What Size & Style Photos to use on which Social Media Platforms

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Do you know what size and style photo to use on each social media platform? Find out; don't do it wrong! From Anyonita NibblesThe key to utilizing social media platforms to the best of your ability lies in consistently exporting native content (including images) to each site. This tutorial is meant to serve as a handy guide for answering the question, "what size & style photo for which platform?" that so many bloggers ask.

One of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make when it comes to sharing content on social media is to ignore each platform's strengths and weaknesses.

No two social media platforms are created equal--each has its own benefit and each should be treated uniquely.

Although social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk coined the phrase "native content" as it applies to social media, it's a concept that makes a whole lot of sense and has the ability to transform how you think about social media platforms and the content you share on each one.

What size & style photos to use on which social media

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Understanding native content
Native content is simply telling your story in your voice in a way that will resonate with the platform you're talking to. Think of each social platform as a different person you know. Best friend, spouse, child, parent, aunt, boss, guy who sells you your morning latte.

Now imagine that you're trying to describe the latest viral video to each of these people. How might you tell each person about the video? Chances are, the language you'd use in describing the video to your best friend, would differ from how you describe it to your parents and would differ still from how you would describe it to your children.

That ability to adapt your story to its intended audience is at the heart of native content and should be the thing you think about when staging, photographing and sharing your photos. Sharing natively means understanding that what might be hot potatoes on Pinterest might be unappealing on Tumblr. Sharing natively means learning what sells on each platforms and devising a way to harness that and make it work for your blog. Before we go any farther: I am not an expert, but this is something I've been studying, researching and applying for the last two months.

Keep it tall & sexy on Pinterest

Pinterest photos that are vertical, bright, colorful and heavily styled are best. From Anyonita Nibbles.Let me tell you a secret about Pinterest. It's basically just the inside of any female's brain. That thing that inspired all the teenage girls in your high school to spend hours on Google finding quotes, typing them up in Comic Sans and printing them out to stick on their lockers is the same thing that sends women flocking to Pinterest in droves. Pinterest is for dreamers. It's where we go to create versions of ourselves that we want to be but haven't quite mastered. It's why we all have thousands of pins we'll never recreate: Pinterest is a visual dream board. 

Dreams are stylized, beautiful, appealing and tantalizing. They're meant to draw us in and entice us. That's why the photos that perform best on Pinterest are brightly colored, clear and colorful. They also tend to be heavily-styled and polished. (It's why those annoying photos of cookies with a bunch of striped straws in the background will continue to be repinned 8 thousand times. Even though no one eats cookies with straws.) And fitting in with the layout of Pinterest, vertical photos work best. They get more engagement; they're more eye-catching. And that's a fact straight from Pinterest. 
Keep it muted & profesh on G+
G+ photos need to be square, clear and professional. From Anyonita Nibbles

G+ seems to be the place where those of us who can't be bothered to deck out our photographs with a million props go to share our work. And I love it. I've admitted time and again that I'm a rubbish photo styler. I much prefer to keep the subject of my photos the focus and by the time I'm taking the photos, the last thing I want to do is hunt down a pack of crazy colored straws to scatter in the background. (Can you tell I really hate those types of photos?!)

If you're like me, take heart. G+ is the place for you. The preferred style of photo on this platform tends to be more classic and more professional. It's not the bubblegum kitsch of pinks and neon colors of Pinterest. It's more muted colors, square photos reign supreme on G+. G+ likes color, but more natural colors with a clear object.

Keep it colorful & informative on Twitter
Twitter photos are best when they are colorful and vibrant and informative. From Anyonita Nibbles
Because Twitter is such an in-the-moment platform, the type of photos that perform best here tend to be varied. But for bloggers, the photos that get the most attention tend to be ones with a clear focus, that are informative and concise. I don't mean academic, but they do need to have value while still being striking enough to catch the eye of your followers as they're trolling through their never-ending feed.

