How to Choose Social Media Images

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Images and video work extremely well on social media. In fact, according to recent research shared by Hubspot, images get 53% more interaction than a purely text based post. So how do you choose images to use on social media?

What Social Media Images can I use?

First and foremost, the images that you share on social media should be your own, or you should have permission to use them. That means that you cannot simply pull images off the internet, because it is effectively image based plagiarism if you try to pass something off as your own. Many people rave on about top of the range cameras for professional photography, but personally, I think that a modern iPhone or smartphone can do a good enough job, and make it easier to share.

If you do not have your own images, you can ask permission from photographers to use their work, and agree to credit them for the image. You can also use an image that is under a Creative Commons lisence. Creative commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing of you photography and creative work on conditions of your choice. People sharing images under a creative commons license can specify, for example, a photographer can specify that their image is for ‘non-commercial use’ or that if it is used for commercial purposes it credits the photographer for their work. 

Do all Social Media Images grow your Online Reputation?

No, not all images hold the same weight on social media. Some social media images are much more successful than others. It is important that you consider the audience of the social network that you are sharing on, and use different social media images for different networks. Think carefully about who your audience is and what images would be relevant for them. For example, a travel Facebook page would appeal to backpackers and travellers who would want to see good travel photography. The Twitter account of a dog grooming salon might be successful sharing cute memes (images with captions) or tweeting photos of their clients (with permission, of course). The only way to truly know what your audience is interested in is to try different images and see what works.

5 Key Questions on How to Choose Social Media Images

  1. Does the Image fit in line with your Brand? Images need to reflect the ethics and ideals of your company. There are certain images that you may decide on avoiding e.g. Political Protests and anything potentially offensive. Some images will be in line with your brand. For me, this includes social media infographics for my Trumpeter Media accounts. Some people even adapt and filter images to get them in line with company colours.
  2. What resonates with your audience? What works well for me depends on the social media account that I am promoting and the audience that I am engaging with. Remember that although it is a good idea to keep things in line with your brand, you don’t have to be too business focussed. The sharing of travel photography has been successful on my travel Facebook Page Globetrotter Guru. However, local photos of Oxford and York have gone down well on my Trumpeter Media Twitter account. As you see, on Facebook and Twitter, not everything has to be to do with the business. Images that have worked well for me on both personal and business accounts include local and national events, music festivals and current local news.
  3. Which Social Media Platform is the image appropriate for? Remember that there is more to social media than just Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is a fabulous platform for sharing product images, interior design and travel photography. You can categorise your boards in line with ranges or countries. Linked In is a more professional network, so avoid cute and quirky, and stick to business. I have found that business Infographics work really well on Linked In. If you want to get your own infographics made to share original research and content, you can hire a designer quite easily on People Per Hour.
  4. How many Product Photographs are appropriate? Product images are, of course, essential for product based businesses. When I worked for Shared Earth, many images of fair trade products went down very well on their Facebook business page. However, be careful not to overly promote. As a general rule, there should be one in ten promotional posts or tweets.
  5. Is there an emotional element to my image? Images that go viral often have an emotional element or involve image based storytelling. Hootsuite highlighted the Obama Campaign Image that was shared when Obama won four more years in the Whitehouse as one of the mst shared social media images. This image was retweeted over 750,000 times. So it is also a good idea to experiment with emotional images that show expressions and see how they go down with your audience.

Finally, Can you Use Video?

If a picture is a thousand words, a video is a thousand pictures! Always consider whether it is appropriate to use video instead of an image. When using video, remember that most viral videos are less than 1 minute 30 seconds long. Over two minutes? It could be too long!

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about smugmug review online photography platform and image tagging


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