Visuals: Optimizing Images for the Greatest Impact on Social

We’ve mentioned before that including an image in your social media posts can increase engagement up to 400%. People are visual creatures! Images and graphics allow you to appeal to that visual nature. One problem our clients run into often is sizing and resizing images. How do you know what sizes to use? What steps should you take to resize an image without making it look weird?

Resizing images for social media is a tool that will take your content from good to great. Each platform has its own image size specifications, with many platforms having multiple possible image sizes. If you aren’t adept at resizing images, the process of adjusting one image to fit several different sizes can be overwhelming! Not to mention, as platforms update, size specifications change as well. Luckily, we have a few resources and tips that will make this process much easier.

Know Your Specs

In Web Services, we use Sprout Social for content management, analytics, and customer service. They also offer a blog full of tips and tricks for making your social media marketing efforts shine, including this handy guide: The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes. This page is especially useful for placing ads and sponsoring posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

It is absolutely beneficial to be up-to-date on the latest sizing specs, but we are all about making things as simple as possible. Ultimately, when we are sharing an image or graphic on social media, we use one size that works best across all of the major platforms: 612×612 (that’s pixels!). We started using this 1:1 ratio when Instagram only allowed square images. They’ve since switched to allow landscape and portrait oriented sizes, but the square image still looks and works the best. If you’re looking to create a graphic or share an image that will work across platforms without adjustment, 612 x 612 pixels is what we recommend.

Utilize Tools

There are plenty of great, easy-to-use, FREE resources online that can help with image resizing and graphic creation. Here are some of the ones we’ve found beneficial:

  • Landscape: allows you to crop, scale, and resize images based on what platform you’re publishing them to
  • Fotor: brower-based basic photo editing
  • Freepik & Flaticon: tons of free-to-use (with attribution) vectors, photos, and icons
  • Piktochart: easy-to-use infographic maker
  • Pixlr: another browser-based image editing site

These tools are all easy to use and helpful for any skill level, beginner to expert. However, if you have access to (and time to learn) Adobe’s Photoshop & Illustrator, you may find that these online tools can be limiting for any projects requiring a more refined design.¬†If you need a graphic created to promote your event, department, or program, our Publications Team offers design services free-of-charge for WKU departments and are an excellent resource as well!

Take the Steps to Resize: Photoshop Crash Course

Cherry Hall 1

Let’s say we want to edit this photo of Cherry Hall to fit Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Instead of resizing the image three different times, we’ll use the WKU-standard social media image size: 612 x 612. We’ll want to open a new file in Photoshop with the correct size specifications:

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After the file is created, we’ll want to Place the image of Cherry Hall into it. Go to File > Place > then select your file from it’s location on your computer.

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After you place the image into the file, it will look something like this:

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The image will place into the file with white space around it; that’s okay! All you have to do is hold shift and drag one of the corners of the image until the white space is gone.

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Then, simply click and hold on the image and drag the image until it is centered. This allows you to play with focal point and perspective of your image a little bit, too! Once you have your image centered, hit enter & you should get something like this:

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Finally, save your file as a .png or .jpg file to your preferred location.

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That’s it! You now have an image that will work across multiple social media platforms.


You can also use this process when resizing images for photo sliders on your department’s WKU website. If you’d like to learn about what size slider works for your website’s template, please visit IT’s Sample Site.

Image creation and resizing can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools it can be much easier than you’d expect! Creating graphics and sharing images with your social media posts will make them more engaging and serve as a chance to stretch your creative wings. If you have any questions about resizing images or using them¬†effectively in your social media posts, let us know! We’re always available on Facebook, Twitter @WKUCWS, and via email:

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