By Janet Johnson on July 2nd, 2013 | 439005 comments on this postEverything+you+need+to+know+about+using+images+to+enhance+your+brand2013-07-02+13%3A13%3A35Guest+Bloggerhttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2F%3Fp%3D43900
Content creation can be one of the toughest areas for a business owner to handle. Knowing what to post and coming up a stead stream of new ideas is not always easy. Content creation is also time consuming to put out onto the social networks, so much so that many businesses just give up. This guide is created to simplify the process of content creation, starting with images.
Images are the cornerstone of social media today. Why do you think social networks like Instagram and Pinterest have become so popular? They are all about images. People surfing the Web today are overloaded with so much information, that they are in a hurry to get through it all. So, what’s the quickest way to absorb information? It is through the use of images.
One thing to remember when choosing your images is to know for which social network you are choosing them. For instance, the images you use on Pinterest might be different from what you post on Facebook.
Funny or humorous images are used quite often in social media. The key goal when using these images is to remember your audience. Just posting a funny image without a point is worthless. Such images might get you some viral sharing, but in the end, you could lose your audience if you just post funny images randomly or use them too often.
So how should you use funny images? Let’s use this example to the right: The Funny Egg. It grabs your attention, doesn’t it? Well, if you are a restaurant, it might be funny to make a joke about the eggs. Or maybe you can relate it to your audience through a story. Do you have a story of something that happened in your business that can be paralleled with the one, poor broken egg? In my business, I could relate the image to a business owner who didn’t implement social media into their marketing and the broken egg is what happened to his business. That’s obviously just an example, but the point is, if you use an image, you should have something relative to your business to stand behind it.
Yes, cat images are very popular on the web. They can be funny and I’m not against using them. You just have to use them wisely. The example above is funny, yet a bit obnoxious. It is an example of what is out there, but should probably not be used for a business, in my opinion, as the point of the image is not really relatable to most businesses.
Funny images work well on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram too. The key to remember is to not just post a bunch of funny images on your Facebook page, with no rhyme or reason behind it. If you are a dentist and post goofy images constantly, people will not look to your page as an authority, they may not find your page has value, so they may even unlike it. Use funny images wisely.
To the right, is an eye-catching image from Pinterest. It is unique and makes you look at it a couple times. It is so interesting, that it makes you ask yourself, “Is this real?” It also is cool enough to make you want to share it too. That’s the goal: to get your content shared.
But don’t post an image at random. If I posted this image and wanted to relate it to social media, I would write something like “Does social media sometimes feel like a never ending tunnel?” Why? Because asking a question along side a related image keeps you content focused.
One great source for eye-catching images is the Facebook Page for LoveDesignCreate.com. They have such cool images of travel and unique items that really catch the eye.
Another one of my favorite Facebook Pages is Pool Supply World. Why? They have an extremely visual business. They post pictures of exotic pools like the one to the left that make you dream about pools and traveling. Pool Supply is fortunate to be in such a great visual business, but they also do an excellent job of asking for shares, likes, and comments. This is a page to watch!
Tips on Images
At 15 Minute Social we create a lot of tips, incorporate their text into images and then brand them with our logo. That way, if the image is shared, our brand goes with it.
Creating a tip image is simple to do. First, write down your audience’s 10 to 20 most frequently asked questions. Then write down short answers to incorporate those snippets of text into your tip images. You can either hire a graphic designer to create an image, or you can find an image of your own and use a site such as iPiccy or PicMonkey to create your tip image yourself.
Quotes on Images
Office and Business Images
If you have an office location you work out of, do you post images from there? Maybe you post images of office antics? How about taking pictures of clients? One client I work with, Lakeville Orthodontics, uses lots of pictures from their office. What do they take pictures of? Kids spinning the “birthday wheel”, pictures of clients after they get their braces off, patients goofing around, staff pictures, and more! To the left is one example from their office.
Do you have a visual business? Are you a contractor, realtor, or interior designer? Then your business should have lots of images to show off! You can load full albums into Facebook, create boards of different projects on Pinterest and put your images on Houzz too. My husband and I own a contractor company, so our business uses the images of each project on all the social channels. Here is a link one of his boards on Pinterest.
Another company that does an excellent job showing off their projects on their Facebook Page is Lennar Homes. They build homes all over the country, so they have plenty of awesome homes to show off; like the one I posted here.
Let’s say you don’t have a visual business and you are really not sure where to find images to use. Joshua Parkinson at Post Planner wrote a great blog post on places to find good images. As he mentions in the post, it is important when you take something off the Web, that you reference where it came from. Referencing is not only for legal purposes, but it is also proper “netiquette”.
Infographic images have really taken off on the Web as of late. What is an info-graphic? I like to define it as an image that teaches. Here is an example of a teaching infographic from ReadWrite.com that actually relates to what we are discussing in this guide.
Then there’s this infographic from Visual.ly teaching the “Gangnam Style” dance steps. It is cute, attention grabbing, simple, and teaches, all at the same time. This is why infographics are so powerful: they convey information quickly and easily.
You may be saying to yourself, my business doesn’t have anything I can teach in an info-graphic. Think hard. What are the 10 top questions customers ask? Could you turn the answer into something visual? Sure! Is there a story behind your business? Maybe that could be an infographic. The ideas are endless.
Infographics are mostly likely not something you can create yourself — unless you are gifted at graphic design and have the time to put into it. If you hire someone else to produce your infographic, you will want to choose a solid concept that can be used over and over for your business — because these images take time to produce and a graphic designer’s time isn’t cheap.
Now you’ve got 1 type of content — but there are 5 MORE!
In this blog post, I covered 1 of the 6 main social media content types that can get awesome engagement: Images. If you’d like to dive deeper into the 5 post types I did not cover here:
- Website/Blog Posts
- Other people’s content
You can get it all in my FREE ebook: Ultimate Guide to Social Media Content Creation. It’s a pdf download that includes all 6 areas in detail along with the info-graphic image. Save it and print it as a cheat sheet for your social media posting!
Janet Johnson is a 13-year veteran of the social media and Internet marketing world. She consults & trains small businesses on everything from branding and social media optimization to video marketing and search engine optimization through her company, JanetEJohnson.com. Her success at helping clients get results led her to create a social media training program called 15 Minute Social, where business owners can learn social media at their own pace via simple lessons.
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- How smart brands are adapting to the language of social images: A Q-and-A with Curalate CEO Apu Gupta