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The Ultimate Guide to Using Images in Social Media

We usually digest visual information better than text-based content. We can make use of this when optimizing our social media marketing campaigns to give ourselves an edge over competitors who push out written content via social media.

When it comes to social media, there is no denying the fact that the images we use in our content can have a huge impact on how the content is perceived by the community. See #3, #7, #3, all of which emphasize the same thing.

Whether you are a social media expert, or a newbie in charge of managing content, you will always have to double-check the height and width of every image you post on your favourite channels. Making sure these images look good in all possible formats is a time-consuming and frustrating process, especially since the content is accessible from a variety of devices. Today we’ll show you how to tackle this issue.

In this post we will take a look at some of the most popular social media sites, and give you all the information you need on selecting the best sizes and dimensions for the images that you want to use there. I’ll also try to cover various tips for optimizing these images for your brand strategy and improving CTR.

Interested in tips for a certain social network? Jump right there. Below is the ultimate guide to using images in social media.

facebook google+ twitter youtube instagram linkedin pinterest

Facebook Images Size Guide

Cover photos on Facebook are prime real estate for showcasing your brand. I’ve seen some creative ways in which individuals and brands makes use of this space. The official recommendation is to use an image 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall.

fb banner

Profile photos

are advised to be 180×180 images which will be displayed as a 160×160.

post image and link

Twitter Images Size Guide

Twitter allows us to use post images as long as they’re hosted on pic.twitter.com and are shown inline on users’ feeds. They’ve also just announced their support for GIFs, which is a great way to engage with your audience. There are many ways to do this, and we’ll take a look at some of them in the tips and tricks section.


Google+ Images Size Guide

You can use animated GIFs on G+, which is awesome. And they’re not just limited to post images—you can use them in you cover pics or as your profile pic. Use the PSD file from hughbriss.com as a starting point for your cover pic.


Pro Tip:

If you’re an active G+ user, you’ll love this Chrome plugin by Paul Spoerry, that allows you to add text formatting to your G+ posts.

LinkedIn Images Size Guide

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 300 million members. For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is one of the most essential social networking platforms to generate leads.

LinkedIn does not play nice with long visuals like infographics, which anyone can easily create using our infographics templates. So I would recommend using a small portion of the infographic for your LinkedIn update instead of posting the whole thing.

Also, company posts on LinkedIn have the option of a custom photo, so you don’t have to use the one LinkedIn pulls in automatically.


YouTube Images Size Guide

Six billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. That’s almost an hour for every person on Earth! Statistics like that make YouTube the go-to place for video content.


Instagram Images Size Guide

Instagram, one of the top photo sharing social networks, is becoming quite popular with small businesses. It’s helping them drive sales and develop their brand. If you have a business that sells an item that can photograph well, then by all means look at Instagram as a potential marketing channel.


Pinterest Images Size Guide

This social networking site with a virtual pinboard interface is certainly picking up steam, and is a great marketing channel, particularly among women. This gives Pinterest an edge over the others, especially if your target audience is largely female.

There are two main ways for images to appear in Pinterest. The first is as a pin on the pinboard, and the second is an image that is opened when the pin is clicked.


Tips and Tricks for using Images in Social Media

Now that we’ve seen which sizes to go for on some of the most popular social networking sites, let’s take a look at some tools and tricks we can use to make sure the content looks awesome.

1. Images: There are quite a few stock photo sites out there, and it’s a good idea to browse through a few of them to find the perfect image to goes along with the content you publish.

2. Personalize: Don’t use the stock image as-is. Add some color, badges, personalized text or other CTA to get more people interested in your visuals. You don’t need Photoshop to do all that—freeware tools like Paint.NET, fotor or PicMonkey can be used effectively to do a lot of image customization.

Two of my favorite tools for customizing and personalizing images are Recite and Canva. There are also a lot of online tools that can help, like those from Internet Marketing Ninjas, Autre planète, and Timeline Slicer.

3. Use images in creative ways: Some interesting tactics I’ve seen include using images with a poll and cutting out answers, as shown below. (This works on the Twitter app and Twitter home feed.)

Twitter Poll

You can also use the ability to include up to four photos in a tweet. This is available on both the iPhone and Android App, and should be coming to the web app soon.

4 images a tweet

How about you?

Have any questions? Don’t be shy! Add your comments below, and I will try and get back to you.

Guest author: Saijo George, who works for Envato,  a very cool digital marketplace for templates and other digital assets. You can get in touch with him on Twitter or Google+.

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  • Are the images produced at ReciteThis.com royalty free or available for commercial usage? There was no info on the site so I was wondering.

