Pretty Pretty Pictures
We humans are visual animals. We are attracted to bright, pretty, colorful pictures, more so than by words. For example, on the right are some actual scientific facts as compiled into a great infographic by Jose Moran at smartdraw.com.
Isn’t it pleasing to simply pass your eye over this visually stimulating infographic? Much more engaging and stimulating than this bulleted list with the exact same information, again, thanks to the great folks over at smartdraw.com:
- Your brain processes visuals 60,000 x faster than text.
- Photos on Facebook generate more “likes” and “shares” than text, video or links.
- New and different information is easier to remember when it is presented visually, rather than in text format.
- Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal.
- Sixty percent of people are visual learners.
- Publishers who use infographics realize an increase in traffic of 12% over those who don’t.
- Pinterest generated more referral traffic for business than Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.
In our blog post from July, “You Oughta Be In Pictures” we delved into the differences between photo-centric Instagram and Pinterest and how you can use these fastest growing of social media platforms to help build your social media presence. Just last week, Instagram hit an amazing milestone; there are now 400 million people around the world posting their photos and videos from every corner of the globe. Think about that for a second – 400 MILLION users!? What does this tell us? People LIKE pictures!
Understanding how important visuals are to us makes it easy to “see” why using pictures for social media posts, particularly on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ is absolutely crucial to getting folks to engage with your post.
Think of every single image you post as a little piece of FREE advertising within that post. If you capture the interest of the user with your picture they are likely to at least read the accompanying text and they may be so enamored with your image that they might click through the link to find out more or even share it ; you just landed yourself some invaluable organic exposure!
This leads us to your text (BORING, we have established, but necessary) We have learned that visuals are the key to increasing engagement with your posts, but the text you use gives you a chance to hit that teed up ball all the way onto the green! Tell your story around the picture. Brag about the scenery or property or seasonal special or whatever that picture is expressing. Impress the consumer with your visual prowess and close then deal with your words.
When you are looking at your own newsfeed on Facebook and even more so on Twitter and Google+, it’s quite noticeable when a picture isn’t sized properly for its platform. Taking that few
extra minutes to optimize your photo properly for its intended platform can really make a difference in how it ultimately appears. Here is an incredibly useful guide to proper image sizing and image creation tools, courtesy of Sprout Social. The good people at Constant Contact also have a handy guide to image sizing. Do be aware that every platform is constantly evolving and that these recommendations are subject to change, literally at any minute!
Make certain to apply these same rules when it comes to your profile/page pictures. Be sure to freshen your header images, and always optimize them with the proper sizing, descriptions and urls. Staying up to date, event oriented or seasonal makes your profile relevant and appealing.
In addition to ensuring proper dimensions, put your photos to work for you by further optimizing them to help your SEO. Always be cognizant of using descriptive words in the alt text description when available and even in the file name of the photo. Search engines can’t “see” pictures and instead rely on these text markers to figure out what the picture is. Don’t forget to apply all of these same rules to any images your put on your website and any email marketing that you do as well.
The regular use of pictures in your social media is also a great way to invite your fans, friends, employees and the world in general to share their own pictures of your properties, your area’s natural beauty and features, events, happy people generally having fun, WHATEVER (don’t forget kittens!) Setting up a photo contest on Facebook or Pinterest is one of the simplest ways to invite the contribution of great pictures to your photo library, replete with both minimal cost and effort to you! You now know that 400 million plus folks are snapping and sharing on Instagram so why not invite them to use those pictures to help promote YOU!?
The bottom line is this. If you are going to spend time posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or pretty much ANYWHERE, go visual. It’s going to help your engagement and it lets you get in touch with your inner artist (yes pronounce that ART-EEST!) Don’t forget to always be easy on the eyes!