Twitter has become a very busy place. As we’re collectively following more and more people, our Twitter timelines become more and more crowded. The consequence: less organic reach, lower engagement.
Last year, observing the same phenomenon, I wrote that social media publishing had to dramatically change to keep yielding results for professionals and marketers. This post, which followed Facebook’s own admission that organic reach was declining for pages, was one of the most resounding ones on our blog with many of our readers confirming this trend through their own experience. Our recommendation back then was simple: use a content hub for all your content – not just your blogs and created content but also your curated content. Bring your social traffic to it so that you can have engagement on your own turf and drive conversions.
This is still the best thing you can do to align your social media and your content marketing efforts and get results. But today, we’re adding a new, effortless way to drive engagement up by sharing your curated content as an image.
We’re rolling it out for Twitter first but plan on extending that to other social networks depending on your feedback and the results we’ll observe.
The impact of sharing curated content as images
A lot of social media experts have written on the impact of images but if you’re going to read one piece about this, I’d recommend this post by Stephanie Frasco which is a great recap of why images are crucial for social media, blogging and SEO.
While it’s easy to have great visual content on a blog or on a Scoop.it page, it’s not always the same when it gets distributed on social netsworks. On Twitter specifically, because streams are so busy, tweets with images stand out. Look at my Twitter timeline on the left: which tweet do you see first?
It’s not just a matter of standing out as the only few pictures in a long stream of text, hashtags and URLs: our brain also processes images 60,000 faster than text. So that even when your timeline is full of pictures, it’s way easier to process:
Of course, to share curated content, you’re not just tweeting an image but making the tweet an image tweet with a link included in the caption text. So in theory, there could be a trade-off here: yes, the tweet is more visible but do people effectively see and – more importantly – click on the link which is included in the tweet? After all, a text tweet makes the link much more prominent.
So we ran some tests comparing both types of tweets: first through A/B tests comparing the same content with and without an image, then by using images sometimes and sometimes not in our tweets over several weeks and analyzing the results using Twitter analytics.
Here’s what we found out:
Logically, adding images doesn’t have much impact on impressions as Twitter doesn’t have its own news feed ranking algorithm as Facebook does. However the benefits are obvious: the tweets with images added to the curated content not only generate 1.8x the engagement of regular text-based tweets but they generate 88% more link clicks and a 62% higher click-through rate.
How to share your curated content with an image on Twitter from Scoop.it
The feature we’ve added is really simple to use and is accessible to all our premium users starting from the Pro plan and of course our Scoop.it Content Director customers. It just takes a simple switch to activate as you share or publish your scoop:
Once you hit publish, here’s how your tweet will look like:
As you can see, it has the best of both world: a visual to grab attention and get engagement on Twitter, a link to drive traffic back to your own content hub and get engagement on your home base as well as generate conversions.
Of course, this feature can be combined with the one that lets you choose or upload your own image to a scoop. In the Scoop.it publishing window, you can easily choose the picture from within the original post by clicking on the Previous / Next arrows. The upload icon also lets you add your own images to posts.
Where can you find great, free photos to enrich your curated content?
Now that you can make your curated content a lot more visual on Twitter, you might want to explore how you can leverage that more. One way to do so is to replace the image from the original post by a new one of your own. Content curation is about adding context and your own voice to existing content. If a picture is worth a thousands words, it should definitely be a part of content curators’ arsenals in their daily effort to surface great content and give it meaning.
Lots of sites exists that provide stock photos but they’re not all good and they can be quite costly. Canva put together a great resource listing 74 of the best sites to find awesome free images which I’d recommend checking.
Within that list, you’ll find the awesome Startup Stock Photos made by Josh Krakauer’s agency Sculpt which is entirely free and super convenient to use (we keep finding gems in there and use it very often).
Last but not least, if you want to push your image advantage a step further, you should consider adding text to images. Adding a title to an image turns your tweet and your curated scoop into a slide and ensures your message get across.
This is really easy to do using Keynote or Powerpoint but Buffer came out recently with a tool just for that called Pablo.
We hope you’ll enjoy this new feature and look forward to seeing your tweets full of awesome visuals. Don’t hesitate to share feedback in the comments!
UPDATE: many of you requested it and so this feature is now available for Facebook too. Enjoy!