Why You Should Use Images on Twitter and 3 Tips to Doing it Right

Why You Should Use Images on TwitterLately I have to say I haven’t been paying enough attention to Twitter. The reason for that was Google Plus. The platform and the high level of engagement it offers once you become active can be quite addictive.

But as much as I’d like to praise Google Plus, today’s post will be about Twitter. 

You see a few years back everyone was on Twitter yet no one was on Twitter. That time most folks who used the platform cared only about blasting out their message to the thousands of “followers” they had.

In the end however, even users with tens of thousands of followers were not seeing much interaction…

And although some might say the same is true today, I do believe Twitter is moving in the right direction.

Implementing cover images for instance helped make profiles more complete and engaging. Embedding tweets – another good idea towards keeping the discussion alive… And most importantly the introduction of images!

But why is that seemingly simple feature so valuable? 

That is exactly what I will be talking about today. Below are the reasons that make the usage of images in your own Twitter marketing a must and also the tips to help you gain as much advantage as possible!

The Why


Uploading an Image to a TweetSo, why should you spend that extra time, clicking the camera-like icon and uploading and image to go along with your tweet?

I mean you could simply slap the headline and the post’s URL and click the tweet button… hassle free.

Well the fifteen additional seconds “invested” in your latest tweet will be worth it for three reasons:

  • You will get more favorites
  • You will get more retweets
  • …And you will get more click-throughs

Hmm, really?

Yep.

Here is some research data to help me convince you!


First off Dan Zeralla’s analysis on over 400,000 tweets:

Tweets with Images are 94% More Likely to be Retweeted

94% – that’s almost double the number of retweets that a tweet without image would get!

Now let’s look at what the Buffer team came up with after analyzing the last 100 tweets they sent out to their audience:

Tweets with Images Can Get 89% More Favorites

89% – Again huge improvement on people favoriting content with images vs no images!

And the real question… what traffic increase would all of this equal to?

Tweets with Images Receive 18% more Clicks

18% – Not that much of an increase in click rates, but still an improvement!

What I believe however is that even though images don’t have that much impact on how many people will click, they do entice followers to become more interested in you.

Twitter Images and Twitter Feed


Since tweets with images take more real estate in the Twitter feed, chances are more of your followers will see them. This includes people who are following you yet who never actually interacted with you before.

Well now you got their attention!

What I am implying here is that the tweets with images will not only receive more retweets, but they will also encourage interaction on the rest of your tweets.

That’s what I am seeing right now.

Normally what I shared on Twitter would rarely get more than 1 or 2 retweets/favorites. Also a lot of tweets would go totally unnoticed. Since I began adding images however, tweets gradually become more and more shareable with some going as high as 6-7 retweets/favorites.

Not really an impressive result, I know, but a big improvement nonetheless.

And one more thing…

The “Photos and Videos” Section


Twitter's Photos and Videos SectionThe moment you tweet your first image, you will see a new section, called “Photos and Videos” appear on your profile.

The section basically highlights the last six images (or videos) that you have uploaded. When you click on them you also see the full tweet and can favorite or retweet straight from there.

Also having those images on the left sidebar makes them very easy to notice and adds diversity to your profile.

All of this of course should mean more people actually checking out what you share!

Okay, now having cleared the whys, it’s time to move on on the how part. Below I’ve explained three of the techniques that I use to make more out of Twitter’s images feature!

The How


1. Create Proper Images for Your Posts


There is one small problem with images and Twitter. That is if the image you are uploading isn’t large enough, it will still be submitted but it won’t be “showcased”, like here for example:

Uploaded Images Must be Large Enough

In other words it won’t be visible unless the tweet is clicked on and expanded. 

When that happens, most Twitter users simply won’t know your tweet contains an image. The only “proof” for its existence will be the pic.twitter.com link, which you probably won’t notice if you are scrolling through your feed without paying much attention.

So what are the right dimensions? 

I actually did some research and couldn’t find any “official” smallest working dimensions (feel free to share in the comments if you do know them!).

