Don’t Get Cut Off: Create Perfect Social Media Graphics With This Template

Have you ever been browsing your Twitter or Facebook feed and come across an image with its message cut off?

Twitter and Facebook on a smartphone

If you’re creating graphics like this in order to attract people to your posts, (which is a good idea according to experts) it would be a shame and a waste of your time for part of your message to be cropped off, not to mention how unprofessional and careless it looks. Plus, to create separate images to fit each platform would take a lot of time.

Thankfully, the helpful blog Social Media Examiner figured out what dimensions and parameters you should stick to in order for one image to be perfectly cropped in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The key is to make sure any text and main imagery are within the “safe area.”

I’ve created templates that already have these measurements and guides set up, available for you to download here.

Photoshop .psd template | Fireworks .png template | JPEG template

Redesigning the graphic above using this template, here’s how the same image looks in both Facebook and Twitter:

Bonus tip: if you have graphics like these on your district’s homepage or other pages, see if you can have them sized and designed according to this template. Why? Whenever someone shares a link to your site in Facebook, it will pull the images it sees in the page and use them as part of the Facebook post. Voila — a perfectly sized graphic to accompany the link to the school district’s website.

Do you have any templates you use to make your social media posts look perfect?

Revisit and Revamp Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is ever-changing and there are always new social media channels being introduced. This is why it is so important to revisit and revamp your social media strategy on a regular basis. By making strategic decisions based on research and your audience, you can ensure you are being efficient and effective with your time.

That was our goal. Throughout this school year, we have been meeting with our digital communications committee. The goal of this committee was to help review, research, plan and define our social media strategy moving forward.

The committee . . .

  • Researched and discussed what social media channels other districts are using, how they are using them and the demographics of each. It was really important for us to determine if the social media channel was long-term or just a fad.
  • Talked a lot about who our social media audience is. Did we want our messages focused on parents, community, kids or all of the above?
  • Surveyed our teachers to see how they are currently using social media and how they would like to use it.
  • Developed our strategy moving forward. We decided to continue using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our district app. There are several other social media channels out there that other school districts are using effectively to meet their goals. However, for our district, these four channels continue to meet our criteria. Every school district is unique, so this will look different for everyone.
  • Started tweaking our current guidelines to better meet the needs of changing social media and the needs and wants of teachers and students.

I encourage other districts to do this as well. Although it may seem daunting at times to have one more committee meeting, it has been well worth the process. The feedback and conversations we have had are invaluable. In addition, the perspectives from individuals throughout our district were helpful in defining what our staff wanted and needed.

Now that we have gone through this process, I am confident in the direction we are heading with our social media. Well . . . at least until the next social media channel comes along.

Partnering with Students and Teachers Yields Results

When we first introduced our district social media accounts, there were two basic interactions we had with students on a regular basis:

1.  Students would complain on Facebook or Twitter about the lack of a snow day, about being too hot or cold walking to school, about school lunches, etc.

2.  They would make surprisingly disparaging remarks on an otherwise normal story on our Facebook feed, which we would quickly hide.

Flash forward just a couple of years, and now we have partnered with students and faculty to provide some of our most popular and meaningful content.

It has been a relationship that has taken time to develop, and it has been helped along by a new program at our high school (we are a one-high-school district).

Thanks to a bond issue passed by our community, Ritenour High School opened a $1.25 million Media Convergence Center at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. It features 5,000 square feet of space dedicated to a radio station, video production, television studio, print news and yearbook.

The program is the combination and exploration of all aspects of media – both creation and consumption. Students learn about many forms of media communications: newspaper, radio, film, video, social networking and various new media. We are preparing students to become responsible communicators who are literate as creators and consumers of media.

Through our partnership with media convergence students and faculty, we are able to tap into different social channels to amplify our message, and they are able to do the same through our channels. All of the retweets (it helps if you give them an @ mention) and cross-posting on Facebook give our social media communications an extra boost.

Working together, we are building our social capital, through likes or followers, and facilitating new partnerships within our community. It is a mutually beneficial partnership that helps our social media efforts.

Interested in what our students are doing? You can find them on the following pages:


How to Use Facebook’s New Call to Action Button

If you’re the Facebook fan page administrator for your school or district, you might have recently noticed a small “Create Call to Action” button that suddenly appeared at the bottom of your cover photo, next to the “Like” button.

This little feature has been rolling out on fan pages over the past couple of months. If it hasn’t appeared on your district’s Facebook page yet, it will be there shortly.

call to action 1

Here’s how it works. The Call to Action button provides you with a drop-down menu of seven choices: “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Use App,” “Watch Video” or “Play Game.” These options, says Facebook, will permit you to link the button you choose to “any destination on or off Facebook that aligns with a business’s goals.”

On the NSPRA Facebook page, we decided to put the Call to Action button to use recently by choosing “Book Now,” and placing a link directly to NSPRA’s registration page for the 2015 July Seminar in Nashville, the organization’s most important event each year.

call to action 2

While your district may not want to use the Call to Action button for that reason, you might want to consider the “Sign Up” option to persuade users to sign up for the District’s e-newsletter, or the “Contact Us” button to bring readers to your website contact page. “Watch Video” or “Use App” are both great options for districts that want to promote their new mobile app or their latest YouTube or Vimeo video.

If you don’t yet have this option, you can keep checking your Facebook page for the Call to Action button. If you have one, just follow these simple steps to put it to good use:

1. Go to your page’s cover photo and click on the “Create Call to Action” button at the bottom right, next to your “Like” button.
2. Choose which call to action option you’d like to use, and then provide the web address URL you’d like to link to.
3. Click “create.”

Any time you would like to delete the Call to Action or edit it, go to the button and use the drop-down to make those changes.

How have you used the new Call to Action button?