Social media is all about the visuals. Whether it is your cover photo on Facebook, your sponsored post on LinkedIn, or your latest Instagram post, you need to attract the attention of your audience in an immediate, engaging, and relevant way.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’—and it’s especially true on social. Today’s marketers have to hit the right notes to get heard through all of the noise on each channel.
Which elements do you need to consider when thinking about visuals for social? Take a look! And be sure to check out our Big Social Media Brand Profile Lookbook for some fantastic examples of social visuals.
As Facebook was created to be a social network for connecting friends, brands have to be cognizant of what they post and how they present themselves. Facebook is an ideal place for fun, visual, and entertaining content that lends itself nicely to a user’s newsfeed. Brands should beware of posting updates that are too sales-oriented, pushy, or boring. Instead, focus on being relevant and engaging. You want your posts to be a seamless part of your followers’ news feeds.
Consider the following for each mode of communication on Facebook:
- Posts: There is an unlimited variety of posts that a brand can share on Facebook. For most posts, Facebook best practices indicate that including an image increases engagements and click-throughs, and at Marketo, we definitely believe that great imagery is the key to building relationships on Facebook. Additionally, if you are planning on using your post for advertising, you need to consider how much of your image includes text.
- Cover Photos: On Facebook, the cover photo sits at the top of your company profile page and rests behind your logo as a backdrop. The cover photo can be a flexible space that lends itself to creativity and frequent changes. Because of the larger size, brands have more real estate to work with. Your cover photo could include brand messaging, campaign promotions, product images, and more—the options are truly endless.
- Facebook Photos: Posting photos on Facebook gives you a chance to add brand personality to your page. Photos also provide your followers with an easy-to-share medium that is branded in a subtle way. Take time to curate and think about your photo collection, particularly if you are a retail brand.
- Apps: Facebook Apps are accessible on the left-hand side of your profile and directly underneath your cover photo. Utilizing Facebook Apps is a great place to promote a new contest, offer a content download, or show your followers a video. The best brands are constantly changing their Apps tab, either on a seasonal basis or to promote a new campaign.
Twitter has become the optimal network for thought leadership and branding. It has also become a space where both corporate and personal brands can develop ongoing relationships with followers.
But Twitter can be noisy. Use your feed to promote fun, educational, and, most importantly, valuable content. Visuals are also becoming critical on Twitter as a way to differentiate tweets on the same topic. So, make sure you are regularly including engaging and colorful pictures with your tweets.
Consider the following for each mode of communication on Twitter:
- Tweets: Because Twitter is so fast-paced, it’s important that you post on a regular basis, or else your tweets will get pushed down on your followers’ feeds by more recent tweets from other people. Overall, your tweets should contain a mix of content that ranges from educational to entertaining. Be sure to include relevant and trending hashtags and take advantage of the ability to use imagery.
- Twitter Header: Your header is the background image that sits behind your profile photo. Most images are re-sized to fit the dimensions, but Twitter also offers the image parameters on its website. This is an opportunity for you to be creative and share an image that expresses your brand, campaign, or other imagery.
- Promoted Tweets: Promoted Tweets, a form of Twitter paid advertisements, can be used for generating new contacts and engaging your social community. Promoted Tweets are targeted to a specified audience and sit at the very top of a Twitter user’s feed. For Promoted Tweets you are charged on a cost-per-click basis, which Twitter calls cost-per-engagement. Since you are paying for your promoted tweets, it is even more important that you pay attention to messaging, imagery, and your call-to-action.
Pinterest is a visual scrapbook aka pinboard that allows users to share and organize visual imagery. A user can pin anything from around the web and users can re-pin these images. Playing into the inherent visual nature of today’s consumers, Pinterest is the ideal place to promote imagery that complements your products and brand.
For businesses, Pinterest can be a way to curate visual content like product images, infographics, photographs, and more.
Consider the following for each mode of communication on Pinterest:
- Pages: Pinterest pages are your brand’s homepage on Pinterest. This is where a consumer lands when he or she searches for your brand, so make sure that your page is well-curated and cohesive. Focus on the types of imagery you think will capture the attention of your audience and prompt them to follow your page and re-pin your images.
- Boards: Pinterest boards are where you can really get creative. With Pinterest boards you can categorize your pins under key topics or themes. Then, your followers can pick and choose which boards to follow. The keys to fantastic Pinterest boards are compelling imagery and keyword-rich descriptions.
LinkedIn has experienced explosive growth in recent years by adding capabilities that entice marketers from every industry and connect them with a multitude of audiences.
LinkedIn has far expanded its solution beyond a hiring and networking platform to include robust company pages, a highly targeted advertising solution, and a publishing platform. With these additions, LinkedIn is now the way to reach an audience with a business mind-set.
- Company Page: Your company profile page is where a user lands when she searches for you or clicks on your logo from a user’s profile. Because this is the primary branded landing page on LinkedIn, it’s important to make sure that you carefully think through the images and messages you choose to represent your brand.
- Posts: On your company page you have the ability to share posts. Regularly posting on LinkedIn is critical to building a solid base of followers and fueling your paid advertising efforts. These posts can be comprised of text, images, links, non-native video, and slide decks. Because LinkedIn is a professional network, your content mix should fit this tone.
Instagram is a powerful social network where photos are king. Instagram is a platform where users and brands can unite and connect through imagery that appeals to the emotions and creates a sense of intimacy. By revealing the personal and creative side of your company, consumers have an easier time relating to your brand and messages via photos—without you invading their inbox. Instagram provides a seamless user experience between personal and branded imagery.
- Posts: Instagram posts are the bread and butter of the platform. The main content of your Instagram post is an image—something that conveys your brand, message, and company culture. The possibilities are truly endless! Your posts should also include a quick explanation of the image and a multitude of hashtags so that users can find you! To successfully utilize Instagram, be sure to post regularly and thoughtfully in order to make the biggest splash. Instagram also offers an advertising option where you can target relevant users through the Instagram feed.
Want to learn more about visuals on social media? Be sure to download our brand new Big Social Media Brand Profile Lookbook to get inspired!