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Put your best face forward

With the advent of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, putting your best face forward has become a complex endeavor. One of the most common areas of confusion involves selecting the right size for your social media profile pictures. This updated guide should help.

Editor’s note: If you build your website using GoDaddy’s Website Builder, social media integration is baked-in.

Social media profile picture sizes

Many years ago when I was fresh out of high school and looking for my first summer job, I remember my father telling me to make sure “you comb your hair with a nice part, you crisply iron your shirt and you shine your shoes to a high-gloss finish” before going into an interview. He would then say, “Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.”

I am still not quite sure what a crisply ironed shirt is — I presume one without wrinkles. However, dad’s advice was crystal clear: first impressions are lasting impressions. Which brings us to Facebook profile picture size (yes, there is a connection).

Social media image type: Recommended image size in pixels:
Facebook profile picture size 800 x 800
Twitter profile picture size 400 x 400
Instagram profile picture size 110 x 110 (minimum)
LinkedIn profile picture size 400 x 400
YouTube channel icon size 800 x 800
Pinterest profile picture size 160 x 160

 

All the tables in this post are regularly updated to make sure you have the latest social media profile picture sizes.

Cover photo and banner sizing guides

Have you ever been to a carnival and gone through the fun house mirrors tent? You know — the mirrors that deliberately exaggerate and distort your reflection? While a distorted image is great fun at the local fair, it’s less entertaining when it comes to your Facebook profile.

Facebook image type: Size in pixels:
Facebook profile picture size (personal and pages) 800W x 800H (recommended)

170W x 170H (display size)

Facebook shared image size 1200W x 630H
Facebook profile cover photo or header image size 820W x 312H
Facebook event image size 1920W x 1080H
Facebook video minimum width 600W

 

A 2018 article aptly entitled, Why Your Facebook Photos Look So Bad, talks about the importance of uploading all photos at the “exact resolution” specified by Facebook.

Upload a photo with the wrong resolution and Facebook will automatically resize it to fit the space.

If, for example, the image for your banner is too small, the social media platform will automatically stretch it to fit the Facebook banner size. If your image is too big for the established size specifications, automatic cropping might cut out important text or a segment of the image that is critical to your brand message.

By the way, the same dimensional guidelines apply to other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (see charts below).

Note: Images larger than 100 KB should be compressed before you upload them. While you’re at it, save your image as a JPEG with an sRGB color profile.

Twitter image sizes

Did you know that tweets that include pictures get more retweets, likes, clicks and impressions than text-only tweets? It’s true. Make sure you size them correctly.

Twitter elements Size in pixels: Ratio W:H:
Twitter profile picture size 400W x 400H 1:1
Twitter post image size 900W x 450H 2:1
Twitter cover photo size 1500W x 500H 3:1

 

Twitter has only three standard image sizes, which makes it easy.

Instagram image sizes

The great thing about Instagram is that everything is square.

Instagram elements Size in pixels:
Instagram profile picture size 110W x 110H (min)
Instagram post image size

Automatically displays image thumbnails at:

1080W x 1080H

161W x 161H

Instagram video size 1080W
Instagram stories (use portrait mode on your mobile) 1920H x 1080W

 

Photos sized for Instagram work nicely for Facebook posts too. So whenever you create one square image for Instagram, use it on Facebook as well.

LinkedIn image sizes

To keep us on our toes, LinkedIn has different requirements for personal and business profiles. We’ve separated them into two charts:

LinkedIn personal elements Size in pixels: Ratio W:H:
LinkedIn profile picture size 400W x 400H 1:1
LinkedIn shared image or post image size 350W N/A
LinkedIn profile banner/background image size 1584H x 396W 4:1
LinkedIn cover photo or banner image size 1500W x 500H 3:1

LinkedIn business elements Size in pixels: Ratio W:H:
LinkedIn company logo image size 300W x 300H 1:1
LinkedIn company page banner image size 646W x 220H 3.1:1
LinkedIn company page cover image size 1536W x 768H 2:1

 

Be sure to resize your images every time you post on LinkedIn — remember, first impressions last.

YouTube image sizes

Creating a YouTube channel? Get set up the right way.

YouTube elements

Size in pixels:
YouTube icon size 800W x 800H
YouTube cover image size 2560W x 1440H
YouTube video thumbnail image size 1280W x 720H

 

Brand your YouTube channel from the start by following these image guidelines.

Pinterest image sizes

Pinterest is one of the most visual of all social networks. Make sure your photos look their best.

Pinterest elements Size in pixels:
Pinterest profile picture size 165W x 165H
Pinterest board cover image size 222W x 150H
Pinterest pinned image preview size 236W x scaled height

 

Not sure how to make the photos you have suitable for the various networks? Read this for instructions on how to resize your images to fit.

Understanding the power of a picture

According to Dr. Liraz Margalit Ph.D., who specializes in online behavior, technology has all but eliminated nonverbal communication. In other words, when our interaction with others is primarily through computers or mobiles devices, we lose “nonverbal signals such as facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, body language, eye contact and even degrees of physical distance from one another.”

Technology can deprive us of the ability to accurately read the other person’s nonverbal signals.

Social Media Photographer
Photo: Guillermo Sánchez on Unsplash

Dr. Margalit contends that this is why our social media profiles, and in particular our photos, are so important.

What was most interesting to me regarding this revelation was the fact that even if we spend the time and, in some cases money, to get just the right picture, it can all be rendered ineffective through something as little as an incorrect pixel count.

Social media profile photos: final thoughts

There are two final points I’d like to make, beyond photo sizing.

To start, an image that looks great on your desktop might not be as appealing when viewed on a mobile device. Learn how to make them look great everywhere here.

Finally, you should always consider how your image will impact your target market, as it is the opinion of your audience that ultimately matters most. Just ask my father: first impressions last.

Image by: Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Jon Hansen
As the editor and lead writer for the Procurement Insights Blog, Jon Hansen has written nearly 3,000 articles and papers, as well as five books on subjects as diverse as supply chain practice, public sector policy, emerging business trends and social media. He is also a two-time Ottawa finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (out of a group of 15,000). An internationally sought-after speaker and moderator, Jon is also the host of the highly acclaimed PI Window on The World Show on Blog Talk Radio, which has aired more than 800 episodes since its initial broadcast in March 2009. Blog Talk Radio named him as one of their top 300 hosts. Connect with Jon on Twitter or his website.