The Power of Visuals in Social Media Marketing
The Power of Visuals in Social Media Marketing
Short Attention Spans – Stand Out From the Crowd – Enhance Your Social
Trying to succeed on social media is a
little bit trying to get your voice heard in a room filled with people speaking
loudly and all fighting for attention.
That’s pretty much precisely what social
media is – a platform where a whole lot of individuals and companies will fight
for the attention of the masses and do whatever they can to stand out from the
This is what has led some brands to resort
to some pretty underhanded tactics. Enter the ‘clickbait title’. This is a
title used in social media that is so outrageous
or shocking or mysterious that people feel they absolutely must click it and
can’t pass up the opportunity to find out what it is really all about.
Of course, this being clickbait, they are
almost always left with a feeling of disappointment when they find that the
content really doesn’t deliver on its promise and generally offers very little
So then, what can you do to stand out and
make more of an impact? What can you do that doesn’t mean tricking your reader or selling them short in terms of
How can you get more attention while
actually enhancing your value proposition and raising the class of your brand?
images that are striking and that grab attention. That means using images that
are well shot and that can’t help but draw the eye.
And you’re going to learn how to do that
The Role of Visuals in Social Media
Visuals play a very important role in
multiple aspects of social media.
For starters, a lot of what you will be
sharing from your social accounts is likely to be blog posts, articles and
other forms of content. It is normal – and actually practically a requirement –
that this content be adorned with images.
The alternative is that your visitors land
on your website and are greeted by a wall of plain text. This can be a highly
off-putting and especially in a world where people don’t have much time and
where there is a whole lot fighting for their attention.
this up with images serves multiple roles.
Firstly, it increases the production value
of your page. This adds just that small amount of detail that makes the page
look like it was created by an organization with skill, talent, equipment and
funds – rather than looking like something someone made on their Mum’s
At the same time, the right image breaks up
the text and makes the page much more welcoming. But what it also does, is to
add narrative. Images tell stories. In fact, you’ve probably heard the old
adage that an image can convey ‘a thousand words’. And what this means, is that
your image will help to convey more meaning immediately in much the same way
that gesticulations and expressions help us to communicate more with our words.
Now when someone lands on your page, they
will be instantly more aware of what the subject matter is, what the tone is
and how they should feel. This instant reaction tells them whether they should
stay, or whether they should leave.
And what achieves this same end to an even
greater effect is having an ‘infographic’. Those that work online will have a
better idea about what this means, but in short, an infographic is an image
that also conveys information. This can mean data plotted and displayed in a
very interesting way, it can mean a kind of visual mind-map or chart or it can
mean a host of other things.
Either way, an infographic will allow you
to put across a whole lot of information more quickly and these – as it happens
– are highly sharable.
Images for Clicks
Images do more than this though. As well as
convey meaning, they also convey and invoke
emotion. That is to say that an image can make us feel something.
And unlike writing, an image can make us
feel something instantly. We might
feel that something is very awesome instantly, or we might feel that something
is inspiring, desirable or even disgusting.
So, if you want your content to have a gut reaction then a great image can do
that. Remember: when you place an image on your content, one of these will be
shared when someone clicks to share your content.
And if your content has the effect of
creating a strong emotional reaction, then of course people are going to stop
and notice what has been posted and
therefore be considerably more likely to click and read.
And guess what, it goes even further than
this because what many people don’t realize, is that a lot of people will
actually click ‘like’ or click ‘share’ before they have even read the content.
People are lazy and impulsive. A lot of us
don’t have time to read but if we see
something that looks funny, looks cool, or we think will make us look smart,
then we might click like or share on a whim before we’ve even actually checked
So, your image can get shared on its
Note: In terms of images
that are best at catching our attention, psychologists unanimously agree we are
most likely to look at people’s faces. Attractive faces? Now that’s just a
bonus. Better find some model friends!
And of course, the image can be the content
This is much more likely to be the case on
Instagram of course but it can also be the case on Twitter or on Facebook even.
It’s certainly the case on Pinterest too!
Here the image itself must provide value. And that’s where things get a little trickier.
