Using your images
Now you have them. Make 'em work for you.
I'm a photographer not a social media expert. So, for this lesson I have asked Tania Shirgwin from Bizeez Communications to help us out. Welcome Tania!
Tania Shirgwin – Marketing & Communications Strategist
Tania has 30 year’s operational and consultancy experience in Australia and the UK ranging in hotel management, employment and wine. Through her Barossa based creative agency, bizeez communications, Tania is able to assist tourism, hospitality and wine business’ grow by way of powerful PR, marketing, web and social media solutions.
Tania is a respected blogger and commentator on modern marketing trends for the wine and tourism sectors and has gained a reputation as an entertaining and knowledgeable digital marketing specialist and trainer. She provides current information, evokes discussion, makes technical terms easy to understand and delivers practical, actionable outcomes.
Tania launched bizeez communications in 2010 and has since worked with numerous business owners and marketers needing assistance with modern marketing and communications strategies including wineries, food brands, chefs, restaurants, accommodation providers as well as industry specific organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Top 5 Do’s (or Don’ts) for using pics on social media.
1. Number one rule is Use them! If you’re posting across any of the major social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and yes even Twitter – use great photos to promote your brand. Visual assets are an essential tool for communicating your brand’s story and it’s reported that you have a 4 x greater chance of interaction with imagery than a text only post. So imagery in your marketing strategy is extremely important.
2. Don’t steal others’ photos. User Generated Content is fabulous and really should be part of your content marketing strategy, but there are some important rules to remember and one is, don’t steal! Ask if you can use imagery on your social networks. Never think that because a photo is on the internet, that it can be used for your own purposes even if it’s of your business. If you want a better understanding of the Do’s and Don’ts of User Generated Content, have a read of a blog I wrote a few months back -
Also, according to a study comScore undertook in 2015, brand engagement rises by 28% when consumers are exposed to both user generated imagery and brand created imagery. So definitely do consider UGC in your content marketing strategy - just do it ethically and legally.
3. Mix it up – you don’t have to use just a photo. Use a photo with text overlayed for inspirational quotes, blogs etc.
4. If you’ve gone to all this trouble and taken fabulous photos, then created great visual assets, feel free to brand them. If they go viral (i.e. get shared across the internet), then people will be able to seek out your business because they know where the original imagery was created.
5. Avoid cheesy stock photos in your marketing. People really want to see your business – not some notion of what it could be. There is a place for generic stock photos for sure, but if you’re promoting your own business, don’t use stock photos of another establishment.
What sort of images get the best engagement?
Now that’s a toughie.
It really depends on your target audience (customer), your business and the social network.
Great visual marketing helps to forge a personal connection between the brand and the customer, so it’s usually smart to humanise it and include people in your images.
It’s been reported that candid shots of people looking away from the camera are great engagement tools.
Well its makes it easier for the viewer to imagine they are the person in the photo.
Should I keep to my brand or post any photo?
Definitely keep to brand. That does not mean you can’t have fun but posting cat memes is not going to build strong brand awareness with your target customer.
This off brand tactic may help with engagement, but really – having 10,000 engaged followers that are not interested in your business and will never buy from you, is not the end game. It’s about building a loyal following of consumers who will become customers.
Does keywording my images help with SEO?
Keywords are essential for any marketing you undertake and doubly so online.
Think of it this way. What’s the first thing you do when you want to find something online? You go to the search engine and enter a few words or a phrase into the box and then click Search.
Those words you entered are collectively called keywords or a key phrase.
Making sure your photos on your website are search optimised with keywords is extremely important – this is called the Alt Text (alternative text) and Google and all browsers actually index them. So, if you haven’t done so yet, get your webby or go in yourself and make sure every image on your website has Alt Text included with relevant keywords, people will search out.
Keywords are important on social networks also. Social search is increasing on all networks so anytime you post anything on social media make sure your using the keywords that best suit the image and also your brand.
Throughout answering these questions, I’ve used certain keywords – it probably won’t help SEO, but it will help with you understand and keep it top of mind for you …. Can you see what those keywords are?
Content Marketing Strategy!
You can’t go wrong with any online marketing you undertake if you first think of your target customer, then the search bots.
What are the best sizes for photos on social media?
Honestly, I have absolutely no idea!
There are loads of great social media size cheat sheets out there, but I’m possibly like all of the amazing business owners reading this – time poor.
So I use a fabulous platform called Canva.
When I write a blog post or have to create imagery for a client’s campaign, I just pop into Canva and create a number of images for the different social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. I use the business package on Canva and that enables me to resize the same image to the correct size of the social network.
I batch these – meaning I create all my imagery in one go. It saves so much time. And, I’m not having to remember or lookup imagery sizes for each social network – more time saving.
Should I write short or long descriptions with my photos?
