Last week Instagram announced that the photo sharing service now serves 400 million active users. There’s a very good reason for this; people are drawn to exciting and intriguing images. Images catch the eye a lot quicker and easier than just plain text does. Especially when users are quickly scrolling through social feeds of any kind.
With this in mind, it’s important that your brand understand just how much using images in social media can help your brand. But not just any image will do. That’s why today we’ve put together some guidelines that you should consider when using images through your social efforts.
Use Eye-Catching Images
The main purpose of using images in your social media efforts is to help your brand to capture eyeballs, so of course the best way to do this is to use images that will really grab those eyeballs. Images that contain things like bright colors or text that pops really help.
One of my favorite example of a brand doing this isn’t one that you would necessarily think of off the top of your head. General Electric builds things that help to power a lot of industries. While you may just think of your washing machine or dishwasher when you think of the brand, they actually make a variety of products like airplane engines, satellites, and all kinds of other cool things.
While GE’s products may not sound super exciting at first, your mind might change when you take a look at their Instagram account. On this account they manage to make these pieces of industrial machinery look so amazing that you can’t help but to stop and stare for at least a couple seconds. Things like this jet engine in a environmental testing space:
Before a new #GE machine design gets cleared for production, it has to go through rigorous testing and endure conditions it will likely never see in service – like golf ball-size hail and exploding jet engine fan blades. Here’s a look at the #GEnx loaded and ready for testing at our Test Operations Facility in Peebles, Ohio. #badass #jetengine #avgeek
Or this video that shows a locomotive in production in one of their facilities:
These images are impressive and make people stop to really check them out. That’s not bad for a company that is making jet turbines and trains. Most importantly though is that all of their images are directly related to their company, which brings me to my next point…
Stay On Brand
When considering your image strategy on social, we see a lot of brands start to use images just for the sake of using images. Like, how many times have you seen a brand use an image similar to this in their social channels:
But how often does “having a case of the Monday’s” actually have anything to do with that brand?
When considering your image-based messaging, it’s best if your brand will have some kind of consistency to their images and the messaging in them.
A brand that does this very well is Oreo on their Facebook page. The brand maintans consistent message that they stick with over time around sharing experiences and sharing Oreos. Every few images they share on their page falls under this theme. Like these examples:
And even when they do away from this message, Oreo uses a very familiar feel to their other images, like the use of blue, that makes it still feel like it’s a big part of the brand.
Not every brand has the ability that Oreo does to stay on such strict brand guidelines for everything they do. It’s ok to experiment. If you do though, remember that it’s important to still try to stay relevant to your brand or what you’re sharing in social media.
On our website we have a consistent brand image. However, when it comes to sharing our blog posts in the social media space, we’re more interested in having the images grab your attention because they have something to do with the actual topic that we’re covering in that post. So, while our posts to Twitter may have a bunch of images that look nothing like one another, they do help us to represent what you’re going to get in that blog post when you click the link.
For example, here are two recent tweets from us that will lead you to two completely different blog posts:
— Sysomos (@Sysomos) September 22, 2015
Both of these images look completely different from one another, but they’re very relevant to the information that we’re trying to share with our audience. The images give you an idea of what the blog post is going to be about, but they also have text that will help to guide you as well. They may not be what most would consider “on brand” yet they’re relevant to the content and will hopefully help to grab your attention to different topics that might interest you.
This one is my favorite tip. No matter what your brand is, you never want to come off too staunchy or uptight… unless that really is your brand and you have a very specific target audience. Social media is a place where people go to interact with people and brands, learn things, and most importantly, have fun. That’s why it’s important to keep them entertained when they’re looking at your social media.
One brand that goes above and beyond with the theme of having fun is LEGO on their Twitter account. Naturally, LEGO is a toy company, so you would associate them with fun anyways. But given the nature of their product and how much it has penetrated our modern culture, they tend to get away with having a lot of fun with what they do.
For example, just yesterday NASA announced that they have found proof that there is water on Mars. Within minutes, LEGO sent this tweet:
They were able to do something around a topic that most of the world was talking about at the time, but make it their own (on brand) and have some fun with it.
Not only do they try to stay topical and have fun, but they also do fun things that they know their ageless fan base will enjoy, like this build:
Or they also have fun with how they use their products when making announcements:
All of these images made me smile at least a little bit. That’s why I personally think that LEGO may be the most fun brand in social media… and they’re great at showing it off.
If your brand can use images to grab people’s attention, stay on brand, stay relevant and have fun while doing it, we think you’ll be well on your way to a great social media image strategy.
Do you have other tips for being great with images in social media? We want to know what they are. Leave us a comment below and tell us your best tip.