Brace yourself for a jaw-dropping a statistic. Nearly three-quarters of all social media marketers use social images ahead of blog and videos to catch the attention of their followers. That’s 75%!

Whether you’re a perfectionist who scrutinizes their posts before publishing or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type who hardly gives a second thought —this three minute checklist is bound to earn you more eyeballs and clicks from your social images. Here’s a compilation of the best staging, editing, and planning tips to make your own social media images more clickable. All you need is a camera phone and three minutes.

Minute 1: Setup your Social Images


Tamara Bowman suggests you pay attention the next time you watch a movie: “think of how boring it would be if the main character was in the center of the frame the entire show.”

Imagine your shot as a nine square grid. Position the subject of your photo within the leftmost, rightmost, topmost or bottommost thirds of the grid. If your platform of choice is Instagram, make a pattern of it! It’ll really spice up your feed.

Wipe Off Your Camera Lens

Elsie Larson wipes her phone off prior to every social image she takes. This small step is a no-brainer that doesn’t often occur to the best of us.

Consider Your Lighting

“iPhone photos are naturally a little muted and dull. When you layer a filter from most apps on top of that, it will give you an image that’s still muted and dull, “says Larson, so it’s best to get your lighting right on the first try.

Visual consistency is key. If you stick to all natural lighting for instance, it will save you time during the editing process trying to match the contrast and coloration of your social images.

A post shared by ELSIE LARSON (@elsielarson) on

Minute 2: Edit your Social Images

The slightest edits to your images can add a little boost to your brand’s credibility. The secret is continuity.

Smooth Your Photos with FaceTune

“I like to whiten the heck out of the photo,” says Carlita Kelly, whose first step is to increase the contrast of her images because it fits the aesthetic she chose for her Instagram. “Anything that needs smoothing, I’ll smooth it.”

It’s got face in the name but you can use Facetune on all of your images — to iron out any  details which may distract from the focus of the photo or any fluctuations in color tone.

Pick Your Filter with VSCO

Initially, a series of presets for professional photography edit software, VSCO is the best way to edit an image that only requires a slight adjustment. Simply apply the preset and then use the slider to adjust its intensity. Keep track of your filters and limit yourself to two.

Minute 3: Plan your Social Posts

After all your work, you’ll want to ensure that your social images are seen.  Consider that Google incorporates your images within its SEO crawls.

Reduce Your File Size

Brittany Xavier reminds us, “the idea is to get them as small as you can without losing quality. My images start out at 23MB before uploading the final product!” Try to keep your file sizes under 10 MB to ensure optimal page load times.

Name Your Files

Don’t just stop at one or two words: the more specific your title, the better.  Use long tail keywords. If you’re posting an image to accompany a blog post, name the file after the blog post. “If your image is a sunrise in Paris showing the Notre Dame, the file name shouldn’t be DSC4536.jpg, but notre-dame-paris-sunrise.jpg,” writes Michael Heijmans for Yoast.

It may not come as a surprise to you that readers spend more time scrutinizing images than they do reading text on a page. Next time you upload a photo to your social channels remember, it only takes three minutes to give your photos a little umphf.

For a detailed look on Instagram’s algorithm changes or for general engagement tips, check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.