However from what I’ve tried and tested (I had to resize more than a few images in tweets to find out it works) a width of 550 pixels is somewhere around the minimum and as far as height goes, anything over 300 pixels will work.

But what if the image you have is too small? 

My first advice is simple. Look for a bigger image that is still relevant to the post.

If You are Using Google…


Filtering Images by Usage RightsIf you will be searching for images on Google, consider clicking on Search Tools -> Usage Rights -> Labeled for Reuse.

Doing so will allow you to see images, based on whether or not the author has stated they can be used again. Otherwise you can’t really know for sure who owns them, which might result in copyright infringement.

Flickr Creative Commons Search


A second approach would be to use Flickr’s creative commons search. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom and tick “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”

Add White Space to the Image to Make it Bigger


Something else you could do as a last resort would be to…

  • Open up Photoshop (or a similar image-editing software, though I use the former) and create a new image file with dimensions of 550px x 300px.
  • Make sure to use white background, so that the image blends with the Twitter feed’s background
  • Now load the blog post image and copy/paste it as a new layer on to the image you just created. 
  • Rounded Rectangle ToolUse the Rounded Rectangle Tool (with a radius of 8px) and position a rounded rectangle right above the blog post image
  • Put the layer with the rounded rectangle below the layer with the blog post image
  • Now right-click on the latter layer and select “Create a Clipping Mask”
  • Save the resulted image and you are done! 

NOTE: The idea of the clipping mask here is to create the same rounded edge effect that Twitter adds to image previews.

And here’s how one such image can look like on Twitter: 

Here's How an Edited Image Can Look Like

2. Take a Look at the Influencers and Create a List


Okay, now that we’ve figured how to always have a working image for your blog posts, it’s time to add a bit of diversity!

I mean you can’t only share your own blog posts and expect people to be all excited and waiting for your next tweet, can you?

So how do we do that? 

We start LISTENING!

Yeah, remember what I said at the beginning of this post?

Interesting content comes with paying attention to what others are saying and spreading THEIR word.

And as you probably already know, I always try to find the simplest solutions. So yes, here’s a very simple thing that you could do in order to stay tuned and not miss an interesting tweet.

  • Creating Bookmark GroupsCreate a bookmarks folder (with subfolders possibly) in your browser and start adding Twitter users.
  • Begin with the ones you already know.
  • Make it a rule to browse their tweets at least once a day and don’t forget about the “Photos and Videos” section for easy access to the visuals they’ve shared
  • When you see a retweet from someone, don’t simply skip it, but click on the Twitter profile and check that person’s tweets. If relevant and interesting, add them to the list of bookmarks.
  • Repeat the whole process.

3. Turn all This Into a Consistent Habbit


That is the last and the most important step of the process. As we all know when it comes to blogging and social media, if you want to see results, you need to share, interact, engage and write day in and day out. It’s the same here.

Buffer Plugin in Action

  • Make sure to install the Buffer browser plugin. This will add one extra button to your Twitter feed, allowing you to easily add retweets to your buffer right from the lists we talked about in the previous point.
  • Also consider creating a folder for your blog post’s images (the ones with proper dimensions!), so that you have easy access whenever you need them.
  • Sticky Notes are not to be underestimated either. In your list of daily tasks, make sure to include something along the lines of “share at least three tweets with an image” to constantly remind you of what you need to do.
  • A sticky note can also come in handy for interesting tweets that you come across but don’t want to share right away. Simply copy/paste those tweets there for later sharing. The  pic.twitter.com link will open up the tweet ones you need it.
  • Make sure to also favorite tweets. That seems to be a feature not many take full advantage of. Favorited tweets can work as bookmarks, as they can be easily accessed from the “favorites” link in the left sidebar (right next to the cover photo).

Final Words


Long article, I know. But I do hope it made my point clear. You MUST use images on Twitter if you are serious about bringing more interaction to your profile and clicks to your links!

Share Your ThoughtsNow it’s your turn! 

Have you already started adding images to your tweets? If so, what are your thoughts, do you like the approach? 

