social media how toDo you want to share stronger visuals?

Have you looked at what other content creators are doing?

Watching what works for others in your industry can help you create content that increases engagement with your own audience.

In this article I’ll share how to search Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for visual content to inspire your own visuals.

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#1: Generate Ideas From Pinterest

When seeking visual inspiration, Pinterest should be your first stop. You’ll find lots of creative ideas uploaded and shared by others that you’ll want to repin. You may also get ideas for pictures to take and pins to create, as well as inspiration for your blog.

take visual content to the next level

Find out how you can take your visual content marketing to the next level.

Remember, when you share pins from other boards, make sure to credit the source. It is NOT okay to download the images you find on Pinterest and use them as your own.

Start by doing a keyword search for pins in your area of expertise. In addition to your main keywords, come up with some word combinations based on your business niche. For example, a restaurant might search the words “tasty food” to see what comes up. This search will bring up thousands of different pins.

tasty food search results

Go to Pinterest to get inspired. Do a search for keywords representative of your brand to find images to repin.

Notice you can look at All Pins or filter by Your Pins, Boards and Pinners with those keywords.

Once you land on a fruitful search, go through the pins and see which ones would be of interest to your followers.

Sticking with the restaurant theme, if you run social for a local restaurant that does great lunch specials, share pins with tips on how customers can recreate recipes when they are unable to get to your location.

This approach will make you stand out from your competitors who are merely trying to sell.

tasty food image

If you have a restaurant or food-related page, share pins like this one from BuzzFeed with recipes your followers can use.

Before you decide to share a pin, look at how much engagement it’s already received. Check out how many times the image has been repinned or liked, and read through the comments on those pins. This will help you identify the type of visual content your audience will appreciate.

pin with high repin count

See how many times an image has been repinned or shared before you decide to repin it.

When you share or create useful content, fans and followers appreciate it. It ups your credibility, which leads to customer loyalty. You’ll then be thought of first when those loyal customers need what your business has to offer.

#2: Search Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram has more than 200 million active users, and is an excellent platform to tell your business’s story though visual updates.

If you want to attract more customers with your visual content, find out what your ideal audience and successful competitors like to share on Instagram. Search relevant hashtags, and then use your discoveries to spark ideas for your business.

For example, if you run social for a local gym, search the hashtag #GYM.

hashtag search image results

Search using hashtags to see what type of content your ideal customers post.

Once you do your search, especially for a broad topic, you may be overwhelmed. It’ll give you some insight into what users share, and spark ideas for more specific searches to conduct. Try a few different searches until you discover some outstanding accounts.

My search for #GYM turned up millions of images, so I decided to hashtag search for #yoga, since that’s one of the gym’s specialties. I still got millions of results, but this time some accounts stood out.

Rachel Brathen (aka Yoga Girl on Instagram) posts fun-loving and inspirational visual content. She shares tips, as well as her life story, through her Instagram account. You learn a lot from accounts that are doing interesting things.

instagram account for yoga_girl

Search sub-hashtags for your business until you land on some accounts that stand out.

Research the most popular Instagram hashtags in your industry. Find active users relevant to your industry, as well as business owners like you, who are crushing it with their visual storytelling. Then use their images to inspire things you can do for your company.

#3: Explore Popular Visuals on Facebook

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of visual content that’s online. Luckily, there are many social media tools available to help, like the Facebook tool Post Planner.

The app searches Facebook pages in your industry and sorts out their most popular visual content. Before you use Post Planner, perform a graph search on Facebook for businesses similar to yours in different parts of the world.

graph search page results

Perform a search for similar businesses on Facebook before using Post Planner.

Once you have a long list, sign up for the Post Planner app, go to the Viral Photos feature and add the pages. (In Post Planner, there’s a limit on what you can search for free.) You’ll see lots of relevant images with proven engagement.

This image from Roy’s restaurant in San Diego is bright, fresh and appealing. Plus, customers responded positively to it with engagement.

image from postplanner tool search

Use suggestions from Post Planner’s most viral photos to come up with ideas for things to share.

Use images that other pages’ fans have already enjoyed to create your own content that engages, educates and inspires. If they’re relevant, share the photos you find. Or create a version of the image that’s appropriate to share to promote your business.

#4: Look to Facebook Interest Lists

It’s just as key to curate visual content as it is to create it. When you share images from industry influencers, you become more valuable to your audience. The best way to keep all of that rich content together is to create Facebook lists.

Go to the left side of your Facebook page, scroll down and click on Interests. Then click Add Interests. Follow lists that already exist or create a new list with as many pages and friends as you’d like. (Notice quite a few lists already exist.)

facebook interest lists

Click on Interests to find existing lists and create new ones that are appropriate for your field.

Each list you create will have a stream of its own, which only shows content from the pages you added. This will help you focus when you’re trying to find content to share.

When something snappy stands out, share it or save the link for later inspiration.

image to post from an interest list

Look for content to share from your interest lists. It’ll be focused to the specific category and you won’t get sidetracked by other posts.

Remember, before you share anything, investigate the engagement that the post, update or graphic received. If you need to, tweak something so it fits your branding.

Over to You

Images get massive response on social media. If you haven’t already done so, incorporate a visual plan into your social media marketing.

Before you create your own visuals, do your research and get inspired. Check out what works for other businesses in your industry, and see what your customers will respond to. Then get creative and have fun!

