We’ve all seen the statistics. Tweets with images receive 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets on average. Facebook posts with images account for 85% of total interactions. The list goes on and on. There’s no denying it – visual content is a vital component of any social media strategy. When done right, it can drive traffic to your website, increase page views and lower bounce rates. But this isn’t as easy as attaching an image to every single one of your Facebook or Twitter posts.
Here’s how to breathe life into your visual content:
Optimise your images for each social network: Consider the general user base and your specific audience on each social network. What do they expect from your page? Choose images that make most sense for where they’re being published, and the audience who will potentially see them. You want your images to fit right in, so that anyone who shares them will too. Don’t forget to make sure your images are in the optimal sizes for each network – there’s nothing worse than a blurry or stretched image.
Choose engaging images: Posting photos that evoke emotional response can increase the chance of a message being shared. This is because audiences can resonate with emotional elements. The most successful emotions for engagement include awe, amusement, inspiration, shock, fear and controversy. However, remember that your audience can vary across your social networking profiles. Test different types of images and compare engagement levels. An A/B test as simple as posting an image with a face, and one without a face, at the same time on subsequent weeks could provide an insight into the type of image your following prefers.
Stick to your branding: What makes your one of your followers stop on your photo when scrolling through their Instagram feed at lightning speed? Branding. We don’t mean stamping every single photo with your logo, but the style of imagery that people will come to recognise as yours. Filters, colours and borders all contribute to your online branding. Keeping these consistent will help you keep existing followers and make your brand more recognisable to potential ones.
Take and share your own photos: While using stock imagery for social media is easy on the budget and takes little to no effort, that doesn’t mean it’s an effective strategy. Seeing recycled images again and again makes them far less engaging, which is a problem when you have a very specific social media audience. Now, this doesn’t mean splurging on a professional photo shoot (although, if your budget allows it – why not?). There are hundreds of photo taking and editing tutorials available online to help you capture great images to use on social media. Sourcing user-generated content is another alternative, allowing you to make the most of your followers and clients’ creative efforts by reusing their images (with credit, of course). This shows them that you’re actually listening and that you appreciate their loyalty!