There are many ways to make your social media content more engaging – #hashtags, current events, clever one-liners, GIFs of Justin Bieber apologies – but one of the key ways to appeal to more social media users is by using lots of attractive visual content.

And the best thing about visuals is, they are more than 40x more likely to be shared on social media than any other kind of content.

But you can’t just throw up any kind of content; you need certain standards to ensure your posts resonate with your audience.

Here’s a quick guide on using visuals – in particular, images and videos – to spruce up your social media.

Selecting Images

If you want to post an image on social media, it’s important to align it with your brand. You want to create a consistent user experience that builds up your image and communicates what you are all about.

Black Lab Visual Content – Social Media Images

Adorable, sure, but not appropriate. Unless you’re a dog-related company. In which case, lucky.

When selecting images, be sure they are of good quality, too. Smartphones take some pretty great photos, but their file sizes are gigantic. Be sure to upload the appropriate size for each platform to get the best display across devices.

Making Videos

Online video is one of the most popular types of visual content on social media. Per Three Motion, 78 percent of people watch online videos weekly, and 55 percent watch them daily. If you are a numbers person, then you are probably considering video.

Making videos is a special process. Not only do you need high-quality footage, but you also need to be able to tell a story through pictures, words and sound. You need to create a reason for people to keep watching, which usually means establishing an emotional connection with the viewer. Hey, no one said this was going to be easy. (Although live streaming video, also gaining in popularity, is a great option for behind-the-scenes footage you capture with a mobile device.)

If you are considering video as part of your social media content strategy, then you also want to discuss the best length. A 10-minute how-to video on epoxy application is probably necessary, but not so much if you’re just introducing the epoxy product (both scintillating topics, I admit).

You’ll also want to pay attention to length limitations. Each social media platform may have different specifications when it comes what kinds of video you can upload.

Of course, images and video are not the only types of visual content to use on social media. You have your infographics and slideshows. Graphs and charts.

What really matters when it comes to visual content on social media is that it reflects your brand in voice, standards, and messaging.