When you post your work, or adverts for your business, on social media, you can get a lot of coverage. In fact, this can be a real way to grow your business without having to spend any money. But there are a lot of factors in getting it right. The right image, the right caption or hashtags, and the right audience all need to be acquired. However, all of that work goes out of the window if you do not get the sizes right.
Why is it so important to size images carefully? Because it affects how they show up. You want to make sure that the whole image can be seen everywhere that you post it, to ensure that it can be appreciated in full by any viewers. This gives the maximum impact and also guarantees that no important details are lost. It might be tedious, but resizing your images carefully for each social media post will show you great results. Here is a quick guide to the appropriate social media sizes for each network, as well as advice on how much leeway you have with each.
Though landscape and portrait images can now be shared on Instagram, they still show up on your page as square, and it can be easy to fall into a trap of having the best parts of your posts cropped in that view. For the best results, try to stick to the square format wherever possible. There may be times when it just doesn’t work, but if that is the case, do check your page and how the image looks after posting.
There was a time also when Instagram images were smaller at 640 x 640 px, but updates have brought them up to an optimum size of 1080 x 1080 px. This means that you ideally shouldn’t post anything smaller than that size, as it may appear pixelated.
If you are worried about how to get your images uploaded correctly, you can use a free service like Canva to get them dropped into the right dimensions before you transfer them to your phone for uploading. If you are trying to create an image that spans several rows or columns by splitting your original image into squares, remember that it needs to be very large for this to work. A 3 x 2 grid, taking up two rows and three columns of your page, needs to have a height of 2160 pixels and a width of 3240 pixels before you crop it up.
The width of images on Pinterest is always 235 px, and you may have noticed that the lengths change according to the image. Expanding a pin gives you a width of 736 px, with that height adjusting automatically. What this means is that a bigger than 736 px size gives you an image that will look great at all Pinterest sizes, though beware of pixilation on larger graphics, particularly those which contain text.
Your image ratio should be between 2:3 and 1:3.5, and Pinterest recommends a greater width than 600 px. Bear in mind that you also do not want an image which is so long it gets lost – viewers may not care to scroll all the way down. Too long and too thin makes an unsightly mess of pixels which won’t attract much positive attention. Try 736 x 1100 px for a great looking image which achieves the right kind of balance.
The important thing to know about Facebook is that images are always scaled down or up to fit their grids. Now, if you have an image which is smaller than the grid, you will end up with something that looks pixelated and off. You don’t want that to happen! In all cases, it’s better to upload a photograph or graphic that is slightly too big rather than slightly too small.
A square image will always be scaled to 470 x 470 px, which means you can use your square Instagram images again here. However, if you prefer them to appear in a horizontal design, you will find that landscape images are scaled to 470 px across and then the height changed accordingly. Be aware that an image of less than 470 px across will be displayed with blank space to one side, which looks unsightly!
The same is true for vertical images, which appear aligned to the left. They are scaled to 394 px with the height adjusted accordingly.
The most important thing to take note of is when sharing a link to Facebook, perhaps from your blog. When you do this, the image accompanying the link is scaled to 470 x 246 px, no matter what. This means that anything outside of that box is cropped out, which could result in some odd-looking posts. If your post is not formatted correctly for the horizontal image to pull through as a full feature, then a small thumbnail will appear beside the link instead, at 158 x 158 px.
Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the best size for display on Facebook is 1024 x 512 px. This is because it still looks great even on bigger retina displays and will fill the full-length news feed box.
Guess what? That 1024 x 512 px image you just created for Facebook will actually work great on Twitter too, so that’s a little bit of work taken out of the equation for you. Any image in the 2:1 ratio will work perfectly on Twitter and will display fully with no cropping, as the size they use is 506 x 253 px for their image display frames. If you upload something smaller, then you will again get that unsightly white space to the right of the image.
If you upload something that is bigger than the given dimensions and does not fit the 2:1 ratio, there is still a way for people to see the full size. Clicking on the image will bring it up on their screens larger. You can exploit this by ensuring that the central part of your image is eye-catching and intriguing, though it’s always better to have the full thing visible right away. Note that Twitter cards each have different dimensions.
Do you have any tips for optimising the image sizes for each of your posts? How about other social networks that you use? Tell us in the comments.