Updated Social Media Cheat Sheet for Marketing Creatives


Learn How to Design Social Media Graphics 

Hey brands! Want to irritate consumers on social media? Post pixelated and cut-off images. In 2020, that’s a serious social media faux pas. Time to resize, crop and scale with our Social Media Image Cheat Sheet.


It’s worth the extra effort. Posts with photos, graphics and videos increase engagement, including comments and shares/retweets. 


“Social media images are no longer an option; they’re expected,” said Casey Heffernan, executive creative director at Frenik. 


Yes, social media is that important to companies of all sizes. From Facebook — the world’s largest social network — to newbies like TikTok, social platforms introduce consumers to brands, boost brand awareness and encourage engagement through high-quality and creative content (and conversations). They also promote and sell products and services. 


The best social media campaigns combine organic social (free) with paid social to maximize their impact. 


That’s why it’s important visual content is showcased how it’s intended. After all, social media is not a one-size-fits-all technology for businesses. What works for brands on Facebook is not guaranteed to gain traction on Instagram, Twitter,  LinkedIn and other platforms. This includes the specs of branded images. 


Here’s the good news. There’s no need to memorize the difference in specs between a business page profile picture (Facebook), a photo thumbnail (Instagram), a background image (LinkedIn) and a header photo (Twitter). Simply bookmark this page and refer to the Social Media Image Cheat Sheet below as needed. 


Paid Social vs. Organic Social

Years ago (generations ago if you’re tech-savvy!), businesses achieved remarkable reach on Facebook without paid social. That organic social ship has sailed. 


We’re now creating content in a Facebook world where personal and business brands must incorporate organic social and paid social to make an impact. Since Facebook’s latest algorithm change, organic posts from business pages often reach less than 10 percent of their followers, and the numbers continue to decline. Businesses have reported organic reach as low as 1-2 percent.

Paid social, meanwhile, places specific social posts in front of consumers, while allowing businesses to target specific demographics. Because not every consumer wants to buy an insulated camo hunting jacket or nude ankle strap heels. 


Paid social may also boost the organic reach of other posts… the same way a well-placed diner capitalizes financially when a good movie is playing at a theater across the street.


Social Expectations Continue To Grow

Social media branding has always been important. But Zack Locker, a senior designer at Frenik, believes it’s become even more important during the last decade, which many, including Locker, consider, “The decade of self branding.” This period of digital innovation has exposed consumers to high-quality content which is witty and clever; loving and trusting; bold and thought-provoking. 


And, it’s sharpened the social media expectations of consumers, which are quicker to notice brand imperfections two decades after the invention of social media. Visuals in the News Feed, timeline and stream are no longer an added treat. They’re now an expectation — Twitter and Reddit serve as the exceptions.


“In 2020, there’s no reason why a brand — big or small — should publish the same social media images across all platforms without formatting them to abide by each platform’s specific requirements,” Locker said. “There’s too much at stake to skip this step. And, formatting for each platform doesn’t take that much time.”


Check out our Social Media Image Cheat Sheet, and let us know what you think!