There are literally pages of data on how much visual images can increase engagement and response: If you have a piece of content, it’s almost always a good idea to include a visual. Choosing that visual, however, isn’t always easy – so let’s break the process down into 10 tips for you to adopt.
1. Learn the Rules for Quick, Free Images
If copyrights and trademark infringements have you worried every time to look for images, you need to rethink your approach. There are many effective ways to find free-to-use images online, mostly due to Creative Commons standards. On Google Images, for example, there’s a whole “Usage Rights” tab in Search Tools where you can look for images that you can legally reuse. We’ve found some great images just by creating a search in Flickr with the settings at “Commercial use allowed.” If you don’t have time to create an image, these are strong alternatives.
2. Hire a Professional
On the other hand, if you do have time and the resources, please hire a professional. They understand why businesses need photos. They are experts at creating high-quality images of your brand and products that you will be able to use for years to come. It’s worth the investment.
3. Appoint a Skilled Employee
It’s also a good idea to appoint an employee to create images for you to use. Everyone has an employee that is familiar with Instagram and knows how to snap quick, effective photos that work great for social media. Get those people involved in your social posts and decrease your image issues exponentially.
4. Know a Photo’s Purpose
Is a photo supposed to explain something? Highlight a product? Entertain? Show a particularly beautiful example of work in your industry? You need to know the purpose of a photo/image to pick the right visual. Don’t just slap any image on a post and call it good.
5. Use with Text When Appropriate
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s worth a lot more with a couple dozen words to explain it. Images with text help get viewers excited about your content. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, but you should try to engage your audience. Note that some channels, like Facebook, are very pick when it comes to including text on the image itself.
6. Tag Well
Image tags exist for a reason! They are excellent for improving your SEO – and keeping your online images easily categorized and located. You should be adding appropriate image tags to all the images you use in your blogs or on your site. When posting to social media, hashtags also work well to identify, track, and amplify your visuals. Focus on tags from the beginning, and they won’t be a problem for you!
7. Create a Company Size Guide
Part of your company content guide should be a section on appropriate images. This should include not only where to find them, but what size and shape should they be. What should your aspect ratio be for your site? A 3:2 ratio is great for most blogs, but what about product or landing pages? How will large images affect loading times? What about social media, where image shape is a bit more flexible? Choose an ideal aspect ratio and pixel range for your images early on to make things easier.
8. Use Effective Tools
There are plenty of good image tools out there to help you find and craft the right visuals. Some of the most popular include Canva, PicMonkey, and Pixlr. Use these to create or tweak visuals and get the look that you need. It’s worth mentioning that tools like Yoast can also help when it comes to tagging images.
9. Use What Works – and Try New Things
Visuals are a great category to try new things. Whether it’s a gallery, a “funny” pic that relaxes your brand for a moment, or an on-site example of a problem, don’t be afraid to take a few chances. This is especially true if you are already confident in your current images!
10. Check Layout and Optimization
A.K.A., make sure your images work on mobile devices. If you aren’t optimizing them for mobile, then you are losing out on a lot of views, end of story. Fortunately, this isn’t really a problem on social media, but your site should certainly be optimized.