Poor images are not only bad for social, they're bad for business. Blurry iPhone pics and videos, too-dark product shots and even unprofessional team photos all spell poor customer experience. Since social has created a 24/7 news cycle for brands, it's important that you have some standards for what can be used and what should probably be retaken.
The importance of images and video on social channels cannot be understated. Facebook offers what we call "clickable images," which allows users to click directly on the image to be taken to a webpage. This is unlike the regular uploaded images on Facebook, which only allow the user to click to expand the image (ie: just view it as opposed to being taken to the site for action). Essentially, the image can be your strongest call-to-action.
Twitter began integrating video and images more seamlessly into their timeline months ago, and today, the most engaged-with tweets are ones with images.
LinkedIn also allows you to change the clickable image, as well as the description and title of the link, in order to better capture the audience of a message and optimize for clicks.
Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are all centrally visual, of course.
So as you can see, your standards for images are paramount. Here are some of our suggestions to get you started:
Not only should your image be focused (as in, the camera's focus is clear on the shot), but it should have a central subject, or focal point. Not every product has to be on a blank background, but the background and foreground of your image should not distract from, but only add to, your subject.
Your brand colors should be considered when creating or editing images to include text. Be sure that you're only using a palette that your audience would recognize as yours. matchstick's colors, for example, are a deep red and stark white, then grey and black. We're not going to put up a lot of promotional materials that are purple, blue or green because it just doesn't immediately convey our brand.
We know it's easy to snap great moments on an iPhone and we do it for clients often. It's convenient to edit quickly and upload. However, over-filtering a dark image in Instagram or over-zooming a shot will only make it look more amateur. Take the extra moments to find the right light on the model, team member, room or product. The more natural light you have and the less you have to rely on a flash, the better. However, if you are indoors and the lighting is not bright enough, don't be afraid to use flash (as long as you aren't getting red eye or a glare).
Like messaging, each social image should keep the consumer in mind. How are they going to use this product or service? How can I convey the ease and simplicity of its use in a still shot? How can I best paint the picture for the audience? Sometimes, a picture of a foot in a shoe is better than the shoe alone, not only because it showcases the product's function, but because it puts the consumer at the center. The image seems to say, "This is what the shoe will look like on you."
Let's say you have this beautiful image of an oak tree in a lush, green field. And let's say you need to promote a blog post about ways to improve your organization. "Why not use this gorgeous image?" you think. Well, because an oak tree really has nothing to do with organization. Though it may be eye-catching, that's not enough. You need to make sure your image is as relevant to the blog post as your copy. Otherwise, you run the risk of upsetting the customer experience and increasing your bounce rate.
Got some more photography tips for others to consider? Tweet us: @matchstickscl.
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