Fix Your Thumbs- YouTube Thumbnails for Facebook

The best way to get people to click on a YouTube video is to make sure that it has a thumbnail with a compelling image and easy-to-read text (for more information on how to create an optimized thumbnail, read our previous blog post here). But when you try to post a link to your video onto Facebook, your beautiful thumbnail gets chopped up or distorted. I wish I was writing today with an easy way to fix this; that you can just add a link to a photo like you can on Tumblr, but you can’t. What I CAN tell you is what I’ve done to circumvent the issue. By the end of this blog post you’ll be able to post any clickable link image you like.

An Overview

In order to accomplish the tasks detailed in this post, you’re going to need a working intermediate knowledge of the following tools:

  • Image editing software (like Photoshop)
  • WordPress

The step-by-step process for the technique I’m going to show you today goes as follows:

  • Resize original YouTube thumbnail image.
    • YouTube: 1280px X 630px
    • Facebook: 1200px X 720px
  • Add play button to thumbnail image.
  • Post YouTube video onto blog page
  • Add Facebook-optimized image to social appearance settings

Firstly, you’re going to have to post your YouTube video onto a blog page. I work in WordPress which is the most popular content management system (CMS), accounting for over 60% of the websites who use a CMS. The specific method I will discuss today is for WordPress only. Secondly, you’re going to have to have an image that can pose as a YouTube thumbnail. We’ll start this instruction here and work our way back.

Let’s begin.

  • Go ahead and pull up your YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop or your photo editing software of choice. The key here is that you want to reformat it so that it’s optimized for Facebook. If you’ve been formatting an image for a YouTube thumbnail, you’re working with and image that is 1280 pixels wide and 630 pixels tall. You’re going to need to change that to 1200 by 720, as noted in the action list above.
  • I like to add a play button to the thumb so that the viewer knows that it’s a video link as opposed to just an image. To do that, I just googled “YouTube play button”. From here, there are a couple of options to choose from. Make sure you download a PNG or convert your play button image into a PNG. PNG files support transparency. If you take a look at the button image I’ve chosen, you can see the pale gray and white check pattern in the background and through the button itself, meaning that not only will this button show up without a background, but it has a low opacity. I want my thumbnail image to show through this button; adjust the size and opacity of your button file to suit your taste. Once you’ve reformatted the image, save it, and we can go back to WordPress.

overlay

  • Make sure a link to your YouTube video is featured at the top your blog post. Once you’ve done that, you can actually control how the blog appears when you post it onto social media. Scroll down to the SEO box and click on “Social”. Here you have complete control over how your blog posts appear when posted onto Facebook. Make sure the Facebook-formatted thumbnail you just created is loaded into the image section, and you’re set.
  • When you post to Facebook, the resulting thumbnail will link to your blog page (which carries your YouTube). To make sure that viewers can easily subscribe to your YouTube page, include a call to action (CTA) on your Facebook post, as well as a subscribe button on your blog post.

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