How to select images for social media, blogs, and website
Good quality images are a must in every domain of digital marketing be it on social media, websites, or blogs. Photos and illustrations provide a ready context for the reader to fit in the written content or message. They also attract the viewer and engage her in the displayed material. The collection of pictures used subconsciously primes her emotions and attitude towards your brand and product. And finally, it gives any user a quick, intuitive overview to gauge the relevance of your content to her needs.
There are several aspects of UX that need to be considered to select good images.
A pertinent, relevant image has the power to clarify essential details and engage the audience almost instantly. But this power also can create huge confusion if used without context. For example, the leading image has to resonate with the message of the title by having an obvious connection. If you are showcasing a lifestyle brand product, it’s desirable to display people using the item, but at the same time, there must be a focus on the specific product.
If a picture is too abstract to convey information, you can overlay an appropriate and concise phrase on the image. For example, a picture of feet climbing stairs might not intuitively imply personal growth, but a fitting overlay can bridge the gap easily.
The overlay is especially useful for social media images because it acts as an infographic and can give information that the viewer can act on. An ideal image to overlay should have a homogeneous space to display the text in legible contrast. You can also dim the image to highlight the overlay.
The image should also be technically sound. Its name should be search engine optimized (SEO) and thus identifiable with the image content. Also, it should have a resolution that doesn’t increase it’s load time in target consumer devices.
The images selected should be unique. Stock photos are generic and easy to ignore. So it’s always better to have original photos or illustrations to visualise the content. But for regular content like social media or blog posts, this strategy is not always feasible. For that, the image can be modified by adding illustrative or typographic overlays. You can also change colour hues to create an image complementing the surrounding aesthetics.
Attraction can be provoked not only by a uniquely beautiful picture but also through the tasteful placement of colours and composition. It can be designed to give a delightful or dignified aura that can attract the viewer through its mood alone.
A catchy image needs a creative way to fit in with the given context. Creatively made images use the content and product to create new visualisations that surprise the viewer or subverts expectations. For example, the Nike ad where boots are displayed as lungs, the implication being that running in them is good for your health.
The mood of the display is also controlled to a large extent by the images used. This involves not only identifying and using the brand personality, but also the cultural tastes of the target audience. For example, an audience of the older generation will prefer traditionally detailed aesthetics, while young corporates will seek modern, minimalist images.
The brand identity is also formed with the consumer interest in mind, and thus a coherent style within the set of images used reflects the brand's reliability and consistency of its persona. This can cultivate long term trust from the audience. It requires carefully considering the display and content as a part of a larger brand and market aesthetic. Then deliberately choosing a theme to differentiate all aspects of your business from others.
These considerations culminate in a repeatable workflow that can maintain consistent quality and preferred stylistic coherence through your images.
The information that needs picturizing is assumed as given. This also implies a model for audience tastes and thus the theme.
We use this information to create a mood board. It is a collection of images that have a similar theme or content. Creating a mood board gives you the freedom of shortlisting images based on intuition. It concentrates the decision-making process regarding the previous considerations in an organic way. Pinterest is a popular site to create and view other people’s boards. An advanced mood board can also set a thematic homogeneity thus, automatically highlighting the images that don’t fit the mood or tone.
Regularly creating and updating mood boards can act as a steady source of high quality and relevant images that are easy to select from for a given content.
Once the appropriate images are selected it might need to be modified to incorporate the target information, be it through image modification, illustration, or text overlay.
Finally, the modified image should be processed once more to reestablish the thematic tone, and you are done!
As you can tell, selecting good images consistently is a long term process which includes several considerations, and looking at the big picture. A good image selection and placement habit go a long way in consolidating brand identity and ensuring enduring customer loyalty.