Utilizing Images on Twitter

Using an image increases engagement on Twitter

Using an image increases engagement on Twitter

Have you noticed an increase in the amount of images in your Twitter feed? It's because Twitter has now enabled the ability for its native picture URL, pic.twitter.com to post as actual photos with or without links. Images now appear across mobile, desktop apps, and browsers. Many brands and individuals are taking advantage of this visual cue to share their content. If you haven't started using images, I highly encourage you too!

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was incredibly proud of this tweet exchange.  I'm also almost positive the image helped get a response. ;)

Adding photos can not only enhance your content, but it can drive up engagement as well. Research shows that Clicks, Retweets, and Responses increase when images are used. A study done in 2012 by Sales Force Marketing Cloud (previously Buddy Media) showed that tweets that have an image link get 2x more engagement than tweets without. Now that they visually show up, from my own experience, engagement is steadily increasing. It's no secret that social media is a quick fix for many people, and images make it much easier and way quicker to interact with content.

Curious as to what drives engagement up in some tweets and not others, Twitter recently analyzed 2 million tweets from verified accounts across different industries. They found that tweets with images get 35% more retweets than those that don't.

The fact is, people don’t engage equally with every Tweet. But now we can confirm that adding video, links and photos all result in an impressive boost in the number of Retweets.

Keep in mind though, that in this report it was found that engagement varies across industries. Twitter also makes it a point to mention that it's not all about using an image in every. single. tweet. but to think of your feed "holistically" and making sure your feed is captivating and interesting to follow:

It’s not just about optimizing every single Tweet, but about building a compelling way for your followers and Twitter users to connect with you.

Personally, I've found that now that I'm able to make my tweets much more visual, my experience is more dynamic and personally very engaging within my community. It's also made it a lot easier for me to decide if I want to click and share other's content. If a tweet has an image, I get a preview of  what that link entails, ultimately giving me the opportunity to make a quick decision if I want to invest in that content.

If you haven't taken the plunge yet with images, or if you've just started to get your feet wet here are a few tips to help up your image game, and drive up your engagement and create compelling content:

  • Let the image do the talking: Don't have a lot to say? Use your best image, and let the image speak for you.

Loving this new crystal PDF pattern from @SublimeStitch! http://t.co/bojIShMyap image via: http://t.co/kVevRzBZFMpic.twitter.com/P1oIodluhM

— Meighan O'Toole (@meigs) May 20, 2014

  • Share what you're making: Creatives, artists, makers you've got it made! Use images to share your process, your work, etc. Retailers and museums! Tweet about what you have on show or in stock! The options are endless!

  • Keep your copy somewhat short: Images will take up characters, from what I can tell an image link takes 24 characters of your precious 140 character real estate. Brevity is key.

  • Tag people/brands in your images: Twitter introduced tagging photos back in March through the mobile app. This is a great tool when you're out and about at a show, a gallery, a shop, etc. What's nice about this feature is you can tag up to 10 people, and those tags don't take up any of your 140 characters, saving you that real estate but allowing you to let others know you're talking about them.

  • Upload more than 1 image: If you own an iPhone, Twitter now allows you to upload up to 4 images in one tweet!(There are plans to roll this feature out for Android soon. Come on Twitter, we're waiting!) This is an awesome way to show new merchandise, process shots, or different angles from an art show or conference - just to name a few ideas. I haven't seen this feature used yet, so if you've used it please share your tweet with me, so I can add it here!

  • Turn Instagram pics into Twitter images/pic.twitter.com: Kill 2 birds with one stone with these 2 simple, yet powerful recipes from IFTTT by using a hashtag to turn your Instagram links into images on Twitter (shown below), or by turning on this recipe on that always shares an image with a link back to the pic on Instagram. These are both great time savers, and they allow you to hit 2 channels, with out doubling down. Below are examples of tweets utilizing the first recipe, and just using Instagram's native share option, respectively.

There's a few tips and tricks to get you started! I've also included a list of resource links below for you to do more research. Let me know if you've found that using images has increased your retweets, likes or follows. I've certainly noticed they have! I'd love to hear your experience!