Let’s Get Visual

header_coloredpaperMany studies have shown that online content, including social media posts, get more attention if a visual is involved. This can mean a video or an image, but this post will focus on images.

Your own images should always be your go-to choice when that is an option. Pictures that illustrate exactly what you are communicating – even if they are lesser quality than a stock photo – are the most authentic choice. Take pictures with a camera or phone whenever possible.

Another option is stock photography. I recently posted about the challenges of finding truly free images to use, but there are options out there.  Even an image that is not overly related to your content can help attract attention. As an example, when you compose a post at LinkedIn, if you don’t supply a photo the site automatically adds one from its gallery.
Yet another option is to create images.  Many free programs help with this, most notably PicMonkey and Canva. (See my post, “Create Your Own Images.”) These tools are designed to make it easy for those of us without a graphic arts degree to create visuals.

No matter what approach you take, you’ll need to know the image size guidelines for each place that you intend to publish. For social networks, Sprout Social keeps a page that lists the dimensions for the major platforms.
Keep these things in mind as you select or create an image:
  • Make sure the image makes sense even in a very small view.
  • Never violate copyright. When in doubt, ask for specific permission for your use.
  • If you create an image with text, proofread it about a million times before you hit save. Then have someone else proof it before you publish it anywhere.