Pictures, photos, images, however you call it, these attract people’s attention. With our fast paced lives, out attention span, unfortunately, is shrinking.

Gone are the days where people will read everything. People think reading large chunks of text is boring. Maybe it is kind of boring. Don’t let your social media be boring. Upload pictures to Twitter that are eye catching and relevant to your target audience. On Facebook, pictures are a must! It instantly attracts attention and can help you stand out from your competitors. Wouldn’t you read posts more if a picture was attached?

The following is a two part series guest Q&A with Trish Tully. Trish is the owner of Thrive Communication and has over 15 years experience as a Graphic Designer and Communications Project Manager.

I have asked Trish a few questions to discuss the fundamentals of adding images to social media. Photos add a lot of interest and catch the reader’s attention. But there are some do’s and don’ts that should be followed when adding photos.

Why Do Images Grab Our Attention more than just plain text?
Web readers are bombarded with information, so people's eyes gravitate to images before they read anything. Having good imagery isn't an option in a medium where split seconds determine if someone finds your information compelling enough to read even a heading. Words are important, but images get people to read the words.

My hierarchy of what readers look at: image first, heading second, body text third.

A lot of people find their images through Google Images, IS THAT UNETHICAL?
Using Google images isn't a good idea because it's too hard to determine the permission. There are sources of public domain images, but you have to know how to determine which are public and which require permissions or owner attributions. And if you can't find a specific reference to how the image can be used you should always presume you have no right to use it.

Besides the moral issue of giving credit where credit is due, there is a big legal issue regarding getting nailed for using an image from a Google search that you didn't know required a license for use. I had an associate get a letter from Getty Images demanding an exorbitant licensing fee for using one of their images on her website. This person found the image in a Google images search, didn't look at the site source. Photo agencies scout for these occurrences. My friend was busted - couldn't deny it - the image was out there for the world to see. Embarrassing, and expensive.

Stay tuned for part II tomorrow

Author's Bio: 

Jennifer Grigg is the owner of Social Dragon Marketing. We help businesses find their online voice by offering social media and marketing services. www.socialdragonmarketing.com