Why does veterinary social media matter? According to a study by Mars Petcare, 65% of pet owners post about their animal companions on social sites, and do so at an average of twice per week. With hundreds of millions of active users, sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are veritable gold mines for reaching prospects.
Of course, as with most marketing activities, there are a lot of factors that play a role in the success of veterinary social media posts. From creating eye-catching imagery to crafting the perfect captions to strategically posting on the optimal days and times, there’s plenty to consider.
Well, buckle up, because we’re about to add one more item to your to-do list: image optimization.
By optimizing the images that you share in your veterinary social media posts, you’ll not only improve the way they appear to your fans and followers, but you’ll also indirectly improve the public perception of your clinic and services.
Additionally, images that have been adequately optimized tend to perform better in terms of impressions and user engagement, which will boost your social performance and help you achieve your marketing goals.
Lastly, optimized images also tend to rank higher in the social media search results. This means your images could help gain more visibility for your content, which will in turn help you reach more potential clients.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the recommended formatting for each of the most popular sites used in social media for veterinary practices.
Optimizing Veterinary Social Media Image Sizes
Each social media platform has its own guidelines of optimal image size and aspect ratios. While there may be some overlap amongst them, it’s a good idea to double-check your image specifications and adjust accordingly – especially if you plan on posting the same content across multiple different platforms. Let’s explore the specifics of each in greater detail below.
Initially, Facebook favored horizontal images. With more than 80% of users now accessing the platform exclusively via their mobile device, however, adjustments have been made to accommodate this change.
The ideal aspect ratio for images shared in Facebook feed posts is either square (1:1) or portrait (4:5). Images with a landscape aspect ratio (16:9) can still be uploaded, however, they don’t tend to perform as well on mobile screens.
In terms of dimension, Facebook requires that images shared within the feed have a minimum width of 479 pixels. Because mobile devices come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, we strongly recommend that you stick with a minimum width of at least 1200 pixels for optimal viewing purposes.
The maximum amount of pixels Facebook allows for feed images is 2048. That being said, larger images can still be uploaded. For instance, if you’re using Meta Business Suite to post, Facebook will automatically scale the image down so it fits.
Speaking of Meta Business Suite, if you need to adjust an image’s aspect ratio or scale it down manually, there are built-in tools to make doing so quick and easy. Simply open the post composer, upload the image you’d like to share, and click on the pencil icon. From there, you can select the aspect ratio you wish to use and/or adjust the crop as needed.
One of the newer features of Facebook is the Stories feature. To share images this way, upload using a vertical aspect ratio (9:16). This will optimize the image for full-screen display on mobile devices. Again, if you’re using Business Suite to upload, you can leverage the built-in editing tool to optimize the image to 9:16.
Similar to Facebook, Instagram’s recommended aspect ratio has changed over the years. Originally, the platform only supported square images. Now, however, the popular photo-sharing channel also supports both horizontal (1.91:1) as well as portrait aspect ratios.
Further, since the platform recently began to focus more on its Reels feature, its built-in algorithm has also begun to prioritize portrait images. In May of 2022, Instagram teased another potential shift in creative optimization, indicating that 9:16 image placements were being tested for possible rollout.
In the meantime, the current best practice for Instagram image optimization is an aspect ratio of 4:5.
Because Instagram is owned by Meta, users can publish content there via the Business Suite as well. This means that the same editing tools are available to help adjust your image crop and aspect ratios. (Note: if you upload an image that doesn’t match Instagram’s required aspect ratio range of 4:5 to 1.91:1, you’ll see a red error message. This will disappear once the image has been properly adjusted.)
If you want to use the Instagram Stories feature, simply use the same Facebook Stories aspect ratio. To optimize Stories for mobile devices, use images that are full-screen vertical (9:16). Similarly, if you plan on including still photos in your Reels, a 9:16 aspect ratio is ideal.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn initially favored horizontal images, but has since begun to shift toward square and/or portrait aspect ratios. If you use the LinkedIn mobile app to create and share posts, you’ll notice that the built-in image editor specifically recommends using a square format. This is actually the preset aspect ratio.
