from scratch.

A single column table for formatting purposes.
Think about the goals of your social media post
  1. To get the content noticed
  2. To drive interactions with the content in order to extend post reach
  3. To get users to click the link
Know your audience
  • 98% of Facebook users and 80% of Twitter users access the respective platforms via mobile devices
  • Think about how posts will appear on smaller mobile screens.
Understand the space
  • Users are bombarded with posts.
  • The average Facebook user spends 38 minutes per day on the platform, yet only performs 19 engagements per month (13 likes, 5 comments, 1 share – this excludes link click data).
  • The imagery needs to stand out from a crowd of other posts to earn users' attention.
Select good imagery

Your image doesn't have to meet all of the following criteria, but it should meet at least one of these primary principles.

  1. Minimal Context Need: The user should have an idea of what to expect in the story based on the imagery provided. Shorter post copy is more inviting, so having the imagery provide context is helpful.
  2. Different In A Good Way: The imagery should grab the user’s attention as they scroll through their feed. Think about what stands outs and grabs your attention because it is striking, well done, bold, atypical or unique.
  3. Mobile-friendly: Imagery should be discernible on a smaller screen by having a simple focal point or subject, and bright colors. Avoid "busy" group shots or other images that may get lost in the "noise" of a user's busy feed.

In addition, always strive for:

  1. Bold focal points: Catch the users eye.
  2. Clear and high-resolution: Use quality photos. Poor quality reflects poorly on the content.
  3. Be representative: As in every facet of our work, it’s important to keep representation and diversity in mind when selecting photos.