Want Massive Exposure? Go Viral!
We’ve all seen photos that have gone viral. Among my favorites are the ones of the painted sidewalks that are three dimensional- so detailed they look real, don’t they? Amazing, right? Or the magnificent nature shots of locations that most of us have never been to before.
What makes these photos go viral? It always involves evoking a feeling. The feeling can be surprise, awe, beauty, humor, tenderness, compassion, shock, or empathy. To increase the chances of your photo going viral think about what emotion you want to evoke but also consider the quality of the photo.
Here are some tips to help your photo become potential viral content:
Know Your Audience
Consider who your audience is for your photo. Think about whether this is a photo taken for fun or whether it is more serious and more appropriate to be shared with business colleagues rather than friends. What will they appreciate and want to pass along to friends and colleagues? Knowing your audience will help you decide where you will share your images.
Is it a humorous photo of an animal or person doing something unusual, or a funny sign that has more than one meaning? Or is it something so magnificently beautiful people can’t wait to share it? Think: why is this photo different from others we have seen before?
A few types of photos that often go viral:
Timelines-Then and now shots.
Locations-Show people a new perspective on a recognizable landscape. Google the location and look at existing images, then do the opposite.
Cuteness-No one can resist a puppy or a baby doing something humorous or charming.
Danger/Fear-Freak people out and add some adrenaline to their day.
Controversy-Stir things up but be careful and again, know your audience.
Historic-A reminder of something forgotten or newly discovered about the past.
Quality of Your Photo
Think about how you compose the photo. Is the composition compelling, sharp, has depth and contrast or is soft focus with muted tones? Whatever you decide, make sure the quality and resolution are the best it can be as it will become a reflection of you and the work you do.
Consider image orientation; portrait images have a higher probability of going viral than squared images which are more likely to be viral than landscapes. Then again Instagram is a square orientation so consider the channel and where you will distribute the image.
Pay attention to color. A study published on PLOS One established a link between a photograph's main colors and its shareability. After analyzing 1 million images on Pinterest, they found that pictures composed mainly of the colors red, purple, and pink were more likely to be repinned, or shared. Blue, green, black, and yellow, meanwhile, suppressed diffusion.
Add the color red to your photos. Red is a “stop” color and humans naturally pause for this color. Consider using it as you get started in creating images you want to get noticed.
Make at least some of the photos personal such as what you are drinking. Surprisingly photos of tea cups are the most shared photos. I know - strange but true.
Geotagging your photos - especially on Instagram - when you are at a popular event increases the likelihood of the image getting shared and viewed by fellow attendees.
Textures are appealing so add that element to some of your shots.
Don’t Forget a Caption and Credit Line
Do you have a caption or title that elucidates the viewer, or is the photo totally self-explanatory? A photo should tell a story in and of itself, but adding a short caption can often enhance your photo. How many photos of sunsets and beaches have you seen that without a caption never would have garnered your attention? Sometimes the caption can make the photo more meaningful to the viewer. Remember to add a credit line with you as the photographer so it helps you expand your visibility and build your reputation.
Do Search Engine Optimization on Your Visual Content
Remember to add the photo to your own website in your portfolio or your blog and be sure to optimize your image for search via SEO so that it is easy to find and recognizes you as the author/creator of the content.
Where Will You Post It?
Think about what social media channels you will use to build momentum. Then track it.
There is huge marketing value in getting your images to go viral especially if it happens more than once. You can even use the fact that they did to market the value and appeal of your work to your clients or potential clients. If the images you create have your client’s product or services in the image the boost for them will be great exposure as well.
These are just a few suggestions on how a photo can go viral. But, you don’t have to figure all of this out on your own, reach out and we can work together to get your site and photos on everyone’s mind.