Top 10 Tips for Social Media Images

Over the last 12 months almost every social network has placed emphasis on all things visual. Whether it’s cat memes, article/blog links, or adverts, seeing rather than reading has become commonplace for anyone who has logged onto a social platform in 2015. With Twitter images amassing 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets, companies have realised that utilising the visual capabilities of social media is crucial in attracting maximum engagement.


However, this does beg the question, what is the perfect image for gaining clicks and conversions, and how do firms stand out from their adversaries when social media arenas are so crowded?


Erica McGillivray (Moz) explored this question recently at ‘Brighton SEO’ with her fantastic talk, ‘Show Your Flare and Pivot for Social Image Sharing’. Here she reiterated that when using a social image on Twitter to promote Moz blog posts, she saw an average of 468.95% uplift in views!


This prompted us to put together a Top 10 of ‘musts’, including a couple of her own tips:


Clean Things Up:

  • It sounds obvious but make images clean, crisp and precise. As HD moves to 4K, and our screens become even clearer, the expectation of users will also grow. Having slightly blurry or pixelated images (and yes users will spot these) will ensure that your post is skimmed past immediately.


  • Simplicity can sometimes be more effective than trying to crowd everything into one post/image. Take a look at Cancer Research’s latest advertising campaign on Twitter, to see how something very simple can capture attention.  Think about using thick bold lines to make your image clear and transparent, this will help to draw attention as users scroll down their feed.


Challenge Your Audience:

  • You don’t always have to spell it out for your audience, so try making your images more suggestive rather than obvious. Viewers like being challenged, so make them work a little harder with visual elements that don’t show the whole picture. For example, if you were promoting a personal injury service, you don’t need to show an image of a crash, or someone in pain. Rather, try and show the rehabilitation process, your audience are smart and will build the necessary bridges.


Leverage The Skills Around You:

  • Work with the developers in your company. These guys/girls know what it takes to make things look beautiful across social media, and can do things like implement open-graph tags that control what content shows up when a page is shared on Facebook (those little boxes with an image and intro when you post a URL). This goes for Twitter as well; by adding just little HTML you can do things like let your audience sign up to your mailing list without ever leaving the platform. You can read more about this here.



Don’t Waste Your Characters!


  • If your image includes phrases or words, don’t waste your characters by repeating them! Not only is each one extremely very precious, but repeating text to your audience in this manner will make you look too sales driven. Remember that on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, users are there to interact; they don’t want a sales pitch.


  • Take risks! Just because your business may be not deemed as the most exciting, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. For instance, US based mustard company ‘Grey Poupon’ promoted an app via Facebook that assessed the ‘classiness’ of user profiles before they could join their community. By grading users’ grammar, art taste, education and music selection, Grey Poupon created competition amongst an audience that would have otherwise ignored their message. The one thing to ask yourself is, would someone look good sharing your content? If the answer is yes, go for it! Take a look at how Ikea have decided to respond to customers on Facebook, it’s different, memorable, and shareable!


  • Establish credibility in your images by including short reviews and testimonials. If you’re getting your posts shared or retweeted, you have a great chance of reassuring audiences that you’re trust-worthy, and you might just get that all important click.


  • Create a document with a list of the different resolutions for the distinct types of images on social media. From profile pictures to headers, these image sizes tend to differ across a range of platforms; so stay prepared by making sure that you have a detailed list of the preferred standards and share these with your team. Getting this wrong will undo the hard work of putting the image together.


  • Try and build psychological triggers into your images. By semantically evoking emotions from your audience, they are more likely to interact. How do you do this? Something simply as thinking about what your colours represent in different cultures and countries can give you an edge over competition. Take a look at this article which has found that blue is the world’s most popular colour – perhaps a reason why Facebook and Twitter incorporated it into their branding!


  • And last but not least, mistakes happen! You’re not going to get it right every time, so learn from your errors by using analytics and tracking tools to see how your audience has responded in the past, and do some further testing. With trends drastically changing by the minute online, you can only try it and see. It’s no coincidence that the most successfully images on social media are the ones that are innovative, so test the water, you might just have a gem. Good ideas are very rarely a good idea before putting it out there.


If you would like advice on your social media strategy, please contact Jason Westall, Head of Communications at mmadigital.