social media how to

Do you keep text and image updates separate?

Have you considered how text and visual content complement each other?

Pairing visual content with clever, descriptive text can create a true marketing force that leads to more interaction.

In this article I’ll show you seven ways companies are using visual content to get better overall engagement.

using text and visual content

Find out how text and visual content engage your followers and fans.

#1: Illustrate Your Tagline

Most brands have text-based taglines, but how many are getting the most out of them? Every social media update you write is an opportunity to show, as well as tell, the meaning of your tagline.

Red Bull’s tagline—Gives You Wings—is descriptive and gives you a pretty good idea of what they’re going for. But when the company uses photos to reinforce the written tagline, it becomes real and exciting.

That excitement helps them maintain their market share lead.

redbull instagram image

Red Bull’s brand tagline wouldn’t be the same without visual content.

Simply Measured analyzed Red Bull’s social media updates and found that photos accounted for only 5% of their posts, but delivered 90% of their engagement on Twitter and Facebook.

#2: Change Your Infographics

Infographics deliver up to 120-180% more engagement than text-only posts. The problem is that so many marketers are posting the same kinds of infographics (usually graph-heavy) that yours can easily be overlooked, especially if it’s a variation on the same theme.

Intel launched an educational campaign using infographics to bring attention to and reduce online oversharing.

intel twitter image

Intel educates the public with relatable images and words to keep them safe.

Notice how the Intel infographic uses photos from the consumer’s perspective? There’s not a graph to be seen. And the text overlays name information most people have considered sharing online (or have already shared).

Rather than creating an infographic with cartoon icons, statistics or graphs, Intel used well-done pictures and concise text to communicate what consumers should and shouldn’t share online.

Putting oversharing in the context of the reader’s point of view helps make the infographic personal and relatable.

#3: Make Your Brand Personable

One problem in social media is getting lost behind a logo and a corporate “big business” image. Even if you’re in a more serious industry like tax preparation, accounting, banking or insurance, you can always add a human perspective to your business.

H&R Block is in a niche that tends to be more serious, and in most cases a serious niche can lead to boring content. But H&R Block decided not to be ‘most cases.’

hr block facebook image

A little humor creates big engagement.

The tax preparation company uses their Facebook page to share a sense of humor with fun illustrations and jokes.

With almost 380,000 fans on Facebook, H&R Block sees an average of over 500 engagements per post and nearly 30% of fans engaged. Not bad for a niche most people aren’t usually excited to talk about.

#4: Show What You’re Selling

Let’s be honest. At the end of the day, we marketers are using social media to sell something. Don’t underestimate the simple tactic of showing pictures and describing what you’re selling.

A new outlet at the Riverwalk in New Orleans was the first of its kind, offering upscale local fashion and cuisine. The outlet decided to use Instagram to do a little show and tell.

riverwalknola instagram image

Combine pictures and descriptions for more interaction.

The Riverwalk New Orleans‘ Instagram account teemed with images and descriptions of distinctive items and food, and drew quick response—they doubled their number of followers and quickly increased their online presence.

#5: Tell the Bigger Story

With so many virtual experiences available these days, some businesses face the challenge of even getting people in the door.

Brooklyn Museum experienced that problem and rose to the occasion by amassing an impressive social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram.

The museum features photos and videos that bring its collections to life and each account is written to include captions that provide context. The result is thousands of likes and shares.

brooklyn museum instagram image

Pair photos and videos with text to get people excited.

The combination of beautiful images, facts, background and additional information creates an enormous social response. The museum also uses geotagging to subtly encourage fans and followers to visit the museum in person.

#6: Create Text Overlays

It’s no secret that consumer connections drive business and sales success. Think about what gets your customers excited about your product and come up with short phrases that convey that feeling.

Pair the phrases with an image that reinforces both your product and your customers’ sentiment for a winning engagement combination.

Green Mountain Coffee connects with their audience this way. Their consumers relate to sayings such as “Coffee helps me become the morning person I am not.” Additional meaning and connection are added to the phrase when it’s placed over a blank page and pen on a desk (suggesting that not much work gets done before having coffee).

green mountain coffee instagram image

Fun photos with text overlay can get a big reaction.

