Are you trying to improve your social media marketing, or perhaps thinking about using social media for your business in the future?

If you are only sharing text based posts on social media it may be time to rethink your content strategy. This post will discuss why you should use images in your social media content and provide some tools and guidelines on how to do it – even with minimal resources.

Why Use Images on Social Media?

Images can bring your content to life, increase engagement and thus help to improve your social authority, a measure of influential activity. Especially for businesses, this can make a huge difference to the results you are seeing, whether you are using social for retention and loyalty of your existing customers, or to attract new business leads.

A study of more than 4 million tweets found that tweets containing an image had an increased likelihood of gaining retweets compared to a tweet with no images. These percentages were also affected by the social authority of the profile that posted the tweet, as shown in the graph below:

Research suggests images increase retweets regardless of your social authority

This doesn’t mean you should place an image on every single post. In fact, having a wide variety of visual content on your social media profiles, such as videos, GIFs, and links, provides a healthy balance. Text only posts and tweets are still useful too.

Hootsuite wrote an article highlighting some DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to sharing images on social media, which covers some important considerations. For example, ensuring your image is relevant and adds something to your post, which could be something as simple as to illustrate a point, to entertain, or to seek an emotional response from your followers. You should also ensure that images are the correct dimensions (which I’ll explain later in this post), and remember – only use GIFs sparingly.

Social Media GIF

Free Design Tools

Many clients tell us that they don’t have the resources to generate their own visual content. If this is an issue for you, why not try searching for free-to-use images on the internet? 

You can also consider introducing typography onto an image, which allows you to extend the message you are trying to get across in each tweet or post, as shown in my example below: 

Extend your message - use free tools to create graphics with typography
Extend your message – use free tools to create graphics with typography

Again, don’t worry if you haven’t got an internal designer or Photoshop knowledge to create these shareable images. There are plenty of free online tools that can help you create beautiful and informative graphics:

  • Canva – Create your own designs using free graphics and typography, with lots of social friendly size templates
  • Pablo – A simple way to make images with text for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram
  • Spruce – make Twitter ready images in seconds
  • Photoresizer – the clue is in the name; but use with caution as smaller images will reduce in quality

Social media channels are constantly adding new features too. For example, on Twitter you can now automatically post a collage of images in a single tweet, and Facebook will automatically pull in images from a website when you paste a link:

Posting more than one image in a Tweet appears as a collage
Posting more than one image in a Tweet appears as a collage

No matter where you source or edit your images, always remember to save with a relevant name.

Image Post Size Guidelines – Social Media

Here’s a quick guide to ensuring your images are the correct size and ratio for each social media channel:

In-stream photos should be a minimum of 506 x 253px. Above this, so long as a 2:1 ratio is used, your image will appear correctly in the Twitter steam.

Minimum width of 470px. Recommended upload size is 1200 x 630px, which will appear in feeds and on pages correctly.

Shared images should be a minimum width of 426px with a maximum upload size of 2048 x 2048px.

Images posted to your profile will appear at different sizes, landscape or portrait, so ensure it is a good quality and size before you post. An optimal size would be 800 x 400px, which is also the image size for sponsored (paid) updates.

An optimal size for pins is 736 x 1100px. It is recommended to use an image aspect ratio of 2:3 to 1:3.5 and a minimum width of 600px.

Use 1080px width for the best quality – you can now post square, portrait and landscape images with the latest Instagram updates. The minimum square dimensions are 510 x 510px.

Have you introduced images to your content marketing? Continue the conversation and share on Twitter.

For more information about how we can help you with your content marketing campaigns, contact us on 0800 622 6100.

If you need help with your don't hesitate to contact us.

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