If you’ve been on social media for any length of time, you may be well aware that images can help boost your online engagement.
But while it’s true that a picture can add some pizazz to your posts, it’s not always easy to determine the best type of image to publish. They can also take a long time to create, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to communicate.
Thankfully, deciding which format best suits your posts can be a straightforward process. In this post, I’ll outline a few simple image variations and show you when it might be best to use them.
Ready to dig in? Let’s go!
This is undoubtedly the most popular type of social media image. It’s relatively easy to take a picture with your smartphone and apps like Instagram and VSCO make editing photos to an almost-professional looking standard easier than ever.
While this approach is quick and simple, it’s sometimes limited in its effectiveness precisely because it’s so fast and simple! Anyone and everyone can attach pictures to their updates so standing out is becoming more difficult.
So when do photos work best? When the image is unique, unusual or powerful (i.e. when the image can tell its own story).
Here are a few examples:
Vaynerchuk has an enormous following on social media because he’s an incredible storyteller. This post is a great example of how simply adding a little extra into an image (his foot) inserts an absorbing layer of story into an ordinary photo.
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) January 11, 2016
When it comes to sharing any image on social media, especially photos, the accompanying copy is super important. In less than 140 characters, Vaynerchuk manages to paint a portrait of his journey from Belarus to having courtside season tickets at Madison Square Garden.
Escamilla’s photos stand out because he takes his followers on a journey and shows them something they wouldn’t normally see.
You don’t need to be a global adventurer to take your customers and followers on a journey, though. Simply opening up to a side of your business people would never normally see can be extremely engaging.
We try to take this approach at Buffer with our #weekinthelife series on Instagram, where our team invite followers behind the scenes of life as a remote worker.
Here’s an example of Happiness Hero, Ross, sharing his remote work setup:
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) January 15, 2016
- The images can establish a timeline of events.
- The images show contrasting perspectives.
- The images can highlight interesting details about a product or story.
— Quartz (@qz) January 14, 2016
- Inspirational quotes
- Attractive headlines
- Intriguing excerpts (e.g. from a blog article, book)
Don't ever forget it. pic.twitter.com/XlbEqRQKL4
— Marie Forleo (@marieforleo) January 9, 2016
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 14, 2016
— Jay Baer (@jaybaer) January 14, 2016
— Shriya Nevatia (@shriyanevatia) January 8, 2016
— Help Scout (@helpscout) January 13, 2016
— General Assembly (@GA) January 11, 2016
— Chris Dixon (@cdixon) January 16, 2016
— Jay Yarow (@jyarow) August 22, 2015