I personally love sharing photos on social media. I use photos to grab my readers’ and followers’ attention so they’ll listen to what I have to say next. For me, they’re like little graffiti glitter bombs! (Okay, maybe that’s my branding but you get my point.)
Whether it’s my newest most-favorite-photo-ever of Edison with a striking street art mural or if it’s promoting a blog post, I make the photo work for me.
But in a sea of photos on social media, how do you get yours to stand out? How do you use your photos to communicate your intended message? And how do you create engagement? There are many answers to these questions, but here are a few tips to help you share photos the right way!
How to Stand Out in a Sea of Photos
Develop your Visual Branding and BE CONSISTENT!
In addition to developing a brand for your blog, you need to create a photography brand or style, one that is uniquely you and aligns with your blog. The goal is for people to see your photos and say, “Yup, that is definitely (insert your blog name)”.
“The photography that you take or use should complement your brand…” is what BlogPaws very own branding expert Aimee Beltran recommended in her blog post, “How to Create a Branding Strategy for Your Pet Blog,” and I couldn’t agree more.
Developing your own photography style or brand takes time, patience, practice and a dash of creativity! Take different types of photos in different settings, from different angles and/or with different props if that’s your thing. Try different photo editing tools and figure out that feels right to you and for your brand.
Once you figure out your photography brand, then stick with it. Consistency is key to creating and reinforcing a photography brand.
If you write long-form blog content about hamsters, would you suddenly write about your favorite kitchen appliances? Probably not. Why? Because it wouldn’t align with your blog and it would dilute your brand. The same applies to your photography brand.
Jenna Wood with Momma Told Me has does an excellent job of creating a consistent photography brand.
Tailor Your Photo (and Messaging) to the Social Media Platform
When sharing photographs on social media you need to consider the platform to which you are sharing but you also need to consider your audience on that platform.
Two things to think about:
- Sizing and Orientation: Make sure your photo is sized and oriented correctly for the social media platform you are using. If your photo isn’t the correct size or if the orientation is wrong, the image may be cut off and will look sloppy or unprofessional.Generally speaking, you want a horizontal image on Facebook. On Pinterest, vertical images are king, or queen as the case may be! Previously, Instagram only allowed square photos. This has changed over the past year and Instagram now supports both horizontal or vertical images. When sharing on Instagram, a good rule of thumb is to choose a size that works best for that particular photo.HOT TIP: When taking photos, make sure you shoot from a variety of angles and include both close-up and wide-angle shots. This will give you lots of photos to choose from and work with when editing and sharing.
- Your Audience: It is very possible that you have different audiences on each of your social media platforms. When sharing photos on social media, make sure that it is visual and written content that will resonate with your followers on that platform.You can use analytics tools to learn more about the demographics of your audience, when they are most active and your most engaged posts.Using myself as an example, my audience on Facebook is very different than my audience on Instagram. The vast majority of my audience on Facebook are women 35 years and older who will engage with longer written messaging while my followers on Instagram are predominantly male, are younger and want short, sassy or irreverent written captions. By knowing my audience, I can more effectively tailor my photo and written messaging for my followers on that platform.
Tips for Increasing Engagement
Increasing engagement on our content is a primary goal of every social media influencer.
To increase engagement, many factors come into play- both things we can control (photo selection or captions) and things we cannot (those pesky, ever-changing algorithms). Tips for getting engagement could be an entire blog post or more, but here are a few general tips to help get you started!
- Know Your Purpose: Know your goal when sharing a photo! Whether you are promoting a blog post, a brand or product or your own blog, make sure the photo you use supports that goal and communicates the intended message.
- Use the Right Caption: Considering your goal when sharing a photo, your audience and the photo itself, make sure you create the right caption! When appropriate, you should include a natural, authentic Call To Action.
- Knowing Your Audience…Again!: By knowing your audience, you can choose the right photo and create written messaging that your audience will respond to, allowing you to talk to your audience, not at them.
- Share What Your Audience Wants: If you evaluate your most engaged posts, you will be able to identify patterns that will reveal what your audience wants to see or hear. Then share similar types of content! As an example, my audience on Instagram engages much more with photos that include Edison with street art than they do with photos without Edison. I can force feed them photos of murals without Edison, but if I want to break through and be heard, I need to include Edison in my photos.
- Be Social! It’s been said many times in many ways because it’s true: put the social back in social media! Follow and engage with other social media influencers, respond to comments on your social media shares, start a conversation and be SOCIAL. You can never go wrong if you approach this as a way make more social media friends. Friends support (and engage!) with other friends!
Developing a photography style or brand takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. If you then share the right photo on the right social media platform with the right message, your content is more likely to resonate with your followers and you are well on your way to creating influence and increasing engagement.
In addition to his role as the BlogPaws Campaign Manager, Bernard Lima-Chavez is a street art lover, deaf dog pet parent, blogger and freelance writer. He shares his life with with deaf dogs, two hearing dogs and a whole bunch of cats. You can find him at The Graffiti Dog and on Instagram at @thegraffitdog.
Image: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com