Images and video
How to post good images and videos for social media.
Every social media post should be paired with an image or a video. A post with an image or video generally receives double the engagement of one without. The exception is when you’re quote retweeting something, when just a written comment is fine.
However, we need to make sure the image/video is good quality and fits with best practice on social media platforms – otherwise, it may have the opposite effect on your engagement.
- Make sure your image is clear, not pixelated, and has good lighting. As a general rule, take photos that are lit from the front, not with a window behind.
- Object photos are more engaging in situ, rather than with the grey background we have on TMS. Where possible, take photos of objects in (gloved!) hands, in trays, or on their way to a display case. Display cases reflect light once they’re closed, so open them up to take images when you can.
- Photos with people in are always great, but make sure you have their permission using this form if they are identifiable within the shot. For ease, take photos of the backs of people’s heads or big groups of people from a distance in a gallery. Don’t take photos of children unless a school group has explicitly given their consent.
- Images taken on smartphones are good enough quality. Take photos with your phone in portrait firstly (and only post portrait on Instagram!) but landscape tends to work better on Twitter. Facebook is happy with both.
- If you’re working from a desktop and wanting to schedule something in with a generic photo, use the Audience Development Images folder on the L drive to choose a suitable image.
- Social media platforms prioritise video content over anything else, so where possible, try and use a video to illustrate your content.
- Videos can and should be very simple. Instead of taking a photo of an object in someone’s hands, film them turning it slowly to show all sides of it.
- Keep videos as short as you can – up to 10 seconds ideally, or under 1 minute if possible.
- The way videos are used on social media is constantly evolving. Longer form videos of a person talking to camera no longer work well, because followers expect the short, homemade style popularised by TikTok.
- Reels on Instagram are slightly different, because they can be more heavily edited than a video post on Twitter or Facebook. With reels, you can add text and music and effects to your video to make them more stylistic, like this.
- Videos with talking in should always be subtitled for accessibility. You can do this on your phone using the app InShot, or on your desktop using the website Kapwing.com. Speak to the Audience Development team if you need help with subtitling.
- Film videos for Instagram in portrait, and videos for Facebook and Twitter in landscape.