7 Features of Eye-Catching Images on Social Media
Social media is a crowded space. If you want your brand to stand out, you need images to do it. Not only do images have greater visibility in user newsfeeds, they also influence higher information retention; in fact, when presented with an image, users remember up to 65 percent of what they’re shown (compared to only 10 percent for written information).
Here’s the problem: 74 percent of social media marketers use visual assets as part of their ongoing content creation, which now beats both blogs and videos (at 68 and 60 percent, respectively). If you want your images to be visible and available to your followers, you’ll need to make sure they’re equipped with features that will make them stand out.
Stand-Out Imagery Features
These are the most important features for images to have to stand out:
1. Relevance to your post. First, the image should have some significance to your social media post or the blog article it’s attached to. You can’t throw just any image into your social media campaign and expect it to make sense.
2. Practicality or value for the user. Next, your image should have some kind of practical value for the user. For example, if your target audience comprises car owners, an infographic on how cars are recycled could help them get more value out of their existing vehicles. Infographics are the best way to convey practical values quickly, but you can also include images that illustrate a principal, show a step in a how-to guide, or otherwise help users understand the main points of your post or article.
3. A single dominating color. At least one study suggests that images with a single, dominating color tend to receive more engagement than other images. In the study, a dominating blue image won out over other colors. This singular color quality helps the image stand out from the otherwise cluttered white noise of a feed.
4. Originality. Social media users are exposed to thousands of images a day. If yours wants a chance of standing out, it needs to offer something unique. There’s a reason stock photos are so commonly mocked and highlighted for their absurdity, like in this Hubspot post; stock images are so common, and so typical, they’re almost painful to look at in some cases. You’re much better off creating your own material.
5. Framing. Well-framed photos tend to fare better than poorly composed ones. Make sure your subject is in plain sight, taking up most or all of the frame, and use the rule of thirds to emphasize key points in your image.
6. Definition. For the most part, high-definition photos are going to perform better than low-definition ones. They seem more realistic, more exciting, and cleaner. However, you may be able to use tasteful blurriness or ambiguous details to attract even more interest. If you’re in doubt, or inexperienced, err on the side of definition.
7. Wording. Though it may seem counterintuitive, images with words on them tend to perform better than ones without. Wording helps add context to your images, and makes them more shareable. If you choose the right font and coloration, it can also serve as an accent to the original.
Practical Tips for Image Creation
If you aren’t used to creating or procuring images on your own, the task can seem intimidating. Fortunately, there are some easy strategies to help make it work:
- Rely on free image sites. There are dozens of sites, including Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons, dedicated to providing free images to web users (even for commercial use). All you have to do is include a citation on your blog or social media post.
- Learn the basics of photography (and keep your phone handy). These days, almost every smartphone is equipped with a decent camera. Once you learn some basic photography principles, including the rule of thirds and the role of lighting, you can produce decent original images anytime you want.
- Get creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment with creative programs—even doodles can add value to your campaign.
Images are one of your greatest assets in attracting more people to your brand—but only if you know how to make them pop. Pay close attention to engagement metrics for your first line of images, and use that data to perfect your craft. In time, you’ll get even better at picking the right visuals for your audience.