Social media was born from the need and desire to share news and ideas (aka content) with lots of people as quickly as possible. Email and bulletin boards arguably served this purpose for a long time before early internet sites like GeoCities and Friendster. These new approaches emphasised personal interests and encouraged users to create profiles for themselves, including photographs.
Even as Hummingbird requires more relevant content (prompting some to say even 500 words is not enough) it is images and video that help social media efforts really stand out. Also, audio occasionally makes an impact (as owners of major league sports teams have re-discovered). Images and video reach audiences that might otherwise be too passive to read a page, leading to that social media nightmare: no shares.
Telling a story is key to succeeding in social media, as Pennsylvania State University researcher Jonah Berger recounts in his book "Contagious: Why Things Catch On." Making a narrative part of a larger story can be the key to creating viral messages. Triggers that prompt a strong memory encourage sharing for any number of reasons. Images, of course, can be powerful triggers.
In the burgeoning world of visual social media, where images help foster emotional and personal connections. Use images and videos to boost your message, or story. Adding a relevant, supportive, and striking photograph or an entertaining 15-second Instagram delivers a story that people are more likely to view and share. This can even help foster a sense of connection and community.
What if you need a specific image now? Not everyone is a talented photographer. Some images are just hard to capture, too. Time-lapsed photography or capturing elusive creatures like butterflies or nocturnal creature require specific skills.