It may be a given that social media is important for businesses—for strengthening the brand, engaging customers and standing out from competitors.

But what use is a social media account—regardless of the number of followers—if your followers aren’t paying attention to you?

In 2013, Pinterest became the 2nd highest driver of traffic.

Related Article: Creating Posts on Social Media: The Ultimate Guide

In 2014, Twitter started displaying expanded images in the tweet stream. Social media platforms know the importance of images to their customers, and so should we.

So why do images matter?

1) Content overload

We take in so much content online and above all, our eyes are drawn to images. If everyone else is utilizing images and you aren’t, you risk being missed entirely. If you use images well however, you can get a critical advantage over your competitors.

2) Engagement

People engage most with images—it’s a fact. On Facebook for example, 93% of posts that people engage with feature an image.

The kind of image matters too – for example, people respond differently to seeing faces compared to body parts alone.

3) Brand power

Images provide a great way to build your brand—your unique ‘look and feel.’ The more recognizable you are, the more likely your audience is going to remember who you are. Important things to consider when creating your images include:

  • Using your brand’s colors
  • Using your brand’s fonts
  • Adding your logo (when appropriate)
  • Setting up templates to do this can make the process easier

Social Media Image Checklist

There are a few things I recommend asking yourself when posting images to your social media accounts.

1) Is it optimized?

If only all social media platforms had exactly the same layout… OK, it would be pretty dull, but we wouldn’t have to create different images for each! It’s well worth it though—how many times have you seen an image cropped on Twitter so that the poor subjects have been beheaded? Or, half the text is missing from the image?

Size does matter!

2) Is it engaging?

Be a tease! If you give away everything, your audience might not have the need to click through to your content. Giving your audience a taster makes the link intriguing and clickable.

3) Is it shareable?

Likes, favorites and +1’s are all good and well, but in order to really spread your content about, you need shares! The kind of images that incorporate the following tend to get the most shares:

  • Tips
  • How-to
  • Quotes
  • Checklists
  • Infographics

4) Is it branded?

If you’ve checked all the above, and your image is getting shared, will people know where the image comes from, and whose content it is? By placing your brand logo and/or site url, you instantly have an advertisement that is reaching a new audience.

Cat-NeliganAuthor: Cat Rose Neligan is a freelance designer and small business consultant based in London. Clients range from small subscription services to big name coffee shops. Author of the Natural Beauty Guide for Healthy Skin, Cat also blogs about health and wellbeing.