Shareable images are the key to creating engaging social media content. People are drawn to visual content, and take action based on its cues, faster than any other medium including text, audio or video.
Brands that can leverage the power of original, optimized images get noticed. A recent study showed that a tweet with images receives 150 percent more tweets than one without.
We’ve put together a handy checklist for creating your own powerful shareable images.
Before creating your images decide on what you want the posts to accomplish. Your content should aim to solve a problem or inspire your community to take action. It is essential to create a content plan for multiple posts so the overall campaign has a consistent message.
Every social media post should have a distinct goal and a specific purpose to covey a meaningful message. Your posts must encapsulate your brand. Develop a brand personality and make sure every post resonates with that personality. For example if you are promoting a beauty salon in a high income area your posts would need to deliver a message that is clean, classic and premium.
Develop a brand personality and make sure every post resonates with that personality.
Social Transmission in social media is the transfer of information or behaviours throughout an online community. To tap into “Social Transmission” and trigger a response to share information or encourage action, your image needs to evoke emotion. Social media images that evoke emotion have been proven to get more shares than those that do not.
Aim to evoke one of the following emotions:
Make sure that your overall brand message matches with the emotion your content intends to arouse. There are other emotions that you can target as illustrated in the infographic below.
Create your own Images
There are a wide variety of paid and free stock images available on various sites. While a stock image option may seem convenient, one cannot guarantee that the image won’t also be used by one’s competitors. Stock photos are created generically to apply to a wide variety of purposes which is not ideal for a targeted, emotive social media campaign.
In a social media space we are bombarded with information and images. New and innovative content will arrest the user’s attention. Take advantage of this and be part of the 20% of people who create original content for the remaining 80% to share. There are a host of paid and free apps that can assist you in creating and editing your own images. VSCO is a photo editing app that is a favourite for many successful content creators. Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers free access to a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.
Even with the host of DIY options available, there is nothing quite like the skill of a professional photographer to take powerful, high quality images for your brand. Anyone and everyone can attach pictures to their updates so standing out is becoming more difficult. A professional photographer or graphic designer can insure that best quality image is created and will give you the edge on competitors.
Fonts and Copy
Add some text to your images to give fans and followers immediate context and encourage them to take action. This sort of design works better on some platforms than others. Consider if the text will add value or detract from your image. You may want to optimise your posts through hash-tagging and tags so that text on the actual image is optional.
If you do use text always opt for good fonts. Make use of Adobe or Google Fonts that have been created with design in mind. Remember to keep your font extremely legible – while a cursive or paintbrush font may look pretty it is pointless if it is not easy to read. Facebook only allows text to cover 20% of an image in an ad so always keep this in mind when designing your layout (note: Facebook is currently re-examining this system, you can read more about it here).
A successful post is the fusion of visual storytelling and compelling copy. Always make sure that any copy on the image is subtle enough so that you don’t appear too self-promotional.
Focus on Composition
Logo, text, colour, image, shapes, positioning and layout all need to come together to create an appealing composition that is repeatable over the course of a series of posts. All of your posts in a campaign need to adhere to a similar composition structure to ensure your message is clear and your brand’s image is clear.
Size matters! Make sure to use images and logos that will not pixelate.
Each social media platform has its own preferred image sizes — so you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to image creation. Make sure that images are created to fit their platform.
While these sizes are constantly changing with new social media platform updates the below are a great rule of thumb.
- Facebook: 1,200 x 628
- Twitter: 1,024 x 512
- LinkedIn: 800 x 800
- Google+: 800 x 1,200
- Pinterest: 735 x 1,102
- Instagram: 1,200 x 1,200
You can create the majority of these images with the proper dimensions in Canva, a free graphic design and template app.
Get People Talking
Copy is just as important as imagery. You want fans to engage in conversation with your brand. Leverage slogans and hashtags to create emotional and powerful posts that will start discussions. On any newsfeed on any social media platform, you’re always competing against friends, family, small businesses and big brands for the attention of your ideal audience.
You need to make sure that your image, text and tags are definitive. You want to engage the viewer to like, comment, click or share. To accomplish these goals consider the following: Can this image stand alone? Is there a clear call to action?
We’ll be covering more on the topics above in the following weeks. Check out the links below for more articles on social media imagery.