Their fans relate to needing a little help to get their day started, and after commenting on and liking the update, they want to share the sentiment with others.

The response on most of Green Mountain Coffee’s insights and photos is hundreds and even a thousand likes and shares, and an impressive number of comments.

#7: Ask for Fan Stories

What’s not to love about user-generated content? It’s an easy way to encourage more audience participation while pointing the spotlight at those fans—and it highlights your products being used by happy customers.

REI launched their 1440 campaign to document their fans’ love of the outdoors. The campaign aimed to post a picture of fans enjoying the outdoors for every minute of one day (1,440 minutes).

They invited fans to share their own photos with descriptions that included the time of day they snapped the photo. For example, “06:37am—Joanna H. was in Mount Creighton. A photo from the #REI1440Project, celebrating every minute spent outside.”

rei 1440 project videoos

Consumers’ photos of their outdoor adventures becomes branded content for REI.

The response to the project was enormous and the user-generated content created strong community, showcased brand evangelists and kept people coming back to see the progress of the campaign.

Wrapping Up

Text and image updates don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Used together they’re a force to be reckoned with and may be the difference between a passing look and true engagement.

What do you think? How do you integrate text with your visual content? Have you had more success with imagery alone or a text and image combination? Leave your comments below.

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  • Great tips guys!

  • Thanks James! Putting text and images together is something simple, but it can make a big difference.

  • Victoria Mininger

    Thanks for the great tips. Sharing this with my team today.

  • Finally, someone shared it. This is a great article for social media content creators.

  • María Karina García Portillo

    Hi, thxs for such a very nice tips… I was wondering, where did u get the engagement rate of this fan pages? I mean, I notice that you hyperlinked simply measured but when u get a payed account in SM, they allow you to obtain data from others fan pages or social accounts ?

  • Mide

    Makes a lot of sense!

  • @hannahburnworth

    I loved example #7- Ask for Fan’s Stories. That was a brilliant campaign created by REI and it’s a really thought-provoking way to think about user-generated content. Thanks for the post!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Great post!

    I use text overlay and ask community members to share their stories. The success rate is 50/50.

  • Great tips…thank you.

  • Sure it’s worth it. Image will attract people and text will give more information about it. Useful tips.

  • Thank you Keith for such a great post, full of information. Now m very clear with the concept of combination of text and visual.

  • Yes, Canva is a great tool. Piktochart is one to try as well.

  • Great Victoria! Glad we can help.

  • Thanks Gem!

  • Thanks Hannah. Sometimes we forget the willingness of our customers to contribute.

  • Thanks Hannah. Sometimes we forget the willingness of our customers to contribute.

  • You’re welcome! Thank you for the positive feedback.

  • Hi Suzy. Yes, it makes sense and there are many different ways to combine text and image.

  • Thank you Kelly!

  • Thank you for sharing Amandah

  • Hi Maria, Simply Measured does offer competitive analysis. For this article I self-reported secondary data.

  • Maggie Quinn

    Thank you for the great tips, I’m looking forward to trying them out! However, everyone should also keep in mind Facebook’s 20% text rule if they’re planning to use this advice while promoting on that particular platform. That has certainly burned me in the past!

  • Hi Maggie. Thank you for the tip. Yes, when running Facebook ads / promoted posts you do have to take the 20% text rule into account. But maybe not. This eConsultancy article claims to have recently tested the rule and they think it has gone away:

  • Pingback: How to Combine Text and Visuals to Boost Your Social Media | Mighty 8th Media()

  • Chester Field


  • Nath Obaze

    Thanks for the Post and Tips.This will go along way to enhance our social media profiles.

  • Thank you Nath. I am glad we can help.

  • tlmaurer

    Excellent! All ideas are great, easy to implement … and your imaging makes your explanations all abundantly clear. Thanks, Keith.

  • Thank you so much! Keith

  • Sergey Yatsenko

    Content for Better Social Engagement. –
    Tell the Bigger Story :
    History of Thought Leader is Storytelling of Charmer On – Line on Network.