November 13, 2018

Social Media Tips: Choosing the Best Images for Social Media

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Social media tips choosing the best images for social media

When it comes to getting that all-important click on social media, choosing the right image is key. But what types of images work best?

Social Media Tips: Choosing the Best Images

You’ve created content and now you need an image to go with it. But let’s face it, not all images are created equal when it comes to clicks. You can throw up a generic looking stock photo that is perfectly on topic, but it probably won’t get any clicks. Humdrum stock photos of people at desks, holding a cellphone, etc. just won’t create the impact you need, so what types of images should you use?

Images That Cause You To Emote

Certain types of images make us feel something. Here’s the thing, people are more likely to take action based on emotion, not logic. It’s true. People even purchase based on emotion over need. So, “how does it make them FEEL?” becomes the most important question.

How do you make sure you’re creating an emotion around a social media post? You choose images that will resonate with your audience. This varies a bit depending on your audience, but here’s a good jumping off point:

Social media tips images that cause emotions autumn
This could be used in a post about fall. How does it make you feel?
  • Happy People – Happiness is contagious. We want to see people that are happy. Sad images make us uncomfortable and we want to move on quickly, though they do have their time and place.
  • Kids – If you have kids of your own, you know what I’m talking about, or maybe you have nieces and nephews, etc. If you’re a person who ooo’s and aww’s over kids doing adorable stuff, these sort of images will probably create an emotional response for you. And you’re not alone. These images work well on many people.
  • Pets –It’s no wonder so many pet videos go viral, we love our furry friends and that emotion transfers to pictures of them. People also tend to like silly pictures of pets which is why you see so many pet memes. You can garner these emotions in your own posts, but make sure the photo is relevant.
  • Nostalgia– As we get older, we appreciate nostalgia more and more. Especially if you’re targeting a middle-aged or older audience, using nostalgic images will likely stir emotion. People love to think about memories of childhood and even early adulthood.
  • People Helping Others – We love to see people rise and overcome obstacles. Likewise, we love to see people going above and beyond for others. Photos of people helping those in need will pull on the heartstrings almost every time.
  • Action – These are honestly my favorite kind of photos to use because for me, they stir up the most emotion. People struggling to climb and reach a goal, a herd of horses galloping away from something out of scene, a person spilling a drink in an otherwise serene beach setting. Action drives us to laugh, cry or feel inspired. Mixing actions with the the photos suggested above is a bonus.

Bright Colors and Patterns

Social media tips images pop art
The bright yellow makes you stop and look, and the sunglasses on the pineapple are silly and get people thinking, “What could this be about?”

In the world of marketing we like to call images with bright colors and patterns thumb-stoppers, because they stop people from scrolling. Pop art images are so bright and interesting that people almost HAVE to stop just to see what it’s all about.

Images of You

Because people are inundated with so many ads on social media everyday, they tend to block out images that look like ads and scroll past. So, if your image looks like an ad or stock photo you’re probably going to lose out on clicks. Some of the best images working in ads and organic posts today are pictures that look like they belong in a friend’s feed. If you are a part of your brand’s story, don’t be afraid to take some photos with your cellphone. Photos don’t have to be perfect to grab attention, they can just look like they belong.

Social media tips images that create curiosity
When I see this image, I want to know the story behind it.

Images That Create Curiosity

This sounds rather broad, but it really is the slam dunk of attracting clicks. Just like when you read a good story or article that leaves on a cliff hanger, the best images will make you curious. If a person is curious, they’re likely to click.

If you’re drawing a blank on images, remember that metaphorically you can tie most kinds of images to your posts. Scroll through free image sites and if something catches your eye or makes you feel something, use it. It’s likely to make others feel something too!

For more social media tips, read the article Social Media Tips for Business: How to Turn Social Interactions into Revenue.


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Jamie Barber is a content marketing consultant, teaching small business owners and marketers comprehensive content marketing skills, including blogging, social media, seo, email marketing and more. Join the Content Marketing Academy to learn how to use no-cost marketing methods to grow your business.

Jamie Barber

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