DesignSocial Media

I t’s time to use quote graphics responsibly

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Gary Smith Apr 23, 2014

"It's time to use quote graphics responsibly." - Zbra Studios

I can see the appeal of a good quote. I mean, it’s kind of difficult to argue with Gandhi.

I can also see the appeal of a striking image. Photography is in my blood, and if there’s a pretty picture in my feed, you can bet my eyes will be tracking there.

Cross those streams, and you’ve got a good bet for light engagement (likes, shares, etc).

Take these 2012 survey results from SocialToaster, for example:

Infographic via SocialToaster

Infographic via SocialToaster

90% said that photos were likely to be reshared, while 51% said that quotes were likely to be reshared.

Well, slap that quote on a photo, and what have you got?


This isn’t exactly a secret, though. Take a glance around any social network, and chances are you’ll come across an inspirational quote graphic before long.

In itself, that’s not a problem.

Here’s the problem:

In many instances, businesses or professionals on social media use quotes as a shortcut to engagement.

Problem is, there are no shortcuts to good engagement.

If you’re just dropping a quote graphic onto a social network without any context, and you’re doing that repeatedly, you’re cultivating empty engagement.

And you don’t want to do that.

No context, no discussion, just pluses and shares. This is empty engagement, and this is a problem.

No context, no discussion, just pluses and shares. This is empty engagement, and this is a problem.

The solution:

When you use a quote graphic, use it to put a point on a discussion, or to begin one. Inspirational quotes can be a fantastic tool, but like anything else, they work far better when used in tandem with other tools.

Think of it terms of the (totally great and not overused at all) fishing analogy:

The quote graphic is your lure.

A discussion point is your hook.

Comments are a bite.

Your response is the point where you start reeling in.

How to use inspirational quotes responsibly

Doing it right:

Take this post from as an example:

Dustin hits all the right points here. He uses a striking graphic, writes the quote out in the text of the post (so that search engines can crawl it), then moves into a discussion about that quote, and wraps it up in a tidy call-to-action for his business, while continuing to respond to the comments below.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a Grade A example of how to use an inspirational quote on social media.

In fact, Dustin has been kind enough to offer an awesome repository of quote graphics on his site, free of charge, so long as you provide an attribution to his site.

Just promise us you’ll use them responsibly, okay?

The tl;dr on how to use quote graphics responsibly:

Dropping inspirational quote graphics on a social network might be easy, but it’s also empty, and it won’t do you any favors in the long run.

Instead – if you want to benefit from the innate lure of a good quote graphic – use it to start a conversation with your audience.

This is where you’ll find engagement which means something, and might even lead you to a sale.

And, above all, remember:

Use the force Harry - Gandalf

Still my favorite thing on the internet. Original source unknown.

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