Say It With Pictures — 5 Effective Ways to Optimize Your Social Media Visuals

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Since Twitter limits your tweets to just 280 characters, you can often replace that boring block of text with a photo that’s just as effective. 

With social media users’ shortened attention span, images are a great way to pack in a lot of information quickly and densely. 

But what makes an image effective? Why will some Instagram posts reach millions of users while others become buried in the sedimentary layers of your newsfeed? 

These five effective ways of optimizing your social media will show you how to ready your photos for posting. 

1. Keep your images text free, but include a thoughtful caption

Not only does overlaying text in your photos clutter and disrupt the flow of your picture, but it can also be illegible to users on mobile devices. 

Keeping text in the caption portion of the post takes advantage of how the social media platform optimizes font sizing for users across different platforms. Captioning your photos can give context to the viewer and strengthen the message you’re making with the post. 

2. A consistent theme for consistent aesthetic 

While it’s not very important for those viewing your posts from their timeline, keeping your photos in the same theme can make your social media page appear well-thought-out and attractive. 

Take a look at Michael Capiraso’s ability to keep a running theme throughout his Instagram, no pun intended. His profile doesn’t even require the visitor to lift their thumb and scroll to see that he is all about the sport. 

Your theme doesn’t have to revolve around a single topic. Your images could also have a common color scheme or even have been edited similarly.

Despite the aesthetic advantages, confining your image posts to a single theme can be limiting to what you can post, depending on your personality or the purpose of your social media account.

Keeping a theme isn’t a requirement for generating a successful online photo portfolio, so don’t stress out about not being able to maintain one. 

3. To filter or not to filter

If you grew up in the age of social media as I did, you may be haunted by the oversaturated grainy selfies of your youth. Applying too many filters to an image will make it appear tacky and dated.

While adding four different filters onto my middle school selfie may have successfully masked my acne, it also made me virtually unrecognizable. 

This isn’t to say that filters don’t have a place. Increasing the contrast will make that picture of balloons pop with color, while decreasing the brightness on your Halloween selfie can achieve the proper amount of gloom.

Filters can help make any image resonate with the viewer, but finding the right ones and the right level will take some experimentation. If your photo needs further editing or touch-ups, there are even some websites that will edit for you.

4. Keep track of your successes and failures

For better or worse, all your posts likely have an interaction count. By analyzing what pictures get more interactions than others, you can find out what your audience is more likely to react to.

Continuing to post content that attracts more likes will grow your outreach. That said, be careful that your content doesn’t become stale as The Annoying Orange did after the 100th video. 

If photos from your trip to the Bahamas got a great reaction, posting images from the same vacation might be redundant. Last year’s trip to Belize, on the other hand, might just have the photos that will attract the kind of positive response you’re seeking.

5. Bundle photos appropriately

Most social media platforms give you the ability to post multiple photos within a single post. The benefit of bundling your photos in a post is that your followers will not have their timeline spammed even if you want to post each of your five children’s school photos.

Though you should be careful in how you order the photos in a post, the first photo will often be what determines whether that thumbs-up button will be hit or the rest of the photos will be seen. Pick your strongest image to lead the post, and append the rest after it. 

Following these five effective methods of optimizing your social media photos will surely keep your posts afloat.

Taking that perfect picture is usually not enough to guarantee that likes and comments will plague your notifications, hopefully, you now know what is necessary to maximize the outcome of whatever picture you’ve chosen to post. 

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