The Ultimate Guide to Selecting Social Images

We live in a very visual world. Social Media Today sited speaker Allen Klein, who stated that “80% of what people learn is visual.” Later they claimed, “Hubspot also reported, after analyzing 8,000 different posts from B2C and B2B companies, that Facebook statuses with images had 53% more likes, and 104% more comments, than statuses that were text only.” Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your social images are posted in the best quality possible to gather followers, leads, and general interest in your company. Statistically speaking, posts, emails, tweets, etc. are more effective with images than those without.

With this in mind, here are some of our own tips for selecting stunning images for your company’s social media sites:

Stay on Brand

Staying on brand means that your social media posts should be as relevant to your company as possible. While it may seem witty to post a cute animal picture to gather attention, those kinds of posts may not be correlated to your company’s vision. This is not to say that memes or animal pictures have to be avoided altogether; but rather, be aware that it can come across as trying too hard and the attention-grabbing effect may be ephemeral rather than long-term. A way to avoid this is to post about current events/what’s trending online to create content that is relevant to pop culture rather than choosing a captivating image at random. Of course, this decision varies from company to company. When it comes to staying on brand, think about what images best relate to and reflect the company, its products, and/or services as a whole. Likewise, a general reminder on social media websites is to use colors and tones that match logos and company insignias. For example, if you’re working for a tech company with blue branding colors, pick stock photos with a cool hue. This is an easy way to match the already established aesthetic and these photos will look more aligned and in uniform with the brand.

Use Proper Image Formatting

A lot of thought should go into the size of the image you choose for each post. The worst way to represent your company is to post something with poor resolution. One way to avoid this is to look at the proper dimensions for each social media site and to adjust accordingly. Each site, from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, has its own specific dimensions for images like cover photos, ads, posts, etc.. To help, here’s a guide from our freelancer blog, The Creative. Other than image sizing, think about the shape of the image in relation to the site. Consider choosing a landscape image to be more visually engaging or think about how a circle image may translate better on a blog site while a square image may better suit a Pinterest-like page.

Include People

Pictures of people, especially photographs of people in action or a storytelling mode, are found to be much more engaging than images of objects or landscapes. This is because people tend to respond to or see themselves in images of others. Another concept for this is empathy, a strategy of marketing that you can implement in your image choices. As we wrote about in “The Power of Empathy Marketing,” “Empathy marketing is emotionally connecting with your customers, i.e. using the old adage about putting yourself in another person’s shoes and identifying with their current situation in ad campaigns. This branding doesn’t emphasize instant gratification or a quick fix; rather, it ensures that a company understands its users.”

Think of Your Audience

Hootsuite stresses the importance of thinking about your audience for each image you choose. This doesn’t just apply to what image would best reflect your company, but also what image would properly suit each social media post. They ask, “Do you think a selfie or a beautiful chart would work better on LinkedIn? Would a diagram or a gif perform better on Tumblr. To optimize your images, consider the general user base and your specific audience on each social network.”

Use Quality Stock Photo Sites

One of the most important aspects of image selection is making sure that you have permission to use an image for your post. One obvious way to avoid this is to take your own photos or hire a photographer. You may be wary of using stock photo sites, but there are a lot more out there than there used to be that house beautiful photographs. Check out Wikimedia Commons, Unsplash, and Realistic Shots for starters. These sites have their own licensing agreements to check before using their content, but overall are great resources for quality stock images.

Still not convinced that it’s important to spend time selecting social images? Remember, the goal of social media marketing is engaging with leads and customers. The image of a social media post can be the factor that either catches a users’ attention or the reason they keep scrolling through their feed. It’s critical for the image to quickly spark interest and resonate with a user. Furthermore, if a company’s social media posts are consistent across all platforms, it demonstrates how much effort the company is putting into their design, presentation, and overall brand. 

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