A picture is worth a thousand words—that is, if you have the right image in your social media posts.
Most social media managers spend their time figuring out the right post times for each platform without strategising the images to be used for their Facebook posts. Social media feeds are crowded with different types of content and one of the best ways to stand out is to have a compelling image in your post. According to a study by eMarketer, images are considered the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with an interaction rate of 87%. Photos also boost the number of Retweets by 35% for a Twitter post.
But not all posts with images are guaranteed to increase social media engagement. We’ve run campaigns for different clients and based on our experience, here are some of the factors that can affect how your social media images will perform.
Are your images optimised for social media?
When optimising images, first consider which social media platform you’re going to use and the general user base on each. Each social media network has an image size and orientation that you should follow. When working on your posts, always choose images that are presented in the right orientation and sizes for the specific social media platform.
For instance, images on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are presented in landscape form and appear in a single column. Photos for Google+ and Pinterest are often in portrait form and posts are usually in multiple column formats. Instagram, on the other hand, has more of a square orientation.
Images should also be in optimal sizes for each platform. This way, your images will appear clear and crisp when viewed in different devices.
Are they engaging enough?
To engage your target audience, you have to share images that truly capture their interest. If you know who your target audiences are, you should also know which types of images are visually appealing to them.
In choosing engaging images, you should also consider whether or not your photo evokes an emotional response. One study found that evoking certain types of emotions in your content can help increase its chances of getting shared. According to another study, the types of emotions that influence social sharing include controversy, awe, fear, amusement and inspiration.
Are they consistent with your brand identity?
One way to stand out in the sea of pixels in social media is to post images that are related to your brand. This is more than just stamping your logo across all your social media images. We recommend utilising your brand’s unique style of imagery, brand colours and brand voice. This will allow you to take advantage of a recognizable feature of your business to grab your audience’s attention.
Other design elements you can use in your images are fonts, borders, image styles and filters. Keeping these elements consistent will tie all your social media accounts together, and at the same time build loyalty, gain attention and increase engagement.
Do you use stock images?
Many turn to stock images when looking for photos to use on social media. Nothing against it; in fact, we do this a lot ourselves, too. Our favourite sources of visually appealing, royalty-free images include Unsplash, Pixabay and Canva. You can easily find an image that is relevant to your topic, which, at the same time, saves you money and effort.
However, stock images are being reused and recycled a lot, which means you’ll be seeing the photos you used over and over from other people’s posts. This may reduce your content’s shareability. You have a very specific audience, therefore it’s best to provide them with images that cater to them and to your brand as well. Your long-term social media strategy should include creating your own visuals.
If hiring a professional photographer is not an option, you could very well take your own photos and choose from different photo-taking and editing apps online. You can simply take different photos at one time, do a few tweaks and use them for your social media content for a month.
Another great source of images is user-generated content. You can grab photos (with credit, of course) posted by your customers and followers for contests and branded hashtags on different social media networks.
Using captivating visuals in your social media posts will make sure that your audience will engage with your content and not scroll past you.
Do you have other strategies you can share with us? We’d love to hear them!