For best results on optimizing images for LinkedIn, use files that have a minimum width of at least 1200 pixels. You can then utilize the mobile app’s editing tools to modify the crop and height accordingly.
One thing that’s different about LinkedIn versus most of the other social platforms is that full-screen vertical images are allowed. That said, it’s important to note that these images will not cover the full screen of the user’s device. Instead, there will be vertical bars added automatically by LinkedIn.
If you’d like to share articles, which is common in veterinary social media, be aware that the recommended specs for the cover image will be slightly different from that of the standard feed dimensions. Specifically, LinkedIn recommends article cover images be optimized to 1280 x 720 pixels.
Pinterest has always favored images that are vertical, however, the aspect ratio on this platform differs slightly from that of other popular social sites. For standard ‘pins,’ an aspect ratio of 2:3 is recommended. This provides for images that measure 1000 x 1500 pixels.
To optimize your images for publishing on Pinterest, start by creating a new pin and uploading the image you want to share. Then, click on the pencil icon and select from the several available preset options. (Note that while Pinterest recommends a 2:3 aspect ratio, it also supports others, including 1:1 and 3:4.)
If you’d like to add idea pins to your veterinary social media posts, Pinterest recommends an aspect ratio of 9:16, with a pixel measurement of 1080 x 1920. When uploading images to idea pins, Pinterest will automatically adjust them to fit the recommended aspect ratio. You may resize and adjust them manually, if you’d prefer.
TikTok is primarily used to record, upload and share videos. That being said, the app does support the use of animated images, which is why it’s being included here. TikTok allows for a variety of different aspect ratios, which range from 1:91:1 to 9:16.
To optimize for mobile users, however, uploading full-screen vertical images is recommended.
One thing to note is that unlike most of the other platforms we’ve discussed here, TikTok does not feature a built-in image editing tool. You can, however, resize images manually by pinching to zoom and dragging to reposition.
Despite the fact that most social media platforms have migrated toward either a portrait or a full-screen vertical format, Twitter still considers square and horizontal images to be the optimal format. For publishing images, the recommended aspect ratios for Twitter are either 1.91:1 or 1:1.
For images that are square, Twitter suggests 1200 x 1200 pixels. The platform recommends 1200 x 628 pixels for horizontal images.
When you’re ready to optimize an image for a Twitter post, create a new tweet and upload the photo or graphic. Then, tap the image to access the platform’s built-in editing tools. Select the crop option and resize as needed. You can either use the available presets for Wide or Square, or you can resize your image manually.
This same workflow can be used on the desktop version of Twitter, with one slight difference. Once you’ve uploaded the image you’d like to include in your tweet, click the Edit button located in the lower-right corner. There, you’ll be able to choose from one of the preset aspect ratios.
Optimizing Veterinary Social Media Image Copy
Oftentimes the graphics shared on social media need text overlays to make them more impactful. If you plan on doing this with some of your images, you’ll need to make sure that the copy you use is properly displayed. When applying the aspect ratios and dimensions outlined above, images should display fully within the feed.
That being said, some platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, use a grid format to display content. In this case, if your posts do not feature a 1:1 aspect ratio, they won’t show up as full in your profile. This means that the copy contained within your image could end up being cropped and your messaging cut off.
To optimize your images so the copy will display properly within the grid, place the most important part of your message in the center. In other words, position the copy that’s most likely to capture your audience’s eye and garner engagement in the middle of your 1:1 graphic or photo.
One helpful tip to make things easier and save you time is to create a template that you can reuse each time you want to publish on social media. Canva is a great tool for this. Simply click to create a new design. From there you can either add custom dimensions (we recommend 1080 x 1350 pixels), or you can choose from the available Instagram feed design presets.
Optimizing Images for Link Sharing
Successful social media for veterinary clinics also typically involves sharing links. When you share a URL on various social sites, it will usually pull an image from the page being shared. As such, it’s important to make sure that the images shown in your link previews display properly.
Thankfully, most of the popular social platforms use the same standards for link shares. For instance, the standard image size for link shares across most social channels is 1200 x 630 pixels. Smaller images may show as miniature thumbnails, which appear to the left-hand side of the page title and meta description.
