Facebook posts with images get an 87% higher rate of engagement (likes, shares and comments).  Tweets with images are retweeted 150% more than those without.  Instagram has a higher rate of engagement per post than any other social media platform. And everyone knows how popular Pinterest is.

In other words, Images Matter

However, finding the right image can be a daunting task, especially when you are trying to optimize your social sites with several posts a day.  Companies that are not selling interesting products, or who are offering a service (plumbers, writers, lawyers, consultants, etc.) have unique challenges when it comes to images.

To top it off, most viewers admit that they think less of a business that uses boring or poorly rendered pictures.

There are many outlets that provide stock images.  Many are from very talented photographers and artists.  Some can be quite pricey.  Others are free.  Some require specific attribution; others do not.  Understanding the rules for whatever image you choose is extremely important, as breaking copyright laws can be expensive. (See our post about copyright laws.)

Finally, be very careful about the images you choose, especially those that look too much like “stock photos” (e.g. any picture that looks like models posed for it, any obviously “posed” image, or any abstract image that everyone else is using).

Product Images

If you are selling tangible products, consider hiring a professional photographer, who understands lighting and composition and can show your products to their best advantage.  Displaying sub-par DIY photos will not only be a waste of time and money, but may actually harm your brand.

Concept Images

For newsfeed images, interesting and immediate sometimes trumps professional.  When we create slide shows of “before, during and after” photos of our clients’ projects, they get very high engagement.  Taking interesting photos around a store or office is a great way to humanize your business. (Careful editing should be done to make sure the images are straight, properly lighted and cropped to their best advantage to fit the social site being used.)

The Importance of Being Appropriate

Whether you decide on stock photography, hire a professional photographer or take photos yourself, the main ingredient to a good Social Media image is whether it fits the idea you are trying to convey.  While images may be worth 1,000 words, words are still important – even if it is just to explain what we are looking at.  While images of cute kittens, puppies and other memes may increase your page’s engagement, there does come a time when you will want to help people understand who you are and what you are selling.  At that point, your images take on even more importance.  Finding creative ways to explain yourself in words and images is what Social Media is all about.