When you’re working to build a strong social media powerhouse for your business, images must be a top priority. Visual content is a great way to spark conversations with fans and to make a strong first impression.

But in order to make a good impression with your images, you need to make sure that they are the correct size and resolution for the platform you’re posting them on. Otherwise, your content may appear fuzzy, pixelated, or improperly cropped. In that case, the first impression you make on fans and followers may not be the positive one you’re aiming for.

Let’s review guidelines for posting images on a variety of social media platforms. The focus is on the images you upload to your profile to best represent your business, but keep in mind that other photos you share on any network should also be of high quality. We’ve included the size restrictions for the most popular social networks, but in most cases you’ll want to use the best-quality images possible.

Twitter

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Accounts on Twitter feature two images: a profile photo and a header photo. When selecting a profile photo, the image file can be up to 2 MB in size. The display on your profile will be just 81 pixels square, with an even smaller square for the Twitter stream, so keep in mind that a simple, striking photo will have the most impact in that space.

The header photo is the background to your profile photo and your bio text. The box is 520 by 260 pixels, but Twitter’s recommended size for this image is 1252 by 626 pixels, and it can be up to 5 MB. For both images, be sure that the file format is a JPG, PNG, or non-animated GIF.

When you’re tweeting an image, the network has very light restrictions. The file can be up to 3 MB, but there are no set limits on pixel size.

Facebook

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Cover photos on Facebook are 851 by 315 pixels, and must be less than 100 KB. Although the network can use a photo as small as 399 pixels wide, that image will be stretched to fill the allocated space. As with Twitter, uploading the exact image size that will appear on the Page will give you the best results. Keep in mind that a portion of the bottom left corner will be covered by your profile picture.

That profile photo is 160 by 160 pixels, but the uploaded image has to be at least 180 pixels square. Regardless of size, be sure to use a square image. Rectangular photos will appear cropped on your Page, so rather than risk a key element of the image getting cut out by the network, plan for the appropriate shape before you upload.

Photos shared in status updates can be as large as 2,048 by 2,048 pixels. Just remember that only a portion of your upload may appear in the Timeline post. The preview size for regular posts is a 403 pixel square, while milestone posts that take up the entire page are 843 pixels wide and 403 pixels high. Keep those general ratios in mind when you share visual content if you want the entire image visible without clicking through to the full post.

Google+

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You’ll need to go big for Google+. This network has a massive 2,120 by 1,192 pixel space for profile cover photos. For almost any device, that’s big enough to take up close to the entire screen when someone loads your page. The most important part of this image is ratio. Use a photo with a 16:9 aspect, and it will look great on any device.

Profile images for this network receive an interesting treatment. Users should use photos that are at least 250 by 250 pixels, but on Google+ that square is rounded off and displayed in a smaller circle. Keep that altered shape in mind when you select the image you want to use. If you have a square logo, experiment with how to best position it so that the entire image is visible on your page. You may need to do some resizing or image editing in order to get the display that you want.

Photos in posts have the same maximum dimensions as Facebook: 2,048 square. The photo preview in the feed is 497 pixels wide by 373 pixels high for a two-column layout.

Pinterest

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Pinterest members have just one image attached to their profiles. That’s a square of 165 by 165 pixels. In its help center, Pinterest recommends that users upload a photo that’s 600 pixels square for the best appearance on your page. On this network, it’s definitely better to upload something a little larger that will be resized appropriately; if you upload something too small, it will be stretched out to fill the space and won’t look as professional.

When you pin an image to this network, it’s important to be aware of how it will appear to other members. Especially if you’re sharing images from your brand’s online presences, you’ll want to ensure that your content looks its best. All pins appear with a width of 238 pixels in the feed, with the appropriately adjusted height. That means a vertical image will appear much larger than one that’s oriented horizontally. If you have a choice between photos to pin, the vertical one will probably make a bigger impact when people see it on Pinterest.

Tumblr

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Profiles on Tumblr do have an affiliated profile image, although it likely doesn’t have a highly visible position on your site. It usually appears in the browser, either adjacent to the URL or in the tab where the page appears. When somebody visits your page, the image also appears next to the buttons for following the Tumblr. The photo you upload should be at least 128 pixels square. Uploads can be in JPG, GIF, PNG, or BMP formats.

The best practices for Tumblr photos will vary from blog to blog. Each layout may have a different amount of space allocated for posts and images. Tumblr’s help pages note that the majority of themes will support images sized 500 by 750 pixels. Brands should examine their themes and base their image sizes on the setup they’ve chosen.

That said, Tumblr does have a few outer limits on images. Uploads can’t exceed 10 MB in size. Tumblr also supports viewing a larger version of images in posts. That larger view can be up to 1280 pixels wide and 1920 pixels tall. The network does support the uploading of animated GIFs, but they have to be less than 1 MB in size and a maximum of 500 pixels wide.

[Image credits: Roberto Trm, Eddy Van 3000, Anders Sandberg, Donnie Nunley, Lindsay Lachance, Red Rose Exile]