Last updated on July 14th, 2016
The best images are those that have the most visual appeal. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but it’s not as simple as that.
What appeals to you may not appeal to those you are posting for, or suit your brand or topic.
Images With Text
For images with text, such as titles, quotes or memes, there are certain fundamental rules.
Even if you choose the best images for backgrounds, text must provide good contrast; the overall effect uncluttered and easy to read. Use the right colors and only a couple of fonts, of a size that suits. I give examples of how to do this, through overlays and image editing, in my last post, Edit Social Media Images
Make People Feel Good
The whole point of promotion is to motivate and inspire people to buy from you.
Scenic images are particularly good for motivational and inspirational text.
A touch of humor and cute animals go down well.
Tip: For the picture quotes above, I saw the images first and they cried out for the type of quote I used. Keep this in mind when downloading images.
Make Your Images Worth Sharing
Use your social media stats to see which of your own image posts had the better response. See what works the best for your competition. Look for the number of comments, likes and shares.
I recently talked about the social media management tool, Sociocaster. (It’s available to subscribe to again, at the same price, after a short break following the initial JV Launch)
One of its best, and unique, features is the ability to view the most popular posts and images from a large selection of social media pages. You can share them directly from Sociocaster, straight away or by schedule.
Notice that the background image of the first is nothing special but the lighter inner section allows the text to stand out. The man with the light bulb for a head, in the second, indicates how a person can influence the thinking and feelings of others. Both images show what the page owner believes in and builds trust in followers.
Obviously the Facebook Pages these appeared on already have a large following but you’re likely to get engagement when you share them on your own profile or page. A lot of your followers might like the original page too. Their reaction reflects approval of the popular page, and approval of you because you share similar interests.
Tip – If you find a shared image or post on a contact’s page, the link will go to the original post or page not your contact’s. It’s a good idea to acknowledge where you found it, by linking to your contact. Use a simple “via @contactname/pagename” or “Thanks to @contactname/pagename for sharing this”
Variety in Images
Blogs are less restrictive than social media as to the type, size and shape of images you include in your posts.
Increase interest by including a variety:
- Infographics (even those from other sites, with attribution)
- Slide Videos
- Charts and Statistics
- Images with Quotes, Tips, Memes or Questions
- Lifestyle Photos
- Interesting photos of yourself taking part in activities or events (but not too many!) unless you’re a travel blogger who travels or a model or superstar.
- Products you sell
- Greetings – “Hope you have a happy (productive/successful…) day.”
Kim Garst adds to this list “photos that surprise” and “coupons” and goes into details about each type she mentions: 13 Types of Visual Content That Get Shared Like Crazy
Pure text images get round restrictions in the fonts and effects the blog editor allows, and create more impact.
Images and Branding
Using images that are recognizably yours are great for increasing awareness of you, your topics, and your brand.
For social media, even if you share links to other posts where you have no control over the images shown, you can make your own stand out by consistency in the style, fonts, and colors you use in your images.
For blog posts matching image colors to your theme colors looks good and makes you more recognizable.
I tend to stick with blues, some reds and splashes of other colors but I’m considering a “more recognizably me” design. SarkeMedia does this very well with the concentration on two main colors, blue and yellow.
Here’s an example:
Rebekah Radice’s blog is instantly recognizable. She follows her theme’s orange color all the way through her images. Even with a colorful background she adds overlays of orange with white text, or white on orange. For those with no background image, she uses solid orange with bold white text and a variety of shapes of speech bubbles.
Chery Schmidt, Success Coach, brings out her friendly, cheerful personality, and motivates readers, by using an image of herself (along with relevant text) in each of her blog posts.
4 Ways Visual Design Can Improve Your Social Media Marketing by Social Media Examiner goes into more detail on images and branding.
Are You Overwhelmed by this?
If all of this sounds overwhelming keep it simple.
- Post an image as is. Add text in the message window or as a caption to a blog image.
- Instead of a creating a full infographic for a blog post, use a series of images as I’ve done here. I did consider making an infographic for this post but wrote it off as too hard!
- Find a plain background image, maybe with shading, texture, frames or borders, and re-use it for adding different quotes, text or tips.
- You may find it simpler to include a video of you talking.
Because I’m an avid collector of public domain images, when I come across those I think good for social media and web posts, I’m going to add them to my Free Web Images Facebook Page, along with ideas of how and where to use them. Please free to download them to use yourself.
I’m creating image quotes to post on my main Facebook Page too, but Facebook, in its wisdom, is showing my posts to only a few.
If you want images of a perfect shape and size for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest please download my 31 Free Square Social Media Images plus Bonus Images. I’ll add more as I create them.
Even if you do use the best images are, don’t forget (in the words of German photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt):
“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
That quote leads me perfectly into asking you to share your own valuable insights and welcome questions, below 🙂