While it only offers three sizing options (horizontal, vertical and square) whereas Canva for Work offers the option to resize your image to any custom dimension of your choice, this is the only FREE option that allows you to resize images on the fly that are optimized for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Best of all, you can use it with any image found on the internet by right clicking the image.
Pablo 2.0 currently does not allow you to zoom or crop your background on your own and it does the resizing for you. Once your image is resized, you are not able to move it around. This works nicely if the focal point of your image is in the middle and Pablo does a nice job of resizing it, but is a problem if your focal point is either at the bottom or the top of the image. (See below for an example of an image that I loaded into Pablo, where I am unable to move my resized image up).
Whichever tool you use to create your images, the fact remains that if you wish to post across multiple social media channels (especially Instagram where you not only have to create the image, but also have to upload it to your phone), there are still a lot of steps involved. In this example, in order to post 3 image sizes across 4 channels, you need to:
- Add image to Pablo
- Size to Tall
- Share to Pinterest via Buffer
- Resize to Wide
- Share to Buffer via Facebook
- Share to Buffer via Twitter
- Resize to Square
- Download Image
- Save to Dropbox or Email to yourself
- Download to your phone
- Upload to Instagram
That's a total of 11 steps and does not include posting to Tumblr or Google Plus.
IS THERE A 'ONE SIZE FITS ALL' HACK?
I have been hypothesizing about creating a single optimal size that works across all social media channels. Currently, if you use a Tall image on Facebook or a Wide image on Pinterest, while it is not ideal, you can still get away with it because the entire image is shown. However, using a Tall or Square image on Twitter does not work because Twitter will only show a portion of your original image to fit it's 2:1 image frame, with the rest of your image hidden unless someone clicks to expand it.
After a lot of experiementation, this is what I found. Twitter wlll post either the middle of your image (i.e. in the light blue section of the post on the right), or it will focus on showing faces found in the image (I suspect Twitter has some sort of facial recognition technology - if you go to my test Twitter account @allonesizefits, you can see that despite using many different Seth Godin image sizes and positions, Twitter shows the exact same shot of his entire face.) Therefore, if I want the quote to be shown in full, I have to ensure that the speech bubble is aligned with his head.
In the images below, the left one was made in Canva with the recommended Pinterest image size 735px x 1,102px. This does not work as a tweet (shown below, click on the link to see in Twitter), as it shows his face but hides the top part of the quote. On the right, I have the image which I uploaded to Pablo (just slightly smaller at 735px x 1,100px) but in this image, I moved the speech bubble down such that it is aligned with Seth Godin's head. If I tweet this image (see below), it works!
The key to creating a one size fits all image to design with the right proportions in mind. You want to ensure that Tall images can be cropped into Squares using Instagram's in-app photo editor and display nicely on Twitter regardless of whether you use the Square or the Tall image size. This allows you to display images customized to 3 different social media networks with 1 image.
HOW TO DESIGN?
You can design to fit a 1024px x 512px Twitter image within a 1024px x 1024px Instagram / Facebook sized image that fits inside a scaled 1024px x 1535px sized Pinterest image. Or you can use a 1024px x 512px Twitter image inside a 1080px x 1080px Instagram image. The actual size doesn't matter as long as the proportions are consistent (roughly speaking, the tweet-visible area should be a third of a Tall post and half of a Square post).
For example, if I'm making a Tall image post (see images on right), I will mentally split it into 3 equally sized rows (I use Canva's Grids as a visual aid) and ensure that my key message fits into one of the three rows (the row does not have to be centred along the Y axis, but I try to avoid putting distracting graphics around that space, to help Twitter zoom in on the right area).
If I'm making a Square post, then I'll split it into 4 rows and fit my key message into the middle 2 rows. (IMPORTANT: Unlike a Tall image, we do not want to split the image into thirds and use the midde row; instead, we split it into 4 rows and use the middle 2 - see image below)