How To Use Images To Transform Your Social Media Performance

First of all let’s look at why you should use images in social media.

It’s simple really. Social media posts with images get more views and more response than social media posts without images. Every single time.

So, while you can post to social media without images in many cases, it’s always a much better idea to add an image to your posts whenever you can.

But how can you add images to social media in a way that is effective …. yet doesn’t take a lot of time?

First things first ….

Don’t, whatever you do, use cheap and nasty stock images in your social media. No matter how pretty they make look. (Those sickly sweet ones of happy smiling people shaking hands around the conference table are my personal pet hate in business-related content.)

Go back a few years and stock images might have been effective. But now everyone knows they’re stock images (oh yes they do, believe me) they just make you look amateurish.

And please, if you have one of those nasty London skyline images on your blog, Twitter or Facebook page take it off now. Yes right now!

And, while Google image search might seem an easy solution, don’t lift other people’s images either. Copyright problems aside it just looks like you couldn’t really be bothered …. and that’s the impression it will give of your business.

With that in mind here are a few ideas for creating quick, simple, effective images for social media.

* Take your own original images. There’s actually something to be said for using your own, home spun images – taken with your own phone or camera – rather than using professionally taken images. Amateur pics give that personal, honest feel that social media should always possess.

Tip. Home made photo quality is OK for social media, although only up to a point. Your pics should still be properly focussed and well lit.

But social media images don’t have to be photographs. Here are a few other ways you can create images for social media:

* Digital images. Take a photograph, even a stock photograph and convert it a unique, unusual and eye-catching image using a photo editing or retouching tool. In a few clicks you can create a cartoon, pop art, oil painting or pretty much anything else that suits your business image. Try: Befunky.com

* Sketches and handrawns. Simple and effective, with a lot of novelty value. You don’t need to be an artist either, as long as your sketch is clear and legible. Sketch a map, cartoon or pull out quote, scan it (you can also use a drawing app on a tablet if you have one) and post it up.

* Charts and tables. Anything from a bar chart or pie chart to a simple table of figures. You can create these using pretty much any wordprocessing program.

* Infographics. Infographics take a little more time and effort to create – but they give you a lot of bang for the time spent on creating them. The secret is to keep them simple – an infographic should make things clearer, not more complex.

There are lots of tools which can help you create effective infographics either cheaply or even free. Try: Venngage.com

* Quotes. The online equivalent of a TV news soundbite. Lift a quote from your post. Use a graphics program to turn it into an JPEG file – even the most basic graphics tool like MS Paint (which is practically prehistoric but fine for this purpose) can do this. Then use that as your image.

This is a simple kind of meme. For more information on memes see here.

* Word Art/Word Clouds. These allow you to create a smart, professional image quickly, help summarise your post for your reader and may help with SEO too. There are lots of tools that can create slick word clouds for you. Try: WordItOut.com

And at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding of course. So try it for yourself using a back-to-back test. Try one social media post without an image. Then, a day or two later post the same content with an image. You’re sure to find that the extra response whether it be hits, favourites, retweets or calls more than justifies that extra time and effort involved in adding an image.

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