Want to make your social media message count? Start using images that are well aligned with the text!

In the times of Coronavirus, when every other organization was promoting safety messages, it was also important to ensure that the images in the text are relevant to the content.

The Journal of Health Communication presented a report which warns safety organizations and their social media and content creation teams about the misaligned digital communication. Liz Klein, an associate professor of public health at The Ohio State University states about the fact that usually, safety messages use images that are out of context or (sometimes, even) against the guideline provided in the message. It worsens the situation even more like in a post that promotes the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bike include a picture of riders without a helmet.

Klein wanted to test if pictures really matters while promoting a public service message. What impact a picture is creating on people? With the help of eye-tracking technology, several experiments were conducted to assess what people actually focus on while reading a safety message and what they remember about the message.

The test was conducted using two sets of three posts. One with the image relevant to the message and three posts with mismatched images. It was observed that people paid more attention to posts with matched images. 5.3 seconds an individual spent on matched posts whereas 3.3 seconds on misaligned posts.

Matched posts makes a big difference in remembering the message than mismatched posts. People understand safety messages with relevant images more properly. There is a constant increase in safety knowledge when viewing matched posts.

According to Lara McKenzie, a principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, along with healthy literature the role of social media cannot be ignored when it comes to promoting precautionary measures as the majority of the adults look on social media for any latest news. Social media platforms are one of the most important sources for promoting public service message for big health agencies. To them, relevant imagery is not as important as the message itself.

On this statement, Klein responded that the health organizations put images to the grab attention of the people regardless of the fact that the image is not relevant to the message. To help people understand the safety message, it is more important that the image and the written content is giving the same message.

We need to work more to exploit better ways to give guidance about health and safety. A good communication skill is more important when providing a public health message, said by Klein.

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