Experts suggest that due to the ever-decreasing attention span of the average consumer, images (and video) make for more of a compelling message than words alone. That said, it can be tough to try to “get social” and “get graphic” at the same time if you’re not naturally inclined to be social (or artistic, for that matter). How can someone who’s not sure what to do in the graphic social media world survive?

Let’s dive in to it. Following are some tips for using images and graphics in social media.

Pinterest social image sharing

1. Invest Time in Image-Based Social Media – Be a User First

Twitter and Facebook are two of the biggest social media websites that business owners are focusing their attention on. However, there are many other “top dogs” available for social image publishing. Social media sites like Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are all great places to post images and spread the word about your mission. Find at least one that’s fitting for you, and invest some resources there.

Be a user first. Put a system in place and move to a new one when you master the process.

2. Survey the Competition

The first key to your business success (and not just in social media) is to pay attention. What is your competition doing? What images are getting a lot of engagement from your demographic? Watching these things is a sure fire way to make sure your content stays relative.

You should be taking in niche-relative information at all times. Everything from music, to magazines, to books, to audio is helpful in identifying more with your brand.

3. Get Inspired, Don’t Plagiarize

One thing that’s started to happen with the boom of images in social media, is people stealing other people’s graphics. They might scratch or blur the watermark, crop it out, or they may use an image that did not include one at all. This not only creates a poor image for your brand, it can potentially get you in legal hot water.

So instead, use other people’s content as inspiration and create your own twist on things. If you want to use an image, make sure you leave the proper credit in place.

4. Provide Useful and Entertaining Imagery

There are two types of images that spread like wildfire in social media. The first, are entertaining images. If your image can evoke a strong enough emotion that people say, “I HAVE to be the one to introduce this to my friends,” then you’re making the right choices.

The second option is providing useful images. Visually appealing images that have useful and helpful information are an awesome way to get your images to spread. If nothing else, people will often share useful information so that they can reference it later when they need it. This is especially true on Pinterest.

5. Don’t Try and Be Something You’re Not

This last one is particularly important because it’s something that is hard to hear. What happens when something is hard to hear? People hesitate to say it.

Don’t try and be something you’re not; if you stink at graphic design, that’s okay! Ask for help, spend a couple bucks somewhere like Fiverr, or train yourself. However, make sure you’re objective as possible about the images you release into the world and always get a second opinion (or third)!