The Best Way to Tweet Images

by Tim Parker

2 min read

You probably know that tweeting images is key to engaging with your Twitter followers. In fact, tweets bearing an image have an engagement rate that’s two times higher than those that do not.

What’s more, a new report shows that how you tweet an image — either via a link or direct upload to Twitter — influences how many people retweet it on the social network.

Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s social media scientist, collected more than 400,000 randomly selected tweets and noted how many times each one was retweeted. He then categorized the tweets by how each image was originally tweeted.

Zarrella compared four popular ways of tweeting images:

  • Links to Facebook images
  • Instagram
  • Twitpic
  • Uploading directly to Twitter (

It turns out that the method used to tweet an image has a big impact on the number of times it gets retweeted.

Zarrella found that when a tweet contained a Facebook link, it was 47 percent less likely to be retweeted than one without an image. Facebook-owned Instagram didn’t fare much better: Instagram images were 42 percent less likely to get retweeted than tweets without photos.

Conversely, images posted in tweets using Twitpic were 64 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without any image attached. Although that statistic is impressive, forget about Twitpic. Placing an image directly into a tweet is 94 percent more likely to get a retweet than tweets that contain no image, Zarrella reports.

How to Get the Most Retweets

Thus, to garner the most retweets, post images directly to Twitter. Here’s how: On or in the Twitter smartphone app, tap or click the button to compose a tweet. Select the image button that looks like a camera and attach (upload) the image. The image will occupy 23 characters of your tweet, which is true of all image options.

In order for the image to display correctly as a preview, make it a rectangle with a 2:1 ratio. In other words, the width should be twice as long as the height. Don’t make your image smaller than 440 pixels wide by 220 pixels tall or Twitter will stretch the image. 1024×512 pixels is the ideal size, but any rectangular image with the 2:1 ratio will work.

Second, provided that you hold the image’s copyright or have permission to republish it, upload the image directly into Twitter instead of linking to the page where it resides. Remember, just because it’s on social media doesn’t mean that copyright law doesn’t apply. You can’t use it without permission from the owner.

So, if you plan to tweet images, and you should, don’t get fancy. Upload files directly to Twitter if you want to maximize your retweets — and the overall number of people who see your images.

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