Jake Wachsman

How To Create Powerful Social Media Images


Social Media Images Cover

Social Media guru Gary Vaynerchuk loves to refer to today’s world as being full of “A.D.D. Culture”. In speeches he’s demonstrated just how fast people move through content on their smartphone: (Click here to see his full speech below)

One quick swipe through the Facebook (or other social networks) newsfeed and your content could be easily and quickly passed up. So the big question is… what can we do to get people to stop and give our content a chance? Facebook Images Analytics As shown in the above graph from eMarketer.com, photos are being shared way more than any other content on Facebook. Over 20x times more to be exact!

An interesting reason as to why images are dominating and being shared so much, could be partly due to the fact that our brains can process images extremely fast. Simply put because our brains process images so quickly they have a better chance to make an impact on us before we “swipe” past them in the news feed. According to neuroscientists from MIT, the brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. No other form of content can be processed by the brain faster. Therefore, images are clearly the best chance you have to grab someone’s attention.  


Creating powerful social media images to gain attention: Creating images that are cool and shareable seem like an out of reach task from first glance, but if you break it down it can be fairly simple and attainable. Here are 5 simple steps that I took to create a professional looking social media image.

In less than 10-15 minutes you can create the same thing.  


1)    It all starts with good content

Any (textual) content that you or others find valuable and meaningful could be used to help you create a powerful social media image. Infusing an image with valuable content like a quote, fact, or joke (meme) can give the image more meaning to people.  


A simple example of this is the “MIT fact” that I shared above:

“The brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds”  


This valuable fact is something I believe would certainly resonate with people. Creating a simple visual representation of this “MIT fact” could be an image that people would love to see and share on social networks.

(On social there is certainly a place for images without text, but for the purposes of this post I’m using a content/image post)  


2)    Find a good image that describes your quote, or post

In my case I wanted an image of an eye, so I searched google images for “eye”. ‘Google Images’ is an easy and effective place to get images, but DON’T STEAL.

Only use images under the “labeled for reuse” tab (or “Creative Commons” images) to make sure you are taking images in a legal way (see image below) Google Image Search of Eye  

3)    Bring image into Photoshop (or Canva if you’re not Photoshop savvy)

Before you do anything on Photoshop you need to choose a “canvas size” that best fits where you plan on sharing this image. That means setting the correct dimensions for either Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc…

You can get the information on the correct sizes and dimension for various social networks from social media marketers. For example, here’s an informative social media image sizes “cheat sheet”, made by social media manager Danielle Cormier of Constant Contact.

For the purposes of this post I chose dimensions for a Twitter post which needs a 1:2 Image Aspect Ratio. Therefore, I am using the image size 880 x 440.

Eye Image in Photoshop


4)    Placing large text into image [in an effective way]

There’s a right way to do overlay text on an image and it goes beyond just throwing text on top of the image like this:

Bad Eye Image 1 Above is the lazy way to do things. There is a correct way to accomplish this effect (as seen in the cover photo of this post) but for the purposes of creating this image in a quick effective way I did something else.

I separated the text and image by adding a piece of solid background to the left side of the image, and moving the picture over to the right. This allowed two great things to occur:

  • Photo of the eye can now be seen at its full glory
  • Text can be overlayed on the solid background so it is legible

Here is the effect I got now: Bad Eye Image 2 While this is a large improvement to what I previously had, I still felt that it didn’t place enough emphasis on just how important this ‘fact’ is.  


5)    Focus on the impact of the ‘fact’

To do this you need to find the core of your fact, or quote. In my case the core of this MIT fact is the “13 milliseconds” of brain processing time. To place proper focus on this I made the ‘13’ text bigger and colored it yellow to further differentiate it from the rest of the text in my image.

(Also, I sourced MIT on the bottom of the image to bring this fact further credibility.)  

Here is the result for you: Eye Twitter Image

As you can see, I now have a powerful social media image that is interesting, impactful, and credible.

Now all that’s left to do is publish the image on social media and see how it does!

If you want to create your own social media image similar to this, you can click this link to download a PSD template that you can customize on your own.

Good luck and get visual 😉

Photo credit: Flickr

Jake Wachsman is the Social Media director at Search Interactions, an online marketing agency that specializes in enterprise SEO. In his free time, he enjoys learning about new digital trends and follows NBA Basketball.



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