If you’ve ever listened to our Managing Director Yola O’Hara give a presentation, or deliver any training, you’ll know she always stresses the importance of using images.
There are two main elements to social media content, words and pictures, and you shouldn’t have one without the other. It’s like chips without ketchup (or brown sauce, if you prefer).
A word before we go on about the term social media: you’ll also know that we talk instead about social business. Social media is just that, a social activity for posting photos of your cat, your holidays or your meals out. Social business is a complex marketing activity, which requires thought, planning, and consistency. And, of course, images…
So, what do we mean by images? These can be photos, or they could be graphics or videos. Visually Explained started life as infographic creators, so we’ve always understood the importance of making a post eye-catching.
Here are six reasons for using an image.
- They say a picture paints a thousand words, and this was never more true than it is today. An image with your social media post will instantly give people an idea of the subject matter.
- A photo or image grabs their attention. Did you know, a post with an image is at least ten times more likely to attract the eye than one with just words? With the social media world becoming ever more crowded, that gives you a head start from those who are still not using images.
- Using images makes your posts look more varied and engaging. Words are, let’s face it, just words. If you use a variety of images – keeping in mind, of course, who your target market is and what they will want to see – you have a higher chance of maintaining their interest and building up a following.
- Images make your posts more memorable. Research shows we retain more memory of a message if it comes with an image. We remember the image and that triggers a memory of the message.
- Images help you build consistency. We’ve mentioned variety of images, and that’s fine, but they must all be on brand. Consistency across all your marketing, including your social business, is essential, and using the right images will help convey the impression you want to create.
- Shares. A post with an image – especially if it’s a video – is far more likely to be shared, which means your messages are reaching a wider audience and doubtless gaining more followers as a result.
- What if the subject matter is a little dull, because, let’s face it, not all posts are worthy of going viral. Then using an image will certainly liven it up.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you of the importance of imagery. Now let’s talk about which images to use.
As we’ve said, constancy is key, so any image accompanying a social business post has to be on-brand, and to complement your business and your message.
It also has to be either an image you own, one that you pay to use, or one that is royalty-free.
Here are some different options.
- Book a photographer to take pictures of you and your business for using on social media platforms. There is a cost to this, of course, but a library of really good images can be used over and over. If you are your brand, then it is even more important for you to appear on camera, so people get to know you and build a relationship. Aim for a selection, so you have some ‘at work’ and some lifestyle images. Don’t just stick to corporate headshots.
- Use free stock imagery. There are literally millions to choose from, of very good quality and at no cost. The only downside is there is a chance someone else will use it too, because they aren’t unique to you. Of course, if you find the perfect image that has royalties attached, ensure you pay for the privilege.
- Try mixing up the images with some infographics. At Visually Explained, we’d be very happy to create these for you, because they are ideal for turning complex posts into an easy-to-understand format. You can also try creating your own using free online tools.
We ensure we keep on up-to-date with social media trends, which includes subscribing to Social Media Week. Here’s a sentence in a feature that sums up the importance of imagery perfectly:
“Selecting the perfect images, videos, or illustrations can mean the difference between connecting with your audience or simply being overlooked.”
If you want an effective social business strategy, or more help and advice on images, then please get in touch with the team at Visually Explained.