Feel free to add any other comments you have and also please consider sharing the post with your friends if you liked it! :D

 

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  1. Great post, been trying to figure out how to get my pics to actually show up in the feed! Thanks!

  2. Daniel, great article, haven’t been adding pics as I should and this is short-sightedness on my path.
    Thanks for outlining the dimensions of photos to use and must thank buffer for making images easy to upload.

    They are doing a great job by taking into consideration consumers request. Also love their blog article as they are focused on research

  3. Was wondering whether it is possible to use images if you schedule Tweets via Hootsuite. Whenever I try, they come out as owl.ly links. Am I doing something wrong?

  4. Hi Daniel,
    I really like this post. I started using the image button on Twitter. I really like it! I am an accountant by trade and believe it or not that makes me like images even more! I am so tired of reading documents all day that when I come over to my “other” life of blogging, I want to see images.

    So thank you for this post. It helps alot!!! Barb

  5. Can you tell me how to add photos to the Photos and Videos section of my twitter profile? Thanks

  6. I’ve never tried that and reading the article, I think I have lost a lot. I am quite active on Twitter and this is one of my favorite social networks.

  7. Hi Daniel,
    This is really great. I was looking for ways on how to expand images on twitter without needing for my followers to click on expand button (they don’t normally do)… Excellent tips and advice as well. Been going through your blog. It’s a goldmine!

    Cheers!

  8. Hi Daniel,

    I never used used images with my tweets, but I do use twitter cards to make my tweet unique. But after reading your post, I think I should use as well while tweeting.

  9. Daniel,
    To be honest I’ve not read it yet. It looks awesome. Looks like it takes a lot of research to combine it all into a single post. Will be bookmarking the post and let you know if I have any questions regarding it.

  10. Saw your article via Zite. Don’t worry about the ‘too long.’ I read it all and dropped by your site and I’ve never been here. I am new to twitter and could never figure out how to get an image to show up without clicking. That’s a great thing to know the dimensions to use. Thanks!

    • Hey Lewis,

      Awesome to hear it wasn’t too overwhelming and great to hear the dimensions were the thing you were looking for. Just one thing though – as OwsWills stated in the previous comment, the proper minimum dimensions are 505×253.

      Have a great day ahead! :D
      Daniel

  11. The correct dimensions for a Twitter image upload entirely depends upon what you’d like to show in the preview.
    The preview area is precisely 505 x 253 pixels landscape – and regardless of what you upload, if you want it to display correectly in preview, it needs to be as big, or bigger than these dimensions.

    I tell colleagues that the desired scale is 1010 x 506 landscape – as this shrinks the image perfectly to display in its entirety in the preview.
    Having an image display entirely can be an important factor – but it all depends upon the message you’re attempting to convey.

    • Ows,

      That’s exactly what I was talking about, but I hadn’t measured the dimensions. Thank you for sharing the precise width and height!

      But wouldn’t that way the image be too small? I mean you will see the whole of it, but it will be hard to read/see.

      Daniel

  12. Excellent instructions and tips! Thanks for putting it all together!

    I love creating images and adding images to my tweets and just noticed recently that Buffer is making it easier than ever to do that. My images are usually 608 wide by approx 350 high and that seems to work well. Facebook use to be the place where people would add images but now that it is an option on Twitter I put the majority of my effort into Twitter.

    • Sicorra,

      I’m also slowly backing away from Facebook, due to their latest algorithm changes. Very unfortunate, but yeah, Twitter is definitely better now with the possibility of uploading images. Add to that Google Plus and you can easily make up for Facebook.

      Thank you for the comment!
      Daniel

  13. Great ideas Daniel. I’ve heard of other tests about shares and likes on Facebook – images versus updates without images. Thanks for confirming it is also true on Twitter. I only just started to include images more often. I’ll start with where I am of 3 times a week and build to your suggestion of more.

    Do you know if it makes any difference in engagement with using Twitter or something like Hootsuite to see the image?

