There are a lot of social media messages out there. In fact, as of 2015, there were 50 million active small business accounts on Facebook alone. Even if a fraction of those accounts are pushing content on a regular basis, it’s still a lot of competition. What can you do to stand out? Part of the answer can be found in your stock image selection.

Social Media Imagery By the Numbers

A Kissmetrics study found that content with relevant images commands 94% more views that content with passive imagery. Xerox released a study that showed that consumers are 80% more likely to read a piece of content if it contains colorful visuals. Buffer released data that suggests that social media users are 40 times more likely to share visual content than plain text.

What can we learn from this data? The stock photography you use has a powerful impact on your social media strategy.

So, how do you choose the right imagery for your brand?

#1: Do It Legally

Avoid the temptation to simply download images straight from Google. Invest in a stock photography package from Adobe Stock, iStock, Getty Images, or a similar company. This can save you thousands of dollars in litigation for copyright infringement.

#2: Keep the Text to a Minimum

Facebook will actually prevent you from promoting posts that contain more than 20% text. To avoid this, only select pictures that represent your topic or focus area. Avoid images that state the topic in big, bold letters. Your goal should be to grab the focus of the user, then to hook them with your content.

#3: Incorporate People Into Your Imagery

The images you choose for your social media marketing should include people as often as possible. This helps your user relate to that image. In order to be truly effective, use a diverse segment of models in the images to demonstrate an inclusive brand, and to engage a broader audience.

#4: Capture the Feeling

Whether you’re sharing an image for your website, blog, a quote, or any other post – your goal should be to relate to a human emotion. Your images need to match the emotion associated with the content. That may be “trust” or “confidence” or “security.” You’ll find much more success by hitting that emotion than posting a lovely landscape.

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