The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

The Big Picture: Images are the Key to Small Business Social Media Marketing

I think it is safe to assume that the vast majority of people know what a tomato looks like.  Yes, there are several different varieties of tomatoes and most people cannot name them all just by looking at a basket containing five different varieties and name each one.  Celebrity, beefsteak, jubilee, black cherry, roma….just to name a few!  For a small business, it takes more than just a picture of the product to motivate social media followers to get out of bed, get dressed, drive to the business, and make a purchase.  The content that is created must reach each follower on a deeper level in order to convert the social media follower to a purchaser.  Pictures say a 1000 words, and they are the key to using social media to increase sales.

What do I do with an image?

How do you choose?

In the case of the tomato, the content strategy must include several different tools.  Should you enhance the colorful image of the products with a filter? Does the image need a caption? What about a link? Would an animation feature within the social media platform’s picture feature add to the image? Or, and this is an important question, should the image be left “as is”? The integrity of the image should always be maintained, regardless of “what” is done to it. Is the photo on the left actually a photo of green tomatoes that need to be sold? Well…it WAS. However, excessive filtering has completely ruined the photo. Now there are just white tomatoes that do not look appetizing at all. The picture on the right has been left alone – no filter, no enhancements…it is just an image of freshly picked tomatoes from a local farmer. While the imperfections in the produce are evident, a proper caption is needed to engage the audience. “Farm Fresh slicer tomatoes ready for your sandwich or salad! Want to just have your tomato and eat it too? Slice it up, throw on some salt and pepper, and enjoy the amazing flavor of these gorgeous tomatoes!”

Green vs. Red: What is more engaging to the audience?

Let the Image Do the Talking

At the core of a social media campaign is a launch post that entices followers to like, comment, share, follow, and re-tweet the content.  Influential content should be easy to use across multiple social media platforms.  Small business owners can use social media to tell their followers they are launching a new set of t-shirt designs, but that content is worthless if there is not a powerful image to back up the words. 


What an awesome new shirt! So how do you make the image more engaging? Add a good caption, then encourage followers to comment. “What do you think of this new shirt? The bison is a staple in Oklahoma, but there are so many other animals that are native to our great state! Look closely….What do you see? Comment below with everything you see, and one lucky commenter will win this shirt! YOU can be the very first person to wear this!!!” To drive the audience to look closer and start to comment, post another image in the comment section with a little teaser:


Images are EVERYTHING. Use them wisely…

The content produced by small businesses must influence shoppers to want to know more, do more, and spend more.  Visual content is necessary for anything to be influential on social media: Content accompanied with images get 95% more views than texts without images; 37% of marketers confessed that visual marketing really influences their business development; 74% of all social media marketers use visuals with the aim to promote their campaign (

Moral of the story?  It takes more than a picture of a product with a cute tagline or caption to have influential content.  “It isn’t always as easy as it may seem to create content that people want to share. Generating buzz is difficult when a content piece isn’t optimized for social media or wasn’t created with social-specific goals in mind” (  Take the time to “test” images before you post them – how do your employees, family members, and close friends react when you show it to them? Always make sure that whatever you add to the image does not take away from the product you are promoting. A green shirt should always look like a green shirt, and a tomato should always look like a tomato.

What now?

Once you master the art of social media marketing with images, you need to explore other tools for marketing your small business. Fortunately, there is a great article right here on The Social Observer! Check out Ronnie Coyle’s article about creating video for social media ( and, most importantly, HAVE FUN with your images and videos!

What are you doing that is creative with images on social media? What has been successful for your small business? What are you struggling with? Drop your questions in the comments, and be sure to leave me some feedback!

Category: Advanced Tactics

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