By Jeanne Achille, from Inc.com – http://bit.ly/WMc5eG

In the age of 140 characters or less, your audience is becoming more visually conscious and, as a result, more discerning.

While everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words, many fail to realize that a picture can also be worth a thousand likes. Yep, that’s right, in the age of 140 characters or less, your audience is becoming more visually conscious and, as a result, more discerning. And though it may seem trivial, the images you upload can make a real impact on your company’s brand. Here are four ways to make sure your images count:

1. Learn the basics.

High-quality images with crisp, clear resolutions are more likely to get you noticed. And even if your organization doesn’t use images that often, it’s good to know the basic usage rules. For online use, stick to images with a resolution of 72 dpi or higher; for print, at least 300 dpi. The brightness and lightness of the image is also important since these characteristics are more appealing and encourage interest.

2. Use stock selectively.

Once upon a time, canned images of smiling people sitting around a conference table took over the Internet. Nowadays, people look for more natural images that showcase real people doing real things. That’s not to say you can’t rely on stock images here and there, but do so wisely. With so many stock photography sites to choose from, spend some time researching images before you commit.

3. Get personal.

Uploading images of your organization’s day-to-day operations is a great way to showcase your culture and let the world see how you operate. Put a face behind your name and integrate images of your actual employees into your blog posts, newsletters, or social feeds. They don’t have to be candid, either. Use an employee with a passion for photography, or hire a local professional to snap some headshots in the office.

4. Keep it consistent.

The images you choose should always be reflective of your organization, as well as its products, services, culture, and values. Select images with your existing audience in mind. These are the people who know, use, and rely on your organization and are most likely to be your biggest advocates. If it’s a new audience you seek, consider how different images might support your marketing efforts on a campaign basis.

IMAGE: MartinaYach/Flickr

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