September 28, 2015

Save Time with One Image Size for Social Media

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One size seems to work best for many social media platforms. Learn how to make it work for you.

One Size Social Media

Have you ever been concerned with having adequate time to create graphics for your social media and blog posts, because you think you need to create a different size for each platform?

There’s a simple solution for social media images that works well for most social media platforms, especially when you’re short on time.

One particular size seems to work best, and I’ll show you a few practical examples of how it can work for you.

There are two main reasons for why you want to include a graphic with your social media posts and in your online content. First, social sharing tools will “scrape” and include the image associated with your article or blog post, and include it when your visitors share on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

The second reason is that social media that includes an images= is far more engaging. Research from bufferapp.com shows that photos on Facebook increase engagement by up to 53% over average posts.

Not only have I found that posts with images are more likely to be shared, but the research backs it up — according to a 2013 Pew Research Study, “54% of internet users have posted original photos or videos to websites and 47% share photos or videos they found elsewhere online.”

Respect the Aspect Ratio

While this sounds like the advice of a wise sage, it's a practical reminder that actual size of the graphic is not as important as the ratio of 2:1 (width x height). For instance, this would equal a dimension of 1024x512 pixels or 800x400 pixels.

Now, if you think that’s too much math, I recommend two online resources to help you create social media graphics:

  • bufferapp.com/Pablo (a tool that sizes your images by default to 1024x512 pixels, supplies some generic images, and allows you to upload your own); or
  • canva.com (a newer tool that not only makes it easy to size your images to the correct ratio, it includes templates and with the Pro version, the ability to resize your images “automagically.”).

At Aespire, we use a combination of these two resources and Adobe Creative Cloud, depending on how quickly we need to create the image, and how extensive the campaign is upon which will be working.

Don’t worry if your website requirements don’t match the ratios exactly; what is important is that you have a square area in the middle of your image into which you can place your headline. Linked in, Facebook, and Twitter will display on the square center of your image (or the square center and some of the edges in the Twitter feed).

Here’s how this looks, using the image from this article and other campaigns as an example:

800x400 Article w dimensions

 

How this looks on LinkedIn:

The article Listen More Often Than You Speak featured an image of a card and a hand. With the primary focial point centered in the image area, the 2:1 ration of the image crops perfectly for LinkedIn and Facebook posts:

800x400 w dimensions

be Engaging on LinkedIn 700w

Scheduling on Hootsuite

Fixing a Wrong Image on a Facebook Post

Occasionally, you’ll need to change your image after you’ve already posted the article, which can create a problem when you want to repost on Facebook.

Facebook has a little-known developer tool, called the Open Graph Object Debugger (It’s not the most exciting again, is it?). The debugger will show you exactly what Facebook will “scrape” from your page, and how it will display in Facebook. (If you make changes, and have a proxy firewall or cache in place such as we do through our web site security provider Sucuri, be certain to clear your cache after you make changes, and before you scrape the page).

Using this debugger will give you more control over how your posts appear, from the image to the metadata, in your Facebook and other social media posts.

Using this approach will help you manage and maintain a steady flow of content that you can share from your website to the world. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple, and adapt this process and the ratios to what suit your content best.

More in this category: « Three Myths of Social Media

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