One of the most startling differences between the internet now – not just social media – and 5 years ago is how much more visual everything is. Images matter. Hugely.
Getting a simple 140 character tweet noticed when it’s surrounded by 6 visually engaging “super tweets” is becoming more and more difficult. Your content is fighting for air out there, and you need to give it as much space to breathe as possible.
And it’s not just Twitter. Updates are pitted against one another on social media millions of times a day. The most successful are those that stand out from the crowd.
Not every network handles your image identically either. Handily, Buffer has produced a guide to the ideal images sizes for each platform.
Entrust the success of your content solely to good copy no longer. It simply doesn’t cut the mustard. You need to use images. You need to use the right images. And you need to use the right images consistently.
Twitter – Images on Social Media
Let’s start with what is probably the most difficult platform in terms of getting yourself noticed. Twitter feeds are always refreshing; content never stays still. Not for a minute.
The difference between a tweet and a tweet with an image is staggering:
In this example the tweet featuring an image – correctly sized – takes up 5 or 6 times the space as the short, text-based tweet. That’s valuable real estate for nothing, right there.
And you can be sure that getting your content seen is going to get your content clicked. In fact, adding a photo to your tweet results in an average 35% increase in retweets.
But why stop with a basic image attached to a basic tweet? Push the boat out. Get on board with Twitter Cards. Just look at the amount of space a Summary Card with Large Image takes up:
Everything you need to know about the Amazon Fire Phone http://t.co/uULA47di9M
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) July 23, 2014
Perhaps just as importantly, using Twitter Cards also enables you to factor in that little bit more text below the featured image. No longer are you confined to a limiting 140 characters.
Facebook – The Right Images
So, now we’ve established that images increase engagement – something which is also true for Facebook – let’s take a look at what image quality can do for you. How important is using the right images?
When it comes to Facebook Ads images are everything. But not any old image will do. Forget about branding; your ad can only contain 20% text anyway. Focus on using an engaging and relevant image.
Of course, that’s not saying that you shouldn’t use text in your Facebook Ad, or eye-catching copy above and below. But making sure you have an engaging and relevant ad will guarantee you max out that relevance score.
And a focus on using the best images is even more important when it comes to the smaller Facebook Ad units.
Instagram – The Right Images, Consistently
You might think that was it as far as images are concerned. Not so. You might be using images you could attach all manner of positive, business-speak buzzwords to, but Instagram shows how important consistency is.
A platform like Instagram – essentially a hub for your favourite images – needs to flow. Treat it like a brand catalogue; consistency is key.
As you might expect, the effect of consistency is somewhat intangible, but take a cursory glance at some of the world’s most popular Instagram accounts – in the fashion world, for the sake of argument – and one thing is clear. Consistency.
GAP’s Instagram account is super consistent (did I mention consistency?). The images are clean and clear, with an element of ordered fun factored in.
The clothes? Beautifully presented, folded and arranged in an intriguing manner. They almost invite you to buy.
And it isn’t just brands. Bloggers are at it too. Just check out the muted use of colour in the Instagram feed of India Rose. Again, simplicity is key and boy is it effective.
Nike. Nike does a great job. The tagline? Just Do It. Could their use of Instagram images be any more perfect?
Images. The right images. The right images, consistently.