This is a round-up post of some of the best tips we’ve shared over the years for creating amazing, evocative images for your chamber. There are also four tools mentioned here to make using images easy, even without any design experience. Finally, we have image ideas for when you’re not feeling all that creative.
Why Do Images Matter?
Okay, so they’re pretty and/or entertaining but why are images one of the most important things you can be doing to get attention for your chamber and its social media accounts?
There’s actually science behind it.
According to a source at Children’s Hospital in Boston, humans can recognize a familiar object in only 100 milliseconds. In fact, the researchers pointed out “Human beings far outpace computers in their ability to recognize faces and other objects, handling with ease variations in size, color, orientation, lighting conditions
So not only can we process images a lot faster than words (which take 250 milliseconds), images also help us remember content better. There’s a term for this, “picture superiority effect.”
Images are “superior” to hearing as well, not just written words. 72 hours after hearing a given message, people generally remember only about 10% of what they’ve heard but they remember 65% of the information they saw.
The picture superiority effect means more people will remember what you present if you marry it with a visual representation. As people age, the picture superiority effect which makes it easier to remember images than words become even more pronounced. If you have something you want your chamber members or audience to remember, make it visual.
Images do many things including:
- getting your audience’s attention. Their eyes naturally gravitate toward images. We see that in social shares when pictures get more clicks.
- holding your audience’s attention and making them feel like the content is being refreshed on a regular basis. Have you ever read a paragraph and not realized you’ve read it until about mid-way through when it starts feeling familiar? This happened less frequently with pictures. If you switch images out or share a lot of images, people will feel the content refresh a lot more poignantly than they will with words.
- helping build brand identity. If you brand your images and they all follow a basic recognizable frame, look, filter, font, layout, etc. people will look at those images shared on social media and immediately think of the chamber. Your logo is
likelyrecognizable to people who see it even when it’s blurred or people can’t make out the words. That’s the power of imagery.
If you want to use images more effectively, check out these tips:
- If you have a phone, use it for more than just calls. Capture your surroundings. Take pics of the beauty you see around you like people, businesses, and things that make your community unique. Don’t be afraid to capture things about your own life like a pet dressed up for Halloween or the first snowfall in your yard. These small gestures may feel like things no one would care about but they are the very things that help people get to know, like, and trust you.
- Create a shared folder of images on the cloud so that you always have something to use to share or create an image quote from. Give your team access to the folder so everyone can upload and share.
- Show those amazing weather moments. People love pictures of weather, even if they’re suffering through the same weather you are. From storms rolling in to epic rains, use weather posts to start a dialogue and invite others to add their commentary and their pics.
- If you want to stand out, shock people with a scene they haven’t seen before. Look for those “oh wow” moments like a toddler in front of a war memorial or a dog catching a ball at sunset. They’re ordinary things seen in different ways. You may have photographed that war memorial one hundred different ways but a toddler walking up to it with a flower or running to her grandfather who is paying his respect are beautiful ways to show your audience something different.
- Use images that match the “tone” you’re trying to share. If you’re looking to add some happiness to your feed try pictures of pets and sunshine. Rainbows are great for hope. Sunsets are soothing. All images have a tone. Pay attention to it when sharing.
- Use some of Norma’s free images. On the Chamber Pros Facebook
sitethere’s a directory of images that are free for you to use as a member of that group.
- Take some time to learn the very basics of the laws that protect image use. Always give credit and attribution. Don’t use another photographer’s work without their permission. Never use comics without permission as they often belong to syndicates that charge for use.
3 Easy and Cheap Tools for Creating Shareable Images for Your Chamber
For chambers out there who don’t have a graphics
PowerPoint is not only for slide decks. The same software that helps you create visually stunning slides also helps you with images for your website, newsletter, social media profiles and/or blog.
If you don’t want to create your own, Hubspot has templates for infographics, call-to-action buttons, and visual marketing templates free to download. They are in PowerPoint for easy use.
Pixlr was relaunched as PixlrX (although you can still use Pixlr), which is billed as being “smarter and faster – with the right amount of photo editing tools you need for quick yet professional edits.” This free software gives you more choices on editing features than you’ll probably ever need. It’s available on desktop, tablet, and mobile.
