Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Images

October 18th, 2018 by Brennan Schexnaydre

Social media users are 10x more likely to engage with a post that includes a photograph or other visual. And, on platforms like Instagram, without a photo, you can’t post at all. So, no matter what industry you’re in—or even for your personal profiles—if you want to reach the 2.34 billion social media users worldwide, knowing the dos and don’ts of quality images is essential. Luckily, the social media experts at Search Influence are here to help.

Use Professional Photos

It’s the number one rule of social media—professional quality photos only. Nothing blurry or out of focus, no limbs cut out of the frame. And if no one on your team has top-notch photography skills, it’s worth hiring a professional or reaching out to your design agency, if you use one. As far as the content of these photos, always use positive imagery to keep viewers feeling happy and eager to return to your profile in the future. This might seem obvious, but it can be surprisingly easy to slide into negative territory. Many dentists, for example, feature before and after pictures on their social media—but viewers don’t want to see images of ugly teeth! Avoid the negativity and only showcase the after photos to keep things upbeat. Photos of people are also a good choice. These tend to perform better across social media channels because people relate to other people. Quite simply, if you’re taking social media photos in-house, keep it professional, keep it happy, and feature people whenever possible.

Make It Personal

Unique images will always get more traction than generic ones. So, whenever possible, make your social media photos specific to your corporate or personal brand. One great way for businesses to do this is sharing photos of team members or happy customers—taking those high-performing photos of people to the next level. When you post about team members, whether to welcome a new employee or profile a well-established manager, it helps viewers connect with your company on a personal level. Rather than a faceless corporation, you’ll seem like a group of individuals—a much more approachable and engaging online persona. When you post about happy customers, it not only reinforces positive messages about good customer service and high customer satisfaction, but it’s also a great opportunity to expand your presence online. Tag the featured customers whenever possible so their personal networks will see your post. And remember, social media is first and foremost a platform to build relationships.

Choose Stock Images Wisely

While it’s always better to take your own professional photos, unfortunately, it’s sometimes impossible to do so. For example, a new apartment complex should start advertising before it’s completed, but mid-construction photos won’t provide viewers with a good idea of the finished product. That’s where stock photos come in. They’ve developed a bit of a bad reputation for being cheesy, over-posed, and filled with women who are way too happy about salad or teams of coworkers that love giving the thumbs up. But, with a discerning eye, it’s possible to pick good stock photos to fill the gaps in your personal photos. Once again, go for photos that feature real people, and choose ones that look as candid as possible. Absolutely no clichéd photos of business people shaking hands!

Bad stock images:

Good stock images:

Also, pay attention to the color palette and make sure it fits with your existing photos and branding. Upcity.com features a list of both free and paid websites for finding stock images. But remember, don’t go with the first photo you find. Hunting through pages of images might seem tedious, but the increased quality and social media engagement will be worth it in the end.

Don’t Forget Your Audience

Every social media platform has a different user demographic, and to maximize engagement, you should tailor your image choices to each audience. On Facebook, for example, users are looking for helpful information about your business and an authentic inside look at your company culture. Photos for this platform can be a bit more casual and candid and should especially focus on featuring team members and customers, as discussed earlier.

Surfers on a beach - Search Influence

Instagram, on the other hand, requires strong, visually appealing images geared toward a younger audience. In addition to informing image choices, your target audience should also determine how much you advertise on each platform. For example, if you run a community for active seniors, you should primarily advertise on Facebook rather than Instagram, since that’s the platform your target age demographic is more likely to use. If you do advertise on Instagram, your posts should be targeting your customers’ children. Whichever platform you choose, try to put yourself in your audience’s mindset.

With these dos and don’ts of social media images in your knowledge bank, get ready to see your engagement rates soar. But, if you’re still not getting the results you want, it never hurts to contact the professionals. With services ranging from customized consulting to online advertising, the experts at Search Influence are always happy to help.


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