social media how toDo you create visual content for social media?

Want to know which types of images get more interaction?

The most engaging posts on social media are the ones that include images. Certain types of images receive more shares than others.

In this article I’ll share the seven types of images that get the most engagement.

7 visuals for social engagement

Discover 7 visuals to increase social engagement.

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#1: Visual Bullets

Visual bullets are a collection of images that include a headline, at least two pictures and captions with each picture, like this pin from Whole Foods Market.

plant based protein sources pin from wholefoodsmarket

Visual bullets are images that include a headline, pictures and stand-alone captions. They inspire lots of engagement.

It’s important to pay attention to the anatomy of visual bullets. What defines a visual-bullet graphic is that each bullet refers to the headline, even if they do not really refer to each other.

#2: Storyboards

Storyboards and visual bullets are similar; both of these image types have headlines and captions. However, there’s an important difference. While visual bullets are independent of one another, in a storyboard graphic you use interconnected captions to create step-by-step instructions or a sequential story that explains something to readers, like this image from online men’s shop

scarf tying storyboard image from

In this storyboard, readers learn ways to tie a scarf.

Use how-to storyboards like this one from to explain something related to your niche. It’s a great way to showcase your expertise.

Each of these storyboarding examples has a headline followed by sequential steps. With visual storytelling, you create useful information that your readers will comment on, like and share.

#3: Illustrated Words

Visualize the meaning of a word or statement, and then create a graphic with impact. Illustrate words with humor or subtle visual tricks that make them more interesting. The idea is to give the viewers awowmoment when they realize how the visuals add meaning to the words.

shutterstock 129551477 building trust image

This example provides a visual explanation of building trust. Image: Shutterstock.

Plays on words don’t have to just be words. They can be illustrated with photos like this one from Taco Bell.

taco bell facebook image

This Taco Bell image suggests their Dr Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze has the same attributes as a handsome man in the cliché.

Sometimes the simplest pics are the cleverest.

The success of illustrated words really depends on how creatively you interject that meaning. The reward: those who spot the pun will feel “clever” and will want to share the image in order to find out which of their friends get it too.

#4: Diagram

Diagrams are a form of infographic in which you take a single image and pull it apart to explain the concept in the headline. It’s like the images you find in an anatomy book, where each part of the picture gets named.

Include interesting information to make this type of image more engaging. Disney has a series of style diagrams images for many of its characters.

disney character style image

This pop-culture image shows elements of a Disney character’s style.

Like storyboards, diagram images give you the opportunity to educate your readers or make them laugh.

Observational humor that’s not offensive appeals to lots of people without making anyone angry.

Don’t be afraid to go silly and creative (or both) when creating diagram images. Just keep it in line with your branding and mission, so it’s not out of left field.

#5: Memes

Memes, which are simple pictures with amusing captions, are a favorite among the social media crowd.

To create a meme, add a witty quote or caption to an image. The best memes have a message behind them. This image from HyperionTeens on Tumblr, encourages teens to read by playing on the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ meme.

hyperions teens tumblr image

This meme image targets teen readers using a decades old slogan.

Memes can offer a high return for the small amount of time you spend making them. Use a site like MemeGenerator to easily create memes with trendy images.

The best part about memes: people love to share and engage with them.

#6: Visual Captions

Visual captions can be images with accompanying text or graphically appealing text with an image in the background. These are usually factual statements or quotes.

Granted, visual captions aren’t nearly as funny as some of the other options. However, they’re good to use when you find an image in alignment with your brand or message. Converse posted this image on Facebook to share the message they’d joined Pinterest.

converse facebook image post

This caption’s picture is in line with the message, which is that Converse is now on Pinterest.

Like memes, the cost of visual captions is low. However, if you use them, step up your game and find interesting facts and quotes that people will want to share.

#7: Comparisons

Comparisons take two images and identify opposing attributes. They often explain the types of things in life that are too obvious to notice.

