Go Viral: The Simple Art of Creating Sharable Images

viral imagesYou don’t have to be an artist or use fancy tools to create shareable images online. The “success kid” image (meme) in this article took me all of 10 seconds to create on www.quickmeme.com. Images have a viral nature. People love to share them. Incidentally, images uploaded to Facebook tend to get shared more often than links or plain text. So, if you want to get the most out of your presence on social networks, post more original images. If you want to get more traffic to your blog, upload more images. If you want more fan engagement…yup, you guessed it: post more images.

Strategic Image Sharing

Before you go out and start filling your social feeds with puppies and pics of your breakfast, think about how using images (and images with captions) can drive fan engagement. You don’t have to be a visual artist, but you do need to use your brain. What will resonate with your audience? Does your audience have a funny bone? What do they like to share on their feeds? Are they cat people, nerds, jocks, metal heads, hip hop fans, writers, lawyers, jugglers? Whoever your audience is, you want to try to appeal to their interests with the images you post.

Experiment and Learn

Re-posting popular images and memes is a good way to get a feel for stuff your audience will like. Reddit.com is a great place to discover images that are getting a lot of attention because there is a crowd-based voting process. But you’ll get the most benefit from posting original content that you create. Your fans want to connect with you. They want to know what you’re made of. Remember, every like and share is a vote. Consider each image you post as an experiment, and every like, comment, and share as an indication that you’re moving in the right direction.


grumpy cat goes viralImage Creation Tips

Try out meme generators like: memegenerator.net, Quickmeme, Zipmeme, and DIYLOL. Just make sure you understand the unwritten rules of certain meme characters before you post your own. This can be done quickly be surveying the many versions and captions for a particular pic. For instance: Grumpy cat captions often start positive but end with something grumpy.

Memes not your thing? What about a comic? Comic generators like www.bitstrips.com allow you to pose characters, add backgrounds, and add speech bubbles. See my example below.

Don’t forget to add your website address and/or artist name to the images you post. This way your images always have the ability to bring traffic back to your website.

Ask your fans and followers to create images you can share. Even better, ask them to create images related to your project.

As I’ve learned by testing some of these image creators out, they don’t always let you download the image. This is an essential step. You want to have control of the image. You can sidestep this inconvenience by simply taking a screen shot of your meme after you have created it.

What about your own photos? Sometimes adding a caption to your own photo or doing a little photoshop magic can be just the recipe to get your image shared over and over. Need a free photo editor? Try www.pixlr.com


create your own comic

Use captions to illustrate deeper meaning–not to describe the obvious. Many of the most popular image memes are actually symbols for an emotion or a state of being. Success kid embodies “success.” Grumpy cat embodies, well, grumpiness and meanness. Adding a caption often means just adding context for the emotion.

Do you have any recommendations for creating images that your fans will love and share? Please let me know in the comments below!