Ah – this is the million-dollar question. It does depend on the social network and your target audience habits. On Facebook keep captions short (due to most people scrolling through newsfeed on mobile devices) – then add more commentary in the comments section once people have started to engage (see Tourism Australia’s Facebook Page for some inspiration – they are the world’s leading destination on Social Media – their practices work https://www.facebook.com/SeeAustralia)
Keep in mind the social network and how your target audience consumes information – that is the best guide.
Is there a formula for posting – i.e. one advertising post to three helpful posts?
I read a huge amount about this, plus been involved in a few studies. I think it all reverts back to your target audience, your business and the social network (doesn’t it always!)
The 80/20 rule works well on Facebook or 4 to 1 – four posts that are engaging, educational, inspirational and one salesy post. Some networks can be all about sales or advertising – for retail and tourism, Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful sales direct social networks.
Can I re-use photos?
We call it repurposing and yes you can on certain social media networks. I’m not saying regurgitate the same image and caption across all your social networks at all. Never do that.
Use the psychology of what people are doing when they’re on the different social media networks to your advantage.
A woman in her forties has a different mindset when she is on Facebook than when she is on Pinterest. Her motivation is different as these social networks
So use these unique networks in the context they were created and repurpose imagery to suit that environment i.e. Facebook keeping up with the world, Pinterest intent to browse or shop etc.
What to do after posting?
Your job is not done just because you’ve posted content. To really gain the best benefits of social media you need to be…. Well - be social! Ask questions, engage and interact. Don’t just post something and leave – social media is all about engagement and conversations.
Can I use any scheduling tools to help me?
There are some really great rescheduling tools available across the wide expanse of social networks and best still, is most have some pretty powerful metrics.
I personally use:
Buffer - https://buffer.com/
And Hootsuite for my clients - https://hootsuite.com/
But there are so many other great options
Sprout Social - http://sproutsocial.com
Agora Pulse - http://www.agorapulse.com/
Post Planner - https://www.postplanner.com/
Edgar - http://meetedgar.com/
I really love Facebook’s own scheduling tool – I’ll create about 10 posts for a client and then schedule. With Facebook, I really like to keep in on that platform. Even though Facebook says it doesn’t penalise for using a third party scheduler, with the sheer magnitude of Facebook posts per day and the increasing difficulty to get your brand message out organically, I like to keep scheduling native to that platform. Also, I love Facebook Insights and also the advertising platforms, so I keep everything re Facebook native to Facebook at this stage. This strategy may change – it all depends on whats working.
Measure your results. Creating fabulous visual content and crafting an engaging content marketing strategy is really important, but you need to measure your results. It’s not just post and forget. Be aware of what’s really working for your business online so you know where to spend your time and money.
Plus a few tips from me (Heidi)...
Shooting for Social Media
Take multiple angles and viewpoints to get more use. Instagram favours square (ish) pics; Facebook likes landscape, Twitters vertical shots come up huge.
Don't always use a filter, try editing it yourself.
Keep your brand through your images. No point in photographing what you had for lunch if it has nothing to do with helping your clients.
Don't always photograph your product/service - be helpful and provide relevant advice/ideas with other images. Ie. an accommodation could show where/what the recommend in the area.
Be helpful/inspire with your images you photograph and post.
Think about what your clients would want to see
Build story - it draws prospects into finding out more about your products. People remember stories, not facts.
Filename your images with appropriate words, like a description of what is in the photograph.
Hashtag the images so they can be found by your new and expanding audience.
Organising your photos
Keep copies on iCloud to upload even when out and about
Back up your iCloud
Schedule in batches via Hootsuite/Latergramme
www.iconosquare.com - a great way of tracking replies, likes, other people. Much quicker than scrolling through Instagram on your phone or iPad.
Printing - promo postcards to give to clients, business cards, gifts, greeting cards, posters.
www.Moo.com - some quirky and different products at good prices. Quality is great too.
www.vistaprint.com.au - cheap and cheerful. Whole range from bags and mugs to business staples like brochures.
www.au.blurb.com - books, magazines, and eBooks
Harvey Norman or Officeworks are not going to deliver professional results. If it matters, print it properly.
www.animoto.com - slideshows with music. Scroll your images on a screen in office/reception, on the website, short video. Simple and fun. Make simple videos.
iPhoto - an easy way of making slideshows, books, cards, etc. Why not create a coffee table book of your photos? Better than clients looking through old gossip magazines.
Flipagram - fun slide show videos with music with the ability to share directly from your device. Create short videos out of your photos if you don't have any motion.
Social Print Studio, Picture Postie - create prints and products from your Instagram feed directly from your mobile device.
Get using! And use #betterpicsforbusiness and @heidiwhophotos so I can see what you are doing. This is technically the last lesson but please continue to use our Facebook page to share and get advice.
Better Pics for Business will be launched again later in the year with plenty more videos showing technique, behind the scenes footage on shoots and more.
Any suggestions for new content - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for joining me in Better Pics for Business.
I hope you have learnt at least one thing each week, and are feeling better in your skills, creativity and promotion.
BONUS - Shoot Plan, Storyboards and using Professional Photographers