There are few more competitive places than social media platforms right now. If you’re publishing your company’s posts you’ll recognise the pressure to get noticed. Online attention spans have, according to research, dropped to 2 seconds and 1.7 seconds if you’re reaching people on their smartphones. Striking the right first impression with your images has never been more important.
A picture being ‘worth a 1,000 words’ might sound like an allegory but, broadly, the science holds true. Ask someone to listen to 1,000 words and they might recall 100 of them. If the same information is portrayed as images, retention rises up to 650 – a whopping increase of 550%. This is why social media graphic design is so important when it comes to getting your message across.
This shouldn’t feel daunting, the good news is, by choosing images carefully and investing in a bit of design time, you can make a real impression.
As a digital content creator , I spend my days creating graphics as part of Almond’s Social Media work so let me show some of the lessons I’ve learned.
Social Media Image Sizes
The platforms do not let you exploit the popularity of images in a free-for-all. They have a brand of their own to maintain, after all. They want their users to have a universal, seamless experience. Scrolling, clicking and interacting should feel effortlessly familiar which means image size and shape are controlled. By sticking to the rules, you can keep your posts looking ‘just right.’
The most important aspect of preparing graphics for social media is getting the sizing right. We’ve prepared these visual guides to help.
Instagram Image Sizes
- Landscape 1080 X 566 Pixels
- Portrait 1080 X 1350 Pixels
- Square 1080 X 1080 Pixels
- Stories 1080 X 1920 Pixels
Twitter Image Sizes
- Account Header Image: 1500 x 500 pixels
- Profile Image: 400 x 400 pixels
- In-steam Photos: 1200 X 675 pixels
LinkedIn Image Sizes
- Header image 1200 x 627 pixels
- Profile image 400 x 400 pixels
- Blog Post Link Images 1200 X 627 Pixels
When pasting a URL into an update, an auto-generated thumbnail image may appear in the preview if one is available, along with the article or website title.
But, you can customise it by clicking the Image icon below the text box and selecting a photo from your computer.
Facebook Image Sizes
To avoid pixelation or slow load times by remembering the recommended size.
- Header Image: 820 x 312 pixels
- Profile Image 180 x180
- Posts and Timeline Photos: 1200 x 630 pixels
- Facebook Stories: 1080 x 1920 pixels (recommended)
- Multiple Carousel images: 1200 x 1200
TikTok Image Sizes
Profile image: 200 x 200 pixels
TikTok video size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
The ideal aspect ratio for Tik Tok videos is 1:1 or 9:16.
- Profile image: 165 x 165 PX
- Profile cover image: 1440 X 810 PX
- Optimal Pin: 1000 X 1500 PX
- Square Pin: 1000 X 1000 PX
Keeping the 2:3 aspect ratio ensures your brand’s audience sees all the image’s details on their feed. Pins are displayed with a fixed width and other shapes are cropped from the bottom.
Best Design Software & Graphic Design Apps For Social Media
You have a tonne of choices when it comes to creating your images. Here are a few apps that I can recommend.
1. Adobe Photoshop
The ‘old man’ of image manipulation, Photoshop’s first iteration was way back in 1987. Technically a raster graphics editor, it can be used for a wide range of purposes from ‘touching up’ photos to creating whole visual environments from scratch.
Photoshop is undoubtedly a hugely powerful program. However, for newbies, it can be overwhelming. There are many, many terms and tools to learn about. Experienced users put decades into taking full advantage of its capabilities.
Canva is a much more straightforward program than photoshop. Most users can pick it up ‘out of the box’ with limited training. It acts as a ‘drag-and-drop’ editor that allows users to design custom visuals, edit photos, and even design complete presentations within minutes.
With just a few clicks, you can create anything from graphics for your latest Instagram post to lead magnet templates. Regardless of your graphic design skills, Canva is a great entry-level product for social media graphics.
Infographics, charts and data visualisations work brilliantly on social media. Whether you’re looking to share survey data, explain a complex topic visually, or bring a multi-step process to life visually, Piktochart can help you achieve your graphic goals.
It allows you to pull material directly from Excel, Google Sheets and CSV files. Ideal if your client is driven by numbers rather than visuals. It is accessible and easy to use too.
4. Adobe Creative Cloud Express
With Photoshop, Adobe has set the standard for image creation. However, Adobe Creative Cloud Express lets users create social media graphics from templates or from scratch. Uploading your own custom templates, makes it easy to make your content on brand. The program also includes photo-editing capabilities including background removal.
Adobe Creative Cloud Express offers many of the features of Adobe’s best graphic design software, but makes it free and accessible. You don’t need specialist knowledge to make it work.
Examples of Great Social Media Graphics
I hope these will inspire you to create your own strong visuals and get your posts noticed by your audience – ahead of the pack.
Social Media Marketing Tips
Finally, I’ve pulled together some top tips to consider before you start your next campaign. Whatever graphic design tools and techniques you use, it is important to remember social media graphics are an active part of your digital marketing plans. As well as catching the eye, they should support your business goals.
Choose the right colours
Your brand will have colours already associated with it. Choose from a palette that compliments your social media posts. You can also use VistaCreate’s palette generator to find the perfect color combination for your social media posts.
Add text wisely
You can dilute the power of a social media graphic with overlaid text. Use it with care, if it all. As a general rule, the simpler and more direct your message, the better.
Pick fonts that align with your brand identity
Your brand guide, should you have one, probably specifies fonts. This should apply to your social media posts. Consistency is important.
Add a call to action (CTA)
What do you want your audience to do after seeing your amazing graphics? Do not be afraid to include a specific instruction such as click here or visit our website on your graphics. You’ll see impressive results.
Inject brand values into graphic design
What does your business stand for? Does it have a style? A look and feel? Social media photography and graphics are the best ways you have to communicate that to a wide audience.
Adapt visual content to each platform you use
Each social media platform has its own unique attributes. Instagram and LinkedIN, for example, serve very different purposes for very different audiences. Make sure your graphics take this into account. Audiences, and the platforms themselves, quickly get a sense for recycled content.
In today’s overcrowded social media landscape, visual graphics will help you stand out. While these tips will serve as your solid starting point, keep in mind that there is no perfect graphic design strategy out there. Tailor these tips to your specific goals and expectations and, above all, never stop experimenting and testing.
If you have any questions or need a bit of help because you’re busy doing other things, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to help.