Every post on social media should contain an image. Images provide context, are motivating, attention-grabbing and entertaining. They tell a story, make a statement and create meaning. These are all ways that marketers use images. And, by looking at data, we can see why.
According to BuzzSumo, Facebook posts with images receive 2.3x more engagement, increasing the overall quality of the post:
And Facebook isn’t the social media platform that benefits from images. The effects are common across content marketing, including other social channels. Buffer’s study of images on Twitter shows that images increase engagement across every social metric:
Stats like these reinforce that images only enhance the engagement and quality of your social posts. But, beware, attaching an image and clicking “post” isn’t the end. There are entire marketing strategies dedicated to the what, when and how of social media image use. If you want to see an increase in engagement and overall performance, then financial advisors should begin implementing these best-practices for sharing images on social media.
Best-Practices for Sharing Images
Before you can use this list, you will need a source to find images. Our list of favorite royalty-free image sites is a great place to start. But, if your firm has the budget and the desire, you can always create your own images with compliance and best-practices in mind. This creates extra work but can be beneficial for posting images that are unique and brand consistent.
1. Add Scroll-Stopping Images To Catch User Attention
Imagine you’re going through your newsfeed on your favorite social media platform. What are the posts that you stop on? What do they do that’s different from the ones that were dismissed by scrolling?
Often times it’s audience targeting or language that makes an ad relevant to the user. But every scroll-stopping post also includes an attention-grabbing image. These are not the same images as your firm’s website or blog thumbnails. These are shareable images that contain colors and context that make your reader want to click, share or like. Let’s check out an example from our Lead Pilot platform.
There is an editorial in Lead Pilot that explores the recent presidential election. But, if one were to click “share” they would see the thumbnail and social image for this post are different. Here’s what they look like:
This image is appropriate for the content. It isn’t distracting, it’s well-composed and it reiterates the context of the editorial.
Social Media Image:
This image uses brighter colors to catch the viewer’s attention. Text is also included, outlining the subject of the editorial and asking a question to the reader to insight thought and action.
Both of these are great images, but they are changed to fulfill a purpose. Make sure to keep these differences in mind when deciding images for your social posts.
2. Post Images That Support Your Marketing Goals
Different images can affect the performance of a post. This is best shown by a study from Convince and Convert that measured the success of different visual content across Facebook, here’s what they found:
- Images without people outperformed images with people by about 17 percent and received more shares
- Images that show partial body parts, a hand with a cellphone, a shoe on a foot, were associated with higher Facebook likes
- The opposite was true for brands that incorporated people as an asset. Images from these brands experienced an increase in engagement if they included these people
This study reinforces context as the dominant factor in determining an image for social. What is the platform you will be sharing to? What is the goal of your post? Consider the ways in which a viewer might react to something.
Examples for Advisors:
- If your firm provides investment advice, you may show a person holding money in their hand. But, it may be more effective to only show a hand, with money. The difference is subtle, but it’s the gap between seeing someone else versus imagining yourself. Viewers are free to associate the hand to their own, relating the money to your services
- Some advisors prefer to be the face of their firm. Presenting in videos, and speaking in webinars. They become a figure, and the values and services of your firm are depicted through them. Including an image of them in your post could be beneficial, especially if your followers are familiar with and rely on this figure
Keep in mind the context and psychology behind the images you use and determine your image based on marketing goals.
3. Boost Engagement With the Right Image for Each Channel
All images should be high-quality and an appropriate dimension for your chosen channel. This may mean that you need to do some image editing to achieve the right dimensions. Images can be larger than the required amount, and if editing is not an option, then making sure the image is a similar shape as it’s uploaded location will often work. Though this option is not optimal.
Also, consider the performance factors of individual social channels before posting. Social media may engage with posts that have images more, but this will depend on the type of image for each channel. Here are the appropriate image dimensions and image types for each of the Lead Pilot supported social channels:
As mentioned in the previous Facebook study of engagement and images from Convince and Convert, images without people perform roughly 17 percent better than images with people, but we should also consider some other factors in that same study:
- Partial body parts brought in more likes
- Brands that incorporate people received higher engagement with people in their images
As discussed, these stats can inform the goals of your Facebook posts. But, if your goal is “likes”, then images should also include a few other elements. A study of Facebook images from IEEE Xplore describes these elements as:
- Brightness: The image needs to be visible, this could go along with proper image dimensions
- Clarity: The meaning should be clear without being too confusing
- Liveliness: Images need to be exciting, the proper color choices can go a long way
- Ingenuity: Originality is key. Stock photos can be great, but take the time to find the right one. Or, create your own images from scratch
As a platform of professionals, LinkedIn images serve a more brand-focused purpose. LinkedIn itself emphasizes that images should not only show your brand’s logo and location but should incorporate your brand’s values and story.
