Last week, Twitter announced that images and Vine videos would begin being previewed in users’ timelines, whether you like it or not. The verdict so far? The feature reeks of advertising and more people are discussing how to turn it off than how to use it. Yikes. Double yikes because my first thought was how incredible this was going to be for brand marketers. Think about it: this is a brand new feature that many brands don’t even know about, so those of us that stay updated on new social features have a tremendous opportunity to make our tweets stand out.

This announcement coincidentally (?) came the same day that Google Plus announced their own updates to photo and video management, with some amazing photo editing features. And let’s not forget that Facebook believed in photos so much that they spent a cool $1 billion on the Instagram acquisition and made images front and center in their users’ Newsfeeds. Obviously, everyone wants their social network to be the place that you share your photos and videos, and that’s because everyone knows that photos and videos get the most engagement. In fact, recent research from Dan Zarrella found that tweets using Twitter’s native uploading service (pic.Twitter.com) were 94% more likely to be ReTweeted – so it’s no surprise that Twitter is also moving to a more visual approach.

However, and as with most major updates to social platforms, users are pushing back and only time will tell if this update will stick (this writer is confident that it will). But what does that mean for brands? My advice: test the waters, but proceed with caution. Users that don’t want to see photos in their timeline may unfollow your brand or, worse, block you. So start small and post one image update daily for a week – then check to see if your engagement increased and if your unfollow rate held steady. Then try posting two image updates daily and watch how your audience responds. Test a few different images types, and keep playing around with frequency to find your sweet spot. You may find that images aren’t for you, or you may find that the types of images you post are valued by your audience and get you the type of engagement you’ve always dreamed of – but you’ll never know until you try.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try something new! And let us know with a comment what’s working, and what isn’t.