The previous post describes how I created a single optimised image that works across all social media channels. Now that I have one image that works Tall and Wide and can be resized into a Square via Instagram's in-app photo editor, what are the minimum number of steps required to post across all the different social media networks?
OPTIMIZED APPROACH: Use your secret Buffer email, a secret Buffer account, Instagram and IFTTT
Create a Buffer "Vault" account: If you have many profiles and many networks to post to, the simplest way is to create a Buffer account that doesn't post (just remove all the posting times from the Schedule tab - Buffer suggests using this to store your best performing posts too). Use your secret Buffer email to send your Tall image to your Vault by adding "@p vault account name" in the body of the email. When in Instagram, crop your image to Square. Use an IFTTT recipe to send your Square photo to the same "Vault". You can find your secret Buffer email here. (You can also find advanced commands that allow you to post to specific profiles / networks, except Pinterest).
100% mobile solution - once you've created your optimized image on your desktop via Pablo 2.0 or Canva or Fotor or Be Funky and emailed it to yourself, you can do everything else from your mobile (e.g. post to Instagram, re-Buffer while you're in a cab, on the bus etc)
Maintain Buffer Analytics - while you want to use Instagram to crop your photo, you do not want to post to Facebook via the app as you lose the analytics.
My previous solutions involved lots of IFTTT/Zapier recipes and this saves you from having to set up many individual recipes. It also avoids any risk of circular references (which happened to me once with a disastrous IFTTT recipe between Facebook and Tumblr). I now make an effort to map out any automation flows so as not to trigger any circular references.
Regardless of which tool you used to create the image, this option allows you to post Tall images to Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr, Square images to Instagram and Facebook and an optimized Wide image to Twitter with only one image.
Do we really need a one size fits all hack when there's Canva for Work and Pablo 2.0?
It may not always be optimal to use this 'one size fits all' hack. Amazing tools like Canva for Work and Pablo 2.0 have made it so much easier for us to produce compelling images with custom dimensions on the fly and these tools are getting better each day.
However, I would also like to challenge your thinking by asking if custom dimensions are really necessary just because the different social media networks have arbitrarily decided to define different "ideal sizes" for images and because we now have the tools that enable us to create them? Should one aim to customize or optimize?
If we can optimize for multiple social media networks with 1 image, should we not? Money and time creating the images are not the only things saved; storage space (especially on the mobile phone) is reduced, version control issues minimised, and less filing and management of visual assets will be required.
Please participate in the poll below! Would love to know what you think!
If you found this hack useful, if you never knew about the secret Buffer email, and if you think this will save you time and effort when managing your social media strategy, or even if you thought this was a total waste of time and a ridiculous idea, please consider making a small donation towards the school that I am trying to build with Pencils of Promise so that children in Laos can have a chance at having a quality education. 30% of children in Laos are illiterate and $25 will provide a child with education for one year - that could transform their lives forever. After all, time is money. If you think this hack will save you an hour of work, please consider making a $25 donation here.
While we have the luxury of crafting a 735x1102px image for Pinterest versus a 1080px x 1080px image for Instagram and hypothesizing about how to use fancy automation formulas to post across multiple devices, there are also 250 million children who are unable to read or write and 75M who do not have access to education. If these children were to form a country, that would make it the 3rd largest country in the world, tied with Indonesia, with ony China, India and the USA larger than it. Every child deserves a education and you can help to provide that with a simple donation.
TED prize winner Sugata Mitra and Pencils of Promise's founder Adam Braun are also working on a hack that will allow children in developing countries to catch up with the developed world in terms of education. To find out more, click here.
Would love to know what you think about optimization vs customization and whether you think using one size for all can work! Leave your comments in the section below!
If you made it this far down the post, here are three bonus hacks:
Download or Remix the template on Canva
All the IFTTT recipes I created
My Design Vault - so you can see how many attempts it took me to get this right
This is a simple blog to track my fundraising activities and to keep family, friends and supporters updated on my progress.