Looking at the social media landscape, it seems that some brands are superstars and others are just… there. Showing up to the social party counts, but the initial act of creating a company profile and sending out a few “I-have-arrived” Tweets is not enough to demonstrate impressive results. Regularly distributing web content headlines is a good initial step for attracting follower counts and projecting the brand’s voice. Once this becomes routine, marketers may be looking to reach that next level of engagement – and images might be part of the answer.
Visual Tweets get more attention
Twitter recently adapted its newsfeeds to allow full inline images as a replacement for links to external visuals. Users can expand in-Tweet thumbnails with a single click to see full-size pictures or play uploaded Vine videos. This update could be a game changer for agile marketers, according to data Buffer collected about 100 Tweets. It found that compared with text-only Tweets, social media content with images receive:
- 18 percent more clicks than those with text alone
- 89 percent more favorites
- 150 percent more Retweets
Although this is a relatively small sample size from which to make sweeping claims, the pics-for-clicks phenomenon has been seen on other networks before.
Cross-network photo phenomenon
Brafton previously covered a Simply Measured study, which found Facebook posts containing photos elicited more engagement than any other kind of update. It appears that most brands have already caught onto this tactic, as 74 percent of brand posts include images.
Facebook and Twitter (the networks that are arguably the ‘mature’ players in the market) might be developing their visual sides, but that hasn’t stopped new image-centric platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat from winning consumers’ attention and rising to prominence. In some cases, social behemoths have decided to join up with fast-rising networks rather than try to beat them. Facebook acquired Instagram and Twitter took Vine under its wing.
What the most popular images have in common
Assuming that newsfeeds become crowded with pictures and videos, marketers will need to make sure they create the kind of images that stand out and compel followers to click and share their posts. According to Curalate’s evaluation of over 8 million Instagram photos, there are certain qualities people ‘like’ more in visual social content.
The ones that receive the most engagement include:
- Lighter images
- Pictures with more background space
- Photos heavy in texture but with a single dominant color
But Curalate has also reported on a separate list of features that people find the most Pinteresting, so there is no hard-and-fast rule to winning with images. The real secrets to success include staying audience-relevant, testing and measuring results. Marketers need to find a recipe that’s right for their brand and also on the cutting-edge of social trends.