Viral Marketing – Image Tips and Style

It’s no secret that images are the most shared content on social networks by a large margin (in fact, photo posts on Facebook have 50% more impressions than plain text posts) and it makes sense – the impact on people from an image is immediate unlike written and video content.

Which makes choosing the type of image you want shared from your website. If you choose the wrong image, you could end up alienating or even boring your potential audience.

Show me the funny!

Unsurprisingly, funny pictures are the most shared (and liked) on social networks (particularly Facebook). It’s the easiest thing in the world and requires little to no effort to like or share a picture that makes you laugh, so people do make the (small) effort of acknowledging those types of pictures.

However, is humour really what you are going for? The important thing is that the picture has to connect with your content or it will not have any effect on people when they visit your website. It will lead to your customers/leads not trusting shares from your website in the future.

Therefore use humour only when it explicitly ties in with your message. Humour is the most powerful weapon on social networks and if it turns against you then you will be in for a rough time.

To quote or not to quote, that is the question.

Quotes are the second most shared content type on social networks, believe it or not, and people have already trained themselves to share and like quotes that touch them.

This opens up a huge viral potential for your pictures – as simply putting in a small quote that resonates with the message in your content will drastically increase the chance that people will share your picture (and therefore increase the chance of leading more people to your content).

However, the same warning applies to quotes as well as humour. Always be careful that the quote adequately represents your content. If it does not… then you are putting yourself in a very difficult situation with regards to future click through rates. Remember, Content is King, but tying all your different content together is what maketh the king.

Sports and Politics, two difficult peas in a controversial pod

After humour, pictures of sportsmen (61%) and politically focused pictures (48%) are the most shared and liked on social networks. Which can be used to great effect if used properly but can backfire terribly if not.

Sports are difficult simply because of the licensing issues – if you use the image of a sportsman or sports event in the wrong way and for the wrong reason, you could potentially bring a hurricane of lawsuits to your doorstep.

The potential benefits if it done right are, on the other hand, tremendous. Sports stick in people’s minds like nothing else. It is a throw-back to our primal, war like past. Men in particular identify with sports teams so strongly, many social commentators have likened fans of sports teams to tribal closeness. Exploiting this deep psychological attraction (such as showing a picture of a home run to emphasize how amazing a special deal for a particular product is) can help your click through rates skyrocket.

Politics on the hand is difficult for an entirely different reason. The most common rule on public forums that deal in general discussion is “No politics or religion is allowed to be discussed”. However, smart usage of political figures can be used to your advantage.

Take the many memes/pictures of Barack Obama, both positive and negative. Serious and funny. You cannot infringe copyright with regard to politicians as they are, for all intents and purposes, public property. Careful, funny usage of politics can boost your sales and the shares/likes on social media. It can have the best effect on your SEO ranking. If it works, use it – and politics definitely works. You just need to use it carefully.

Creativity abounds, common sense less so.

It’s easy to be creative, but when being creative you need to temper it with a large dose of common sense. It helps to have proper metrics of your user base as well. What age groups are you dealing with, what sex, what income ranges. This will all help you to funnel your creativity and the tips mentioned above to make the most of your pictures and get the best viral promotion possible.

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