While Pixlr was built on flash, its
With Pixlr you can create an image, upload one from your files or upload from a URL. You can also grab one from a library such as your Facebook photo album. Pixlr gives you the ability to place filters on the image, add text, blur sections and so much more. For those of you who want to take your creativity out of the chamber office, you can use Pixlr on your phone as well.
PicMonkey is an easy-to-use image editor. I don’t find it as robust as Pixlr but I do find it easier. It has some great collage creation features that would be perfect for a chamber of commerce event. While it was free several years ago and charged only for a few filters, that is no longer the case. Pricing starts at $7.99 a month for a single license.
With image editing tools I’ve found that people become super fans. They find one tool and rarely deviate from it. Find the one that works for you and you can get a lot more creative with your graphics, even without a strong design background.
This is one of the most popular do-it-yourself design apps/sites because it is easy to use and has lots of template options (8,000 free and otherwise). You have to sign up to use it but it is free for individuals to use. Canva has a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can upload your own images or use those
Canva also has a “work” license with a free thirty-day trial. It’s $12.95 a month billed annually.
Image Ideas for Your Chamber
Now that you have some good social media image tips as well as the tools to make your masterpieces, we’ve compiled a list of image ideas. It’s time for a photo-taking excursion.
Whether you take these on your own or ask others to contribute, sharing images and videos is a very good way to get engagement on your social media pages. Take pictures of:
- Spring blooms: after a long winter people love to see pictures of flowers.
- Historic places around town.
- Water: lakes, ponds, stream, waterfalls, oceans, rivers, even a rain barrel. You name it, we all respond viscerally to water.
- Birds and bunnies.
- Dogs: especially if they’re wearing clothes.
- Pets of all kind, for that matter.
- A windy country road.
- A garden path.
- Kids in their Easter best.
- Spring decor outside of stores.
- Flower boxes: yes, technically these fall under “spring blooms” but there’s something extra special about a flower box and how it brings out the beauty of just about any building.
- Farm animals.
- Snow melting: especially shots with the sun out over the glistening snow or an early bloom poking out from under the white blanket.
- Storms or spring showers.
- Farmers markets.
- Park benches and other public outdoor spaces.
- Balloons: hot air and helium.
- Flowering trees and trees budding. Don’t forget the earliest signs of spring, pussy willow
andforsythia (if you have them). You can even host a countdown waiting for them to open.
- Rain boots stomping through town.
- Umbrellas and rainy sidewalks.
- Fun ways to cool off
- Pets wearing sunglasses
- Pets on parade or wearing their Sunday best
- Messy ice cream cones or popsicles
- Sparklers and fireworks
- Float construction
- Pictures of how people are spending their summer vacation
- Best festival/fair ride
- Pictures of teachers on the first day of school
- Nominate an outstanding educator by taking a picture and uploading it
- Summer reading
- Best/biggest fish caught
- Clouds (what do you see in this?)
- Animals cooling off
- Dated vacation shots (remember the road trip to Wallyworld?)
- Road trips
- Your happy place
- Pictures featuring favorite colors
- Life on the water
- Hawaiian shirt day
- Your favorite vacation
- Best shady spot
- What the USA means to you (in an image)
Bestpart of your town in summer
- People helping people
- Pictures of must bring items to college
- Moving day at your local college (in or out)
- Must bring items on vacation
Coolestplace in town Longestline in town
- Must see spots for a staycation
- Best spots for summer shopping
- Pictures of lemonade stands (future chamber members)
- Pictures of your interns
- Let your interns take pictures of your office/you for a day in the life of a chamber exec
- Best flip flops
- Your favorite way to “rough it”
- What relaxation looks like
- Best dads
- Where is this? in your town
- If you could do one thing all summer what would it be (post a picture of it)
- Summer is….(in a picture)
- Best/funniest wedding gifts
- Best grilling pics
- Best business landscapes
- Pictures of local pumpkin patches and hours.
- Hours for local apple orchards that host pick your own options.
- Foliage pictures and charts that track when your foliage will be at its peak (or the equivalent down here in Florida–
countdownto the snowbird migration).
- Migratory charts of birds, whales, or other animals that people might want to see in your area.
- Pictures of the harvest moon.
- Businesses and the chamber decorated for the fall season, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Keep a watch out on the earliest decorators for each holiday