Amplify Your Social Media Messaging

This post is part of our #Share4Schools social sweepstakes series, designed to help schools engage supporters in social circles to promote fundraising—and possibly win cash prizes. While some of these articles reference #Share4Schools, the concepts are universal.

Images Amplify Your Message and Stir Action

For the last several years, photos on social media have outperformed text only posts in views, engagement and sharing. It makes sense since nearly all of us have a camera with us at all times—our cell phones have the ability to snap a photo and instantly upload it to the internet. Instagram has become increasingly popular as a social network and there is the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words.

So, what do we do with this information?

One of the big challenges you’ll face in recruiting donors and supporters socially is to turn a “like” into a “share”—or getting your audience involved enough to not only personally “like” what you are doing, but will “share” their belief in your organization’s mission with their networks. And an image might be that extra bit of connection to your cause that a potential supporter needs to get involved in sharing your message.

In any way you choose to reach out to your audience—whether it be email, your website, or a post on social media—visuals are a key component to engaging them.

Children at school

Images make a donor’s impact tangible.

Adding an image illustrates and highlights the real-world effects of what you’re asking for in your communiqué. People like to know they’re making a difference when they get involved in a nonprofit—that if they take action, it will definitely effect change.

Adding a picture of the end product puts a clear image in the donor’s head of what their money can realistically accomplish. Let your image answer the question: what will your school use the contest prizes for?

For example, if you plan to buy new computers, include a photo of the computers you’d buy—and kids learning with them.

Be specific in your image choice.

Studies show that presenting potential donors with an image of something they can actually change, such as a single child in need, makes them more likely to give than showing a photo of a whole classroom of children in need. Helping twenty kids is a more daunting task than helping a specific child.

Children at Buk bilong Pikinini (books for children). Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

So avoid images that scale too large, or ask too much. Focus on very specific calls to action and choose images that highlight the real world effect of what you do. Putting a face to an abstract idea (like sharing a post on social media, or signing up for an email list) tells the viewer, “You can help this child by getting involved.”

Images let the potential donor to develop an emotional connection with the recipient.

Transmitting feelings to your viewer with a single picture is a great power. So be careful with the emotions you choose to convey.

Of course, you want the image to convey need—and also what a donor action will accomplish. But avoid images that are too negative, and could instead put off the person viewing it. Instead of showing torn old textbooks in disrepair that might drag down the person who sees it, show a kid learning with a brand new book.

Make sure your image contains a clear call to action.

TIP: It turns out that people really like eyes! Images that contained human eyes were the most popular with potential charitable donors.

If your image doesn’t complicitly contain a call to action (such as a photo of new books), then add one! Overlay text on the image that tells the viewer what they need to do in order to achieve the goal.

And as always, be specific about the goal, and what someone needs to do in order to help. Should they click to share? Sign up? Or donate now? Give them quick, simple steps and links to help them follow through.

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