The Importance of Images in Social Media

Look Right

Look Right

When it comes to grabbing attention online images play as an important role as headlines.

The right image can have a massive impact on getting your content read and shared.

Even choosing the right profile photo for Twitter or Facebook can impact the number of followers you have.

A study by Curata, a content curation agency, shows content that included images saw more frequent clicks from website visitors.

In its research, Curata measured a 47% increase in engagement for those articles with photos on their pages against those without.

This may go some way to explain why Facebook recently paid $1 billion from Instagram. Also the fact that Pinterest is the fastest growing social platform ever.

Images are that important!

Even more and more data is being visualised for easier consumption, which has lead to the meteoric rise in popularity of infographics as shown in the Google Trends graph below.

Google Trends for Infographic

Google Trends for Infographic

Clearley you can see the importance of imagery, but where do you find the images and what type of images should you use?

Sourcing Images

Firstly you want images that reflect your content. Ideal is an image that is eye catching and supports your headline. Even if someone doesn’t read your content they may well share it via the image on a site like Pinterest.

Next you need to ensure you have the right to use the images you put on you’re website. Accessing the majority of information online maybe free but that doesn’t mean you can just use it without permission.

Your Own Photos

Using your own images is always preferrable if you have the resource to take them or already have them available. If you intend using your own images just ensure they are of a good quality, framed well and in focus. Your holiday snaps might not cut the mustard!

holiday snap

holiday snap

Searching on Google images is best avoided for commercial use, it is often difficult to determine the rights owner, and image quality can vary.

Free Images

Flickr is a great free resource for images, though finding exactly what you want can take some time. Please also remember that not all images on Flickr are available for use.

When searching for images to use on your own website, on Flickr use the advanced search, put in your search term, then scroll to the bottom of the page and tick the box that states: “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content “.

If it’s for commercial use then tick that box aswell.

Creative Commons licensed content

Creative Commons licensed content

Ensure you abide by the lisence conditions which are usually to attribute the image owner. You can do this by including a link at the foot of your article or linking the image itself to their Flickr account.

Paid Images

The alternative to free images are stock photos. These can be found on many sites across the web and are often professionally shot photos made available for commercial use, at a fee. Costs will vary dependant on what you want to use the image for.

From as little as £0.80 ($1.30) per image BigStockPhoto is my preferred stock photo option. An enourmous database of over 10 million images, perfect for commercial use.

Finding That Right Image

A word of caution. Hunting for images can take a huge amount of time. Balance the necessity to illustrate your article with the time spent finding that “perfect image”. It’s very easy to spend more time on Flickr than you did writing your article in the first place.

Sometimes time is best spent elsewhere and paying for a stock photo can be more cost effective.

Do you have any other image resources you use?

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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  • I agree wholeheartedly good quality images are fundamental to good business. in fact it is for this reason we have chosen to reshoot some of our products on our site because we feel we can have even better images for our clients to see our products.  I love Pinterest, it is so creative and perfect for our brand!  There is plenty to learn from this post so thank you for sharing it with us!

  • I know how important good quality images are to not only a blog but also a site. If you can show your range through quality images you can convince your customers you have quality products that removes the necessity to see them in person. It is important to regularly review them too and not be frightened of reshooting or rejecting photos that aren’t 10/10!  This builds a brand trust, so vital nowadays that generates personal recommendations, again an important key. Great post, thanks for giving us the heads up!

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