When it comes to taking photos for Twitter, keep in mind just how much content gets uploaded to Twitter each second. Keep an eye out for how fast your feed is updated and prioritize sharing photos that will make your followers pause and look before swiping through. The best way to do this is through colorful, vibrant square shots that are a little smaller than Instagram. 

Keep it trendy on Instagram
Instagram photos should be trendy and artistic and reflect what's happening currently. From Anyonita Nibbles
Instagram is where the cool kids hang out. Art is what sells on Instagram. The 600x600 pixel box that your photo must fit into in order to be displayed properly on Instagram can be viewed as a restraint or as license to get creative.

You'd be better off viewing it as the latter, because creativity is king on Instagram. Whether the shot is of the soup that's bubbling on your stove or the cute wrap dress you're trying on in the dressing room, Instagrammers crave in-the-moment creativity. Photos that work on Twitter will often work on Instagram, if they're creative enough. Photos that work on Instagram will always work on Twitter. So if you're pressed for time, shoot for Instagram and share it to Twitter. Not the other way around.

Keep it emotional on Facebook
Facebook photos should be horizontal and evoke an emotion. From Anyonita Nibbles

Facebook has the human touch. It's the platform we use to keep in touch with the people we know. It's the platform we use to share life-changing news and life-altering events. Even if you don't want it to, your Facebook feed has a hell of a lot of emotion coursing through it at any given moment of any day. 

The best photos on Facebook evoke an emotion. Whether that emotion is hunger, homesick, thirst, longing to get crafty etc. Facebook has conveyed clearly the types of photos that do well on their site: horizontal photos. In fact, they have even changed the shape of photos on links shared so that they are horizontal. In addition to this shape Facebook suggest that your photos be of good quality and have a clear subject. I've found that photos with dominant primary colors do well on Facebook, too. 

Keep StumbleUpon photos consistent. 
StumbleUpon randomly chooses display photos so make sure all of your photos are relevant and engaging. From Anyonita NibblesPerhaps the most annoying thing about StumbleUpon is that it automatically chooses which photo it displays on your post's StumbleUpon page, giving bloggers zero control over what photo potential readers see. The only way to combat this and to be sure that StumbleUpon picks a good photo is to ensure that all of the photos on your blog post or page are of good quality and that they are all relevant. 

If you are writing a recipe, then all of the photos in the body of that post should relate to that recipe. Now's not the place to include photos of the hotel you stayed in or of the funny thing your cat did. Unless it's relevant to the story. In addition to being good quality and relevant, make sure they're engaging! I know lots of bloggers like to do photos of the ingredients before they cook a recipe and to be honest, this is something I do to remind myself what the ingredients are when I don't write it down, but, in my opinion, this isn't something that needs to be shown to readers. Unless you're highlighting a new product or an usual ingredient. A packet of pasta and a punnet of tomatoes isn't groundbreaking. Don't bore your readers by forcing them to look inside your cupboard. We all have our own cupboards to look in! 

Keep Tumblr photos in motion.
Gifs rule the roost on Tumblr. From Anyonita Nibbles
Tumblr is like Instagram in that it is a mecca for the ultra trendy. Tumblr is where the cool kids play and the thing that brings home the bacon in Tumblr are gifs. Those quickly moving images that usually depict a celebrity pulling some type of face or mouthing a catchphrase or a cat repeatedly smashing its head against a wall. 

Gifs and memes are like gold dust on Tumblr. I'm still playing around and establishing myself on Tumblr, so I don't have much judgment to pass, but social media analysts say it's a site that's worth having a presence on. I'll add that gifs are super fun to make, too. :) Find me on Tumblr and follow me & let me know so I can follow you, too! 

You might enjoy these other 100% original tutorials from Anyonita Nibbles:
DIY Stunning Titled Photos Tutorial


  1. Thanks! I love your blogging tips! It's difficult keeping up with the different image sizes for various social media networks but this makes it clearer x

  2. I knew each platform had its preferred image style but it's really helpful to have the specifics laid out like this. Thanks!

  3. This is good info to know. Too bad they don't all use the same type of photo and size - so much to learn and not enough time.


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