A simple guide to social media image sizes: What are the rules?

A simple guide to social media image sizes: What are the rules?
Metigy Learning
Making your content stand out on social media is no easy task. But eye-catching imagery that showcases your brand can help you get noticed, grow your audience, and boost your digital presence. Pictures, graphics, and videos can quickly catch the attention of your target audience. And you’ll want to optimize them for the platform you are posting on. Each channel has different image dimensions, so you need to adapt your designs to work within the space. We’re going to look at some guidelines for the most popular social media channels, so you can design content that gets your brand noticed.

Social media image size rules on Facebook

Social media image size rules on Facebook

The most popular social media channel, Facebook has more than 3 billion users. That’s a gigantic potential audience, but also means there’s a huge amount of competition for their attention. Although you can post text alone on Facebook, using images and videos alongside your posts will boost your engagement – posts with images average 50% higher engagement than other types of posts. Your images don’t have to be photos either. Infographics can work well for brands that share educational content. If your audience has a sense of humor, memes and GIFs might work.  Text can overlay images too, even on Facebook Ads. You might hear otherwise – Facebook used to have a limit of less than 20% image text for ads. This was removed in September 2020.  However, Facebook still recommends using limited text over images to make them clearer for users and you may find your ads have restricted reach if Facebook deems that too high a proportion of it is text.

Facebook Profile Image Size

Your Facebook profile image appears on your page and alongside every post and comment you make, so you want it to be instantly recognizable. For businesses, this will often be your logo, unless you are a sole trader or freelancer, in which case it might be your own face. The dimensions for a profile image are 180 x 180 pixels. Although the dimensions are square, the image itself appears as a circle, so make sure you choose your image accordingly.

Facebook Cover Image Size

The large rectangular image at the top of your page is your cover image. It doesn’t appear anywhere else, but is the first thing someone will see when they arrive on your page, so it’s prime space.  Your cover image should instantly identify your brand’s core offering. While photos can work here, most brands combine them with text, such as a tagline, so users know what to expect. Anything less than 820 x 312 pixels will end up being stretched.

Facebook Post Image Size

There are a few ways of sharing image posts on Facebook. Dimensions vary depending on which option you choose.
  • Shared image – 1,200 x 630 pixels
  • Shared links – 1,200 x 630 pixels, but you can choose whether it will rescale as a square image to the left of the text or a slightly larger rectangle above the text
  • Event image – when you create an event on Facebook, it gets its own cover image. The recommended dimensions are 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Facebook Ads Image Size

There are lots of different options for creating ads on Facebook, from boosted timeline posts to carousels to right column ads. In general, the best size for ad images is 1080 x 1080 pixels

Social media image sizes on Twitter

Social media image sizes on Twitter

Just like on Facebook, tweets with images get more engagement than those which are solely text-based.  Just because the character limit has gone up, doesn’t mean that you should accompany tweets with lots of text. The conversation tends to move faster on Twitter than on some of the other platforms, so images that are eye-catching and get your point across quickly are best.  Illustrations and infographics work well on Twitter too, as do GIFs. You’ll need to make sure your GIF loops though as those that just play once will display as static images. And you can add text to images too – just keep it short and snappy to suit the feel of this platform.

Twitter Profile Image Size

Your profile image appears on your own profile and also alongside every tweet and reply you send. Just as on Facebook, you’ll want this image to be instantly recognizable, so your logo or a photo of yourself is usually the best choice. Twitter’s profile images are 400 x 400 pixels and the file size can’t be larger than 5MB. The image is square, but will appear as a circle, so watch how you crop the image to make sure you don’t lose part of your logo.

Twitter Header Image Size

The header image on Twitter appears on your profile. It’s larger than your profile or feed images and remains permanently at the top, so you’ll want to use an image that sums up your brand. The recommended dimensions for a header image are 1,500 x 500 pixels. File sizes can’t be larger than 5MB.

