Get More Social Media Bang With Images

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While fresh, original and relevant content remain the key to social media success for businesses, an essential element often gets overlooked by eager writers anxious to get their thoughts online: graphics. Yes, finding the right one may take time, and you might need to resize for some sites, but putting in good graphics can pay off in the form of increased visits.

Virtually All Social Media Encourages Graphics Use

It’s hard to think of a social media platform that doesn’t enable graphics and video. Even Twitter, which makes brevity a virtue, encourages tweeters to add multimedia by purchasing Vine. There’s a reason why social media sites like graphics and video: they help drive business. When more people share, they increase site traffic. This means more revenue, particularly if a company is preparing for an IPO.

Instagram and other Social Media Apps

Photo by Jason Howie via Flickr

People Are Attracted to Graphics, With and Without Content

Dan Zarella, a social media scientist with HubSpot, reviewed 482,862 random tweets and found that those using Twitter’s internal (native) graphics upload tool “greatly improved the odds of being retweeted.” How much more? A cool 94 percent. And Belle Beth Cooper of reports that tweets with graphics get 18 percent more clicks, and are favorited 89 percent more often than “bare” tweets. Not bad results for spending a few extra minutes dressing up 140 characters.

It’s also no accident that sites emphasizing photos and more recently, videos, are being instantly snatched up by panicky social media giants (Twitter, Facebook) for tens of millions of dollars. People like to look at pictures. Mashable says that one-third of women in the U.S. use Pinterest. That’s a lot of women. Mashable also reports that in 2013, 20 percent of all adults in the U.S. are on Pinterest, a 15 percent jump from 2012.

And while you can argue that it’s just kids who use Vine, Snapchat and Instagram, don’t forget that kids grow into product-purchasing adults. One day they will grow up and buy stuff from them. Business Insider praises companies as hip as Sharpie and Vevo and as staid as Macy’s and GE for their Instagram campaigns and success in attracting followers.

Make Sure You Have Permission to Use Those Images

The only problem? Images, my friends, are not up for grabs. It’s not enough to cite the source to take an image. You must get actual permission from the artist to use an image, says Brad Friedman of Friedman Social Media. If you don’t have a full-time photographer/videographer, there are sites where you can buy royalty-free photos and videos to avoid breaking any copyright laws. Using a well-known service like Shutterstock gives you a vast array of photo and video choices while enhancing your credibility.

Photo by MikeBlogs via Wikimedia Commons