Monday, 4 May 2015

5 Social Media Image Size Hacks for Quick Visual Content

Want to create visual content but feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different image sizes?
One size does not fit all but it definitely becomes easier if you use a few tips and tricks.
Here are 5 Social Media Image Size Hacks to Fast-Track your Visual Content Creation – across more than one social media platform.
5 Social Media Image Size Hacks for Quick Visual Content
Measuring Tape by Shutterstock

I’m often asked how it is possible to create a “one size fits all” image.
Unfortunately it’s not that simple.  If you read this post, you would understand that it’s important to respect the individual differences of each platform.  This includes image size.
Some image sizes are more suited to some platforms more than others.
One size might not fit all, but there are shortcuts, tools and tricks you can use to make the whole process a heck of a lot easier.
Ready?  Let’s jump in and take a look at them:

#1  Square, Landscape, Portrait

You may have seen many really cool (and complex) infographics over the years showing every possible size permutation and combination under the sun.
Often called “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Image Sizes” or something similar, these infographics are a one stop shop for every size and dimension you need to know.
Literally dozens of them – everything from Facebook ads to Twitter banners and Pinterest images.
The problem is that it’s too complicated. Nobody is going to remember all those sizes!
Now, if you have been around my blog for a while you will know that I like to make things simple.  So here it is…
All you need to know are 3 sizes:   Square, Landscape, and Portrait.
The 3 Image Size You Need for all platforms - Square, Portrait , Landscape


Square suits Instagram and Facebook.
Landscape suits Twitter and Facebook.
Portrait suits Google+ and Pinterest.
One size may not fit all but you can definitely double up on an image or two by using these 3 sizes.   And if you read on you will see some easy ways to do more than one image size at once!
Another blogger (who is also a savvy designer) that advocates the use of square, portrait and landscape is Dustin W. Stout from Dustn.tv.
Dustin has written an awesome blog post outlining the only social media image sizes you need…  and some helpful templates for you to use. You can check it out here.  Dustin goes into a little more detail about how these image sizes can be used, including how versatile Landscape-size is (I concur!). So be sure to check it out.

#2  Get Clever with Square Images

I was talking to the super savvy Rebekah Radice recently (if you don’t follow her, then you should start… she always shares quality social media tips on her blog).
Rebekah has a square-shaped image on her blog posts as her featured image. You can see it here:
Square Image Trick by Rebekah Radice - click through to find out more!


But look closer. See how she has designed the image?  If you look at all of Rebekah’s blog post images, the most important information is in the middle third of the image?
By “most important” I mean the text overlay header. If this image is shared to Twitter and separated from the Blog Post, it can still stand alone and provide context about what the person is clicking through to.
And because of the placement of the text in that middle third, when it is shared to Twitter… Boom!  Perfectly Sized for Twitter. Let’s take a look at how it shows up when I tweet it out:
Perfectly sized image for Twitter by Rebekah Radice - click here to read her trick!

Super clever Rebekah. Super clever.
If you have a square image that you are sharing, consider using a text overlay to add your header in the middle third.  It allows you to share it more easily on Twitter without redesigning a whole new image.
The bonus?  You can now share this image on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and it also looks fine on Google+.  Just by taking into account the way in which you lay out the image.

#3  A Quick Canva Hack

Until recently (until #4) I would do this in Canva.  I would create a landscape image, and then copy a second copy of it, then merely move the elements around, copy them, resize them till I had the following – a portrait and square image to go with my landscape image.  It takes a little manouvering but it is much quicker than designing each image from scratch.
I will usually create these three images for every blog post – so that I can promote the post across any of the platforms as I have all 3 of the basic image sizes.
How

As you can see above, I first created a landscape image.  Then I copied the entire image on to a second landscape-shaped background.
From there I copied each element using the copy and paste function and then reduced the size of various fonts and images until I had a Portrait sized image on the left and a square shaped image on the right.
Each image needed a little cropping for which I used a simple cropping tool but the result was – one square image and one portrait size.
No they were not perfect in dimension, but you know what? They worked and they were quick!  Sometimes when uploading images, near enough is good enough.
But I have another way of doing this that might excite you – read on to #4.

#4  Canva’s New Pro Account – Coming Soon!

I have been fortunate to be beta-testing Canva‘s New Pro Account “Canva for Work” – it’s coming soon as an upgrade option for everyone, and so far I am loving it!
There are a number of features coming with the Pro Account, including:
  • saving your own layouts
  • resizing designs (something that makes #3 a lot easier!)
  • setting up your brand assets
  • organise images and designs within folders (being added to beta soon).
So far I am loving the ability to resize designs. Take for instance, the image on this very post.  After I created it I have the option to resize the imnage… see, in the top left corner?
Have you heard about Canva's new pro account coming soon?  Click this link to find out more...
Resizing your image is as easy as one click with Canva’s new Pro Account. Coming Soon!

Then simply choose the image size you want to resize to – all your elements carry over to the new image template after you choose the correct size from the drop-down menu.
5 Image Size Hacks for Social Media - click through for more!
A drop-down menu gives you a choice for resizing your image.

In this case, it was a portrait size image for Pinterest. As you can see the raw elements are carried over, but need a little tweaking:
5 Image Size Hacks for Social Media Visual Content Creation - Sneak Peek of new Canva Pro Account


And with a few changes in font size, and some repositioning… here is the finished image:
5 Social Media Image Design Hacks for Creating Visual Content Quickly and Easily - Click here for more!
Love this post? Pin it for later!


and there’s one more…

#5  Use a Rockin’ Plug In

For those of you on Word Press, a great Plug-In can make all the difference for sharing your visual content – and it provides an easy “Social Media Image Hack” for you.
A great Plug-In will allow you to choose the image that you want to be shared to a particular social platform when someone shares your content. For instance on this post, I have allocated a particular image to the Facebook Open Graph – so that when this post is shared to Facebook, Facebook knows to pull in the title image. People are out there ready to share your content – make sure the right images go with it!
Two Plug-Ins you can use for this are:
This is a great plug-in for sharing images as well as providing you with a helping hand if you don’t understand SEO (or don’t have time to become an expert in it!).   It gives you the benefits of simple tips for SEO for each post and your images, as well as the opportunity to specify which images you want to pull in for Twitter, Facebook etc.
There’s a new kid on the blog and I am loving the sound of it, and look forward to trying it.  It’s called Social Warfare:
Social Warfare is an awesome new social media sharing tool - find out more!


Social Warfare is a sharing Plug-In that also allows you to add beautifully responsive sharing buttons, total share counters, easy click-to-tweet quotes, custom social media image uploading, Pinterest-specific share customization, and a widget to display your most popular posts in order of most social shares.
I am loving the Pinterest sharing option – it ensures that the image you want to be shared gets shared… great for visual content.

Over to You

Have you been frustrated with trying to keep up with creating visual content on more than one social media platform?
Will these hacks help? Share your next action step in the comments below!

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