Using Images to Increase Your Social Media Reach
Social media is growing up. Turn on your favorite television show and you’ll see a hashtag in the bottom corner. Go to a conference and there will be at least one panel on using social media better. Your local go-to restaurant encourages you to “Like” them on Facebook. Social media has moved out of the infancy phase into its teenage years and, to paraphrase digital marketing guru Jason Falls, “teenagers are more expensive than toddlers.”
Popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are no longer privately-owned, gutsy, bootstrap organizations — they answer to millions (or billions) of users now. These users demand that their personal News Feeds and Timelines stay full of interesting content, which may or may not include branded posts from businesses and organizations. While social networks tweaking their algorithms to serve up “high-quality” and “interesting” content is beneficial to users, it can leave even the most adaptable social media marketers weary.
“Boosting” Posts or creating “Promoted Tweets” can result in gains, but this “pay to play” model is rarely scalable. Luckily, we have science on our side to help us improve our Reach and Engagement Rates without having to reach too far into our budgets. Digital media marketing analysts have conducted numerous studies on what kind of content performs best on social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter. The overwhelming answer? Photos and videos.
As of mid-2014, Photo Posts on Facebook continue to receive the most “Likes” while Video Posts, Link Posts, and Text-Only (“Status”) posts are a very distant second, third and fourth. Adding a photo to your Tweets can boost Retweets by 35%, and having at least 1 image in a blog/article post dramatically increases its likelihood of being shared on Facebook and Twitter. There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain by incorporating more imagery into your social media content mix.
And now is definitely the right time to improve your image game. Think of the recent exponential growth of image-centric social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest, despite only being a few years old, is actually the second-largest social media traffic referrer behind Facebook. Instagram gained so much positive attention so quickly that they sold to Facebook for a previously-unheard-of price tag of $1 billion. Now, it has over 300 million users who share over 70 million photos and videos every day.
To recap: Photos and Videos are taking over social networks, and rightly so. After all, the human brain processes information in images much quicker than text, and can recall it for longer. Even quick flashes of imagery in a News Feed or Timeline can create long-lasting impressions. While producing video content definitely requires some time, energy and resources that may not be immediately available, it is easier than ever to add images into your social media marketing strategy.
If you’re looking to add more imagery such as photography or infographics into your social media content mix, contact us at Tripepi Smith. Our graphic artists, professional photographers and team analysts would be happy to help you expand your social media marketing reach.
-  As of mid-2014: Photo Posts continue to receive the most Likes on Facebook, followed by Video Posts, Link Posts, then Text-Only (“Status”) posts – Dan Zarrella, http://danzarrella.com/new-data-the-performance-of-facebook-post-types-over-3-5-years.html
-  Adding a photo to your Tweets can boost Retweets by 35%. In early 2014, Photos account for approx. 75% of content posted by Facebook Pages worldwide. – Social Media Examiner, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/photos-generate-engagement-research
-  Having at least 1 image in a blog/article post increases likelihood of being shared on Facebook and Twitter. – okdork.com, http://okdork.com/2014/04/21/why-content-goes-viral-what-analyzing-100-millions-articles-taught-us
- Think about Pinterest’s and Instagram’s growth as social networks in past few years. Pinterest is actually the #2 social media traffic referrer behind Facebook. – Shareaholic.com, https://blog.shareaholic.com/social-media-traffic-trends-10-2014
- Science aspect: brain comprehends images quicker than text. The human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds. – MIT, http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116
- Science aspect: brain remembers information in images better than text. Studies show humans have “better memory for pictures than for corresponding words,” also called the “picture superiority effect.” – http://www.brainrules.net/vision
- Tweets using pic.twitter.com to upload images are 94% more likely to be Retweeted than Tweets without a pic.twitter.com image. Tweets with Facebook Image or Instagram links are actually 42-47% less likely to be Retweeted. – Dan Zarrella, http://danzarrella.com/use-images-on-twitter-to-get-more-retweets.html
- Images that contain faces, are desaturated in color, contain more visual elements, have cool colors, and/or have high luminance receive the most Likes on Instagram – Dan Zarrella, http://danzarrella.com/infographic-the-science-of-instagram.html