Social media is all about visual imagery. Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, the images you are posting should be regarded as the most important part of your work. And, if you are looking to become an influencer you need images in order to attract an audience that would be able to get you where you want.
You will need to select and come up with a relevant target group and of course, the proper content that would be able to convince them to follow you or your brand.
If you are aiming at becoming an influencer or, in case you are already there and need to keep your fans focused and entertained, there are a bunch of things that need to be done regarding your visual presence on social media.
You need an effective visual content strategy and the first thing to think about regarding this strategy is that you will need quality images. You need images that look great and at the same time attractive and believable. What are the secrets of an influencer and what can you do in order to create stunning visuals on social media? Well, let’s take a quick look at the following advice:
People these days are tired of fake news, fake commercial photos, and fake advertisements. They are always looking to see genuine stories, genuine visuals, things that are exactly what they appear to be. They are looking for authentic life experiences and authentic representations of such experiences whether they come from individuals or companies.
Regardless of your industry or your profession, the moment you post on a social media page or account, you become a marketer. You market yourself, your company, a brand, a service or a client.
The truer you are to yourself, the better your message will be perceived by the audience and maybe, transmitted further.
Real influencers, as a consequence, communicate through real images and stories.
The biggest problem with traditional commercials and branded images is the fact that these visuals tend to be over polished and therefore, quite unrealistic. It’s one thing to get a picture photoshopped and retouched for social media and entirely another thing to post it as is.
While the first may look a little bit better in terms of attractiveness, the later is more realistic and according to the trends of this year, more likely to be selected by a real audience.
Even big companies and brands, such as Dove, chose to ditch photoshopped images and went for an authentic look on social media.
“As a beauty brand, Dove has always celebrated real women and their beauty — we believe the Mark (Digital distortion mark) will help women identify reality in what can be a confusing, digital world and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way,” Amy Stepanian, Marketing Director of Dove said.
Photos that look retouched and edited are not the visuals that can be trusted by an audience. They look fake and therefore they are not the proper way to market yourself or your company consider that today’s people are more aware than ever regarding authenticity and truth.
If you are indeed focused on “keeping it real” like we’ve just discussed in the previous paragraphs, then you should also consider creating original content for your social media accounts. This means that you will have to shoot your own photos and upload and publish them by yourself.
For maximum effectiveness, you will need to adapt your content to the platform you are going to market your brand, your services or yourself on. Create visuals for Facebook, shoot vertical videos for IGTV, create ephemeral content for Stories and personalized photos to pair your Twitter texts with.
As long as these photos are what the audience wants to see, you will not have to worry about whether or not they will be effective for your marketing campaigns.
Are stock images really that bad, you will ask? Well, yes and no. Everything depends on what your intentions are, of course. As an influencer, your targeted audience is different than the targeted audience of a company. While the later wants to sell a product or a service, you are selling yourself and in order to be able to do it, you need authenticity. Generic images are not the way to prove it.
A great example in this as comes from Target and more especially, their chosen influencer for a specific marketing campaign. Zach King, a very well known Instagrammer was the key player in this case, with his aptitude of creating reach, original and at the same time, entertaining content. His post, got over 8 million views and more than 7000 comments.
Many people think that on social media, the resolution and the quality of the images they post are the last of their problems. It’s easy to fall into this trap due to the fact that especially on mobile devices, images are rendered in small sizes and therefore, it sometimes can be quite hard to notice the little imperfections.
Forget this attitude and make sure your content is top notch in terms of quality. ON social media, visuals are the most important pieces of content and they should be treated as such.
If you are not convinced about why you should use only images that are of good quality, think about all the people from your audience who will access your content on desktop devices. You don’t want them to stare at pixelated, terrible images. Our advice is to use images that are at least 1000 pixels wide so that they will look good on big screens as well.
But wait, you will say… What about image optimization? Isn’t this part important anymore? Well, it is. Google and other search engines value speed and the rank of a web page may depend on how fast it loads. However, social media pages are not locally hosted. They already have the required filters that will automatically adjust and optimize everything you upload. Therefore, worry about quality and resolution more and less about the size of the images you upload on social media.
What do your selected visuals say about you? What about what they represent? Most of today’s successful marketers and influencers are storytellers as well. They know how to tell a story through visuals and photographs and as a consequence, they are able to attract large audiences on social media.
Not all your posts will go viral and this should not be your main goal. Instead, try to deliver to your audience a new story with every new photo you upload on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For a maximum effectiveness, pair your images with insightful punchlines.
Online tools such as Bannersnack allow you to pair images with text easily and to adapt your visuals for different social media channels in just a few seconds. It allows you to upload your own image or just use a stock visual and browse to an extensive database of typographies in order to personalize your message.
Memes are a great and easy way to attract more audiences and to create social media posts that have the potential to go viral. You can either create them from scratch or, you can use websites such as IMGFLIP that are designed to help you create your own memes with minimal effort and in just a few seconds. All you need is a picture and the inspiration and originality to come up with a witty copy text. On Imgflip you get access to a series of images that are already selected and adjusted for a meme creator. Also, there are tons of other memes created by other users that might help you get inspired when you need to.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, the emotional aspect is one of the key concepts that may ensure your success. Thus, if you are looking to maximize the shares your photos get and make them resonate with your audience, you can always try the emotional connection. You can either get it through the images, via text or both.
Therefore, when you are picking your visuals or the texts you are going to publish along with them, always look for a potential emotional impact on your audience. According to this research, while negative emotions have the potential to make a social media post go viral, it is strongly recommended to aim at triggering positive emotions instead. They will always get you better results. Based on the aforementioned study, there are five emotions that you should focus on curiosity, amazement, interest, astonishment, and uncertainty.
Bonus: Work, work, work!
A great image is seldom the first you get to shoot or design. Therefore, do not try to save on storage space when you are searching to get that shot that will make the difference. Take multiple shots from multiple angles and search for the right one. Sometimes it may be the first one you take but other times you will have to browse through a large list of shots before choosing the one that deserves to be uploaded and published.
In order to be able to make a difference on social media, you need the appropriate content for your targeted audience. And, when it comes to social media, visual content is what matters the most. It is not easy to always come up with great photos and visual compositions, able to attract viewers and shares. However, if you follow at least half of the steps mentioned above, your chances to become successful increase significantly.
What other strategies do you know that may help us create believable content on social media?
By Robert Katai