10 tips for creating shareworthy social media images

10 min read
Derek Miller

The social media images you post online convey more information than you realise. Studies have found that 93% of all human communication is visual and the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text.

This means that before your customers even read any of your social media posts, they are collecting information and forming opinions based on the colours, lighting, fonts and other visual cues. The right images can grab the interest of your customers and lure them in.

Related: Help! Which social media platforms are best for my business?

10 tips for creating shareworthy social media images

This guide will help you develop social media images that attract customers. It will look at how aspects like lighting and colour cause reactions in your customers.

1. Practice makes perfect

The key to creating great social media images is, naturally, the image. However, you can’t expect to create amazing images from the start — it takes time.

If you’re taking your own images, experiment with your camera to find out what works.

Remember, you can take high-quality images on even an average smartphone. If you want to take things to the next level, consider investing in some lighting to illuminate your shots.

You’ll also need to practice editing your photos to get them looking their best.

High-end editing packages can cost a lot of money, so you might want to opt for a package that’s dedicated to creating social media images, such as GoDaddy Studio.

Note: If you’re a GoDaddy Website Builder customer, then you’ll find GoDaddy Studio comes as part of the package.

2. Be thoughtful

There are a handful of composition rules that photographers follow when they set up a piece. While these rules are meant to be broken, they can help you when you are just starting out. A few of these include:

  • The Rule of Thirds — If your image is divided into nine even sections, place the subject along the lines, slightly off to the centre. This creates space and draws in the eye. (You can see an example of this in the image below.)
  • Balancing Elements — If you use the Rule of Thirds, then your image may feel off-balance. Add other elements to the other side of the photo to make the content feel more stable.
  • Leading Lines — Use natural lines to tell the eye where to go.
  • Viewpoint — Look for a unique viewpoint that another photographer has yet to catch.

You can follow these rules even if you only use your smartphone. Consider the lines, lighting, and content of the image in a thoughtful way to draw audiences in.

3. Create a signature style

Creating a signature style is important for attracting new followers with your social media images. If you are trying to build your social media channels, your style can immediately convey who you are and why people should follow you.

Look at your internal values and the visual presentation you want to share with the world. What makes your brand unique?

You may even want to develop a style guide for your social media channels so you never forget your roots. This will cover the tone that you plan to use with your content and why you chose the signature style that you did.

If you share the content of others or have guest posts on your social pages, you can make sure that these additions match your style.

Again, if you use a social media image editing tool, like Over, you’ll probably find it much easier to ensure your images are on brand.

Related: Why your business needs social media influencers

4. Crop images instead of zooming

Zooming is exceptionally easy when you first start out with photography. You feel like you can crop your image within the lens and save time on editing. However, you may discover that zoomed-in images lack the quality you need.

Zooming can reduce the clarity in your image – especially if you are capturing images on a phone camera.

As a rule of thumb, the best zoom feature for you to use is your two feet. If possible, walk closer to your image to get the picture you want without utilising a zoom lens.

As an alternative to zooming, cropping can help you focus on the most important element of a photo.

Three boats ready for tourists

You can crop images on your smart phone or use an image editing package.

5. Avoid using your flash

You don’t need to be an expert photographer to significantly improve the quality of your social media images. If there’s one top tip you take from this list, it’s to avoid using your camera’s flash.

Camera flashes are far inferior to other options such as natural light, or simple lighting equipment.

If you’re on the fence about your lighting options, try taking photos in a few different ways. Compare the same photo with flash and without to see which one you like more.

Plus, if your subject is human, you are less likely to catch them in a squint because the flash blinded them during the shot.

6. Vary your social media images

While you want to create content that matches your brand’s identity, you can still appeal to new audiences by varying your images. There are multiple photographic options that you can use when sharing content on your social media channels.