    • best to shoot them an email about it .., you can get that info from the footer on their site

  • Personalized images do attract more attention.

  • I have asked this question to several, but never really gotten an answer. What if you as an author haven’t got your bookcover/title finished. What type of bookpicture would you put on your web-site (in addition to your profile head shot)?
    I’m struggling with this as I’d like to build some spark and interest for my upcoming novel.

    • If you have a rough design ready you could use a heavily pixelated version of that .. or use a stock image perhaps ?

      • Thanks for your feedback Saijo, yes for now I have made a design using stock images and a ‘sign me up’ button. I just wanted to find something a big more interesting though but haven’t come up with anything better:)

      • was so sure I answered you, but my comment seem to have disappeared:) Anyway, Have done exactly that, used a stock photo along with a ‘sign me up’ button. Was looking for something a bit more interesting though but can’t seem to come up with anything.

  • Very informative, I’ll be referencing these when having images made!

    • Glad you found it useful, feel free to reach out if you have any questions

  • Great post! Love the idea of the Chrome plugin by Paul Spoerry! Thanks for sharing. I will share with my followers!

  • In the social media I see the images which are relative impact holes, as well as visual perception by the information related to.

    • sorry mate .. didn’t quite understand that 🙁

  • venkyiyer58

    Thanks, but I see that every time people post an article about ideal social media image sizes, there are some differences at some point or the other. I am simply going to treat this post as the latest and most valid.

  • Chrome post editor is just a great plugin. Thanks Saijo for sharing this hidden tip.

  • Adam McKendi

    Thanks Jeff. This is so helpful. Great post.

  • Great post thank you, to have it all in one place. Had been googling for this the last couple of days, and here it is! Love it!

  • Alesia Krush

    I have a question regarding Google+. Sometimes post images on Google+ are square (1:1 ratio) and sometimes they’re rectangular and basically equal Facebook post images in aspect ratio. Do you know what determines that and which size is recommended for larger G+ post images to show up?
    Thank you!

  • Ann07

    Humans are visual-oriented being and that’s the reason why we are highly engaged with visual content. This fact can bring many advantages, such as a tool to optimize your marketing campaign in social media.

    Well, I must agree with you that the images can have a huge impact when use in our distributed content online. So you should just ensure that the images you share online look perfectly good in all possible formats.

    However, I should say that this task can cost a lot of your time, since the content is accessible in any variety of devices, as what is also said above.

    The information you’ve shared, with regards to the sizes of images to be used in different social media sites, are helpful. This is indeed helpful to size the appropriate dimensions for your images and to optimize the images for your brand strategy as well.

    Thanks for the post! I’ve indeed learned a lot. 🙂


    By the way, I found this post shared on Kingged.com

  • ptmcmillan

    Thanks for the info, Jeff. I add an image to each post on my blog. However, for the last month or so many of my images will not post to Facebook when I “share”. What gives?

    • Alejandro

      Hi, if you are using wordpress, try to set the “Featured Image” on every post, maybe works.

  • This should cover all the basic : https://medium.com/@Medium/images-652ee60abea6

  • Glad I could help

  • Book-marked. Thanks a ton, Jeff.

  • Great content as always! Will share this with our community at Social Media Examiner 🙂

  • Brilliant stuff, thank you for sharing these.

  • sheela

    I just posted this on my linkedin profile , and also bookmarking this post , thanks for the sharing .

  • Brad Simon

    Why do you recommend photos added to Facebook be 1200 X 1200 when Facebook’s Guidelines recommend uploading photos with a width of 720 px, 960 px, or 2048 px. I find this 1200 pixel dimension recommended often in articles but I cannot find it ever suggested by Facebook.

  • excellent Jeff I’ll be linking to this awesome article I have a blog post series about images and this post just saved me a ton of time.

  • This looks helpful! Thanks~!

  • Alesia Krush

    Thank you!

  • The Green Queen

    Thanks! I’m bookmarking this…but what a pain. The new 2:1 Twitter image can be difficult to compose. If my subject doesn’t lend itself well, I try, at least to have a focal point fall within that space.

  • not a bad guide. Always on the lookout for a handy info to create better quality images.


  • This is quite useful as it is hard to find this information at times, good to have it all in one place.

    The G+ Chrome plugin is very handy too as using the short codes is time consuming.

  • Oh… we like these very much, will be bookmarked and shared with our followers.

  • Missing LinkedIn Pulse photo…

  • This is a great post, all the sizes that you need and it really does go to show the importance of visuals within social media. Imagery will always help increase your social signals as it gives the viewers something different to look at. Remember a single picture can say a thousand words

  • I will remember these guidelines while running any social media campaigns. Thanks for this great share 🙂