If you look at the posts on my Facebook Business Page (my social media platform of choice) you’ll notice that I basically post two things:
1. Text-only writings, without images or links.
In this post I’ll focus why I don’t add images to my writings on my FB business pages.
Note — this doesn’t apply to artists, photographers, sellers of physical products, or those whose business is very image-oriented. This does apply to anyone whose business is primarily about knowledge, wisdom, or transformation, such as coaching, mentoring, teaching, or healing.
Yes, I know the common advice that adding an image will expose my posts to a lot more people. Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
1. More exposure creates inauthentic engagement.
2. Getting engagement by non-ideal audience members worsens our costs for marketing to those who are ideal audience members.
3. Training your audience to like your images (easy to do) decreases their patience in engaging with your more thoughtful material.
4. You need to keep upping the game of attractiveness to keep their attention.
Let’s explore each problem.
A focus on exposure creates non-ideal audience
For authentic marketing, we’re not just trying to play to the algorithm. We’re trying to inspire or help or connect genuinely with the people who are most meant for us. The algorithm, in fact, is trying to help us authentic content creators.
So when you’re doing anything to intentionally “get more views” such as using an attractive image, you are trying to game the algorithm, and human beings will sense the inauthenticity. It’s a bait-and-switch.
Sure, people will notice the attention-getting image, but if the message isn’t a right fit for them, they will feel a bit disappointed by your brand.
You might actually get a lot of “engagement” in terms of photo clicks, likes, or even shares, but this increases your non-ideal audience. This brings us to the next problem.
Increasing Marketing Costs to Ideal Audience
When you any attention-getting tactic, and get lots of attention, you’re growing a larger but less-ideal audience.
Whether you use paid ads, or try to reach them organically (without paid ads), you’ll have to try even harder to reach the ideal portion of your audience.
If you have a larger audience that came from shallow engagement, it means the ideal portion of your audience is smaller and smaller in percentage. Therefore, a growing part of your ad dollars has to wade through a large percentage of non-ideal audience members, in order to find the ideal ones.
Without paid ads (trying to reach them organically) you’ll need ideal audience members to engage with your content, to reach more ideal people like them. If instead a bunch of non-ideal audience members engage, Facebook shows it to even more people like that.
Training Shallow Engagement
The more images you post, the more shallow engagement you’ll get.
What I’ve done instead is to post lots of thoughtful text-only content on my Facebook Pages — George Kao Authentic Business Coach and Soul Gym — along with videos, and thereby, training my audience over time (getting them accustomed) to engage thoughtfully with my content.
Any paid work with me (books, courses, and coaching) requires deeper, even more thoughtful engagement.
Therefore, by creating a thoughtful relationship with my audience, my business flourishes, because through my content, my audience is getting used to deeper engagement with me. Reading a post or watching a video, rather than liking images.
Attractive to Keep Their Attention
If you use attention-getting tactics such as attractive images, you grow an impatient audience who will keep needing images to stay attracted to you.
Then, when you are ready to sell something, you are required to up the level of entertainment, or attractiveness, to get enough attention to your sales message to sell enough product.
This is why so many marketers resort to hype to sell things — they’re built an impatient audience.
In summary, we don’t want too much exposure. We just want the ideal audience. And, unless our business is art or physical products, our ideal audience doesn’t need our images.