Lately I have to say I haven’t been paying enough attention to Twitter. The reason for that was Google Plus. The platform and the high level of engagement it offers once you become active can be quite addictive.
But as much as I’d like to praise Google Plus, today’s post will be about Twitter.
You see a few years back everyone was on Twitter yet no one was on Twitter. That time most folks who used the platform cared only about blasting out their message to the thousands of “followers” they had.
In the end however, even users with tens of thousands of followers were not seeing much interaction…
And although some might say the same is true today, I do believe Twitter is moving in the right direction.
Implementing cover images for instance helped make profiles more complete and engaging. Embedding tweets – another good idea towards keeping the discussion alive… And most importantly the introduction of images!
But why is that seemingly simple feature so valuable?
That is exactly what I will be talking about today. Below are the reasons that make the usage of images in your own Twitter marketing a must and also the tips to help you gain as much advantage as possible!
So, why should you spend that extra time, clicking the camera-like icon and uploading and image to go along with your tweet?
I mean you could simply slap the headline and the post’s URL and click the tweet button… hassle free.
Well the fifteen additional seconds “invested” in your latest tweet will be worth it for three reasons:
- You will get more favorites
- You will get more retweets
- …And you will get more click-throughs
Here is some research data to help me convince you!
First off Dan Zeralla’s analysis on over 400,000 tweets:
94% – that’s almost double the number of retweets that a tweet without image would get!
Now let’s look at what the Buffer team came up with after analyzing the last 100 tweets they sent out to their audience:
89% – Again huge improvement on people favoriting content with images vs no images!
And the real question… what traffic increase would all of this equal to?
18% – Not that much of an increase in click rates, but still an improvement!
What I believe however is that even though images don’t have that much impact on how many people will click, they do entice followers to become more interested in you.
Twitter Images and Twitter Feed
Since tweets with images take more real estate in the Twitter feed, chances are more of your followers will see them. This includes people who are following you yet who never actually interacted with you before.
Well now you got their attention!
What I am implying here is that the tweets with images will not only receive more retweets, but they will also encourage interaction on the rest of your tweets.
That’s what I am seeing right now.
Normally what I shared on Twitter would rarely get more than 1 or 2 retweets/favorites. Also a lot of tweets would go totally unnoticed. Since I began adding images however, tweets gradually become more and more shareable with some going as high as 6-7 retweets/favorites.
Not really an impressive result, I know, but a big improvement nonetheless.
And one more thing…
The “Photos and Videos” Section
The moment you tweet your first image, you will see a new section, called “Photos and Videos” appear on your profile.
The section basically highlights the last six images (or videos) that you have uploaded. When you click on them you also see the full tweet and can favorite or retweet straight from there.
Also having those images on the left sidebar makes them very easy to notice and adds diversity to your profile.
All of this of course should mean more people actually checking out what you share!
Okay, now having cleared the whys, it’s time to move on on the how part. Below I’ve explained three of the techniques that I use to make more out of Twitter’s images feature!
1. Create Proper Images for Your Posts
There is one small problem with images and Twitter. That is if the image you are uploading isn’t large enough, it will still be submitted but it won’t be “showcased”, like here for example:
In other words it won’t be visible unless the tweet is clicked on and expanded.
When that happens, most Twitter users simply won’t know your tweet contains an image. The only “proof” for its existence will be the pic.twitter.com link, which you probably won’t notice if you are scrolling through your feed without paying much attention.
So what are the right dimensions?
I actually did some research and couldn’t find any “official” smallest working dimensions (feel free to share in the comments if you do know them!).
However from what I’ve tried and tested (I had to resize more than a few images in tweets to find out it works) a width of 550 pixels is somewhere around the minimum and as far as height goes, anything over 300 pixels will work.
But what if the image you have is too small?
My first advice is simple. Look for a bigger image that is still relevant to the post.
If You are Using Google…
If you will be searching for images on Google, consider clicking on Search Tools -> Usage Rights -> Labeled for Reuse.
Doing so will allow you to see images, based on whether or not the author has stated they can be used again. Otherwise you can’t really know for sure who owns them, which might result in copyright infringement.
Flickr Creative Commons Search
A second approach would be to use Flickr’s creative commons search. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom and tick “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”
Add White Space to the Image to Make it Bigger
Something else you could do as a last resort would be to…
- Open up Photoshop (or a similar image-editing software, though I use the former) and create a new image file with dimensions of 550px x 300px.
- Make sure to use white background, so that the image blends with the Twitter feed’s background
- Now load the blog post image and copy/paste it as a new layer on to the image you just created.
- Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (with a radius of 8px) and position a rounded rectangle right above the blog post image
- Put the layer with the rounded rectangle below the layer with the blog post image
- Now right-click on the latter layer and select “Create a Clipping Mask”
- Save the resulted image and you are done!
NOTE: The idea of the clipping mask here is to create the same rounded edge effect that Twitter adds to image previews.
And here’s how one such image can look like on Twitter:
2. Take a Look at the Influencers and Create a List
Okay, now that we’ve figured how to always have a working image for your blog posts, it’s time to add a bit of diversity!
I mean you can’t only share your own blog posts and expect people to be all excited and waiting for your next tweet, can you?
So how do we do that?
We start LISTENING!
Yeah, remember what I said at the beginning of this post?
Interesting content comes with paying attention to what others are saying and spreading THEIR word.
And as you probably already know, I always try to find the simplest solutions. So yes, here’s a very simple thing that you could do in order to stay tuned and not miss an interesting tweet.
- Create a bookmarks folder (with subfolders possibly) in your browser and start adding Twitter users.
- Begin with the ones you already know.
- Make it a rule to browse their tweets at least once a day and don’t forget about the “Photos and Videos” section for easy access to the visuals they’ve shared
- When you see a retweet from someone, don’t simply skip it, but click on the Twitter profile and check that person’s tweets. If relevant and interesting, add them to the list of bookmarks.
- Repeat the whole process.
3. Turn all This Into a Consistent Habbit
That is the last and the most important step of the process. As we all know when it comes to blogging and social media, if you want to see results, you need to share, interact, engage and write day in and day out. It’s the same here.
- Make sure to install the Buffer browser plugin. This will add one extra button to your Twitter feed, allowing you to easily add retweets to your buffer right from the lists we talked about in the previous point.
- Also consider creating a folder for your blog post’s images (the ones with proper dimensions!), so that you have easy access whenever you need them.
- Sticky Notes are not to be underestimated either. In your list of daily tasks, make sure to include something along the lines of “share at least three tweets with an image” to constantly remind you of what you need to do.
- A sticky note can also come in handy for interesting tweets that you come across but don’t want to share right away. Simply copy/paste those tweets there for later sharing. The pic.twitter.com link will open up the tweet ones you need it.
- Make sure to also favorite tweets. That seems to be a feature not many take full advantage of. Favorited tweets can work as bookmarks, as they can be easily accessed from the “favorites” link in the left sidebar (right next to the cover photo).
Long article, I know. But I do hope it made my point clear. You MUST use images on Twitter if you are serious about bringing more interaction to your profile and clicks to your links!
Now it’s your turn!
Have you already started adding images to your tweets? If so, what are your thoughts, do you like the approach?
Feel free to add any other comments you have and also please consider sharing the post with your friends if you liked it!