USA Today–VENICE BEACH, Calif. — Summer is prime time for taking cool photos and sharing them on social media, but why do some people get tons of “likes” for their work when others just get a handful?
Well, it turns out there is an art to acquiring feedback — likes, comments, emoticons and such. We went to the source to find out more: young adults strolling along the oceanfront here on a hot, sunny day.
• Rule #1: Have great shots of the opposite sex. Women dominate social media — some 76% of adult women use Facebook heavily, compared with 66% of adult men, according to Pew Research. “Bare-chested guys always works,” says Troy Storm, 18, of Chicago. And for men, bikini shots are gold. “Have a girl in it,” insists Storm’s pal Sean O’Carroll. (If you hadn’t heard it before, here’s a newsflash — sex sells.)
• Rule #2: Hashtags help photos get discovered on Facebook-owned Instagram. “Hashtag everything you can think of,” says Storm. For instance, for this chance outing on the beach with #TalkingTech, he and his buddies offered “Venice Beach,” “ocean,” “sand,” “sun,” “California,” “bikinis” and “bare-chested guys.”
Marisa Michele, 21, of La Habra, Calif., says she tries to not go overboard with hashtags. “I’ll do a couple. Nothing too intense.”
• Rule #3: Take great pictures. Michele says subject matter is a much stronger component than hashtags. “Just make sure it’s a good picture. The better the picture, the more Likes you’ll get.” In other words — weed out the fluff.
Smartphones are great for photos in bright light but fall apart in the evening. So ditch the poorly lit shots — you know, the ones where your friends look like they have raccoon eyes from the overhead lighting, or they’re barely visible at all. Skip the out of focus, fuzzy ones and leave in the sharp stuff.
Her Instagram collection includes the tried and true — bikini shots with friends, party pictures, selfies, huge drinks with multiple straws, the beach, food and girlfriends having fun. All well-exposed and legible shots. Michele says she usually gets at least 100 likes for every posted photo.
But Pablo Pannici, a street performer here who goes by the name “Purple Reggae,” walks around with a high-end $1,000 Canon DSLR around his neck, producing sharp images that are much crisper than anything shot on a smartphone. And he says optics aren’t the answer, as he only averages six likes for photos. He believes guys just can’t compete with women when it comes to getting loud feedback in the form of “Likes.”
“They have more options,” he says. “I guess you have to change the outfit every day, go to the mall.”
#LikemeUSAT. Readers: what are your tips for getting likes? Let’s discuss it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham, using the hashtag #LikeMeUSAT.