7 Photos That Play Best on Social Media

Don't have a lot of time to mess around on Facebook or Tumblr? Here's the quickest ways to get some attention for your small business.
Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed
August 20, 2012

We are living in a photo-obsessed world. Everyone has a camera phone and nearly everyone posts their photos to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Pinterest or all of the above. As a small-business owner, you can capitalize on the popularity of photos by posting them on your own social media pages.

“Our most popular posts are those that contain photos,” says Matt Cardwell, co-owner of Whip Hand Cosmetics, an online makeup retailer based in Detroit. “They receive more likes, comments and shares than any other type of post.”

Before uploading your latest snap, consider the caption. Make it interactive, recommends Rebecca Scott, founder of Scott Project Solutions, a marketing and project management consultancy in Dallas. If, for example, you own a wine store and plan to exhibit at an upcoming summer festival, she suggests photographing a few of your bottles and including the caption, ‘We will be at the festival this weekend. Will you be there?’ 

Scott has a hard-and-fast rule for small-business owners when it comes to Facebook.  

“You need to include an image in every single post,” she notes. “People scan their news feeds so quickly, photos are a necessity to engage your customers.” 

Here are the top 7 types of photos you should consider posting across your social media platforms.

1. Product photos. It’s a good idea to post photos of new products, says Cardwell, but to increase engagement even further, consider offering a deal along with a photo. 

Another tip: pay attention to composition. Make sure you have good lighting and try photographing products at odd angles. Example: try taking a super up-close image of a product and then asking followers to weigh in on what they think it is, he suggests.

2. Teaching photos. Mentally deconstruct the core purpose of your business. Now consider taking photos of every step of your process (i.e. how you use your product or how you administer a service) and using photo editing mobile applications to splice it together.

“I once saw a makeup artist create a tutorial of how to get a look in a single photo,” Cardwell says. “Each photo explained a different step, they tiled the photos together to make it into one image and posted it on their Facebook page.”

A few popular photo apps include Camera+, Photoshop Express and PicsPlay Pro.

3. Event photos. In-office and in-store events can provide endless photo opportunities, says Scott. Take photos of team members making speeches or giving awards (with captions detailing achievements) and of customers in attendance. Warning: questionable party shots are a never a good idea.

4. Office photos. Loyal customers love to see behind-the-scenes photos, so try introducing each staff member with a small caption, recommends Scott. Show the break room (make sure to clean it first), a meeting or the progress of an ongoing project.

5. Volunteering photos. A small business that gives back to its community builds goodwill among its customers. Take advantage of your philanthropic events visually by posting photos of your team helping out around town, recommends Scott.

6. Customer photos. After getting the permission of a customer, snap a picture of them interacting with a team member, a product or just walking around your store, Cardwell recommends.

7. Neighborhood photos. Leave your office to visually capture the nearby landscape, recommends Whitney J. Manson, founder of Bows, Boots, & Blue, a social media marketing company in Brooklyn, N.Y.

 “People love pictures of landscapes and flowers blooming,” she says.

A corresponding caption idea: ‘What is your favorite flower?’ or, in Manson’s case, ‘Here is a picture of our street in Brooklyn. What is your favorite street in town and why?’

Once you’ve posted a photo, track how well it does with follower interaction and ‘likes’, and be ready tweak your strategy when something doesn’t work, recommends Scott, who adds, “Just have fun with it.”

Image by OPEN Forum