Add visuals to your social media feeds to increase engagement

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2 minute read

If, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, then doesn’t it make sense to plan visuals for your social media stream?

I can see a marked increase in engagement in my own blogs and Facebook posts when I use a photo or share a graphic. Often, the visual makes the first impression and draws the reader into the written story. It’s no coincidence that some of the fastest-growing social media tools (Pinterest and Instagram, for example) are based on visuals.

For a great real-world example of how cultural institutions are building their presences on social media, check out this New York Times story about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art built its Instagram following by allowing seven photographers off-hour access.

Here are a couple of do and don’t thoughts for getting better engagement through the use of visuals:

A staffer stages a promotional photo for our client, the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, using an iPhone and some simple lighting.

A staffer stages a promotional photo for our client, the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, using an iPhone and some simple lighting.

DO

  • Make sure the visual helps tell the story. A recipe post usually has a photo of the ingredients or the finished product. There’s a reason for this.
  • Crop away extraneous material. Concentrate the photo on the point of the visual. Don’t be afraid to move in closer.
  • Take the time to make a quality photo, infographic or video.
  • Include tags in the metadata. This helps with SEO.
  • Watermark your images. It helps you keep track if they end up somewhere else, and it reinforces your brand.

DON’T

  • Lift images from other websites without permission. It’s illegal. You can be sued. Really.
  • Overload the post with visuals that make the page hard to load.
  • Think you have to purchase expensive equipment and lights. A smartphone and a $30 LED can give you some impressive shots if you plan carefully and take the time to do it right. I got this light from Amazon for about $28 dollars.
The finished product from the iPhone shoot.

The finished product from the iPhone shoot.

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