Consider testing a few of these options:

  • Candid images— These are photos captured without the subject knowing. Examples of this include a food blogger capturing a moment of bliss at the subject trying a new recipe or a travel blogger photographing a moment of wonder.
  • User-generated images— If you need help creating content, ask your audience to share images with you. They can create content related to your brand for you to share.
  • Behind-the-scenes images— People love to see what goes into creating an image or a business. Share photos of you in your working life to add a human element to your content.
  • Personal images— If all your content is focused on your brand, consider adding some personal content, not focusing on your work, to paint a picture of the person behind the company or name.
  • Graphics – Your images don’t have to be photos, you can create graphics to share on social media too. A social media image editing app like Over can help you do this.
This simple yet attractive image was created in just a few minutes using Over by GoDaddy

Get creative with your account. Test new image ideas and see what your audiences love – and what your audience ignores.

Editor’s note: Create scroll-stopping social media ads, logos and stories with GoDaddy Studio — try it free!

7. Invest in the right equipment

As you start to create more advanced social media pictures, invest in additional equipment to improve the process. If you want to make the most of your investment, wait until you discover a need for an accessory before you buy it.

For example, you may discover that you need a tripod to balance your shot but don’t need a flash attachment as much as you thought.

Even if you’re just shooting from your smartphone, you can still invest in equipment to make your photos look more professional. Many social media influencers rely on photography equipment to help create smartphone photos that are incredibly shareable online.

See what’s currently on the market and decide which gadgets and tools can really help you.

Remember though, you don’t have to spend a fortune to take high quality images.

8. Brand your social media images

Branding is an important part of social media. Your branded content allows people to tie certain images back to your name and associate content with who you are.

Remember how the brain processes images faster than text? With the right branding, your followers can immediately associate an image with your name without even checking to see that your account posted it.

Branding comes in various forms.

Some social media channels make sure their logo or watermark is added on every post. The goal is to prevent other accounts from stealing the content. Other accounts use branding in more subtle ways.

Your branding could show through in the filters you choose, the colours you add, or the composition of your content.

To get an idea for branding, select a few social media accounts that you admire and look at their images on a macro level. Look at their main Instagram page and see all their photos lined up together.

How are they unified? How does each photo reflect the account that shared it? This can give you ideas for developing your own brand fingerprints.

9. Edit your photos

Editing your social media images will ensure that they meet the right dimensions for the social media channels that you post on. Editing your photos will prevent you from scrambling to resize the images as you share them and can help you catch any problems beforehand.

As you edit your photos, also check for unwanted blemishes or problems, like an underexposed subject, that you will want to fix before you share.

You have multiple options for editing software depending on your level of experience and investment. Adobe Lightroom is commonly used by photographers. You can also use Adobe Photoshop to adjust your images to match your brand.

If you’re on a tighter budget, you can use a combination of your phone’s features and Over by GoDaddy to edit your photos. You’ll also find that the app makes it easy to ensure your images are the right size for all the major social networks.

10. Tell a story

Man lying on bed working on a laptop

If “a picture says a thousand words” seems like a cliché, it’s only because the statement is true. Even small cues in body language and facial expressions can convey a significant amount of information to whoever looks at a shot.

You have the power to capture this information in your photography and share it across social media.

Look at your images and consider how they would be viewed out of context. If your audience never read the caption you provided or knew nothing about your brand, how would they feel about it? What information would they glean?

Your social media images can tell a story and give customers all the information they need before they even read what you have to say.

Plus, your audience follows your social media channel for stories. People use social media to be entertained.

Even if you invest in social channels to sell your products, you can sell a certain lifestyle or tell stories with the items you promote. Your customers will tune in for a good tale.

Invest in visual content to grow your social media presence

Social media is exceptionally visual. From your Instagram feed to the videos you share on Facebook, your customers want to look and watch before they read. If you want to catch the eye of your target audience, take time to develop your visual content.

Follow the tips above to improve your images and develop a brand that stands out while pleasing the eye.

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