Put more pictures into your tweets

PhotographerIf you want your tweet to get noticed, add a picture. Twitter may have begun as a text-only short messaging system, but for a tweet to stand out today, it really needs the help of a strong visual. Below are the most recent three tweets in my timeline as I write this, all with pictures to catch the reader’s eye. Usefully, they’re all different examples of image use.

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For me, the most effective Twitter pictures do more than catch the eye—they add depth to the message, often by providing more information.

The first tweet, from @BBCSouthToday, talks about new plans for Southsea’s South Parade Pier, and the picture of the pier model gives an immediate impression of how the pier will look.

Images overlaid with text are a popular and effective way of getting a message across. But if you do this, it’s important to make sure the text is easy to read. The second tweet from my timeline (which happens to be a promoted tweet or advert) uses an image that’s been darkened, to help the white text stand out.

You can attach up to four pictures to a tweet, creating a montage. The third tweet in my timeline, posted by @Portlandjamjar and retweeted by @NewInnBoutique, uses two photos. A montage works really well with three or four photos giving different perspectives on the same subject.

Take care when choosing your Twitter picture

Twitter displays individual photos in a letterbox format—that is, they are long and thin. Montage photos can become squares. It’s important to consider how your photo will look before posting it.

I often see tweeted images where the subject isn’t clearly visible. Often someone’s head is chopped off, or text is only partially visible, such as in the tweet below, from @high_on_glitter. I don’t want this to happen to the pictures I share.

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But does it really matter? The image has done its job just by catching my eye and, in this case, I can guess the words that are missing. And if I really wanted to see all the text, I can click on the image to open it.

What do you think of a Twitter picture where the text or subject is only partially displayed? Is it good or bad?

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TwitterAndrew Knowles