On social media pages, your profile pictures and cover photos are the first things most users will notice, so making a good impression is essential if you want to increase your customer base.
Nothing grabs attention like an eye-catching, engaging image. They are a great way to tell a story and get exposure for your brand. Images attract casual browsers, encouraging them to find out more about your business.
You don’t have to hire an expensive studio or photographer – with a few ideas, good choice of colours and a bit of photo editing, creating the perfect visual shouldn’t be too difficult. Here are six tips for using images on social media:
1. Don’t settle for boring product shots
Although increasing sales might be the main goal for your social media page, a simple product shot won’t always make the best profile picture.
An attractive image can gain much more attention. Put a face behind your brand, to help people relate to you.
You can create a scene, use bold colours, be humorous and tell the story of your brand or product. Be creative – even quirky – and create inspiring pictures. Tell the story of who you are through images and engage people in a positive way.
2. Make an impact
There are slight differences across social media platforms, but generally speaking you need a background or cover photo and profile picture. If you think carefully about your options, you can create a lasting impression. Be consistent across social media channels and make the most of the image space. For example, a cover photo on Facebook is a great opportunity to make an impact with a big visual.
For an effective background or cover photo, use something bold, eye-catching and harmonious with your overall branding. This doesn’t necessarily involve a person. It can be like a hero banner – an artistic, attention-grabbing image that conveys what you do. Your cover photo can have the most impact because it takes up a large space. Facebook and Twitter’s header is 520px wide by 260px tall so it would be a waste not to take full advantage of the space provided.
3. Know where to find stock photos
Although a profile picture should definitely be produced in-house, you could use stock photography for a background image. If you search through Flickr for creative commons licensed images, you can find some cool images allowing free usage. Check out the requirements and make sure you have permission to use the images- you may have to credit the image’s creator. Stock.xchng is also a great website to find free images.
4. Technological limitations
Can your image be viewed effectively on a mobile? How much of your Twitter background is visible to your audience? You want to make sure as many people as possible can take in the full visual impact of your page. There’s a handy guide to image sizes and visibility on LunaMetrics. In short, your image choices have to tell your audience who you are with minimal text.
5. Consider the file formats - JPEG, GIF and PNG are the most common
JPEGs are commonly used because they can be compressed easily but can reduce the quality and can blur sharp edges.
GIF images are okay for creating low resolution images and mainly used for solid colours like logos, graphics or animated pictures.
PNG is a great format for transparencies. The non-glossy nature of 24-bit PNG is ideal for screenshot software as they do not lose their quality whilst being edited, allowing a pixel for pixel reproduction of your desktop environment.
6. Be inspired
Research success stories and take a look at good examples of how other businesses are using content on social media. Take your time, generate ideas and create a new image. Take advantage of great free photo editing software such as GIMP, Photoshop, and Picasa and get creative!