    • Hey Patricia,

      Yep, that’s the trend. Images get more interaction regardless of the network you are using.

      About using Hootsuite, I’m not sure, because of another comment below by Mark Ford. Mark stated that uploading images via Hootsuite displays only a link rather than the actual image.

      Using Buffer is fine however, as that’s the way I’m doing it.

      Have a good one! :)
      Daniel

  14. Good post, thanks Daniel and we’re in full agreement with you about the importance of using images in your Tweets :)

    Be interested to know what makes you bookmark people that you’d like to read/watch rather than using Twitter’s List feature?

    Many thanks,
    Dennis.

    • Hey Dennis,

      Because that way I open up the people’s profiles directly, whereas with lists I get a stream of tweets from everyone in the list.

      The latter means that I am bound to miss interesting tweets unless I have very few people in the list. That way I scan through each person’s tweets and find interesting content easier.

      Daniel

  15. Yes Daniel, its a long post but it worth it because the points made are clear.

    Adding images to Twitter helps to increase engagements and there is nothing more that marketer needs than this.

    More engagements means more interactions and the potential to gain more clicks. The HOW of this post with buffer is educative!

    I have shared this comment in kingged.com – the content syndication,social aggregation website where this post was shared and bookmarked.

    Sunday – kingged.com

  16. Hi Daniel,

    People love eye candy! Images will never go out of style, on twitter, FB, G Plus, anywhere. I too have been G Plus heavy but after reading this post I will double down – or up – on twitter image sharing.

    Thanks for the share Daniel!

  17. Images on Twitter are great for increasing engagement.

    However, if like me you use Hootsuite to schedule your posts, it doesnt show the image as an image, but as a link.

    Would be great if Hootsuite and Twitter could fix this ASAP.

  18. I really see how visual content engages people more thoroughly. I have been putting images into my tweets, especially in the content that is mine. Then I look for tweets to re-tweet or reply to that have images. Then I tweet or reply to those no images comments or links that interest me. Got to change the pace, look & feel occasionally or even the visual content gets boring.

    Thanks for putting in black & white.

    • Hey Gina,

      Yeah, I guess you are right. It all comes down to finding a balance between different types of content. Then again what I was implying was that images should not be fully ignored. I’m definitely not trying to convince people they should use images in every tweet they share.

      Thank you for stopping by! :)
      Daniel

  19. I used to only share images occasionally, but now I see the importance of them. When I think about it, I am more likely to notice an image in my feed. I am just now starting to be an efficient Buffer used. I really like it.

    • Hey Kalen,

      Chances are more eyes will see a tweet that also contains an image and that’s exactly the idea! Buffer is indeed a great app, been using it for over a year now.

      Thank you for stopping by! :D
      Daniel

  20. Excellent post, Daniel! :)

    I loved the tip about the bookmarks in your browser – how come i never thought o that? And even stranger – i have never seen anyone thinking of it eitehr – so simple, and so ingenious. thanks for the tip!

    As for the images – as little active as i am on Twitter, i do use pictures for the sake of balance and variety. But i am really not that active. However, a question for you – i don;t challenge the notion pictures get more retweeted and all, but i have to wonder – how often should we post pictures and/or videos? I love balance – so naturally, if i tweet let’s say 5 times per day, i try to have at least 1 image every other day. is this too much, or too little?

    Not sure how to benchmark this. What do you think?

    • Hey Diana,

      Thank you very much!

      Yeah, the bookmarks idea is probably the simplest solution out there but it does the job quite well. :)

      As for the question, checking my most recent tweets, I’m sharing between 4-6 image tweets per day. Overdoing is never a good thing and the same is valid here. All image tweets might get annoyoing and let’s keep in mind that no one will hesitate to click the unfollow button on Twitter.

      So if you are doing just five tweets a day (mine are a lot more than that), one image tweet will work fine I believe. All in all I’d encourage you to ramp up the number. Five seems a bit low. I have at least 20 tweets go out every day without including the mentions.

      Thanks for reading the post and have a great day ahead! :D
      Daniel