You can use comparisons to inform and educate. If you find a visual method to share important information, it’ll get your point across in a more powerful way.

whole foods market comparison educational pin

This comparison image from Whole Foods Market illustrates how big a role bees have in food production.

Use comparisons to surprise your readers. When you share information people don’t already know, it will prompt them to want to pass on the knowledge.


Adding a visual element to any post increases its visibility, as well as the opportunity for engagement. There are many tools available to create visuals, so it’s certainly worth the effort.

It’s hard to know ahead of time which images will get the most likes, comments, shares and retweets. Creating visual content requires trial and error, as well as a lot of creativity. So have fun with it!

Concentrate on these seven types of visual content to improve your chances of reaching a wider audience.

What do you think? What sorts of images do you use in your social posts? What types get the most engagement? Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Trust photo from Shutterstock.
7 visuals to increase social engagement

Tips for increasing social engagement with 7 types of visuals.

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  • Shai Geoola

    Fantastic article Marcus, thanks for sharing. Cheers

  • Noel

    these are really helpful information Marcus! I will definitely take note of these because sometimes, there aren’t really a lot of images that fits the bill of what I would like to accompany a certain blog post. I’m leaning towards the memes because like you said, these are really popular in social media and can increase engagement dramatically.

    Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • Thanks Shai! Glad you benefited from it. Do share your biggest takeaway!

  • Kajal

    Awesome!! Loved it 🙂

  • Pingback: 7 Visual Ideas That Will Increase Your Social Engagement | Social Savvy Business()

  • Love the new to Pinterest announcement! Great tips considering the drop of engagement on photo posts on Facebook. It’s time to get more creative!

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  • Thanks Kajal!

  • Exactly Noel. Not a lot of images fit any of these 7 criterias here. And this is exactly why not every visual/content goes viral.

    But if you really want something that will raise a lot of awareness very quickly for free, there are some free tools available for you to build visuals like these 🙂

    Let me know when you’ve implemented it, will be happy to support!

  • Thanks Steph! Actually, I wouldn’t say you’d necessarily need to be more creative, in fact, I’d say I’m one of the least creative individuals out there 🙂

    What I’ve provided are some templates to follow since my team and I have identified what works on social media. I’m certainly interested in knowing more about what business you’re in, would love to share more examples with you in your industry! 🙂

  • Very nice ideas, Its totally about your creativity with right color and content combo you are most likely going to get more re-pins

  • Hi Marcus thank you for a very informative article, very detailed and helpful. I have never heard of meme generator before and have just checked out the site. It looks like a lot of fun. Story boards are also a concept I had not considered in my visual marketing but definitely give them go. Kind regards Kim

  • Great article, once more from socialmediaexaminer ! Sharing this one !

  • 🙂 Let me know once you’ve implemented it!

    I’d beg to differ on the part on right color combo and creativity. A lot of people think you’d require that to earn more re-pins/shares but actually you’d just need to have the right content mix and template (shared here)

  • Good luck Kim! Let me know how it goes after you applied it.

  • Thanks Kjell!

  • Very helpful article, example are also cool. Thanks

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  • Thanks Moshiur!

  • I’m running two businesses right now, one for social media marketing and the other an online resume service. I’m very passionate about both, but I’d love to get more engagement out of the resume service Facebook page. I’ve been experimenting mostly with status updates, but as I’m not a graphic designer or photographer I struggle with visual posts outside of the cliche quote overlays. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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    I’am working over internet, working various basic jobs which only require a PC and access to internet and I couldn’t be happier… After six months on this job and i had profit so far in total 36 thousand dollars… Basicly i make 80 dollars/hour and work for 3 to 4 h on daily basis.And the best part about the job is that you can determine your own working hours and you get a paycheck weekly.

  • Sure! There are tools that you can start with like Canva. It allows you to create visuals (with zero design skills/experience).

  • Great post! I find that people really appreciate visual depth as opposed to text only. We are so bombarded with text all day long that something visual gives the brain a break from repetition and helps to engage visual learners as well.

  • Great suggestions, very helpful! Thank you.

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