images social media
Using the right image for your blog or social media posts won’t solve world hunger or cure cancer, but if you’re putting content out there, you may as well do it right. The bottom line is, social photos generate more engagement. Not convinced? Twitter data scientist, Douglas Mason, analyzed millions of Tweets and determined that photos give users a 35% bump in retweets.

During a presentation at last week’s Super Marketing Conference for Lawyers in Boston I received a surprising number of inquiries during and after the presentation about where to find images and how to use them. Here’s a quick discussion.

Images for blog posts

Make it easy to share your blog-post-with-image on social media by rethinking the way you use media in your posts. The big four – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ use horizontal images which are pulled in automagically when you enter a link. See: The Ideal Image Sizes for (almost) Every Social Network. On this blog, we moved from square images with wrap-around text (below) to horizontal images (at the top of this post). 650×325 is a good size to shoot for.
images social media

The 2:1 ratio doesn’t work perfectly for every platform but it looks a lot better than trying to fit a square pic into a horizontal space.

One size fits all

  • Twitter has a 2:1 ratio and suggests a 1024 x 512 pixel image
  • Additionally, the 2:1 ratio for Twitter is not quite accurate on their iOS mobile app; I’ve discovered that images are cropped significantly on the left and right borders and displayed on the iOS mobile app at a 1.75:1 ratio
  • Facebook suggests a 1200 x 630 pixel image
  • Google+ seems to post images at 345 x 195 pixels
  • LinkedIn posts a thumbnail sized image at 180 x 110 pixels

Although the 2:1 ratio mostly works, if you want to get the perfect fit every time without having to create a half-dozen images for each post, there’s a solution! Rackspace’s Garrett Heath did some awesome sleuthing and multiplying and dividing and other headache-inducing calculations and came up with one image to rule them all – one image that works perfectly across social media: 1600 pixels wide by 800 pixels high with a 160-pixel padding on the left and right margins.

If you didn’t take out a second mortgage to get a copy of Adobe Photoshop or neglected to get an advanced degree in the program, here are a few editing tools that you can tinker with to get the desired perfect social-media-sized image.

Free Images

Finally, where do you get images? We identified a few free resources here. New photo libraries pop up just about every day so keep checking and compile your own list of preferred sites.

If you put out tons of content, consider subscribing to a paid service like Fotolia or Shutterstock – both of which we’ve used. Dollar Photo Club is another good option. People love to bash stock photo sites — until they need one. Sure, there are lots of corny pics, but a few gems are in there waiting to be discovered.

Blogging and engaging on social media already takes time and finding the right image to accompany your meaningful content adds to that. But if you’re serious about creating a dynamic and engaging presence, the extra time is worth the effort.