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Get the Picture: Social Media Photos Boost Engagement, Revenue

When it comes to social media, we all know it’s a dog-eat-dog world. We spend our time testing what works and what doesn’t, launching monthly campaigns, contests and posts in hopes of increasing audience engagement. And, what we have learned from it all is that photos and images play an ever-important in everything we do on social, producing a 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts, according to Larry Kim, columnist for Inc. Also, tweets with images earned up to 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites, and 150 percent more retweets, according to a Buffer report.

Those willing to invest the time and leverage the power of pictures for social will find new opportunities to grow market share and drive revenue. Here’s how you can use photos to increase your audience engagement.

Pictures tell the story. We often see great events, services or products discussed on social media that lack the photos to bring them to life. Visuals help people process information quickly and can spark a feeling or relationship, boosting their engagement with your organization.

Fun photos. “A well timed joke will always yield a more natural smile, than simply saying ‘smile,’” says Dean Bottrell, professional photographer. One of our clients, Seth Forman, M.D., often posts fun photos with his staff that show his true, outgoing personality. His audience loves these photos because they get to see a side of him they don’t typically see during an office visit. These photos get a ton of likes and engagement and it is genuinely enjoyable for him and the crew.

Video. 95 million photos and videos are posted to Instagram every day, according to the social media site. And Snapchat’s daily video views have increased 400 percent year over year, according to Snapchat. Ditch the notion that high-end pro equipment is needed and get your brand in front of the 100 million hours of daily video watch time of Facebook users.

Consider these top five nuggets of information to help you shoot the best content:

  1. Get in close. The famous photojournalist Robert Capa who once said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Consider getting close to the action and capturing the detail. There’s nothing better than seeing the actual feathers of a bird or the fine lines in someone’s face and tears in their eyes as they are receiving an award for many years of hard work.
  2. Use perspective. Photos taken while lying down, crouched down or high above often make for more compelling photos than those taken at (your) eye level. In addition, not everyone’s eye-level will be the same. Also, consider taking pictures in the perspective of thirds. That means, in using the lens, see the photo divided vertically in thirds. Aim to have your subject be on the outskirts for a perspective point of view that professionals use.
  3. Become a planner. Don’t just take videos or photos at will. Consider planning or storyboarding a shoot before the event or occasion. Video and photos are a piece of communication and should tell a story.
  4. Keep the image simple. Images and footage with the main subject and little else make for the best content. Keep visuals from getting messy by practicing simplicity. This tactic also keeps the audience focused on where to look.
  5. Take lots of pictures. You can never redo a moment, so for PR purposes take lots of visuals while the action is happening and go back and edit later. This concept sounds simple enough, but when you’re in the mix of an event or important moment, you may get caught up in the action versus taking photos.

Video and photos are only gaining in importance and it is estimated that by 2018 most content will be via video. Think that number sounds high? Consider now that Snapchat user stories alone fuel 10 billion daily video views. Get comfortable with the camera and be sure your visual communications reach your desired audience.

Need help with visuals? Contact us at

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