Many LinkedIn posts will also come directly from an individual, rather than just a brand. These provide a marketing opportunity. The person sharing these posts should fine-tune their account using cover images. These can be used to reiterate branding, make a statement about your industry or display values. The idea is to take advantage of all image opportunities that a shared post may present, even if that opportunity is a result of a viewer clicking on an advisor’s profile, instead of the editorial post.
Images help increase engagement. This holds true for Twitter, as indicated by Buffer’s study shown earlier in this post. However, data on Twitter engagement from Postcron shows that 90% of users will not follow a Twitter account even after engaging with it.
This can be resolved in a number of ways. For advisors, most of the content that is being shared will direct users to a landing page. These landing pages will have multiple methods for capturing a lead’s email. Making sure these capture methods are clear and in place is essential. Otherwise, the rewards gained from including images will likely go unseen, and Twitter efforts will go unrewarded.
Keep in mind the differences between each platform before posting images. And consider the appropriate image size for each platform. Luckily, many of the images on royalty and royalty-free sites will have a relatively large pixel aspect ratio, allowing them to work on all social media platforms. However, referencing these dimensions can help determine the appropriate size for editing and creating optimal images.
4. Choose Colors That Drive Conversion
Colors help catch a viewer’s attention. But color also has a few other uses, once attention has been captured.
Colors psychology is used across the brand-building process, from designing a landing page for conversions to deciding a brand logo. Color is used to project emotion. With this in mind, marketers will use certain colors to catch attention and evoke an emotion related to the context of a post.
Guide the Reader:
Color variations can help guide a reader’s eye to a specific part of an image. Or, color can help differentiate elements of a post, helping the reader to quickly determine what the post means.
Many firms incorporate two to three colors into their logo. These colors can be used in images to create cohesion between posts, making them more recognizable and fortifying cohesion, especially across different social channels.
In this example from a Lead Pilot editorial, green, white and tan are used to differentiate elements of the post and draw the viewer’s eye towards the post’s title. Which reads, “The Housing Market Could Be Heading For a Decline in 2021,” a pretty stressful topic. By including green, a color associated with calm, the image serves to off-set the anxiety that may be created by the title and implies further solutions from reading the article.
If you would like to learn more about color psychology and the emotions they evoke, then read our post on our favorite financial advisor logos.
5. Visualize Your Data
Data and step-by-step processes can be described. But abstract images that seek to encompass the data or steps can sometimes miss the mark. This is where infographics come in. Infographics provide context, then break down complex topics using a mixture of pictures, text and coloring to create a single image. This image can then be used in a social post to provide more value without having to read an entire blog. This example from Lead Pilot‘s Infographic tab demonstrates these advantages:
In this infographic, images and headers are used alongside one another to break up information into steps. While color is used to denote differences in headers and page elements and keep the entire image entertaining to read.
6. Strike a Balance Between Images and Text
Though often discussed in blogs, social posts can contain a large amount of text. This could be in the text field of the actual post, in the image for a blog or in an infographic. And, just like a blog, finding the balance between images and texts can help improve the reading experience and boost engagement. BuzzSumo’s data on word and image ratios in blogs demonstrates the perfect balance between text and images:
Advisors can use this information to determine the length of a social media post. Or, to strike a balance between text and images in an infographic. If you find that a social post requires more text, then consider other methods of breaking up your social post to maintain the reader experience. Some options include:
- Emojis: Including emojis can separate text on a page while providing a little personality. However, make sure that emojis fit the tone of your post, and don’t overuse them
- Bullet or Numbered Lists: Separating different sections of your post with numbers or bullets can bring a sense of visual variety, as well as organization
- Links: Typically included in-text, placing a link can disrupt the style of a post. Before doing so, make sure the link is an appropriate length
Wrapping It Up:
Providing an additional opportunity to generate leads, images are an excellent tool for advisors to enhance their social media presence. Follow these best-practices to catch attention and increase your user engagement the next time your preparing to post on social.
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About The Author
Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.