A Beginner’s Guide To Social Media Images
Social media is such a central and omnipresent part of everyone’s lives, and even the most casual user knows the impact of images in our social feeds. Almost every post we see (even on Twitter these days)! comes with an image. And it’s no accident – because nothing engages like good visuals. They can make us feel happy, sad, laugh, cry – and compel us to take action. Social media posts exist to be seen, and shared. And with research revealing Facebook posts with images see over twice as much engagement as those without, it’s clear that for small businesses, the potential of the right image on social media is huge. But with so many businesses and so many images on social media, how can your business cut through the crowded marketplace? Read our beginner’s guide to social media images and make the visuals you use power your brand.
What sort of social media channels could I use?
Firstly, there’s a smorgasbord of images out there on ‘the socials’, and a channel and format to suit everybody. There are basic images, videos, reels, IGTV, stories, carousels, infographics and more. On Facebook and Instagram you can post images directly from your camera, or go live with video. There are also a whole host of filters and editing options on most platforms. These are easy and fun to create, as much built for consumers as brands to use, so perfect for a small business. Pinterest is a fantastic platform for imagery – a virtual worldwide pin-board. Like most social platforms, it’s a golden opportunity for brands to showcase their products and create an army of local fans, followers and likers. And there’s a flock of new social platforms springing up across the globe. Rising stars include TikTok, ClubHouse, Caffeine and Houseparty – a bold new generation of snap sharing opportunities.
What kind of images could I share?
Before a brand decides to dip their toe into the water and begin sharing some images, they first need to decide what they want to achieve and how best to do it. Publishing a picture is the perfect way to tell a story, and the ultimate way to connect with the audience. But what sort of images should a business share?
- Images of their product in use – Video or stills can really bring a product to life. Especially so if they depict solving a problem or enhancing the user’s life. It can help potential customers picture themselves using the product or services, and visualise how it will make them feel.
- Behind the scenes – A ‘behind the scenes’ image gives the brand a personality and a human touch, which is great for drawing in interest and creating authenticity.
- Logo – A high quality and well designed logo can communicate to the audience that your brand is reliable and professional. It also swiftly conveys your brand personality and grab your audience’s attention.
- User generated content – A shot of a real person enjoying a real product can go a long way to creating awareness, trust and more sales. It provides ‘social proof’ that your product or service exists, works and can also nudge a potential customer from browser into buyer.
- Text image – Fun, inspirational, insightful, or poetic, text images are very powerful and highly shareable images, a famous quote or simply a big ‘thankyou’ can go a long way with your customer base. These are some of the most regularly shared items on social media. Emulate them if you want your posts to travel far and wide.
You can create a mix and match approach to get the most out of your chosen channels. Try undertaking “A/B” testing of different images to see what works and what doesn’t. Also, think about segmenting your audience and select show-stopping pictures tailored to each group.
What’s out there to help me?
Legions of apps and courses exist to help businesses supercharge their visuals. Canva offers free access to editing software specifically designed for business images on social media. It makes it very easy to create a brand identity and pre-plan some beautifully styled posts. And Life Lapse allows users to create simple stop motion films – brilliant for story telling and grabbing attention in the never ending scroll. There are many courses dedicated to improving social media imagery. You can perfect your photography skills and editing, or learn how using hashtags will get the most out of your pics. Learn your flat lays from your portraits, and your landscapes from your aerial photos to make sure your pictures pop.
The right physical kit can take your images from good to great. A camera, tripod, lightbox, and microphone can all help your pictures and videos stop that scroll. It’s easy to source good value camera stands and backdrops from the web. Or, just use what you already have – smart use of household objects can help you create some great social images. Life Lapse has a great tutorial which shows you how to use a mug as an impromptu tripod! If the choice seems a little overwhelming you can always call the professionals in. From photographers, social media planners to graphic designers and journalists, using a pro can be a shortcut to success.
Any mistakes I should avoid?
- Copyright – Copyright is king when it comes to images, because if you use a copyrighted image without permission, you are breaking the law. So, make sure you doing research into any images you want to use, to ensure you can! You can create your own, or buy a license from stock photo suppliers like Getty or Shutterstock. Don’t take any chances and if unsure, find another image. There are plenty of free and legally approved sources on the web – so check out sites like Unsplash, Pixabay and Canva.
- Accessibility – If you want to make your photos understandable for people of all abilities, it’s a great idea to describe the image or video in text. Because this helps your audience, it can also give your SEO a shot in the arm too!
- Sizing – Plan where you’d like your picture to pop up and make sure they are the right size. Because your visual will lose impact if a key detail is cropped from the frame.
Your whistle stop beginner’s guide to social media images is now complete. There are few other opportunities for businesses to reach millions of people in a format our brains are hardwired to engage with, and for little or no cost. So, dive in now and get involved. Start harnessing the power of pictures to take your venture to the next level. If your appetite has been whetted but you’d like some assistance to take you to the next level, Muve is there to help. They’re experts in digital marketing strategy, and to learn more about how they can boost your business, contact them here.