Social media: 4 tips to communicate visually

Published:  August 20, 2014

Content first appeared on iStock contributed by Jessica Ann

Swipe-stopping images are one of the best ways to communicate visually on social media. But wait…what does swipe-stopping mean? Whether you’re reading this article on your mobile or computer, you most likely have the option to “swipe” through what you’re viewing. When what you view is visually stunning, you “stop swiping” through your feed to start looking at whatever image caught your eye. You’ll either slow down your swipe, or stop scrolling entirely to view the photo in more detail. This is what “swipe stopping” means. So, here’s some ways to start showing more scintillating visuals on social.Article 2_Image 1

1. Put your customer’s imagination in the driver’s seat

The best visuals often leave things open to interpretation, and especially the imagination.

German automobile manufacturer Audi leaves the door completely open to their customers’ imagination. They then visually put their customers in the driver’s seat with almost every image they choose. This brand believes that their customers have the “courage to reimagine what’s possible.” And they embody this belief through their use of emotional images that spruce up the spirit, and allow their customers to showcase their truth.

They do so in a simple way with images that don’t even show a car. The simplicity of the Audi keychain, shown close-up with a beautiful landscape in the background, allows the mind to roam. The image gives you the idea to enjoy the beautiful landscape from a car (preferably in an Audi convertible). But it relies on your imagination to fill in the details, and speed off into the sunset whichever way you choose.

2. Pinterest & Instagram: Show your visual journey

Instagram and Pinterest are two of the most fun platforms to show your journey on social. They’re entirely different in terms of how you use images. So if you only have time to manage a social presence on one visual site, choose wisely. Here are some tips:Article 2_Image 2

a. Use Instagram to share personal photos about you and what your company does. Since each image is typically taken from your own camera phone, it shows the human side of your brand more than any other platform. Of course, you have the option to ReGram other people’s photos or post quotes. But the best images on Instagram usually come from you.

b. With so much clutter on the Internet, don’t share every stream of thought that runs through your camera phone lens. Stick to a theme so that you can convey the best tone and style. Use discretion with what’s appropriate to share, so that you can (literally and figuratively) showcase your unique perspective, and share your vision in a clear, concise way.

c. While the quality of the images on your iPhone is perfect for viewing on Instagram, Pinterest images tend to get pumped up a notch. For this reason, the images on Pinterest are not always as personal as Instagram, since many business owners don’t take time to professionally capture their products in a visually stunning way. (And many of the best brands on Pinterest rarely pin their own products, anyway). The good news is that you can find many images that already exist on Pinterest to showcase your pin-worthy perspective. Create mood-boards of inspiration for your customers by pinning stunning images that you come across online.

3. Play nicely with other platformsArticle 2_Image 3

For powerful engagement in an aesthetically pleasing way, you’ll want to play nicely with other platforms. But be particularly careful which platforms you put together. For example, automatically sharing every tweet to your Facebook is not recommended. Perfect your approach with these tips:

a. Even though Twitter is considered more of a text-based platform, you can combine it with Instagram to tell your story in tweets. The website If This, Then That ( allows you to create a recipe that tweets your images anytime you post on Instagram. Once you create the recipe, it will automatically tweet each picture. This has the added benefit of making you a bit more mindful of the images that you choose to share, since they’ll also show up in your Twitter stream.

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b. Choosing the perfect image for each post is part of any good content strategy. One way to do this is to use the right words when searching for stock images. Choose words that are more open-minded and general instead of getting too specific. Sometimes the most appropriate image will often appear when you search for the larger theme within what you want to depict. For example, if you’re looking for a beautiful sunset image, try searching for “nature” or “imagination” or “beauty” instead of the obvious search term of “sunset.”

c. Use the Pinterest “Pin It” button to allow your visitors to pin the images in your article. Since your images will already be “swipe-stopping,” your viewers will naturally want to make their Pinterest page pretty with your Pins. This “Pin It” button is the most painless way to generate organic engagement for your images.

4. Show your silly side

Fuse the various elements of your products and services by showcasing the silly, lighter side of your brand. This can help attract the best kinds of customers: serious ones who don’t take themselves so seriously.Article 2_Image 5

For example, General Electric’s “Hey Girl” board has the subtitle, “Thomas Edison has a crush on you.” The idiosyncratic images pinned to this board reveal that the brand keeps up with Internet memes. GE shows that even something as seemingly mundane as electronics can still spark entertainment.

Showcasing your scintillating, swipe-stopping images on social media is pretty simple: Use imagination, show your journey, and play nicely. And don’t forget to top it off with a side of silly throughout the process.

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About Jessica Ann
Jessica Ann is the CEO & Creative Director of Jessica Ann Media – a boutique digital agency that humanizes businesses with creative copy and smart social media strategy. She champions the creative spirits of entrepreneurs and brands who want to find more freedom in their business through profitable, targeted traffic. She has a Masters in Communications from Johns Hopkins University and is a contributor to The Huffington Post.

None of the brands mentioned in this article are affiliated with iStock.

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