As 65% of the population are visual learners, the fact that image posts get 179% more interaction than average Facebook posts is pretty obvious. It’s bigger, it’s colourful and it speaks to your viewers on another level. However, the hard part is how are you going to keep up with the trends and select the best image to accompany your social media posts?
Let’s break it down. There are 10 things that should cross your mind before you post an image on a social network.
1. Who is your audience?
Who do you want your message to attract? Selecting an image can be stressful. But if you break it down by really thinking about who your audience is, it’s so much easier. Are they young? Single? Female or male? Entrepreneurs? Family focused? Dog lovers? By getting to the specifics, it’s easier making a decision. One image certainly can’t attract everyone, so by narrowing it down you know exactly who you want stopping by your post or reading your message.
2. Make it about you.
This message is from you after all. You’re the best person here who knows who your audience is and why they’re reading your content in the first place. So give them what they’re there for. The more images you post, the more you style is going to become recognised and appreciate. So stick to it. Perhaps you have a certain colour palette, or style of drawing that will become who you want to express on this particular site.
3. Provide relatability.
If someone can relate to your image, they’re going to empathise with your content. Keeping in mind consideration number 1, you need to match the image to the audience. If they work with flowcharts - give them a flowchart. If you have a face in the image, it automatically gives the image emotion, action and a relatable aspect. Perhaps the viewer may not bother reading the content, but the image has to give them something to hold on to.
4. Is it captivating?
As well as relatable you want something captivating. If someone is willing to look at the image long enough they will be encouraged to read the message or click through to the link. There should be something eye-catching about the image, a small detail that draws the viewers in. Try emotion for example, something that will intrigue the viewer about what type of message you’re trying to send. Emotion is a good technique in visually showing how the audience should feel in relation to your content and message.
5. Do you have the rights to use this image?
This is a very important factor. The best way around this is to simply use your own picture. It’s automatically more personal and is full of your own flavour. However, this isn’t always so easy. So if you’re taking a picture from the internet, make sure you understand its legal implications.
There’s three main licenses available on the market:
Free for Personal Use — if it’s not for commercial use, you’re free to use it.
Creative Commons — these are also free, just as long as you attribute to the photographer.
Free for commercial use — the most liberal option of them all. Use it as you wish.
6. Will your image also use text.
If you want to incorporate an inspirational message or quote within your image, leave room for it. You don’t want the picture to take away the viewer’s attention from what you’re trying to say. In turn the image should complement the text, be simple enough to draw the viewer’s attention to the words and gain the right feeling from the image. Alternatively, sometimes a pure text based image such as flow chart might be the best option for your message.
7. Use a good quality image.
A pixelated image with poor colour quality and fuzzy edges is not only going to deter viewers, but will also reduce the professionalism of your message. If you can’t post a good image, how can your business or your message have value?
8. What social media site are you posting to?
Different social media site will display images differently. Typically Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will present the content in a column, with the image being wider than it is tall. Be conscious of the social media sites you are using.
9. Consider the colours of the image.
There’s no need to get too excited when editing an image. Keeping the colours natural will do the trick — unless you’re going for a very bright effect; one that screams for attention. Different colours add a different aesthetic to the picture. If you’re unsure about the messages that you’re sending with the colours in your image, the best way to judge is by asking the following — how does it make you feel?
10. Is it the right size?
Uploading a very high quality image will take longer to load, and your audience may completely miss the chance to even see it. However, you also need to keep in mind, that while you’re posting it from your laptop, someone is viewing it from their ipad or phone. Is this image optimised enough to fit a wide screen as well as a smaller screen.
So now that you know what you should be considering, here are some examples of what you could actually use -
Pictures in motion — think Boomerang
This helps the image connect to the larger story you’re trying to tell. It encourages the viewer read further into what is happening. Movement can be physical movement by people or an inanimate object with implied motion.
While this can be a word dominant image, its colour and accompanied picture classifies it as an image. It’s large enough to pop off the page and catch the viewer’s attention. However don’t forget consideration number 6.
A unique angle of an object.
Sometimes the human touch isn’t needed, but rather an object or product better complements your message. In this case, to make it more interesting have the object position, or alternatively take the snapshot from a unique angle, to generate greater interest from the viewer.
You don’t always need pure imagery. You can use flowcharts and graphs in such a way that makes them appear like an image and perks up the information overload.
It's 2017. Who doesn't love memes?
Just remember, never use an image just for the sake of using it.