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Pictures for social media sites — time to update

Social media sites: Pictures get more response

social media sites marketing strategy can be toughThe big three — Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — are the most-used social media channels. In the last month (June, 2014) all three have made big changes to add larger images and encourage more visual storytelling within their feeds. Stats show audiences like and share more posts with visuals than just text.

2x more likes on Facebook with photos or graphics

According to 3M Corporation, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Studies of Facebook prove there are at least twice the shares when a photo or image is added. Videos are shared on Facebook 12x more than text posts and links combined.

  • Twitter’s new design adds large header and profile photos. It’s easier to attach pictures and video to tweets.
  • LinkedIn introduced a new personal “Premium” Profile with a big cover photo, too. With success, it will roll out site-wide.

All three social media sites have recognized the value of more and bigger visuals to increase engagement.

Use visual storytelling to increase response

social media sites PinterestSocial media sites like Pinterest (right) and Houzz are growing fast because they’re built around compelling pictures. Users search pictures tagged for their categories of interest, then build their own boards or repin pictures they find.

Successful marketers are incorporating pictures, infographics and graphic elements into all of their posts on social media sites to get more likes and shares.

Remember “every picture tells a story” and “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Even more true in today’s at-a-glance attention span, online and off. Build a library of photos for your online brand. Use great pictures wherever you appear.

How can this work for you? A few ideas:

  • When you have new photos to add to your website, repurpose them for social media site posts, with a quote or link in the image.
  • Answer your customer’s questions on your blog with a picture, graph or video and not a description.
  • Turn statistics into graphs or charts and post them on social media channels.
  • social media sites picturesCreate a series of funny or offbeat images and quips that relate to your business (did you see the H&R Block #hipstertaxes campaign?)
  • Refresh cover photos on Facebook often and use memes to share ideas, and not straight text.
  • Incorporate seasonal or “real-time” pictures (connected to current news) into social media posts and cover photos.

The big 3 – another “front door”

Social media helps you connect and build a relationship with your community, customers and fans. And it’s an advertising medium that, for many, is delivering good results at a low cost. To be effective, be persistent, consistent and engaging.

  • LinkedIn – preferred by businesses for recruiting, job search, business resumes and company profiles. Groups help you find like-minded business people, share ideas and ask questions.
  • Facebook – the biggest social media channel with more than 1 billion users around the world. More social than LinkedIn, a majority of users log in from mobile..
  • Twitter – introduced the hash tag (#hashtag) and the limited 140 character message. The latest iteration promotes more photos and video attachments.

These social media channels are good for specific categories and target audiences:

  • Pinterest – 80% of regular users are women. Find success with high-impact photos and graphics that are shared or “repinned.”
  • Houzz – sort of like Pinterest for the home. I’ve talked to two builders and a landscaper who are getting more inquiries from Houzz than from their website.
  • Instagram and Vine – focused on photo and video-sharing, are now preferred over Facebook by younger audiences (think Millennials), which is why Facebook bought Instagram.

Update your pictures to the new sizes

As noted above, the big three have recently redesigned their formats. Check the channels you use and update your images to the new sizes. We’ve created a checklist you might find useful. Download it here.

It can be challenging gathering and organizing a library of good images for your brand

We suggest Flickr. Free with a Yahoo login, it makes organizing, tagging and storing really easy. And you’ll have all of your photos available with a login, not on someone else’s hard drive, or DVDs or CDs. We’ve put together a quick overview of how to set up and organize a company Flickr account.

Still wondering if social media is a good fit for your business?

Talk to us. We’ll help you choose which channels are worth the persistence and consistency required to make social media work for you. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. But you also don’t want to ignore the opportunity social media offers to your business.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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