It’s no secret that images are a powerful tool in human communication. Numerous psychological studies have found that our brains not only process images more quickly than text, but images also register with us on an emotional level. Throughout the history of humanity written text has only been around for a few thousand years, while visual stimulants and images have been around for tens of thousands of years. Even cavemen used images, shown in the paintings they left behind.
Advertisers and marketers have been using images in print media for years and are realizing more and more that images are just as powerful — if not more so— on the Internet. In the past few years, image-based social media has become increasingly popular; in fact Instagram and Pinterest are two of the fastest growing social media sites ever. Images in social media marketing are truly the way of the future. Here are a few reasons why images work and how you should use them in your social media campaigns.
Why Are Images so Important in Marketing?
As mentioned above, numerous studies have shown that our brains love pictures, and process them much more readily than text alone. According to Billion Dollar Graphics, psychologists estimate that we decode images about 60 percent faster than text. Furthermore, according to Zabisco, about 90% of the information that comes into our brain is visual. Images even play a role in how we learn. For example, if you’re enrolled in continued education courses, taking a study break with a colorful magazine is a great way to help recharge your brain.
The appeal that images have doesn’t just apply to photographs — infographics and videos also help attract and keep our attention. YouTube receives about 4 billion views per day; that’s about one view for every other person on the planet. All of this means that if you’re not using images and videos as part of your Internet marketing campaign, you’re just not getting the most out of your efforts.
What Makes an Image Shareable?
Images will inevitably be shared more often than text online, but certain types of images are shared more often than others. Here are some of the reasons people share images on their pages.
Quotes and Stories: Good quotes usually resonate with people. Quotes elicit a “me too!” response among readers, which prompts them to share the quote with others. Disney, for example, often posts stills of its movies along with a quote on Facebook. These posts have hundreds — if not thousands — of likes and shares. Granted, Disney is an internationally recognized corporation, but the same logic applies to small businesses, too.
You can embed quotes in images using tools like PicMonkey. This is especially effective if you want to give the words you post extra emphasis. SomeeCards, Inc. is a whole business built around the idea that quotes in an image are highly shareable.
Humor: Everyone loves a good joke, no matter how serious your business is. Several months ago, marketers for E&A Credit Union attracted a great deal of attention with a post about zombies. To promote their home equity credit services, E&A posted a photo of a zombie-proof house. The photo’s caption let followers know they could use the 1.99% equity line of credit to prepare their home against a zombie infestation. It received hundreds of likes and shares within a few hours.
News: If images share pressing news about a business or current event, users will likely share them. This is part of what’s made Instagram a valuable news source. By following natural disasters or other breaking news events, people often get their news through social media before traditional outlets.
“Mirror” Images: People also tend to share images that are similar to their own. If you’re designing an infographic or another image with embedded text, do some research and see what kinds of images are trending. Chances are, if a person liked a design well enough to make it their cover photo, they’ll also like it when you use it in a post.
Also, you don’t necessarily need to have a post about an image to use its power. Regardless of what kind of content you’re posting, you can often get the most mileage out of your post by combining an image with text. For example, when posting a link to a story on Facebook, you should always craft an image post and put the full link to the article in the caption. This way, the image will be much bigger and will attract more attention.
Start using these tips to get the most out of your social media marketing today!