Images in Tweets

You can choose to add a single image, multiple images, or an image with a link to your tweets. The optimal size depends on which option you are using.
  • Single image – 1200 x 675 pixels
  • Two images – 700 x 800 pixels each
  • Three images – one image of 700 x 800 pixels (image on the left) and two of 1200 x 686 pixels (images on the right)
  • Four images – 1200 x 600 pixels each
  • Images with links – 1200 x 628 pixels

Social media image sizes on Instagram

Social media image sizes on Instagram

Instagram is well-known for its visual nature and you can’t post to your grid unless you include an image. Although images are still predominately photos, you can use other sorts of graphics on Instagram too. Some brands use illustrated text, infographics, and illustrations, or a mix of different image types.  Images with text are often shared in stories, as that can work better than posts where the main point is made in the caption. Quotes and memes are good to encourage sharing. Posts with more than one image can help to boost your engagement rate on Instagram. The algorithm will often serve it to your followers’ feeds more than once if they didn’t engage with the first image. Instagram offers a plethora of different options for sharing images. It is a good idea to cross-promote your grid posts to your stories to maximize engagement. 

Instagram Profile Pictures

Your profile picture appears on your own profile and accompanies your comments. It appears above your grid posts when they are viewed in someone’s feed and at the top of your stories. So, your followers should be able to identify you from your profile picture. Choose your logo or a photo of yourself. The recommended dimensions for a profile picture are 110 x 110 pixels. It will appear in a circle, so avoid putting anything important in the corners.

Instagram Grid Posts

When you post to your grid, the images appear in your followers’ feeds and as thumbnails on your own profile.  Instagram originally only let you post images as squares, but there are now both landscape and portrait options available too. These still appear as squares on your profile, but will keep their aspect ratio when they appear on someone’s feed. The recommended size for grid posts is 1080 x 1080 pixels, or 1080 x 1350 pixels for portrait images. 

Instagram Stories

While your Instagram Stories don’t get a permanent place on your profile (unless you save them as highlights), they are a popular way for users to interact with your brand. The recommended image size for Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels. As a result, portrait images work better than landscape here. You can resize square and landscape images to use in Stories too, but they’ll have a background behind them instead of filling the screen.

Social media image sizes on LinkedIn

Social media image sizes on LinkedIn

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn tends to have a more serious vibe than other social media platforms. It is a great place for B2B companies to build their customer base, but individuals hang out on LinkedIn too.  Because of its professional audience, a clean and well-presented profile is essential on LinkedIn. Thought leadership and educational content can do especially well, so choose images that compliment your articles and help your posts get noticed.

LinkedIn Profile Pictures

As an individual, your LinkedIn profile acts as a digital CV, so your profile picture should be a professional-looking headshot. For brands, your logo is the best choice. The recommended dimensions for both personal and business profile pictures are 300 x 300 pixels. Although it appears as a circle for personal accounts, the image remains square for business accounts, which is useful for brands wanting to position their logos correctly.

LinkedIn Cover Images

You don’t need to add a cover image to your LinkedIn profile, but it appears at the top and is a good place for brands to catch visitors’ attention and showcase their work. The recommended size for personal cover images is 1584 x 396 pixels. For company pages, it is 1128 x 191 pixels.

LinkedIn Post Images

You can share multiple images with your LinkedIn posts – they’ll appear at the bottom of the post, emphasizing the importance this platform still puts on words. You can opt to share just images or images with links. Either way, the recommended dimensions are 1200 x 627 pixels.

LinkedIn Life Tab Images

For company pages, LinkedIn offers a Life tab, which lets you showcase what it is like for employees working for your business. At the top is a hero image, which you can use to share a picture or infographic that summarizes your working culture. The best size for the main hero image on your Life tab is 1128 x 376 pixels. You can also add other company photos, which have a recommended size of 900 x 600 pixels.

Social media image sizes on Snapchat

Social media image sizes on Snapchat

Snapchat’s unique selling point (USP) is that images and videos disappear after they’ve been viewed (or after 24 hours, if you add them to your stories). While that means your images won’t be around for long, Snapchat is still a highly visual platform, so getting your content design right is essential to catching users’ attention. Photos tend to work best on Snapchat, but you can adapt them with text, stickers, and filters to make them more fun and engaging. This is a playful platform, and you don’t want to go too serious. Brands on Snapchat are most likely to be using the stories and paid advertising options, but adverts, stories, and snaps all have the same recommended image size, which is 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Design your content to fit the social media channel

As we’ve seen, there are variations in which image sizes and orientations work best on different social media channels. The best way to make your brand stand out online is to tweak your content for each platform, rather than trying to share the same post to all your profiles. Images that are optimized for the channel they appear on will be most likely to get your brand noticed online.
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