The Importance of a Calendar
Hopefully you already know about the importance of a content calendar for your business. A content calendar not only helps you plan out your week, it keeps your posting schedule running smoothly.
Basically, a content calendar helps you get organized.
If you’re not sure what to include in your content calendar, take a look at this post I wrote: Why Is Planning Your Content Marketing Important?
This type of calendar is great for the stuff you write like your blog posts or your marketing messages but what about your images? With the new social programs and image features, everything on social media is visual.
One of the best ways to grab your readers attention among the social noise is to use images. This is how we connect to content online – first we see the image, then the headline and if both the image and headline have caught our attention, then we read the post.
Because of the way we notice social posts, your images should be considered one of THE most important elements of your marketing content.
So for those of us who don’t fall under the professional photographer or graphic artist category like myself, here are some tips about how to find and use images for your social posts.
1. The big thing I want you to remember is that most of the images you’ll find online are copyrighted. The photographer or artist will give you their terms on how you can use their image so please take the time to read this important information.
And always always always credit the photographer with a link back to their site and a text credit on the image. They’ve worked as hard to create their images as you do on your products or services so if you’re going to use their photos, please take the time to give the photographer the credit.
(And yes, I know that I repeated myself from the first tip above. This part of using images is so important that I needed to say it twice.)
3. Build your own stockpile of photos. Use your smartphone camera or if you have one, a digital camera. Just start taking pictures of things that grab you like the sunset, kids playing or someone building your next order.
Don’t try to be perfect and pretend you’re in a photo studio. You’re not looking to create professional quality images. Instagram was built on images of everyday moments, so just take photos of things that move you and upload them to your computer.
Social Image Sizes
If you’re not sure about what size you to use to get the best quality for your images, here’s a breakdown:
Facebook: shared image in a post should be 403 x 403 px
A highlighted/milestone image (one that extends across your whole fan page) should be 843 x 403 px
Google+: shared image in your post should be 800 x 600 px
Pinterest: You’re not restricted to the height (like inforgraphics) but the best quality for the width is 736 px
Twitter: 375 x 375 px
Here are some suggestions for the type of images you can use in your social posts:
- Images from your blog posts that have name of the post on them
- New and updated products
- Behind the scenes Instagram type images
- Covers for your ebook or a step-by-step guide fans can download from your site
Treat your images with as much care as you do the text in your posts. Go for quality over quantity, even if it means that you can only create a couple of great images versus 10 poor quality ones.
Your Visual Content Calendar
Now it’s time to pull your Visual Content Calendar together!
Let’s start slow and just focus on your top social program that brings you most of the traffic to your site. Now think about the images you want to create for your upcoming posts.
Create a spreadsheet, pull up a word document or download a copy of the Inner Social Media-ness Visual Content Calendar.
In your calendar, answer the following questions:
1. Image – What elements are in the image?
2. Purpose – What is this image for?
3. Place – Where will the image be posted?
4. Message – What is the message/text in the image?
5. Schedule – When will the image be posted?
6. Results – How many shares, clicks and likes did the image get?
The last question is a trigger to remind you to monitor your images and to see what connects with your audience. Try to track which images get shared from which posts.
Keep an eye on which posts got more Likes because it had an image. Or were your top image posts shared because of the funny content of the picture?
The more information you can include in the results section, the easier it will be to create images that resonate with your customers.
It takes time
I realize that it takes time to get your Visual Content Calendar to flow with your posting schedule. At first it seems like you’re adding one more thing to your to-do list but this will be one of those tools that over time, will help you work more efficiently.
I encourage you to keep testing out image programs to use (like Picmonkey, Canva or Pixlr) as well as finding a way to incorporate your Visual Content Calendar into our posting routine. I find the simple act of writing out my ideas and plans helps streamline my time when I finally sit down to write that blog post or work on my social media messages.
Once you find your groove, you’ll find that using a Visual Content Calendar will keep your images organized as well as save you valuable time in your day.
Want to get a FREE copy of the Visual Content Calendar?
Click here to download your FREE copy of the Visual Content Calendar and save it to your computer so you can use it to plan out your weekly images.