Infographics of course get around this
problem inherently, as do memes. And what you can also do is to use images that
contain the kernel of a useful tip – for instance an image of a lifehack or a
smart décor tip.
Images for Selling a Lifestyle
So how can an image provide value all on
its own? There are actually a number of ways.
One way this can happen, is if your image
is entertaining. That means it might be cute, funny or cool. Cute imagery works
well for pictures of dogs, babies and cats.
Funny imagery can work well for memes and
the like – which works very well for the likes of Buzzfeed. Short videos can
also work well in this way for short cat videos, fails and the like.
But in terms of being ‘cool’ often
the objective is to provide some kind of inspiration – to offer value
So, every brand should offer value in some
way. Whether that is through products that help the audience, or whether it is
through their content.
Either way, a brand should offer value and
normally this means building toward some kind of goal or offering some
incentive. For example, if you have a blog about making money online, then
perhaps the goal is to be highly successful, to run a business, to wear a smart
suit and to stand at the top of skyscrapers feeling powerful. Maybe the aim is
to be like Eddie Mora at the end of Limitless.
the aim is to being able to work from home, to enjoy coffee and cafes while
you work undisturbed on your laptop and to travel the world to be free.
Same niche, different value proposition.
Different target audience. Different brand and different dream.
But that ‘dream’ is the thing that you’re
really selling and this is the thing that motivates and inspires your audience.
If you can create an image that tells a story – a story of someone who is enjoying
the life that the viewer wishes was theirs, then you can inspire that audience
and simultaneously get them to be more interested in what you have to say.
This is a form of value but it is also a
fantastic tool for persuasion and for getting people more excited for your
brand and more interested in what you have to say in future.
You are selling a dream and a goal and this
is something that people will be highly motivated by because it is emotional
and it is something that they will find motivating.
Being able to do this is somewhat tricky of
course because a lot of companies don’t have that emotional ‘hook’. It’s hard
to sell a dream if you sell car insurance or if you offer consulting for B2B
One way around this is to offer something that
people will find interesting that is tangentially related to the larger brand.
This might mean, for example, that if you sell car insurance, you include lots
of images of beautiful cars – or of families that look safe and happy inside of
vehicles that are clearly designed to be family friendly.
option is to create a ‘personal brand’.
That means putting yourself front and
center as an ambassador for your brand and it means as well that you attempt to
live the lifestyle that you are
promoting and encouraging. You become the embodiment of the dream and the
message and that means you can then share images from your lifestyle.
It’s easy to find photo content for your
fitness blog when you really do spend your days doing gruelling workouts or
running along the beach in your yoga pants with your faithful pup.
Now that brings us to the tricky part:
acquiring said images!
Now there are a number of ways you can do
first and most obvious is to make those images
yourself. That’s going to require a good camera and a good eye but with the
right filters and the right effects, you’d be surprised how you can dress up an
image to look better.
The real key is to understand composition
and framing and this is something that is best learned from a book or a short
course. This will be a highly worthwhile investment for your overall social
But quickly: try to think
about the lighting in your shots. Try to think likewise about the background,
the foreground and the mid ground. Think about how you can lead the eye where
you want it to go. Think how lighting and angle can convey senses of motion, of
scale or of dynamism.
And more importantly, think about what all
this says about your subject. Try to
tell a story. Photos that show a subject matter center in the frame are boring
but if you include a few other elements or create a scene around that subject
matter then you can tell the story – and stories are SEO for the human brain!
The other option is that you purchase the
images. Here you have a few options, you can buy or download free from stock
image sites. Alternatively, you can hire people to make the images for you, or
you can repost.
Another tip is to try asking other creators
if you can borrow their work in exchange for a credit. Most will be more than
happy to let you do this.
The only real key tip that is really
important is not to just buy a bunch of stock images cheaply and keep relying
Avoid those generic and tired images that
you’ve seen in countless posts before and more importantly still, avoid the
images that don’t precisely match the subject and tone of your article.
Making your own images is always the
preference because that way, you can really express yourself and you can make
sure that the image perfectly enhances and comments on the content or that it
speaks to the value proposition and brand you want to portray.
The next best thing though is to purchase
truly great images from someone who knows what they’re doing and who properly
understands the briefing.