Going Beyond the Type

Social media is becoming increasingly visual. Here are three tips for incorporating images into your social media marketing.

March 2015


Even on the Internet, a picture is worth 1,000 words. The skyrocketing popularity of YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest have influenced a shift in the way people use social media—from pithy micro-blogging to image-based information sharing. Photos are liked twice as many times as text updates and get 84 percent more click-throughs. To keep your followers engaged with your business’s online branding, it is essential to incorporate images into your social marketing strategy.

But what if your product or service is not a visual one? How can a B2B or service provider incorporate more images in its social media presence? Here are a few suggestions.

Start with Stock

If you are posting links back to your blog posts, make sure each post has an image. Stock image sites such as iStock or Pond5 have lots of affordable, high quality photos and illustrations that you can use in your blog posts. When you post the links back to your blogs, these images will appear in your followers’ feeds and grab their attention more effectively than plain text. This is especially important for attracting more readers on LinkedIn.

A word of warning: don’t grab images from Google image search because you will leave yourself open to copyright infringement.

Everyone Loves Infographics

If you are in a B2B business or service industry, Karen Leland, branding and marketing strategist from Sterling Marketing Group, suggests creating infographics. People love data made to look pretty. Infographics are very sharable because they not only share interesting information, but they are visually pleasing.

Infographics can be more than data presented in charts and graphs. Consider creating a how-to image that represents steps with pictures. If you are a tax accountant, you may want to create an infographic showing how to organize your employment tax information in three steps.

When you are trying to determine what types of information to compile into an infographic, start with your target market. What type of information would they find interesting? Use tools like BuzzSumo and Topsy to find topic ideas. These sites allow you to type in keywords relevant to your business to find out what topics are the most buzzworthy.

Infographics can be created in Photoshop or PowerPoint and converted to JPG files. If you don’t feel that you or your employees have the design chops to create attractive infographics, there are websites, such as piktochart or Easel.ly, that can create them for you.

Leverage User-Generated Images

One way to build a database of relevant images, while also increasing engagement with your audience, is to reach out to your customers and encourage them to share photos with your business that you can then post and tag. Create an easy-to-remember hashtag and promote it on your website, as well as in emails, brochures, invoices and other collateral.

For example, an auto body shop can ask customers to post pictures of their cars parked somewhere unique and tag the photo with the name of the shop. In exchange for every photo posted and tagged, the customer will earn a coupon for a maintenance service. Or, as part of a cloud computing promotion, an IT services firm might ask customers to take pictures of themselves working remotely from somewhere interesting.

According to Amir Zonozi, chief of strategy for Zoomph, a social media engagement platform, the key to successfully gathering user-generated images is to leverage the behaviors that people already have, but find a way to incorporate your brand into that behavior.

Sharing photos of real people using your product or service, instead of a model or stock image, is a very powerful marketing tool.





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