Written by Anna Guerrero
Do you want double your social engagement and get your content shared like crazy?
For small businesses and brands everywhere, posting multiple images on social media has been proven to have massive traction
It seems simple right? But if it was so easy wouldn’t everybody do it?
Like most good things, in life – there’s a catch. And it isn’t not needing a huge budget or incredible graphic design skills.
When it comes to content creation, many people make this simple mistake: they add more visuals just for the sake of it. This is a basic approach. Smart content marketers create visual content that reach people’s emotions – content with real psychological impact.
If you’re not a graphic designer or artist, don’t freak out. I’m going to walk you through you ten types of powerful visuals that are easy to create and can double your social media engagement. Let’s get started.
1. High quality stock photography
Beware: your fans will smell a cheesy stock photo from a million miles away. Not only will it lead them to discredit your professionalism as a brand, but will deter them from wanting to share your post.
On the other hand, high quality stock photography can do the complete opposite. As well as making your brand seem more credible, high quality and relevant images help establish your brand’s reputation and boost engagement. If you’re looking for original content, check out this handy article that lists and rates over 70 free stock photography websites.
Image: Elite Daily
Take a look at this post on Elite Daily’s Facebook page. By using relevant and high quality stock photography, the band achieves a “wow factor” which immediately tempts the viewer to click through to the blog.
After all, everything your audience shares on social media will reflect back on themselves. You can’t blame them for wanting to look good, but you can choose the right images to make it possible.
You’ve probably heard the old adage “seeing is believing”. In terms of visual content, the psychological lesson here is that when people can see something for themselves, they’re more likely to trust the source – which develops its credibility.
In this Twitter post Buffer gauge interest around one of its growth experiments by showing two screenshots of an A/B tested email. By doing so, Buffer are able to immediately impress the viewer which intrigues them to read on.
The text used to accompany the post is short yet effective: providing a hook for the article but letting the image become the compelling factor.
The most basic way to understand why visual content is so effective on social media is to consider that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. When we’re scrolling through hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of posts, tweets and updates – images are simply easier to digest.
Infographics take this concept to the next level, allowing brands to capture complex pieces of information and turn them into engaging social media posts.
Notice how Charity World Vision have created a Pinterest board dedicated solely to its infographics. By doing so, they’re able to share large chunks of information in a single visual post.
Image: World Vision
By following design guidelines to ensure your infographics are easily readable and visually engaging, this is a great opportunity to increase impact beyond what a single image could achieve.
4. Personal photographs
The best way to connect with your audience on a deeply authentic level is to show them that you’re human, no matter how successful you are. If your business or brand doesn’t have a human face, people will find it hard to relate to.
To execute this personal element in your visual social posts, add snaps of your CEO or management staff. In this example taken from fashion retailer Nastygal’s Instagram, the brand’s CEO Sophia Amoruso is seen at a book signing of her recent book #GIRLBOSS.
Not only does this boost interest around the book, it builds the authenticity of the brand. Look at her: she’s a boss!
5. Behind the scenes shots of your workplace
Another way to connect people to the human aspect of your brand is to show behind the scenes shots of your workplace. This exclusive insight fosters a personal connection with your fans and strengthens their brand loyalty.
This particular type of imagery is more suitable for Instagram and Facebook, which are often considered the more “social” mediums. Designer Jen Gotch does this well on her instagram account by regularly featuring quirky shots of team activities.
Image: Jen Gotch
These images give the impression that the team are “real people” and even encourage fans to consider Jen as a friend.
6. Quote graphics
A throwback to those motivational posters in your school counselor’s office – a quote graphic is still very beloved, and highly sharable. In fact, quote graphics work on every social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
The three things to consider with a quote graphic are the quote, the font, and the imagery. Go for a short quote with words that are easily digestible. Consider a font that’s readable on smaller screens because a lot more people are viewing through mobile devices these days.
Be sure to find an image that captures the spirit of the quote without competing with it for attention. The image should serve as a meditation space for the mind to go while its considering the quote.
Image: Canva Quotes
Original images designed in Canva
7. Original designs
Branding your images is essential in order to build recognition on social media – a goal that should always be at the forefront of your visual content creation.
Also consider that generic images are rehashed over and over again, so creating unique content gives you a much steadier chance of becoming memorable.
When designing your own images, always create a style guide to ensure brand consistency. This means determining rules for your fonts, color scheme, and image personality. The goal: you want your brand to be instantly recognizable.
Take a look at how Amanda Fuller, creator of Kaleidoscope Blog, uses a simple yet original design over and over in her posts on Pinterest. Whenever I see a pin from the Kaleidoscope Blog on my Pinterest feed, I know exactly who its from based on this unique calling card design.
8. Images that reflect the essence of your brand
If you want to create images that impact your target audience always consider: what made them choose you over your competitors?
The answer to this question is your unique selling point. By choosing images based around it, you’ll be strengthening the foundations of brand loyalty.
Consider VOSS Water. Propelled by brand values of purity, distinction, and social responsibility, VOSS Water visual social media posts always reinforce one (or more) of these ideals.
In the Facebook examples below, you’ll find the distinctive VOSS Water bottle featured prominently as anchor branding. Both images convey a sense of nature/ natural, and the fruit infusions look fresh and healthy, right on target with branding.
9. Action shots
Stimulate the imagination of your audience with an action or experience shot. Nothing is quite as convincing as a still photo that captures a moment in time.
Charity Water understood how to engage its audience with this vibrant image of clean water and outreached hands. Without reading, you instantly get the visual: What’s a bigger need than clean water? And what’s a great joy than having access to it?
Image: Charity Water
While you may not be providing clean water to those in need, you can still use this type of visual social media post to inspire your followers to feel good about you and themselves, also, for following you.
Share images of your product or service in its ideal use. There’s a reason why, depending on the brand, beer ads show customers partying at the hottest club or lounging on the beach–that’s the desired experience.
Whatever you’re selling, you want a product shot of your ideal customer actively reaping the benefits of it,
10. Images with a striking color palette
Colors can depict and elevate mood. Whether you’re looking to compel or commiserate, colors play a huge role in human psychology. Consider: what are the feelings you want to evoke from your social media audience? Try and replicate that feeling with the colors you choose.
Image: Experiment with different color palettes
An easy way to do this is to use a color picker tool to extract colors from your favourite images. Before you start designing, you should always set out to limit yourself to four main colors – this will help establish a theme or feeling for your designs and increase their impact.
Now it’s your turn
Adding visual content to your social media strategy is a no-brainer, but using visual content that reaches your fans emotions and catches their eye is the smart marketer’s approach.
Whether you’re creating original content, sourcing photographs or shooting your own always consider how it will impact your audience.
How do you stand out from your competitors? Do certain types of visual posts work better for you than others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
About the Author: Anna Guerrero heads up Editorial at Canva. Canva is launching new features to enable small businesses, bloggers and their teams to create more stunning graphics and boost their traffic