There’s an old adage that says, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and there was probably a time when this was true. Way back when Faulkners and Twains and Hemingways roamed the plains. Today a picture is worth more than a thousand words, due solely to the fact that given the choice of looking at a picture or reading a thousand words, many people would choose the picture without a moment’s hesitation. That is why there is an advantage to visual social media.
Really the best approach to social media is a combination of image and text. You want to have a striking visual image that can attract attention to your post, but you can’t stop there. You need to supplement that image with some concise and meaningful text.
Pictures are more instantaneously appreciable than text alone. As soon as you see a picture you know whether or not you’re interested, or whether or not it makes you feel something. You can’t glance at a mass of text and get the same effect.
That is why the visual image is so important. Most people check their news feeds by scrolling and scanning posts until they see something that looks enticing. You want to have your posts be instantly interesting so people are inclined to click through.
Sometimes a picture can be enough to draw interest. You can throw a filter on a picture of your PB&J, post it on Facebook, and watch as folks go wild over it. But that’s not always the case.
You don’t want to alienate the people who need more than a picture, including those social media philosophers who ask, “Why PB&J?” You want enough text so people (and search engines) can understand the motives behind your post, but at the same time you don’t want too much text. You want to find the right balance. Do not write a novella about your sandwich on Facebook.
Let’s say, for example, you own a clothing store. One day you get a new shipment of jeans. These are the coolest jeans in the entire history of jeans. Every rock star, actor, and athlete is wearing them and you’re expecting to make some big sales. You want to promote the new item on social media, so what do you do?
You could post plain text saying, “Hey we have some new jeans in the store! Buy them!” But you don’t sell any because the customers didn’t know what they looked like and didn’t get interested.
You could post just a picture of the jeans in all their glory. Your post might get a lot of likes, but you didn’t sell any jeans because people didn’t realize that you had them in the store.
You could post a picture of the jeans with a caption that say,”These new jeans are all the rage! We just received a shipment, get them while they last!” and you sell out of inventory.
The trick to an effective social media post is give people enough information through the text so that they understand your message, and to have a picture that is appealing enough to draw interest.