Sunday, May 5, 2013

10 Things to Know About Using Photos for Social Media and Marketing Success

Guest Blog by Keith Spiro

So, maybe you've already written your book, contracted your product for distribution and now need to get the word out on social media to ensure your marketing is successful. Here are ten things to be aware of when you choose photos:

1.       Use a professional photographer for author or bio photos for press releases or social media placements. Really. There is no comparison. No matter how good your friend/partner is, they don't take as many portraits as I do, and probably are not as capable of eliciting the diverse facial expressions that a professional can. Period. Most buying decisions start with believing the trustworthiness and honesty of the person they see represented before them and a professional photo is the best place to start.
2.       Never use stock photos. Never. If it's not your portrait we're talking about, then any picture you take will be better than someone finding your personal unique business image marred because it is showing up on more than one website. Happens more often than you think. [JWB note: Some of us use stock photos but make them our own. We customize them. I still think that works fine.]
3.       Don't be afraid to crop your own photos. Most photo tools allow for simple cropping and sometimes that's all you need to do to add clarity. Eliminate clutter.  No online bio photo should ever have two people in it unless you're Siamese twins. Still un-separated.
4.       A picture is worth 1,000 words. Remember that old adage is truer now than ever; choose a good picture that tells a story. Instant comprehension.
5.       Social media users recognize they can now add photos everywhere—Twitter stream, Facebook, blogs, even into text messages. See #3 above. Read it again.
6.       Make sure your color balance and lighting is good and reduce the image size to 72 dpi. Most programs will automatically re-size to fit. If you're currently not happy with what you see or upload, refer to item #1. If we're talking business, one session will provide you with properly-lit, properly-sized images to rotate through your site/social media needs for a year.
7.       Q: How often should you change your profile image/Facebook page photo?
A: As often as you dust your bookcase. Mostly it's when new guests need to be impressed or the holidays are coming and you know that you need that fresh look.
8.      Add photos to blogs posts and other online properties:  photos are good anchors for the roaming eye. Photos with caption text can create a more complete story. Tell complete stories with your photo(s). Take a look at some compelling storytelling here: http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2013/04/08/boston-biotech-seizes-the-momentum-the-photos/
9.       Know what “Alt Tags” are and use them with your photos. Search engines look for Alt tags when they encounter photos.  If you're ever prompted by a program to add one, please do so. If Alt tags are beyond you, but you're curious, then you are ready for a basic class in search engine tools (SEO). Send me an email. We're glad to help or recommend someone else who can.
10.   [JWB Addition] Save your “professional you” photos in one folder/directory for continuing use. You have the photos but if you cannot find them, they are of no use to you. Place them in an appropriately named folder.]

Questions about this blog contact Keith Spiro at impact@marketplaceau.com

Keith Spiro, Visual Correspondent
As a long-time business leader, entrepreneur and professional photographer, Keith uses his photographic skills to inform his business approach and to focus attention on people, interactions and places that matter.  Trained as a scientist, he serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at Kendall Press while also advising and investing in Marketplace AU, LLC, a young business organization that is building bridges internationally across cultures and generations. Keith is widely published, both online and in print, with feature photo spreads and stories highlighting the Northeastern stretch from Maine to Boston.

Keith Spiro’s website can be found here: www.keithspirophoto.photoshelter.com

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