A Picture is Worth More than 140 Characters

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Client Administrator, Patron Technology.

If you’re a Facebook user, you may have seen a status along the lines of this at one time or another:

“Since life is not only made of photos, I’m going to see who reads a post without a picture. If no one reads this post, this will be a short experiment. If you are reading this status leave a one word comment about how we met.”

The fact is, this Facebook status is correct. Posts with photos get 39% more interaction. I know when I’m sitting on the couch, with my tablet or phone in my hand, scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter feed, an image will catch my eye long before a text post does, and if it’s cute, or pretty, I might even click “Like.”

So, how can you create an image with all the pertinent information you want to come across, and still make sure it’s engaging? I recently attended a conference that was hosted by the National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP), and every panel that I went to about advertising on social media, or on the web in general always discussed images and videos. Text only posts appear to be a thing of the past!

Here are a few highlights on how to make your images more engaging:

  1. giphy-1Show the performers! Whether you’re running a major museum, or a small town musical theater production, people like seeing the artists’ excitement. If the performers or artists show how excited they are to have their performance or art on display, people will be more excited to see it.
  2. Change up your images. Posting the same graphics everywhere is boring. Try putting new pictures into your graphics, or change up the headlines! Let’s say you’re doing the Wizard of Oz. On Facebook, you might post a picture of the actress playing Dorothy, and include text from a local paper about the show. Meanwhile, on Twitter, you’ve got the Wicked Witch of the West and an iconic line from the show. The same person may see both posts, but because they were presented with different looks they may get different responses.
  3. Try adding animation/motion. People love video but when videos aren’t an option pictures that move, or gifs, can be a great alternative! Glittering stars in a night sky, or a rainy street will catch the eye because there’s movement happening

I can already hear you say “But I don’t have photo editing software, and Photoshop and similar programs are so expensive and complicated.” You’re not wrong, but there are so many fantastic alternatives to photoshop. Let me suggest a few other options.

  1. Paint.net: For those of you looking for an image editor, Paint.Net is a fantastic option. It’s free to download at getpaint.net. It may not have all the options of major photo editing software, but it’s more involved and detail oriented for image editing and customization.
  2. Picmonkey: If you’re looking for premium effects, with a more simple user experience  try Picmonkey. Picmonkey isn’t free, but it’s significantly cheaper than Photoshop. People who like Picmonkey swear by its ability to do so much.
  3. Canva (https://www.canva.com/): If image editing perhaps isn’t your thing, but you want to make good and informative graphics that look professional quality, try Canva. Canva isn’t an image editor, but more of a design/layout assistant; you might be surprised how easy it is to use. The image below was created in Canva. 

zthrowbackNow you’ve got your image, what’s the next step? According to this article from Fast Company, shorter posts (under 140 characters) get 60% more engagement than posts that are longer, and if you can cut the post under 70 characters it’s an increase of another 66%. So, how can you come up with meaningful text for the post with our image? Check the trending hashtags and see if your post can fit into those categories. Tag people who are in the cast so the post appears on multiple people’s walls and feeds.

In the end, you may be limited to 140 characters or less of text, but visually the options are endless! There’s a whole world out there of color to explore. And by taking the time to learn a few new tools you can increase engagement on social media platforms, and bring new patrons in the door. It’s a win for everyone!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I just saw a cute cat picture I want to comment on!

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