How Images Impact Online Marketing

Marketing your practice on social media serves two purposes: it improves brand awareness and aims to increase traffic to your website. So, what can you do to get the most out of your social media posts? It’s simple; use engaging photos.

Numerous studies have analyzed the effectiveness of sharing images on social networking sites. These studies have shown:

• Facebook posts with images attract over 50% more “Likes” than text-only posts.
• 93% of the most shared posts on Facebook are images.
• Pinterest (a network primarily comprised of images) generates more website referrals than Twitter.

If those facts don’t convince you of the importance of sharing images, consider that photo sharing was the main motivator behind the redesign of Facebook’s News Feed; and the Facebook algorithms rank posts with images higher than posts with links. So, if you really want to accomplish brand awareness and direct prospective patients to your website, it’s easy to see how sharing images is one of the most effective ways to do so.

The Science Behind Why People Prefer Pictures

The fact of the matter is – we are all visual beings. The human brain can inherently process images over 60,000 times faster than plain text. Meaning, you respond faster to visual stimulation.

You are also hard-wired to retain visual information better than text. The Pictorial Superiority Effect (proven through experimentation and testing) indicates humans are much more likely to remember things presented visually, than those presented as descriptive text.

How to Use Images in Your Social Networks

If you’re already active on social networking sites, great! If not, refer to our Ultimate Social Media Guide Series to get started. During the process of creating your profile(s), you will be prompted to upload a profile image. It’s always important to use a high-quality photo that helps you convey a professional image to current and prospective patients.

When posting images to your social networks, here are some general guidelines to follow:

• Image Dimensions: Social networks all have different size requirements for each type of image, such as profile, cover, and banner photos. If you want to crop an image to the exact dimensions of a specific social network, there are free online services that will walk you through the process, such as Autre Planete.

• Name Your Images Appropriately: Because Google indexes images, the images you share have the potential to show up in search results. When saving images to your computer, don’t settle for the default name your camera gives the image, such as “IMG_0012”. Rename the image using keywords that describe what it depicts, such as “Family-Dental-Practice-Piedmont-North-Dakota”. Using keywords and geolocators separated with hyphens lets search engines know that each of those individual words help describe the image.

• Use Captions: After adding an image to your website or posting it to your social profile, give it a caption that uses the same keywords you named the image with. It’s also important to write captions with a personal and friendly tone. Using the previous example, a caption may be “Come visit Family Dental Practice in Piedmont, North Dakota!”

• Quality Matters: Viewers are much more likely to engage with an image that is framed well and has good lighting. Make sure the focus of the image is clearly visible. That being said, use high-quality photos when possible, but don’t be afraid to post a quick snapshot taken with your smartphone either.

• Share, Share, Share!: Don’t be afraid to share the same photo on multiple mediums (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to increase its exposure.

Ironing out the Legal Details

Before you begin posting images on your social networks, be sure to consider the legalities of posting stock photos or photos of patients. Here are a few guidelines regarding photo sharing:

• Photos of patients should never be used for commercial purposes (i.e. sold for profit).
• All photos should be free of negative or controversial topics.
• Only share photos that you have been given permission to use (by a patient) or photos you have purchased the rights to (stock image).
• If you are sharing an image that a patient took, be sure to credit them as the original photographer.
• Immediately remove any photo that the subject or original author asks you to delete.
• If posting photos of real patients, never include their full names.

Studies indicate that users engage 44% more with brands who regularly share images rather than text-based posts. A study conducted by Harvard Business School even determined that 70% of all activity on Facebook relates to photos, whether it’s sharing, liking, or commenting on them. Images are undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to get the attention of your current and prospective patients, so start sharing your photos now!