Stellar visual content is a key determinant of how effective your social media efforts will be. The latest research shows just how important visual content is, with all the signs indicating that information delivered visually resonates more with people than by text alone.

There is a lot more work involved in optimizing images for social media than simply uploading the images to your chosen platforms and expecting them to help deliver an effective social media campaign.

Visual content is one of the key influencing factors in building up an audience on social media that eventually translates to improved brand awareness, more website traffic, and more sales for your business. You need to be able to upload the best quality images at the lowest possible file sizes. The following five tips highlight some key image optimization tips for effective social media campaigns.

1. Choose the Right Color Profile

Web browsers use their own color profile to display images, known as sRGB. It’s common to find some pictures looking washed out or dull after uploading them to social media sites, because the uploaded images use a different color profile than the web browser. To run an effective social media campaign, the images you share need to stand out to the user, so that the user engages with the picture instead of skipping past it.

By default, common photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop use either the Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB profiles. Ensure you convert all JPEG pictures to the sRGB color profile in your photo editor to maintain the sharpness and clarity of any images you edit and upload to social media. This way, even after compression, the images remain vivid, colorful, and engaging.

2. Sharpen and Resize Photos for Facebook

Facebook can be tough to get to grips with when optimizing images, because the site uses its own image compression software to speed up its pages. This often works against you by markedly reducing the clarity and quality of images. Photos featuring text or logos are particularly vulnerable to Facebook’s compression algorithm because the compression artifacts are more noticeable on text.

Since image optimization means maintaining quality at the lowest file size, it’s important to sharpen your images before you upload them to the site. Sharpening keeps your pictures looking clear after Facebook compresses them. It’s straightforward to sharpen images in all photo editing software—you can even use a free online editor such as PicMonkey to do this.

When you save your sharpened image, choose a width of either 720px, 960px, or 2048px. These dimensions feature in Facebook’s official recommendations for optimizing images, meaning uploading images with the suggested dimensions results in the lowest quality loss after Facebook compresses them. Posting better quality Facebook images leads to more likes, shares, and comments.

3. Compress Images Before Upload

If you use Photoshop, you can save your images automatically optimized for upload to social media. The software’s Save For Web feature minimizes the file size of images by compressing them for you, making it more likely that the social media platform you upload to won’t compress your images.

When choosing a quality level for your pictures in Photoshop, opt for a setting that strikes a balance between clarity and file size. Choose a quality level between 50 and 60 for best results on social media.

4. Understand Image Dimensions

An important part of effective social media marketing is using the correct image dimensions for each site. Your aim should be to post clear, appealing images that fit within the pre-defined dimensions for cover photos, timeline pictures, thumbnails, and more. And, you need to achieve all this while reducing the file size as much as possible.

This infographic gives you a detailed breakdown of the exact dimensions used by all major social media websites to display different types of images. An image with a text overlay that looks good in its standard size might look terrible when social media displays it as a thumbnail and cuts off some of the text or compresses it so that the text becomes blurred or fuzzy.

Avoid potential mishaps by resizing images to the different dimensions used on social media prior to posting them, so you can see how your pictures will look on different sites before you share them with your followers.

5. Use a Cloud-Based Image Management Platform

A cloud-based image management platform offers your business a convenient way to manage lots of images, including image optimization for social media. An effective image management solution lets you optimize images as you upload them.

Cloudinary is the leading cloud-based image management solution. The Cloudinary platform uses intelligent compression algorithms, producing images with minimized file sizes while maintaining the excellent visual quality you need to drive social media engagement.

In summary, the best ways to optimize images for social media are:

  • Convert all images you want to share on social media to sRGB before editing and uploading them.
  • Sharpen images before uploading them to Facebook and follow the site’s suggested guidelines for image dimensions.
  • Compress images before uploading them to social media to reduce the chance of the compression algorithm affecting images.
  • Check how your images look in the different dimensions used on separate social media sites by resizing them before sharing.
  • Opt for a cloud-based image management solution that lets you easily optimize all images for social media.

Follow these five tips and you’ll end up with images for social media that look great, thus improving the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts.