[Study] Images Drive Social Engagement in Tweets
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[Study] Images Drive Social Engagement in Tweets

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A recent study of social engagement on Twitter has found that more than two-thirds of tweets involving images receive a retweet, compared to just 30 percent of tweets that do not feature an image. This finding, revealed in a study from Stone Temple Consulting, underscores the significant increase in engagement that an image can drive for a piece of social content.

Image Illustration Image Signpost with Customer Engagement wordingIn addition to higher retweet rates, Twitter content that featured an image had a 74 percent chance of being favorited, compared to just a 38 percent chance if no image was included.

The influence of images also appears to be at its highest for content creators at the lower end of authority on Twitter. The more prominent an influencer a Twitter user is, the less impact an image carries. But regardless of the user’s authority level, an image does increase the odds of engagement across the board.

“At lower authority levels, including an image will get you 5 to 9 times as many retweets and 4 to 12 times as many favorites than you will if your tweets don’t include an image,” the report states. “Note that high authority levels also benefit as well, though for the 90–99 range the gain is relatively modest. For those high-authority accounts, people are already hanging on their every word.”

Overall, Twitter is one of the best platforms for imagery—at least right now. But there’s evidence that Instagram is quickly gaining ground in terms of engagement, according to a study from Socialbakers.

As an image-based platform, Instagram would appear to have a decisive advantage in using images to trigger engagement, but the social network is also younger than Twitter and is working to catch up to older social presences. Its user base is still much smaller than Twitter’s, but post-engagement rates are soaring. When considering the top 25 brands wielding the highest influence on both Instagram and Twitter, Instagram provides by far the best returns on engagement—3.31 percent for the average post, compared with just .07 percent on Twitter.

Profile interactions on Instagram are also crushing similar activity on Twitter, at least among major brands. This represents a huge opportunity for brands that build a big following on Instagram, but it also highlights how image integration in Twitter posts can elevate social engagement.

In 2015, strong graphics will become a key differentiator for brands dedicated to driving engagement and returns through social media. Images and other graphics should be used regularly in all types of social media posts to make content as shareable and snackable as possible during the new year. This image integration should become a staple of your brand’s content marketing strategy.

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