When you include them in your social posts, “photos get 7 times more likes and 10 times more shares than links,” according to Dan Zarrella.

With that in mind, here are 8 great ways to use photos and images in your posts to get more likes, comments and shares:

1. Post fan-generated photos and images

Invite your fans to take photos of themselves using your product or service, and post the photos on your social sites. This not only increases the number of image-based posts on your networks, it goes a long way towards building social proof for your brand.

2. Hold photo contests

In order to encourage your fans to submit photos, hold a contest on one of your social networks (Facebook is great for this). Give a prize for the best photo, biggest number of shares, or most comments.

3. Use charts & graphs

Simple charts, graphs, or other visual representations of information will reinforce the facts in your posts – especially for people whose learning style is more visual.

4. Add Text to Your Photos

Adding text to your images gets your message across with more impact than a simple text post.

For example, a meme, as defined by Wikipedia, is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Memes have gained a lot of popularity in the social space and are excellent examples of integrating a photo or image with a distinct verbal message (think Grumpy Cat or The Most Interesting Man in the World, etc.). However, they are not limited to the “just for fun” category. Newcastle Brown Ale is one company that’s using the meme idea to great effect as part of its latest campaign – they are even inviting their social followers to create and upload their own memes (see #1 and #2 above).

5. Maximize your Facebook cover image

Make it bold, eye catching, and inviting. You can even create a series of cover images and rotate them throughout the year based on the seasons, campaigns, or promotions you have going on. Making use of your Facebook cover is one of the most effective ways to make a visual impact on your users.

6. Buy stock photos

This is probably the easiest way to start using more images and photos, because you can choose from thousands of royalty-free images to visually express key themes in your posts. iStockPhoto and Shutterstock are two great resources. They are paid services, but absolutely worth considering, especially if you don’t have an in-house graphic designer.

7. Take screenshots of customer reviews

Take screenshots of great reviews and build up a library of images that you can post on your various social networks. Not everyone uses Yelp or other similar resources, so this is a great way to ensure that your fans and followers will see your positive reviews.

8. Post infographics

Infographics pull together complex ideas, information or data into an easy-to-understand visual format. They make a strong visual impact and are easily shareable, which can help your efforts to spread ideas and information to a wider audience.

What about you? What kinds of photos, images or graphics have you found to be most effective in your social media networks? Let us know in the comments!