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Creating high-quality visual assets

Research has shown that people only remember 10% of what they learn after 72 hours. However, when text is accompanied by a visual asset, people can retain 65% of the information after three days. (Read more about this research)


Additionally, a report published by Twitter in 2014, identified that Tweets with photos receive on average a 35% boost in Retweets and those with videos can see a 28% increase in retweets. So, by utilising good quality, relevant visual assets alongside your copy, you can boost your engagement rates, earn attention, and deliver relevant information to your audience. 

Images for social media

Image sizes

Facebook

  • Profile pic: Must be at least 180 x 180 pixels
  • Header pic: 820 x 312 pixels (recommended file size sRGB JPG file less than 100 KB)
  • Feed pic: Recommended upload size of 1200 x 630 pixels.
  • Event image: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Twitter

  • Profile pic: 400 x 400 pixels
  • Header pic: 1500 x 500 pixels
  • Feed pic: Image from a Tweet with shared link: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Tweet sharing a single image: 1200 x 675 pixels
  • Tweet sharing two images: 700 x 800 pixels (both images)
  • Maximum file size of 5 MB for photos

Instagram

  • Profile pic: 110 x 110 pixels
  • Feed pic: 1080 x 1080 pixels (portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels)
  • Instagram story: 1080 x 1920 pixels
Image text reads: How to promote good physics on social media- Using images and videos in your posts boosts shares and increases memory retention. Image sizes (in pixels) for Twitter: 1,200 x 675, and 700 x 800 for two images. For Facebook: 1,200 x 620. For Instagram: 1,080 x 1,080

Image tips

Choosing a standard image format

Choosing a standard image format for your social media channels will help ensure a strong visual identity and help build trust with your audience.

For example, you could decide that all your images will include your logo and a call to action utilising a standard font and colour scheme.

There is a selection of free to use online photo editors, such as Canva, Fotor and Photoshop Express. Many of the online stock image libraries also provide editing functionality for their paying customers.

Spend some time playing around with the different editors and find the one which works best for your needs.

What are you trying to communicate to your audience? 

Are you using it to encourage engagement, to start a conversation or to impart more information?

For example, if your text is advertising an upcoming event, you could share the event flyer and ask your audience what they would like to see covered in the event.

In this way, you are opening a channel of communication with your target audience. 

How can images help when 280 characters are not enough? 

Sometimes 280 characters just aren’t enough to say what is required. In this instance, you could use an image with additional text to allow you to say more without using up your character limit or design your own infographic. 

Videos

Even a simple video filmed on your mobile requires you to spend some time thinking about what you want to say and show in your video. If you want to produce more professional social media videos, you will have to think about developing a script, purchasing some additional equipment, props, better lighting, and factoring in time for test runs. After all that work, the idea of your video garnering a poor response can be disappointing. So, what can you do to increase your chances of success?

Some rules and tips to remember when making videos for social media

  • Understand that audio and lighting are often far more important than the video quality.
  • Remember to include closed captioning or overlaying text for those who are hard of hearing or at work.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Each social network has different results with video lengths, so you should learn how long your videos should be for each one. For instance, Facebook videos no longer than one minute get the most attention.

Choose a video topic that’s guaranteed to appeal to a wide audience

If you have previously shared content that has been well received (such as a blog post), repurpose the content to form the basis of your video. Alternative topics could include publicity for an upcoming event, competition announcements, exciting advancements in physics. 

Practice makes perfect – rehearse your video

Even for videos which don’t require a full script, ensure you have a comprehensive outline for your video.

Be more visual

Most people will start by viewing your video with the sound off, so instead of relying on audio, you need to be visually creative.

Use filters to reflect the tone and mood of the content. Turn off the sound while you edit to see if the visuals convey your message/story effectively.

Creating interesting and exciting imagery will help to ensure that people watch your video from start to finish.

Remember that if you have a voice over, you will also need to include closed captions. 

Choose the correct format for the social media video

When filming using your mobile, the most foolproof format is ‘square’. Shooting square video footage means that you won’t have to worry about cropping important parts of your frame.

Your video will look good on all social media platforms whether the viewer is watching on a desktop, tablet, or mobile. 

Equipment

Videos with loud background noise and dim lightning will end up looking amateur.

Choosing the right equipment for your video will help ensure you are happy with the final product.

Onboard microphones on cameras and mobiles will give you average audio, so consider investing in an external microphone.

Secondly, consider your lighting options; natural, artificial or a combination of both. Ensuring that you direct the light source to fully illuminate the subject of your video will remove harsh shadows and make your subjects more pleasing to the eye.

Editing

  • Software: Today we all expect to see high quality content on social media and many companies produce videos using professional editing programs such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. However, there are now a lot of cheaper alternatives you could consider if you’re working to a tight budget. These include Shakr, a video maker for social media videos; Soapbox by Wistia, a Chrome extension that combines your webcam and screen recordings; and Animoto, which allows you to create photo slide shows with text.
  • Video length: When videos are more than a few minutes long, users typically lose interest and click away. The ideal length really depends on which platform you are using as the audience will have different watch-time expectations for different social media platforms. For example, Facebook and Twitter tend to have shorter watch times, whilst people will often watch hour long videos on YouTube. You could make a minute-long teaser for Twitter linking to a longer video on YouTube, for example.
  • The intro is everything: Most channels start playing videos automatically as you scroll past them so it’s important that your video grabs your viewer’s attention in the first few seconds, otherwise they will probably just scroll past it. Make your intro snappy, eye-catching and ensure you convey your message quickly to encourage the viewer to stick around until the end.

Sharing your creations

The most effective way to distribute your video on social media is to target your audience’s favourite channels.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are popular amongst a wide range of ages while Instagram and Snapchat are mostly used by people aged between 15-35. YouTube is ideal for hosting ‘how to’ and informational content.

You can add keywords, descriptions, and tags, to ensure your audience can more easily find your videos on Google.