How to Use Images in Social Media Activities to Increase Engagement and Outreach

Social media interactions are becoming more image- vs. text-oriented as images produce more of an immediate emotional reaction. Ekaterina Walter, Intel’s social media strategist, describes social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest as having ushered in visual marketing as the “breakout trend for 2012.” (

Current social media research indicates including photos in social media posts enhances effectiveness. A study by HubSpot, a marketing software company, of 8,000 Facebook posts from companies to other companies and clientele, showed posts with photos received 53% more “Likes” than the average post ( Microsoft research cites four of the most searched social networks by their Bing search engine (2013) were Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all of which can utilize images (

Because of this emerging trend, we reviewed best practices on several popular websites that utilized images. In turn, we implemented and evaluated using images to promote our Extension food-related website.

Learning Objectives:

1)      Use images in several types of social media to enhance engagement and sharing

2)      Select images that gain the most attention

3)      Utilize images on webpages to increase social media opportunities

4)      Locate free images suitable for non-commercial use

5)      Use free, simple online photo-editing tools


Alice Henneman, MS, RDN
UNL Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County, Lincoln, Nebraska

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Created by Stephen Judd

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