10 ways brands should use images online

Use these tips to draw more engagement from your followers on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and more.

With the $1 billion acquisition of Instagram and the meteoric rise of Pinterest, it’s clear marketers are paying more attention to images and how people share them online.

How might a brand use images to encourage follower feedback, promote social sharing, and drive Web traffic?

These 10 tips are a solid place to begin or review current photo-posting strategies.

1. Keep it current.

Think of what people are talking about right now, and have your photo join the conversation. If you need a clue on the hot trends of the moment, go to Pinterest’s “Popular” board or What the Trend.

2. Tug at the heartstrings—or the stomach.

If you’d like to schedule image-based posts in advance, consider perennial favorites like food, drink, pets or children.

3. Use your words.

Contextualize or add a touch of humor to your image by superimposing text. Tools like Picfont and ZipMeme Generator can marry image and text for you within a minute.

The Elsevier Chemistry (client) Facebook page had stupendous results with a science-inspired joke coupled with the face of Howard Wolowitz from the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”

How well do you think this post would’ve fared if the administrator just featured Wolowitz’s face, or posted the joke without his mug?

4. Be clear.

Once you’ve thought of an idea for a photo and possible accompanying text, ask yourself: Is the quality of this photo and the clarity of the text good enough for me to print and post in my cube?

If you answer yes, you’re on your way to maximizing the sharing potential of your image. If not, work on something more suitable or hold off on images for now.

5. Give link love.

If you have an amazing image on your blog or website, let your Facebook fans know. Link to it and give the image some extra real estate as the green gossip blog Ecorazzi did with its article on how to grow square watermelons.

6. Use keywords.

Descriptions are not the main draw of an image, but you can increase the potential for new people to find you via search when you add keywords to the description. Use hashtags on Pinterest and Instagram to extend your reach.

7. Call for engagement.

After you compose a search-friendly description, add a sentence or question to encourage viewers to like, comment or share the post. Might Pinterest’s comment rates be so low because so few pinners encourage or ask for comments? Be one of the brave ones and prompt discussion.

If you plan to post an image to drive website traffic, provide a URL and suggest followers click through for more information or to purchase.

8. Pay attention to size.

Pinterest currently allows images of unlimited length, which many marketers use for great results. As an end user, I am often not motivated to scroll through long infographics and how-tos. But, I took a test drive and pinned a long image on 25 animals doing yoga poses.

This used points No. 2 and No. 3 above, but its lanky size seems to be the most likely catalyst for the incredible 333 repins and 88 likes. (I typically average one repin and one like per pin.)

On Facebook, photos can be up to 403 pixels high. Facebook does not resize regular and pinned posts if the image is taller than 403 pixels, so unless decapitation is intriguing to your fans, keep to the height guidelines.

9. Crowdsource.

Not feeling artsy? Get by with a little help from your Facebook fans. Earlier this month, BlogWorld Expo held a “community meme party” with its fans. It posted a photo of speaker Jason Falls—after getting his permission—and asked fans to create a meme or joke with it.

This example from Christopher Penn gives you a sense of the collective fan creativity and hilarity that ensued.

10. Don’t dismiss Twitter.

Although Twitter is primarily based on text messages, followers appreciate a change of scenery. What text-based tweet could tap your taste buds like this photo of fresh cupcakes from the Sweetpea Baking Company?

How have images helped your business promote social sharing and engagement?

Lisa Kalner Williams is the founder of Sierra Tierra Marketing. A version of this article originally appeared on Social Fresh.

Topics: PR

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