Lesson: Images are just that important!

Whether you’re designing a website, brochure, or writing a sermon… people love images.

Here’s what Justin Dean, the Communications Manager for Mars Hill in Seattle says they have learned about images in their social media and web outreach:

Last year I attended a talk at the Seattle Interactive Conference by Ben Huh, the Cheezburger guy. He was explaining why sharing photos and images do so well. His theory was that if you post a link, your followers have to make a decision before clicking it. Even if its just a split second decision, they still have to decide: is this going to take me to something I actually want to see? Will I get a virus if I click on this? Will the image I see be safe for work? Will I be embarrassed that this shows up in my Internet history? It creates enough doubt that most of the time people just pass it by, especially when scrolling briskly through a news feed.

But by posting an image you are breaking down that barrier to entry. As they scroll through their feed, there’s the image. They didn’t have to click anything. They see it, and if they like it they can share it. This is why Twitter previews most links, especially photos in the stream. This is why Instagram does so well. When we realized this we took a look at the types of things we were posting and asked ourselves what could be turned into an image and what had to be text?

We decided to perform a test and converted the following types of posts into images:

  • Scripture
  • Quotes from sermons
  • Quotes from interviews
  • Quotes from books

When we posted a sermon quote as just text in a status update on Facebook, we got very little engagement. Sometimes 20 or so shares and 100 or so likes per post. At the time we thought that was actually pretty good.

When we created an image of the quote, just words on a colorful background or overlayed on a photo, the likes and shares skyrocketed. About 700 shares on average per photo. People love them and because they’re being shared with more people, our followers started going up as well. It was the same content, just delivered in a different way.

Once we knew it was a better way to share this kind of content we then streamlined the way we produced it. For example, each sermon series gets a unique template to the design of the images. So each week our designer can just easily paste in the quote to create a new image and he doesn’t have to come up with some new design every post. It also helps create a fluid brand identity with each sermon series.

He gives some examples here…

Does this make you think differently about how you’re doing things at your church?  Should you be using MORE images?



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