Tips for using images on social media to promote your small business

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool for small businesses to get access to their audience, here is how you can use images to boost exposure.

Three quarters (74 per cent) of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. Small businesses have been quick to follow suit, capitalising on visual storytelling to promote their products and services.

New-generation stock image site Picfair’s content and community manager shares some actionable steps for businesses using imagery on social media to cut through the noise.

Don’t treat images as secondary to words

The average person gets distracted in 8 seconds, though a mere 2.8 seconds is enough to distract some people. In the social media era, images alone have the power to make bigger initial impact than copy, so treat visuals just as importantly when communicating your story.

The numbers speak for themselves: Facebook posts with images see 2.3 x more engagement than those without images, and tweets with images receive 150 per cent more retweets than tweets without images. Always ask yourself the following: is the photo working hard to communicate a sense of the story without audiences having to read any copy?

Be human

Business printers celebrate the real people behind their operation by profiling their team, and their customers, on various social channels.

From quirky intros to staff on Instagram to real-life portraits of business experts, creators and small business owners on their website − their real world imagery breathes authenticity into their brand, connecting them with audiences on a deeper level.

Share behind-the-scenes snippets, put faces behind expert tips, and use image-led platforms like Instagram to hone your visual stories.

Create bespoke visuals for each channel

The most successful businesses capitalise on the diversity of social media by customising content for each channel. Every channel has a different audience, and different users, so create branded templates that you can repurpose. Having a consistent visual style will make it easier for audiences to recognise your content on their feeds.

Sketch is an amazingly simple tool you can use to create your beautiful templates with ease. Sprout social’s ‘Always Up-to-Date Guide To Social Media Images’ is also an essential resource to keep on top of the latest image sizes for each channel.

Test your visuals

Don’t simply assume which images might go down well — you’d be surprised at how often a burning intuition can be disputed by your audience. Yes, there are general indicators of what imagery tends to do well, but these aren’t set in stone.

Test different visuals and tweak them accordingly based on your engagement data. Also compare how embedding full images performs against image previews, where your thumbnail is accompanied by the clickable box linking out to the content — small things like this that can make a big difference.

We’re in an era where visual storytelling is becoming the weapon of choice for small businesses to promote their products, so take the time to make it work, and treat it like you would any other element of your marketing strategy.

Further reading on social media

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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