5 Tips for Creating the Best Social Snapshots
Social media constantly evolves. Keeping up with platform updates and social trends can be a full-time job. Our Social & Influencer Strategy team at Tendo stays on trend by monitoring social media channels and gathering new information and tips. One truth we’ve observed is that attaching an image to a tweet increases engagement, and the most effective image format is a social snapshot.
What is a social snapshot?
We coined the term “social snapshot” to refer to any visual element designed to accompany, and expand upon, social content. You’ve probably seen these—the text and link in a tweet are accompanied by an image, which itself contains a separate ancillary message designed to provide a second opportunity to pull in the audience. That’s a social snapshot. They can vary dramatically in style and content, but all serve the same purpose: to increase social engagement. Here are a few of our favorite tips for creating the best social snapshots.
Tip 1: Size (and dimensions) matter
Each social channel has specifications for the dimensions of images, and knowing these guidelines will help you provide the best user experience for your audience. For example, by attaching an image that is smaller than recommended or too narrow, you miss out on the opportunity to showcase your image fully and clearly, as seen below:
When an image is too wide or long, your content may become a victim of an odd crop:
It is also worth noting that images appear differently on mobile devices than on a desktop. Recently Twitter adjusted their desktop news feed to accommodate any size image, however the mobile app does not. So although this Twitter change is a step in the right direction, we still need to keep our mobile audience in mind when creating social snapshots for Twitter.
The advantage of keeping up with the latest image guidelines is that your images will always appear in their best form. The good news is that there are tools and even some CMSs (like HubSpot’s) that will automatically resize your images to the ideal dimensions for you. If you’re not using these tools, this cheat sheet will help you stay up to date with the most current image sizes for social channels.
Tip 2: Extend your content
With character limits on many social channels (i.e., Twitter’s 140 character limit), a social snapshot can extend your content past the limited text space. Rather than simply attaching a stock image, think about the content you can add to the image to continue, extend or even emphasize your message. Studies show that shorter tweets perform better, therefore we recommend pairing a more succinct tweet with a content rich social snapshot. Here are two good examples from Tendo client Hewlett Packard Enterprise:
This snapshot promotes the release of a session catalog for HPE’s annual industry event. While the tweet itself emphasizes this point, the image includes additional information about the event date and location, which would not fit within the 140-character limit.
When promoting content such as an article or blog, the copy of your tweet can be attention grabbing and captivating, while the snapshot can offer additional information, such as who the author is and a brief summary on the article, as seen in this example from HPE Business Insights.
Tip 3: Stand out, be relevant
According to Xerox, a color image increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82%. One common mistake many marketers make is attaching any old brand-approved stock image without thinking about the image in relation to the content. Stock images are often the only approved source of imagery, but it’s important to keep the subject of the post in mind when choosing an image. If the content is about mobile security or cyber security, it’s probably best not to use an image of a group of executives sitting in a conference room. Instead, an image of a man at an airport using his mobile device may work perfectly.
Another challenge when looking for the best image for your social snapshot is to find an image that can grab someone’s attention at a glance. Imagine that your audience is scrolling through their news feed while walking down the street or on the subway; what will make your social snapshot stand out amongst all the rest and make them pause? Bright colors, a captivating scene, or a bold headline can be the key to grasping their attention.
Tip 4: Distinction and consistency
When creating social snapshots for a specific channel or a specific company, it is beneficial to keep a consistent look and feel. You want your social snapshot to be identifiable without having to spell it out. Using brand colors, a company logo or always including a specific style to your social snapshot can make your social snapshots easily distinguishable. One of our favorite examples of this brand consistency is Tendo client Blackboard. It uses a variety of colors, but the look and feel is distinctively Blackboard.
Tip 5: Keep it format fresh
In order to survive and create valuable social content, it is critical to innovate and change with the times. A social snapshot can also be a short video clip, a 360 VR image, or animated GIF. Twitter allows multiple images to be posted in one tweet. Video clips that play automatically while someone scrolls through their Facebook feeds can be key to being noticed.
At Tendo, we no longer debate whether or not to include a visual with our social content. Social snapshots are an integrated part of our social strategy client offering. We are constantly on the lookout for new ways to visually convey content and keep our clients social channels ahead of the game.