3 Creative Ways to Generate Images for Social Media
With less than 7 seconds to grab your ideal customer’s attention, standing out is crucial. Even goldfish give you up to 9 seconds.
How important are images in social media if you are a small business? It is a crowded market place, especially as so many more businesses have gone online to reach their customers. Images are a great way of capturing attention. Why? Because our brands are able to process images at an incredible speed. We can recognise a familiar object in only 100 milliseconds!!
Images are processed 600,000 times faster than text.
Our attention has shortened over time due to our speed of life and amazingly easy access to information. When you consider that computers in the home became common from the 1980s, in the space of 40 years we have become reliant on our ability to access everything quickly.
And think about how quickly you go through your feed. That may only give you a fraction of a second. What makes you stop and read? What would entice your ideal customer to stop on your post?
In 2020, the number of global smartphone users is projected to total 3.5 billion. We are used to capturing images and making videos as a normal part of our day.
And as Abraham Lincoln said “there are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
The Use of Images Is Beneficial for s Small Business
Images reinforce your brand – creating consistency across all marketing channels and helps build your brand
Images are cost effective – multiple images from one photograph
Images are more memorable – we remember 80% of what we see but only 20% of what we read and only 10% of what we hear. Our brains respond more quickly to images and colour when compared to other information types
Images provide an emotional connection – helping your likeability
A Note of Caution
The images you use need to form a connection with your ideal customers. Just having an interesting picture will not be effective if it has not link to your ideal customers likes or wants. For example, if your ideal customer is young female university student, showing pictures of retired men is unlikely to make a connection.
How much more powerful to use images that will resonate with your ideal customer, their home life, hobbies and aspirations.
Select or Across All Social Media
Instagram and Pinterest are clearly obvious choices to use images as they are such visual platforms. Facebook is very close behind. And we should remember the benefit for blogs, especially as you can use the images as part of your SEO process.
Many articles state text only posts are the most effective on Linkedin. However, is this changing? Social media continues to grow, especially this year and individuals who have never been on Linkedin have signed up. From my own experience (I use images on my Linkedin posts), I have found images work.
I have written on the basis you do not have access to an editing image tool such as Photoshop. If you do, you will be able to change images within the photograph (colours etc)
Remember there are different sizes for different platforms so you may need to resize as well
1. Creating Multiple Images from One Photograph
To use cropping effectively, the photograph you are using needs to be of high quality. And ideally be styled so you have a number of props in it because it will help create more images.
The process is to select a part of your photograph to focus in on. Using the crop tool is better than zooming in as it will keep the integrity of the picture. Crop your way into the photo, focusing on the small detail you want. For example, a desk with lots of items on it is great to produce many more images from that one photograph.
Note: when you crop, there may be part of an item next to it. You can cover this over with a square shape if you can match the colour or use the paintbrush tool.
Choose Horizontal or Vertical
If the photograph you are using is horizontal, why not flip it so it is vertical. Simple, I know. And effective as by changing the orientation the image looks different.
This works well for photos of desks or static items as you can be seen from any angle.
It is also a double advantage as you can now crop into the image. They will look different as the orientation has changed.
2. Adding Interest to Your Original Photograph
Use Colour Blocks
Colour blocks can be a solid colour or used as a frame to add interest to your image.
The colour can also be made translucent so the image is still clear.
Use Text Boxes
Words can focus on a key point you want to make with your image. They can help provide content to your image too
Adding a meaningful point adds strength to the image. This can be a quote (especially if it is a quote from you – which you can take from a blog you have written). If you are using a quote for someone else, please make sure the message that links to what you stand for, your business or your ideal customer. Otherwise, it is another generic quote that everyone else uses.
Key things to consider
Fonts – your choice can be the reason someone stops when they are scrolling. Make sure the font is easy to read on a screen
Size – big enough to be able to read on a phone
Colour – contrast to the background image
Amount – too many words over an image can defeat using an image and make it hard to read.
Position – an uncluttered area of the image works as the text will not exclude an important area of the photograph
Adding Shapes to Images
These can be as simple as adding a heart share or a notebook image to add extra interest. This is especially useful when you want to add seasonality, for example hearts for Valentine, baubles for Christmas.
Adding Another Photograph Image
Overlaying another photo can create a whole new image or enhance the one you are working with. There are many free photo images online that do not have a background so can be easily copied onto your original.
3. Using Images to Reinforce Your Brand
Your images represent your brand and what you stand for. Choosing the best images is challenging unless you have clearly defined what your brand (your business) is all about.
To illustrate, four potential images have been used that a new small business who makes soup could choose. There are lots of other small soup businesses out there so you need to be able to differentiate yourself.
First step is to understand who your ideal customer is. Once you know who they are, you can tailor your images to appeal directly to them.
An image is powerful as it can tell a story about you, your business and what you stand for.
And each one is focused on a different ideal customer.
Image 1 is clean and graphic, with a focus on ingredients. Values of purity, freshness and health. Aimed at a young and health conscious customer.
Image 2 is warm and personal, with a focus on family. Values of bonding, love and family. Aimed at families who are connected and want to spend time together.
Image 3 is authentic and organic, with a focus on producers of ingredients. Values of sustainable, ethical and natural. Aimed at customers who are passionate about sustainable, green living.
Image 4 is a reporting style, with a focus on professional behind the scenes chef. Values of quality, craft and expertise. Aimed at foodies.
Four very different marketing approaches aimed at very different customer types. Demonstrating how images can show what your small business is all about simply using a picture.
Final Thought About Importance of Images
Images are a powerful tool in building your brand, they tell your story. What you stand for, what your small business stands for and what appeals to your ideal customer, all through an image.
Think about when you scroll through your feed, what catches your eye? Are you saying images?
A great image can grab your ideal customer’s attention.
A poor image can make customer’s scroll by. They may be blurred, pixelated or dark.
It is important to make sure your images are good quality and resonate with your ideal customer.
Images are a great tool to reinforce your brand and help your customers to notice you, remember you and trust you.