How To Choose The Right Images And Videos For Social Media Posts

July 23, 2021
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Posting on social media requires a lot of planning through sourcing, capturing, editing, and much more. It is strongly advised you add imagery or video content to your posts when applicable as visual media performs better than text alone. For example, BuzzSumo’s research shows imagery earns 2.3 times more engagement on Facebook than text posts. Here are six simple and easy steps to consider when using visual media.

1. WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO ATTRACT

The first thing to consider is what audience you are hoping to reach with your post. If the audience are under 18, it might be good to use content that is more colourful and playful including the music that will capture their attention. As attention spans continue to decrease across the world, particularly amongst younger people, it is important your content is eye-catching to stop them scrolling. Aim to try to get your message across within the first few seconds. A Twitter study showed, global trends lasted on average 17.5 hours in 2013, and by 2016 this had fallen to 11.9 hours. The older generations, tend to scroll a little slower and read into the advert details and assure it aligns with their values.

2. CONSIDER ALL OF THE CONTENT

Carefully considering the text your image/video is being posted alongside is important. Listen to the tone of voice used in the text, understand the message that is trying to be delivered and try to convey that in your visual.

3. CAPTURING THE PERFECT SHOT

Your next step is to actually go out to capture or source your image/video. Today, smartphones are capable of capturing professional-quality imagery/video. Using equipment like phone stands and gimbals for smooth videos will help you get the best shots. It is important that your subject appears clear in the shot, your background is not messy, the lighting is strong, and your sound/voice comes across loud and clear. It is good to take multiples of each, to give yourself options and choices afterward. Consent from all people appearing in your shot is important to acquire beforehand.

4. CHOOSING AND EDITING

When you are finished capturing your image/video, it’s time to choose the best ones, and make any necessary edits. Clarity is vital, as time is of the essence with low attention spans.  If the user has to squint to try to make out an image or what it’s trying to tell them, they will scroll on. Depending on what platform you are posting this content to, you also need to choose which will look best on what platform.

For Facebook, portrait images/videos will take up more screen space than landscape ones. This means the user will see the content for longer as they scroll.

On Instagram, the image must fit into a square space. However, if you are posting to Instagram TV (IGTV), which is for videos up to 15 minutes in length, a portrait is strongly advised as it will fill the user’s screen. Instagram Reels, which are shorter videos also favour portrait videos.

LinkedIn, similar to Facebook does allow for portrait content, it is advised an aspect ratio between 3:1 and 2:3.

Quality of imagery and video is vital, to avoid any pixilation as these images fill our screens. The quality of your content reflects the values of your company.

5. TEXT AND IMAGERY BEST PRACTICES

Aligning your image/video to your post text is important, and you might want to put some of the text and imagery together to get your message across effectively. However, you should consider that most platforms and their goals are to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for the end user. Therefore they will punish you for posting imagery with too much text overlay. Although not official, the general rule to go is to not cover over 20% of your image with text. You should simply add the text in the post instead of over the image. Too much text overlay can look trashy and give a poor visual experience to the end user.

6. SEND IT TO THE WORLD!

Your final step is releasing your wonderful content out to the world! Knowing where your audience is, or where you’d like to target them if it’s an advert is important. Fine-tuning who you want to see your post will save you time and money.

Timing should also be carefully considered. If your post is going out to businesses or the corporate world, posting during office hours is advised. The best times to post generally revolve around times when your audience is bored and likely to be scrolling through social media. This might include the morning/evening commute, lunchtimes, or just when they get up or are going to bed. Busy periods should be avoided, or weekends as people tend to be out enjoying themselves.

To test the effectiveness of imagery/video in posts to your audience, you can try the different post styles and use insights on the platforms to see which gets you the most engagement. If you are creating a campaign, on Facebook, for example, you could set up an A/B test to trial.

Once you have all of the above in place, you are ready to hit the send button. Best of luck with your visual post!

Author Bio: Katie McGarr is one of the resident writers for SPRINT DIGITAL Agency Dublin, a firm offering an extensive range of digital marketing and website services to businesses across UK, Ireland, and Continental Europe. She enjoys sharing her insights about blogging, web design, SEO, and other forms of digital marketing.

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