During holidays, like the upcoming Valentine’s Day, imagery is a critical piece of the marketing puzzle. The stats back it up, too: Marketer Jeff Bullas notes that articles with images receive 94% more page views. The trend holds true for social media, with 71% of online marketers reporting that they use visual assets in their social marketing strategy.

But when these holidays roll around and every brand and marketer is looking to capitalize on the conversation happening online, it can be hard to differentiate your content from your competitors. Valentine’s Day is no exception. With visions of red and candy hearts filling blogs and floating through newsfeeds, these three strategies can help break through the crowd of love-filled content.

1. Be Unexpected

vintage wildflower bouquet valentine's day illustration stock photo
<a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/pic-304900835/stock-photo-gentle-summer-floral-bouquet-with-burgundy-peonies-hyacinths-blackberry-and-wild-flowers-in.html?src=1FHXRGYS7_qRB2W_xG-NSw-2-13" target="_blank">Image by Depiano</a>

There’s more creative ways to acknowledge Valentine’s Day than the traditional narrative allows. Sure, boxes of chocolates, bouquets of flowers, and red hearts all trigger a correlation to the holiday, but are these familiar symbols truly connecting with customers? Think outside the box with imagery that stimulates Valentine’s Day thoughts but serves up something surprising.

Take a new twist on classic Valentine’s Day icons, like a colorful bouquet of wildflowers over the more traditional dozen red roses, or neutral color palettes with pops of gold over the conventional red and pink. This unique approach will set your imagery apart and leave an impression on consumers.

2. Be Intimate

Valentine’s Day is about more than planning dates and dishing into decadent desserts. It’s a holiday built around celebrating love—between friends, family and above all else, partners. Tap into the tender details of the holiday by showcasing the special moments between people that are relatable on many levels.

young couple sunset love valentine's day stock photo
<a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=315567146&src=lb-41704022">Image by Stone36</a>

A kiss on the forehead, a hand hold, or a hug—these are the moments that make love so powerful and shareable on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. This study of consumer brand marketing on Facebook found that photos that show people pull in the highest engagement.

Even more, many nueroscientists believe that “mirror nuerons” allow use to experience an emotion when we see it happening to someone else; strong visuals that capture people sharing a tender moment, like a kiss on the forehead, allow us to vicariously experience that emotion as well. With this in mind, focus your imagery on the specific moments that pull on our collective heartstrings, like a mother holding her newborn baby’s hand or kids in puppy love sitting side by side.

3. Be Personable

Brands have to earn the right to be a part of consumer social platforms every day of the year. After all, social networking sites were built for consumers, not for brands. But holidays like Valentine’s Day are a great opportunity to showcase the personality and tone of your brand in an authentic manner. Imagery plays a huge role in building that authenticity.

lesbian couple cuddling valentine's day stock photo
<a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=363961715&src=lb-41704022" target="_blank">Image by Yulia Grigoryeva</a>

According to marketer Mark Schaefer, people share content on social media to either inform or help, to express their own identity, or because they have an emotional connection to the brand. So, consider using imagery that reflects every day life and love, like couples playing a sport together, sharing a meal, or napping together. While these scenes might not scream Valentine’s Day, they do capture the important, underlying scenes of a relationship, and that is what makes them authentic. By posting high-quality images of daily moments that consumers relate to, you can increase your chances of consumers wanting to share your content within their own network.

For more authentic Valentine’s Day imagery, view our curated collection, “Love.”

Top image by ANURAK PONGPATIMET