Follow these tips to curate, create and share visual content your audience will love.

What do you think? How do you curate and create visual content for your social media updates? What are your favorite websites and tools? Please share your experiences and recommendations in the comments.

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  • Adam Vowles

    Really nice post Jenny, I have pintrest loads of times for research but never instagram. I reckon it is worth a look in future.


  • Jenny Brennan

    Thanks, Adam! Yes, there are lots of great ideas on Instagram too ๐Ÿ™‚ Trouble is I could get lost for hours looking at all the great ideas!

  • April Heavens-Woodcock

    Great info Jenny! Pinterest is a great place for getting some really creative ideas to make your posts more visual. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Brennan

    Thanks, April! I love Pinterest for ideas. If you are having a creative block there are lots of ideas over there for you to get inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Adam Vowles

    haha yes that is the never ending battle with using social for research!!!

  • Ashley Faulkes

    Great ideas there Jenny, appreciate all the inspiration.
    It’s not always easy coming up with fresh visual ideas, and now you have expanded our horizons!

  • Ashley Faulkes

    Great ideas there Jenny, appreciate all the inspiration.
    It’s not always easy coming up with fresh visual ideas, and now you have expanded our horizons!

  • Jenny Brennan

    Hey, Ashley! Many thanks for your kind words. I am so happy that the post has helped expand your horizons! We all hit a wall at times and I try to look at things in a different light ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Brennan

    Hey, Ashley! Many thanks for your kind words. I am so happy that the post has helped expand your horizons! We all hit a wall at times and I try to look at things in a different light ๐Ÿ™‚


    Excellent-Always seeking to learning new tricks.

  • Thanks for these great tips! I’ve been using Pinterest and Instagram to get ideas and didn’t think to use #4: Look to Facebook Interest Lists. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I added more Interests to my list.

    Question: How much time do you spend creating graphics? I love graphic design but creating images and infographics can be time consuming. How do you balance it with everything else that happens on social media? Do have a set schedule? Do you outsource? Thank you for your input.

  • Jenny Brennan

    Hi, Amandah! Great question. I use Canva for all my design work. I’m not a natural designer, so when Canva came on the scene it was a total time saver. It also saves me money on graphic design costs. Some of my clients need professional design work done and for that we have a designer whom we use. I think the most important thing to have in place is a visual content strategy just like any other. If you know what you are going to be posting weeks in advance that saves you a lot of time. Once the research is done [and that is the time consuming part] we start creating and that is the fun part. I hope this answers your question ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Brennan

    Thank you Adolf ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi Jenny,

    I use Canva too, in addition to Photoshop and PicMonkey.

    I think when you’re a solopreneur and you’re doing everything yourself, you can get burned out. Sometimes it’s nice to have help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Excellent post Jenny! And as more and more people use their mobiles to access social media, it’s super important to grab their attention via great visuals, so that they stop, look & engage – “every picture tells a story, don’t it…”

  • I will have to admit that using Facebook Interest Lists this way have never occurred to me. There is truly something new to learn every single day. I really appreciate Great tip Jenny! That is a great way to scroll over a certain topic focused post feed. Awesome! Other than that, all the other tips are great, using them constantly. There are so many ways to find inspirational visuals. About the tools, obviously, my favorite one is Canva and using it on a daily basis! Thanks for this super useful post!

  • Stacey Riska

    Aloha! Timely article as I’m looking to create content for super busy small business owners, and visuals are a great way for me to share with them — but also to teach them show to do the same for their audiences. Any thoughts on infographics – where to find them, do people like them, how to create…..

  • Jenny Brennan

    Thanks, Andy! I had fun writing the post. All startegies I use every day ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Brennan

    Great! Interest lists on Facebook are great and the new save feature makes it really easy to curate a lot of content in one sitting.

  • Jenny Brennan

    Piktochart is good for making infographics for your updates. I find them on Pinterest too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Judy Bellem

    Hi Jenny, Thanks for this great informational post. I was not aware of #4 (Facebook Interest Lists) and have now added it to my research tool box.

  • Glauber Couto

    Nice article. I just had got some inights by reading this article and will help me a lot with my visual content strategy.

  • MamaRed

    Another trick, once you’ve done your research, could be creating a series with the same background, including URL, etc. and using Powerpoint/Keynote to create a whole bunch of them at the same time. I recently creating a series to go with a Mindset Cookbook I’ve created and once I created the background in Powerpoint (works the same in Keynote), I was able to create a lot of them at the same time, then export as an image. Might help ya bit…I hope!

  • Jenny Brennan

    Happy you got inspiration Glauber! #jobdone ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great reminder that there are so many research options out there and how important it is to do a little research up front. My only fear is that I’ll get so distracted I’ll forget I’m at work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Brennan

    Hi, Crystal! I hear ya! We have to be so diligent and not get distracted. Would you believe I actually have a timer on my desk that I set in advance of tasks – sad but true. Otherwise I would be online 24/7 – thanks for your comment!

  • WafaHozien

    I cannot wait to use some of these ideas. They look so easy. I use Social Media to keep my students updated on latest issues in education. Thanks!

  • Once again…this source, Social Media Examiner, via author Jenny, provides timely useful content to businesses/self-employed writers/artists who struggle to maintain a presence in our current and very VISUAL marketing “playground.” Kuddos!