6 easy steps to creating an efficient and inspirational social media image library

It’s true that people come to us to manage their digital marketing because we’re something of a one-stop shop. Need strategy? That’s our favourite. Wicked copy? You bet. Pacing and managing content? Hell yes!

But we need something from them in return so we can hit the ground running, and make their channels awesome from the off by giving us a few tools to maximise the time spent marketing their brand.

One of those key tools is access to a well organised, spoilt-for-choice social media image library.

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to outsource your social media marketing, have a team member working on it for you, or are a digital marketer yourself about to take on a new client (congrats by the way!), social media marketing is going to be a thousand times more efficient if they’re not spending their time trawling through messy files or stock image sites to accompany every social media post.

Using stock images is, of course, absolutely fine. But it’s a good idea to get original imagery out there to keep your brand eye-catching and authentic.

Put aside half a day to sort this out. Create an image library that allows photos to be found easily for fast scheduling and endless content inspiration. In turn, it will enable the quick creation of beautiful social media channels.

This is how we do it…

1. Choose where to host your social media image library

A cloud service is usually the best option for storing images, particularly if you intend to share the library with others.

If you’re working with a small budget and/or a smaller library, services such as Dropbox, iCloud and GoogleDrive offer a certain amount of free space before charging you to store more on a monthly or annual basis.

Dropbox is our personal favourite. They offer 1TB of space for £8 per month.

2. Make sure all images are high quality

Low-resolution imagery just does not cut it on social media any more – particularly in a world where someone’s entire Instagram feed comprises of professionally shot and planned pictures, and where your average iPhone can capture images that rival an SLR camera. So high res all round, please!

3. Remove the ones you don’t like

If there’s an image you’re not sure you like or are hesitant to share on the internet, take it out of your library. Particularly if you’re the business owner outsourcing your digital marketing – there’s just nothing to be gained by letting someone craft posts around a picture you don’t want to be published at all. How will they know until they’ve put the content together that you don’t like it?

It’s surprising how much this happens. Be an extra awesome client or boss – and get rid of the snaps where you’re pulling that slurpy face – in advance, instead of freaking out after it goes live on Instagram.

4. Rename every image to boost SEO

Yes, all of them!

This action will mainly benefit blogs and websites, but social media networks update a lot. Many updates happen behind-the-scenes and improve software rather than the interface of the channel, so if these ever updated in a way that means image filenames impact how your content ranks on Google, you want to be ready.

So no more naming things as ‘Photo 0045676’ you guys. Get your SEO keywords in there and show those Google crawlers who’s boss.

5. Implement a strict filing system

The finicky bit – filing systems.

The form your filing system takes very much depends on the subject of your social media accounts and their goals.

For the purpose of explaining an effective filing system, we’re going to pluck an imaginary client (read: dream client we would sell our soul to work with) out of the air and use them as an example.

We choose our favourite restaurant, Brasserie Zedel (a gorgeous art deco underground bar and brasserie in London’s Piccadilly Circus with many sparkling chandeliers and delicious French food).

If we were to manage Zedel’s social media, we’d organise their Dropbox folders like this:

  • Restaurant
    • Photos of starters
      • Escargot
      • Steak Tartare
      • Onion Soup
    • Photos of main courses
      • Trout with Almonds
      • Bouillabaisse
      • Chicken In Champagne
    • Photos of desserts
      • Plated
        • Citrus Tart
        • Creme Brûlée
        • Profiteroles
      • On the trolly
        • Chocolate
        • Fruit
        • Pastries
    • Photos of cheese courses
      • Plated
        • Gruyere
        • Brie
        • Roule
      • On the trolly
    • Wine list
      • Menu shots
      • Bottles and glasses
    • Diners
    • Laid table
  • Bar Américain
    • Cocktails
      • Espresso Martini
      • The French Aperitif
      • Lazy River
    • Customers
      • Sat at tables
      • Ordering from the bar
    • Mixologists, hosts and waiters
  • Brasserie
  • Crazy Coqs cabaret room

Obviously, if we fill in everything from their menu and every part of the establishment, we’ll be here all day – not to mention get really hungry. But the above should demonstrate a logical, easy-to-use system that breaks the folders down by what content will be found in there. A product shot is going to have a different use and context from a live shot of the dining room, for example, so do the work in the first instance and categorise properly. Much easier than wading through one endless list of pictures to find one of the barman.

Other content types and file structures might include:

  • Lifestyle
    • Life in Paris
      • Food
      • Drink
      • Table manners
    • Piccadilly Circus
    • French tradition
  • Logos
    • Social media profile
      • Twitter
        • Cover Images
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
    • Website
      • Header
      • Sidebar
  • Quotes
    • Inspirational – French Chefs
    • Inspirational – French Monarchs
    • Testimonial – Birthday parties
    • Testimonial – Celebrity customers
  • Promotions
    • Food promotions
      • Mother’s Day 2018
      • Father’s Day
      • Lunchtime Menu
    • Drink promotions
      • Happy hour
      • 2-for-1 Prosecco

Once the pathways to finding a specific kind of picture in your Dropbox are nice and clear, it’ll be in much better shape for sharing with employees and contractors without needing a huge explanation first or constant guidance.

(Or, if you’re the employee/contractor, organising this on behalf of your client will simply bring them joy and they’ll think you’re even more of a genius, as well as making your own life way easier.)

6. Update frequently

You probably guessed this was coming – a good Dropbox should be updated with new images and videos as frequently as possible, particularly of new products you think potential customers will be really excited by, or of customers using their product.

Beautiful imagery is an important part of the digital marketing mix; create a filing system that works for you.

Got a killer social media image library filing system we should see (or, alternatively, a contact in Zedel’s HR department…)? Pop a picture or message on our Facebook wall! 

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