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Social Image Sharing

Why it’s smart to brand your images for social sharing

Here’s a really quick tip for getting some competitive advantage on social media. It’s not complicated, it just takes some forethought in planning. Compare these two images that people shared to my Twitter feed this morning from major media outlets, in this case the Guardian and the BBC.


Both are links to articles, both have an eye-catching image attached to stand out. These images have been set in the website CMS specifically as the image to associate with the social media sharing of that article. But the key differentiator is that that the BBC example on the left isn’t very obvious that it’s BBC content. Only the website domain in grey text at the very bottom left tells me so and that’s the least visible item in view.

So whilst we may be doing the right thing in finding good imagery to help our social posts stand out, is it also worthwhile considering making a small but distinctive brand statement with it to enhance its association? If you have a serious strategy to become a knowledge leader and inherently associated with expertise and value in what you communicate then this would seem hugely beneficial. You can get far more value for every social impression if your brand identity gets some exposure even when the post isn’t clicked on.

As always with social media it’s not a blanket rule, use this tactic with caution. To conclude here are some do’s and don’ts

Do brand your social sharing images…

  • When you’re sharing your own content
  • When that content is valuable – either the image itself (such as an infographic) or the associated link
  • When it’s a type of content you share on a consistent basis

Don’t brand your social sharing images…

  • When you’re sharing 3rd party articles, – that just makes it look like you’re claiming credit for someone else’s work. Not cool.
  • If the content is disposable – branding up a mobile phone snap makes something that should be “off the cuff” seem too corporate.
  • Randomly. If half your article posts are going out branded and half not then you’ll confuse your audience as to why and they’ll start to mistrust the content you’re sharing.

And yes, this article has a branded social sharing image associated with it, so if you share it on Facebook or Twitter using the handily placed buttons below you’ll see the proof in action. And we’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling that you cared. Everyone’s happy!