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A Guide to Image Based Social Media and Visual Content

When it comes to engagement on social media, study after study demonstrate that images dominate social media. Image based social network, Instagram, overtook Twitter last year in terms of popularity and Snapchat, the ephemeral image/video messaging app has seen explosive growth in the last 12 months, accounting for 75% of data traffic in the UK.

Whether commanding more retweets or gaining further reach, visual social media is driving interest and interaction across the board, so how can businesses understand and make the most of this opportunity? Worry not: here’s our guide to image based social media and visual content.


Know Your Audience

Who do you want to get through to? How old are they? Where do they live? Once you know this, you can begin to understand where they spend their time. Take Instagram for example: a third of UK teens and 18-35s have used and contributed to it in the last month compared to just 7% of people aged 35+.


Know Your Networks

It’s not just image based platforms such as Instagram we need to bear in mind – consider the social networks where people can share visual media as part of the mix: images on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn frequently perform exceptionally well.

Get Inspired

Now that you’ve identified who your audiences are and where they spend their time, it’s worth considering what makes them tick and ensure your content appeals to them. While the mix for each business and brand will vary, here are a few image ideas to get you started:

  1. Your products in use: show what your products do or what they look like when in use. Better still, encourage your customers to take their own snaps of your products and get permission to share them.
  2. Crowdsource ideas: Wondering which colour the next product should be? Get your customers in on the decision making process. A sense of ownership and influence on a brand is a powerful thing.
  3. Tutorials: A short, simple how-to or a brief guide to something provides appeal beyond your brand and product.
  4. Behind the scenes: Everyone enjoys a sneak-peek; whether you document how it’s made, give an exclusive preview or perhaps show shots of your team in their natural environment, exclusive access holds great appeal.
  5. Quotes: Love or hate them, quotes are undoubtedly good game when it comes to shareable content. Make sure that the quote is relevant and make sure it is reliable (and not a misquote.
  6. Testimonials: Ever had a customer say good things about you, your product or your team? Make a graphic about it and share it! After all, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. (


Gather Your Tools

While many of the networks we’ve mentioned provide their own in-app image editing options, there are other free-to-use tools out there that can set your visual content apart from everyone else’s.

  1. PicMonkey: an online editor where you can edit images with text overlays, effects and filters. There are simple touch-up tools as well as a collage maker.
  2. Pixlr Express: similarly, there’s Pixlr Express; the beauty with this is in its consistency across platforms, from web to iOS to Android. Simple editing tools, with powerful results.
  3. Canva:  if you want to create quick, effective posters, postcards or graphics, Canva is a great tool for doing just that.
  4. Hyperlapse: want to create short video that’s a little different? Hyperlapse is an Instagram app that allows easy-to-create timelapse video: great for showing off a process such as setting up at an exhibition or perhaps refitting a new shop.


Know Your Sizes

One last thing before you go and post your newly invigorated visual content: understanding how to size your images for optimum output is vital. Whether creating thumbnails for Pinterest or Twitter stream images, this Social Image Resizer Tool can help ease the pain of the maze of visual content optimisation.


Now you’re ready, we’d love to know how you get on or if there are any other tools you use that we haven’t listed.