In the past years the online marketing was focused on content and was considering content more important than everything, nowadays things are shifting to visuals. Content still needs to be extremely good but long articles and in depth writing are not so successful at keeping readers engaged. What studies are talking about and what I suppose you personally discovered as well is that : the people’s attention span have massively shortened. Increased advertising, content overload, and multiple social media platforms caused people to change their online behavior. People are now browsing quickly through a huge pile of information, skimming texts or articles and are very picky when it comes to actually pay attention to something. This is where visuals come in (pictures, infographics, videos) and catch the attention.
Personally I own a blog which is promoting art. I provide good content in each of my articles but whenever I promote on social media I have to think twice before clicking the “post” button. Posting catchy images in my posts is bringing a lot of views and traffic on my blog while if I just post a link or a part of the text is decreasing my reach. When it comes to social media the most important is the featured image of my post.
Psychology of images
Researching different ways to engage my audience, I came over the psychology of images. I found out that the two primary reasons why images are the dominant force online at the moment are:
– Images have a strong emotional factor. Pictures have the ability to bring out strong emotions in us like compassion, joy, disgust, hate. Psychiatrists and sociologists have also agreed that an image can contain a wide range of emotions. Not only this, but also memories of the past can be stored in images.
– Content overload is causing people nowadays to get bored easily. Although others connect this boredom to the shorter attention spans, it can also be attributed to the fact that we are trying to get the information we want out of a big flood of options. We are basically inundated with information daily, therefore we found an easy way to select the ones that we want.
Featured images for posts
Therefore, I started looking for ways to have attractive and better featured images for my posts on Facebook or other social media. I wanted to do this in order to help promote my blog in the best way possible. There are 3 questions that I found pretty important when it comes to choosing the featured images:
1. How many images do you see online that truly support what’s been communicated in the post?
2. How many images stand out in the endlessly stream of content you see on the Facebook news feed or your Twitter feed?
3. In how many of these images do you immediately recognize the source?
After that it’s important to focus on standing out from the content overflow. Always think that the screen will be full of other posts and your post needs to stand out so that you get the click. Art is not a very popular trend on Facebook from my personal opinion. The audience is more interested on funny images, selfies, funny videos, video clips or holiday pictures. Only thinking at placing a serious art piece in my post, made me smile because it would never attract the attention.
Visuals are there to support the story. My blog is about art but not only about that: it also contains articles about personal development, meditation, psychology and life-changing discoveries. How can I show all this in a post? I’ll tell you this: the social media networks are just presenting the cover of the book. It has to be attractive, eye-catching and express the content in a very quick way. Showing an entire story in one image is not something easy to do. BUT people love it! That is why people don’t care if you are in your honeymoon in Maldives but they will love the fact that you post sunrise pictures with it ( especially if it’s in the winter time)
Context is pretty important when it comes to featured images in posts. The image and the headline need to have a connection and provide the info I was talking before, otherwise people won’t get what you are talking about and move along.
I have seen a lot of bloggers which optimize their social media dimensions of pictures. I think it’s pretty smart because the platforms have different dimensions and creating the best image to fit the post might catch attention better.
At some point there is a chance you might get stuck when looking for the pictures that you really want. Looking for pictures online can become very boring. Here are some places where you can find high quality affordable pictures:
• Death to the Stock Photo
• Little Visuals
When it comes to the format of images that you include in your posts, it’s better to use the PNG format instead of the JPG. Simply because social media networks don’t upload high resolution images and if they do, they sometimes damage the quality of the images. What I do is I keep my good quality images on the blog while I upload PNG formats on social media.
As a marketing student I found out how important images are and how to optimize their use when it comes to social media. I have to learn all this while crafting posts for my blog. I had to try and see that text is no longer catchy and images are the ones which bring reach to my blog. Ever since I discovered the simple rules I have mentioned in this article, my posts are engaging. People are arriving on my blog and are enjoying art as a day to day activity.