ASK OUR GEEKS | What images should I use on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites?

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Finding the right image to use for each social media profile can be a challenge, especially for those of us without much graphic design experience or background. We can take the time to select the perfect profile photo, but as soon as it’s uploaded, we’ll see a grainy, stretched version of ourselves staring back. Not the most flattering! This article is meant as a quick, one-stop-shop guide to those pesky image dimensions on some of the major social channels. Keep in mind, these are always changing, but at least you’ll have a great place to start!

Facebook:

Profile and Page pictures are used across the site, so it is important this image can stand by itself in a newsfeed or ad, and that it presents your company or self correctly. If you are using a logo, be sure it is in a format that would fare well as a square – rectangles will often get trimmed down in the upload process and you’ll therefore lose the sides of your image. These photos must be at least 180 x 180 pixels (what’s a pixel? Learn here), as it will display at 160 x 160 pixels. File format is normally best as a saved JPG.

For the Cover Photo of your page or profile, the image will be more rectangular, so think in terms of a landscape image that will cover across the page. Currently, Cover Photos span 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that falls at a smaller width and height than this, it will be stretched and distorted to fill the space. If you are using a logo, it may appear clearer as a PNG file instead of a traditional JPG file.

Twitter:

Profile pictures for Twitter are normally seen as a thumbnail, and therefore fare better as a close up image rather than something like a landscape photo. The biggest your photo could possibly be seen is 500 x 500 pixels on this site. This size would be visible when a user clicks directly on your photo, where it may then open in a new browser window or tab by itself. On your Twitter profile page, it will show up as 81 x 81 pixels, in your Twitter Stream it will be 48 x 48 pixels (this will be the most commonly seen size), and the smallest it will get will be 31 x 31 pixels (this small size would only be seen when you are on your Home screen). So what does this mean? You are better off uploading an image that is 500 x 500 pixels in size, as it will then accommodate all sizes it may run into on Twitter. This photo will then be optimized for the web – Twitter will automatically do this for you upon upload, making your image the web standard of 72 pixels per inch (making it load on web pages faster). Remember that this image will be another square, so keep this in mind as you select photos. Something that can be cropped into a square will fare better than a rectangular image.

Twitter also has a header image on your profile page. This is set up similar to your Facebook Cover Photo, and will appear directly behind your profile photo and then fade as the page moves down. This image is recommended at 1252 x 626 pixels. It will appear on your screen as 520 x 260 pixels, however, the larger size will allow for a clearer image.

LinkedIn:

This profile picture must be professional. Something quickly snapped in your bathroom mirror may work for Facebook, but LinkedIn is the space to project a professional, credible image – something usually not found as a “selfie” with a tile background!  Again, remember the square image rule. This image should be a minimum of 200 x 200 pixels and a maximum of 500 x 500 pixels.

If you have a Company page, there will be a few more photos to upload. A Cover Photo must be 646 x 220 pixels, your Horizontal/Standard logo 100 x 60 pixels, and your Square Logo (used for network updates, etc. in the newsfeed) will be 50 x 50 pixels. When it comes to logos and other text, PNG files may appear crisper than JPGs. You can also add images for your products and services. The Banner image for this section would be (just as your cover photo) 646 x 220 pixels. If you are adding products to be listed, that image will be only 100 x 80 pixels.

YouTube:

YouTube Channel images are interesting in that you need to consider an image that will play well in multiple screen formats – TV, Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile. This one image will be 2560 x 1440 pixels total. That will be the full image seen on a TV screen. The next largest would be Desktop at 2560 x 423 pixels – remember this is the same image – it just needs to look good when cropped to that size. Tablet is next at 1855 x 423 pixels, and the smallest area (and safest to put your logo within the image as a whole) is 1546 x 423 pixels. The Mobile size is guaranteed to show on ALL devices, so whatever fits in this center part of your image should include all the important details you want to communicate.

There are more than just these four social media channels that each have their own graphic specifications, and more can be seen here (along with a detailed layout of the above channels) in this handy infographic.

This guide will save you some time as you spruce up your pages compared to the multiple trials/multiple photos methods many people endure. Checking up on your images regularly will ensure that if any platform changes take place, you will be able to accommodate with an adjusted photo. Also feel free to change up your images as often as you feel – followers and friends enjoy variety!