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How to make social media images generate engagement

Nowadays, the way people use social media has completely changed. Social media has become so saturated with content that users rapidly scan through it, only stopping to read the tiny percentage of content that is engaging enough to be worth their time.

A lot of social media is all about visual stimulation - that’s why content with images is so important. But just how important are images when it comes to engagement on social media?

Does visual content increase engagement on social media?

Here are the statistics relating to the use of virtual content on social media and user engagement:

  • Facebook posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement

  • Facebook posts with images receive 58% more likes

  • Facebook posts with images receive 104% more comments

  • Twitter posts with images receive 35% more retweets

  • LinkedIn posts with an image receive 2 times more engagement

  • LinkedIn posts with an image have a 98% higher comment rate

It’s clear that visual content gives you the edge when it comes to getting engagement. But what types of images should you be using? Let’s take a look at the highest performing content types on social media.

What types of visual content gets the most engagement on social media and why?

Here are some of the most effective images for your social media:

  • User-generated content: Pretty self-explanatory … you’re giving the people what they want!

  • Real-life images: Real-life images, particularly ones showing behind the scenes, humanise your brand

  • Quote images: Quote images have the highest ‘like’ and ‘share’ rates than any other type of image

  • Infographics: Users are 65% more likely to retain the information if it’s an image

  • Unique content: Again, self-explanatory … users will be attracted to something that’s different from the rest!

So, you know that social media images are important, and you know which ones typically do better, but how do you actually create social media images that are engaging? Here is our 7-step social media image guide to show you how to create effective social media content for the ultimate social media optimisation.

How to create engaging images for social media: Our 7-step social media image guide

STEP ONE: Revisit your brand identity

Your social media is a major feature of your brand identity. You want to make sure that all of your images reflect your brand; personality, messages and vision. There are two ways images must reflect your brand identity:

  • Look: Are your images aesthetically in line with your branding? Do they follow the same colour palette, include your brand logo, use the same type of artistic style? Take a look at your website design for inspiration.

  • Tone: Do your images reflect your personality? Will you post funny images, more inspirational images, or informative images? Match your image’s aims with your brand’s aims.

In order to have a complete understanding of how your images can reflect your brand identity, you need to have a fully developed branding strategy. Take a look at our branding workshops or our article on building your brand to learn how to master your brand identity!

STEP TWO: Incorporate your marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a guide on how your business can effectively reach your audience and create conversions. Your social media presence is a huge aspect of this, and so adding your social media image strategy is absolutely essential.

In your marketing strategy, you want to make sure your visual content choices will be effective on each social media platform. Of course, each platform has its own social media best practices. Define which image type is best received on each platform, and how this will be optimised further within these platforms. For example, as LinkedIn is a more professional, business-oriented social media platform, infographics are more likely to perform better than other images due to their insightful, informative nature.

You also want to incorporate your conclusions from the step above into your marketing strategy as the general style guidelines of your images. As well as this, you’ll also want to incorporate the image size guidelines for each social media platform, so that everything can be referred to in one document.

STEP THREE: Pick the right content type for the context

Your image is usually the first thing users will see, so it should reflect the content you’re writing alongside it. For example, if you’re doing a post on the business’s behind the scenes, a real-life image of your team or workspace will further reflect the human side of your brand. You don’t want to leave your audience confused and questioning your image choices!

STEP FOUR: Quality control

No matter what type of image you post, there is always one common denominator that affects its success - quality. To create high-quality visual content, you need to use high-quality resources. This may be investing in a good camera to take real-life pictures, or paying for a professional editing service for graphic design or other creative images.

Size requirements for images will also influence the quality of your images, so it’s best to create the image with the correct dimensions rather than risking quality reduction when cropping to fit your image to the platform’s specifications.

STEP FIVE: Consistency is key

Once you’ve found your unique way of creating a certain image type, you want to apply these guidelines to the rest of the same images. Have you used bright colours within your graphic design images? Maintain the bright palette on all of your graphic images. This way, even if you have used various types of visual content, there will still be a sense of consistency.

Another way you can really maximise consistency on your social media platforms, especially ones like Instagram, is by coming up with a content pattern. This is where you create your own image layouts that repeat on your grid. These ensure consistency of your posts, as well as looking really cool on your profile!

STEP SIX: Keep up with digital trends

We all know that taking part in trends can sometimes skyrocket your business’s engagement and double your following overnight. Incorporating trends within your visual content will intrinsically be engaging for all of your audience. There are two ways you can use trends when creating your social media images:

  • Trending visual styles: Look at the latest 2021 digital trends to find out what design features are most popular. These include the use of 3D images, bright colours and big fonts.

  • Taking part in trending topics: If you don’t want to devote your entire social media image strategy to trending visual styles, you can always dedicate a few posts a month to important social media trends. This may include international days or movements relating to topics that are important to your brand. Recently, we dedicated a post to International Women’s Day, taking part in the #ChooseToChallenge movement for gender equality.

STEP SEVEN: Create a social media calendar

It’s hard to keep track of everything we’ve mentioned, so a social media calendar can help you stay on top of all of your social media visual content. Using a social media calendar will help you connect your content with your images, as well as allowing you to visualise the final product.

However, you don’t always have to use paid tools! There are many free platforms you can use to visualise your social media image schedule - Miro is a great platform for this, which we use ourselves!

Our favourite tools for creating engaging social media content

Here are some of our personal favourite tools to help you towards creating engaging images for your social media:

  • Canva: Canva is a fantastic free design tool that provides you with all the social media image templates you need, giving you access to a variety of images, designs and fonts to customise your very own unique content!

  • Photoshop: If you’re looking to create high-quality images, Photoshop is the best editing tool to do it all. In the end, it’s worth the investment!

  • Shutterstock: Shutterstock is the ultimate stock image provider if you’re unable to take your own unique content. From photographs to illustrations, you have every image you’ll need!

Need help with your social media marketing? Whether you need a marketing strategy or someone to handle your social media platforms, we can help! Email us at hello@bobsagency to find out more, or to set up an initial consultation.

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