In some cases, you will be able to replace the default image that automatically pulls with a link share with an optimized version. For example, LinkedIn provides the ability to edit a post and upload a new image that will override the default.
Unfortunately, other platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, do not allow images from link shares to be modified. That’s why we strongly recommend optimizing all of your images to ensure that they display correctly, regardless of which platform you’re posting on.
To accomplish this, all images on your website should be optimized as landscape to measure at 1200 x 630 pixels. This will ensure that whatever link you share from any page on your site, particularly your blog, will pull images that display properly on all of your social channels.
Note: if you’ve already optimized your site images to these specs and they’re still not appearing correctly when sharing on social media, your web developer may to add open graph metadata.
Optimizing Social Media Images for Search Performance
Just because you post on social media, doesn’t mean your content will be seen. To increase the likelihood of your social media images showing up in relevant searches, you’ll need to add appropriate alt text to each one. Alt text is basically the text that displays when an image fails to load. While this is important from an accessibility standpoint, it also helps search engines better understand your content.
Most of the popular social platforms automatically generate alt text for images in their feed. Unfortunately, this auto-generated text may not accurately reflect the true nature of the image you are sharing, or include all of the information you want to convey for your practice.
To address this, you will need to manually add alt text to your images. What should this alt text include? Here are a few best practices to take into consideration:
Write a concise, accurate description of the image
Use branded terms and keywords naturally
Include additional detail where relevant, such as names, locations and context
When naming your image files to save them, use a hyphen to separate words
Aim for a total count of 125 characters or less
Now that you’ve got the basics of what your alt text should look like, the next step is adding it manually where needed. Each social platform features a slightly different workflow for this. Let’s go into a bit more detail on each process below. (Note: the following guidelines only apply to images used in feed posts. There is currently no option for adding alt text to stories, videos or idea pins.)
When publishing on Facebook, there are a couple of available options for adding alt text to images. Currently, these options include the classic post creation tool and the Creator Studio. (At the time of this writing, the regular new post creation tool does not support alt text.)
When in the Meta Business Manager, open the Page Posts tab and click to start a new post. Note: you may need to click the gear icon in the lower-left to access the classic post creation tool. Upload the image you wish to share, and then click the pencil icon. From there, you should see an Alt Text tab where you can add your customized image description.
If you prefer to use Creator Studio, simply begin a new post and select an image. Then, click the pencil icon located to the right of the image and navigate to the Alt Text tab.
To manually add alt text to images on Instagram, open the app and upload your photo or graphic. Once you’ve applied filters and you’re ready to publish, click through to the New Post screen. Click on Advanced Settings at the bottom of the screen, then tap Write Alt Text.
You can also use Creator Studio to add alt text to Instagram images. To do this, begin a new post and add your image. Then, click Advanced Settings and scroll down until you reach the Accessibility section. There, you will be able to specify the alt text you’d like your image to feature.
To add alt text on LinkedIn, click to create a new photo post and upload your image. You should then see an Alt Text button located just below the image.
If you’re using the LinkedIn mobile app to publish your content, click to create a new post and then choose the image you’d like to upload. From there, tap the Add Alt Text button located in the lower-right-hand corner of the screen.
To add alt text to a Pinterest post, open the mobile app, create a new pin and choose an image to share. You should then see an Alt Text prompt where you can add a short, optimized description.
If you prefer to use the desktop version of Pinterest, upload your creative, click the Alt Text prompt and add your description.
To add alt text to images using the Twitter mobile app, upload your graphic and tap the +ALT button. Keep in mind that while Twitter allows up to 1,000 characters, we still recommend keeping your alt text description to 125 or less.
To add alt text using the desktop version of Twitter, create a new tweet, upload your creative and then click the Add Description button located below the image.
Images play a central role in social media for veterinary clinics. That said, in order to achieve your marketing goals, these images must be properly optimized. This process may add a few extra minutes to your day, but it’ll payoff tenfold in terms of visibility, performance and results.
Need more help with your social media or other marketing efforts? Don’t the time or resources to handle this task in-house? Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you supercharge this and every aspect of your practice management success.