earth-317830_640The best social media images are those that are shared. The number of times an image is shared is the only metric that matters. If the image is being shared then your message is being shared, which is the entire point of the exercise. Creating an effective social media image is at least as much science as it is art. Below are some guidelines to help you craft the best, most effective social media images possible.

It Starts With Your Brand

Any image you craft should first and foremost be a vessel for your brand. That means that it should bear your company’s colors and logos featured prominently in the body of the graphic. It won’t matter how many times your image is shared if nobody knows it was you who released it into the wild to begin with. The whole reason for creating such images is so that they can serve as virtual sign posts, pointing the way back to you. Make sure everybody who sees your creation knows where to go. To that end, at a minimum, you’re going to want to have your website’s address somewhere on the image itself.

An Eye Catching Hook

Every image needs a central theme; a hook to draw the viewer’s eye and attention. The hook should be relevant to the message you’re trying to convey in your image and immediately understandable by your target audience.

Comsumable Information

Even though a picture is worth a thousand words you’re going to want some sort of written message to be a part of your image. The important thing here however is to be sure that the information is presented in a context suitable for social media.

For good or for ill, social media messages tend to be short and punchy. Some people may argue that social media is ruining our attention spans, but whether that’s true or not, the point remains that if you want your message to be shared then the information it contains needs to be presented in short bursts of text, rather than a big wall of text. You can do this by:

  • Creating lists
  • Displaying quotes
  • Using screen shots
  • Embedding charts within your core image

The Right Size For The Right Platform

Your image size is going to depend on what social media platform you’re using. The specs below are optimal for the major social media platforms you may be using:

  • Facebook post: 940×788* Facebook ad: 1200 x 444* Facebook Cover: 851×315
  • Google+ post:800×600* Google+ cover: 2048×1152
  • Instagram: 612×612
  • Pinterest Pin: 735×1100* Pinterest: 600×600
  • Tweeted Image: 1000×500
  • YouTube Video thumbnail: 1280×720

If you follow the guidelines above, your images will become increasingly effective. You message will be seen and shared more than ever before,and as your skill improves, you’ll see an ever growing response from every social media post you make.

Anyone can learn to create effective social media images. It is simply a matter of practice, and the studious application of a few basic principles. Oh, and pretty girls help.

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