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Why a killer image is vital in social media

How often do you post online – be it on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, or your company blog? And as part of those posts, how often do you include an image?

Visual content is king these days, but it can present a challenge. Adding a picture to your posts might not sound too difficult – until you come to do it. Deciding on the kind of image you need, how much text there should be, how to make it relevant for your audience so they’ll be inspired to share it with their networks – suddenly there seems to be a lot to consider, and it’s no wonder that the ‘safe’ option of an image-free post is attractive.

Pictures have always been part of story-telling, and there is increasing demand for relatable, shareable images as part of our online social world. Smart businesses have tapped into this as a highly-effective marketing tool – but do you need to up your game when it comes to visual content?

A study by American content marketing platform Skyword reported that content containing relevant images attracted 94% more views than those without – that’s nearly double the amount.

It also found that tweets with images were retweeted on average 150% more than those without. It didn’t matter what the topic was or which industry it was in – the difference in performance between posts with and without visuals was staggering.

Part of the reason our brains like images so much is that they are processed and absorbed far more quickly than words – which is why they are such a great way to present messages in the high-speed world of online.

But what do we mean by ‘visual content’? Well, photographs and video, of course, but don’t forget other formats; infographics, cartoons, memes customised to fit your needs, or visual note-taking – a way of setting out ideas that, while requiring more text, does so in an image that our brain can easily take in.

Your image should have a purpose; it shouldn’t be included as an after-thought or as an obvious nod to hoping it will attract ‘shares’. This means you’re going to need some custom-created content.

If you’re going to have a go yourself, bear in mind a few simple design tips:

  • The Rule of Thirds is a way of composing an image so that it’s visually pleasing and works in sync with the way our eyes naturally scan something. It’s one of the first rules photographers learn and divides an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Think of it as imposing a noughts-and-crosses grid over your image.
  • Placing images into an actual grid can be really effective – like a collage. It can add strength and professionalism, and the solid lines between elements helps make text stand out more.
  • A good photo filter, used across all your images, helps pull together your posts in a consistent way and can even help make them more recognisable in a sea of social media updates.
  • Choose striking images. What makes a photograph ‘speak’ will vary from person to person, but if it provokes a reaction in you, chances are it will in others too. Choose images that evoke or inspire, and don’t be afraid to embrace bright, bold colours.
  • Don’t forget to keep to your brand’s colour palette and fonts. You want to be recognisable, so consistency is key. Using lots of different colours and typefaces is a sure way to confuse your audience. You can still ring the changes – each colour has many different shades, and you can variables such as italics or bolding for text.

If creating impactful visual content isn’t something you’re comfortable with doing, and you don’t have an in-house graphic design team at your disposal, then why not consider outsourcing. This is the kind of task perfectly suited to the Designs Unlimited service, which you can call on as frequently as you like for a fixed monthly fee. Contact us if you’d like more information.

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