Here in social media country, creative writers and graphic designers alike can find a home. Social media thrives on the visual as much as it does the textual. With the written word, there’s plenty of rules to abide by. SEO rules will get your posts higher up on search engine results. Hashtags will get your updates in the right news streams. User names will grab the attention of the right people. Anyone who even reads social media can see there’s obviously some formulas to follow when writing. Yet what about imagery?
From the earliest days of social media, visuals have been just as important than anything written, if not more so. We talk a lot about how to formulate awesome content, but pictures tend to take a back seat. For an image to be eye-catching, there needs to be a few elements present. For the picture to actually help your social media campaign succeed, you need an additional set of things to consider. Here are the most important items to make your pic rock!
- Clarity. The idea of clarity covers two fronts. First, the obvious. A picture shouldn’t be blurry, pixilated, warped, or blown out. Unless your posts are about those old bigfoot pictures, clarity shows you’re a professional. You’ll need a high resolution image of at least 300 dpi to make sure that it’ll be crisp and clean on most screens. Large pictures are always good to pick so you’ll have peace of mind that your social media posts won’t look like a vintage video game. However, you should also keep in mind that huge pictures will take time to load. You’re also going to want to steer clear of any images that have watermarks or another company’s logo somewhere on it. The second side of clarity is subject matter. Don’t have your followers trying to guess what they’re looking at. If they can’t figure out what’s going on in a picture, they’re going to give up and scroll away quickly.
- Subject Matter. Most of the time spent on images will be on pictures that accompany posts. Make sure the picture you pick out actually makes sense and is appropriate for the subject and audience. Obviously, this means no obscene pictures plucked from the dark corners of the web, but also that it fits in with the tone of your brand.
- Optimization. There are many ways to make an image jump off the screen. You could spend hours trying to make a picture just right. First of all, colors are important. If you have very specific rules with your company’s colors, be sure to adhere to them. You may want to consider some basic design laws. Choose colors that complement each other. Lastly, GIFs and animations have become popular once again, and you can take advantage of this. These will add a bit of motion to your images and it might help attract the right set of eyes.
- Professionalism. Having high-quality, professional images is an element of all three prior items. However now we’re referring exclusively to your profile and cover images. For businesses, logos are always a great way to go for the profile image and a nice clean accompanying graphic for the cover image. If you’re representing yourself and you need a headshot of yourself, be sure it is a high-quality image, you’re wearing something appropriate, and you know…smile! A word to the wise: just because it’s your personal page, doesn’t mean recruiters, clients, and potential employers aren’t looking through your stuff. Get those old party pics out of there.
There’s no question about it, images can make or break any post. These are the kinds of things that social media marketers truly strive to achieve perfection with because we understand how quickly an image can bring a whole new wave of attention to a page.
What do you think about imagery’s role in social media? Comment below!