Social media has become an essential channel for almost all businesses. Whether you’re an established business or a startup, B2C or B2B, brands find new customers and engage in important conversations primarily via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Not everyone is successful at reaching their audience this way so what might be going wrong? An area always worth examining is imagery. Instagram now has 500+ million daily active users (Statista), highlighting the importance of imagery to your social strategy. Additionally, 72% of teenagers now use Instagram (Pew Research).
Imagery is also important for improving engagement and recall. For example Buffer reports that Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without. Additionally, people who see relevant imagery alongside text retain 6.5 times more information than when there is text alone (Brain Rules).
So, which images will prove optimal on social media?
The best way to find out is to run tests, tracking views, engagements and click-throughs. However, there are some key points to consider.
Keep up interest
Switching up your images regularly keeps people interested and engaged.
With headshots, it’s important to give a genuine impression of who you are. This means your headshot will need updating when you change your style, as well as generally as you get older. This is particularly important when people will be meeting you in-person.
Product shots are often best in an appropriate setting. If you’re promoting your product as a Christmas gift it’s good to include festive elements. In general, making your product shots seasonal can be fun and engaging while demonstrating how your product stays relevant all year.
Creating excellent images in a high-quality format will enhance your credibility and professionalism. Start with great composition. Avoid too much negative space or lots of clutter, but include appealing visual elements, such as people’s faces or cute animals.
For the quality of the image format having more pixels isn’t always better. Social media sites have strict size limits and specific resolutions at which they will display images. Smaller images will be scaled up and look grainy and low-quality. Larger images will be scaled down, which can also make them look very grainy.
It’s best to provide images that are the exact size and resolution the site will display them at to avoid scaling. This can vary between social media platforms and image placement. For example, Facebook Ads images are a different size to Facebook Feed images, so always check.
Showcase your brand
If you can show how your product or service is used to improve your customers’ lives, you will create an image and idea in their minds. They will imagine enjoying themselves eating your delicious food or looking stylish wearing your watch, for example.
You want images that are relatable. Once someone imagines themselves in the image it will stick with them.
Rather than a glamourous shot of your jewellery sparkling against a dark background, try an image of an aspirational person wearing the jewellery at a fashionable event.
The same rules apply if you are simply selling your own personal brand. Show you and/your product in action. Show how buying the product will solve a follower’s problems, why engaging with you will make their life better.
Colour vs Monotone
Colourful images are eye-catching but opting for black and white images can be an excellent way of grabbing attention in a sea of brightly coloured pictures. This is especially the case with image-based sites like Instagram.
Test both types of images and see which works best for you. Remember, the more luxurious and product-focused the image, the more likely it is to work well in monochrome. For experiences, such as holidays, colour can aid the imagination and make the idea/product appear more tangible.
The best approach is to get the same image in both colour and monochrome, testing both out and gathering results. You will then have a better sense of what works for you and your brand, whether you are sharing an experience, product or headshot.
Social media platforms are a great place to showcase your visual assets and build your brand. However, to stand out you need regularly updated, consistently high-quality, images, which you can test to establish which work best for you and your business.