The explosion of smartphones and mobile data plans has created a shift in content on social media over the past decade. In the early years of Facebook and Twitter, the written word was the primary tool to tell your story. In 2015, the best accounts on social media show you their story. The old expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true than in today’s online world.
Photos Drive Engagement
Study after study has confirmed that social media posts that include photos regularly generate an increased rate of engagement. As human beings, we react faster and with greater intensity to visual communication, so it’s in our nature to deliver an increased response to photos. One study from 2012 indicated that photos on Facebook generated 53% more likes than the average post. According to a blog post from Twitter in 2014, photos average a 35% boost in re-tweets. On both platforms, good visual content can increase the likelihood of your images being shared, which in turn brings your message to a larger online audience.
Types of Photos to Share
Working in the automotive aftermarket industry will provide you with plenty of opportunities to create and share interesting images. One of the easiest ways to source interesting visual content is by taking your customers behind the scenes and into the shop during an installation.
While luxury cars are often the main attraction, it’s important not to forget the human element in your images. Sharing pictures of your installers hard at work or a happy customer in their freshly detailed car can add a personal touch to your photos that people can relate to.
Infographics are another tool that you can use for visual communication. A good Infographic combines a sharp design, with useful information, a good story and important data. Pulling off a good infographic will take a bit more time than snapping a photo. You’ll need to gather your data and (likely) hire a graphic designer to complete the image. However, the finished product can generate a significant boost in engagement and help expose your brand to new clients.
Optimize Your Photos
Different social media platforms require different images. While it was once common practice to post the exact same image across all platforms, today a more nuanced approach is recommended. When you decide to share images on social media, it’s important to structure your images to best fit the environment of each platform.
On Facebook, best-practices recommend a landscape or horizontal photo. Our brains are used to seeing wideframe images on television and in film. These kind of images translate well into the Facebook environment. Square images also will also work well on Facebook, especially when being viewed on a mobile device.
On Twitter, landscape images are highly recommended. When you post a photo to Twitter, a cropped preview of the image will automatically be displayed in the timeline of your followers. A wireframe, landscape image will deliver a better looking preview than a highly cropped portrait image, leading to higher engagement levels.
For most of its existence, Instagram only allowed square images. Earlier this year, the photo sharing app relented and now allows for rectangular images. Despite this new feature, square images still display best on Instagram. Not only do they fit well on the screen of a smartphone, they also allow for the caption of your image to be seen.
Of the major social media networks, LinkedIn is the least reliant on images. Regardless, you’ll still want to make sure that any links back to your company website included in your status updates feature a thumbnail that can grab the attention of readers.
The proper use of images is now the standard expected from your fans and followers. By optimizing your photos for each platform, you’ll provide your readers with a more professional and enjoyable online interaction with your brand.
Smartphone Photography Tips
There are a few simple steps you can follow to help you take the best photos possible with your smartphone.
Step 1: clean your lens. Smartphones spend all day in our pockets, where the lens gets coated with a layer of dirt and dust, leaving behind a cloudy film that is visible on photos. Simply wiping down the lens with a clean piece of fabric (from your t-shirt for example) will clear any dust and debris that has found its way onto your camera, thereby enhancing the look of each photo.
Step 2: follow the Rule of Thirds. Every time you decide to take a photo, take a moment to consider the composition of your image. The number one rule to follow is the rule of thirds. The idea is to visualise segmenting an image down into thirds so that you have 9 parts, like the one you see on a tic-tac-toe grid. Ideally, you want to place the central focus of your subject in an area where two of the lines intersect.
A quick crop to better place your subject or adjusting the saturation and brightness of your shot can really make your photo “pop” when posted to your social media channels. Instagram also includes a wide selection of popular filters that you can apply to your photo.
Step 3: learn to edit. After you’ve shot your photo, take a minute to enhance the image with some simple editing tricks. There are hundreds of free apps available for download to help your edit your photos. Most smartphones also come with native editing software of their own packed with useful features.
Images Are Here to Stay
Images on social media is a trend that we expect to continue into 2016. By frequently sharing images on your social media accounts, you help your business stand out and reach more customers.
If you’d like to learn more about integrating images to your social media strategy, partners of Paintshield Technology have access to support from our team of social media experts. Contact us today with your questions and let us help you take your business to the next level.