As you’ve likely heard many times before, “content is king.” This applies to many fields in marketing, including and especially to social media. As you review your content, however, remember that content is more than articles, pages, and words. When it comes to social media, perhaps the #1 key aspect of your marketing is your visual content!
Why Visual Content is Important
The importance of visual content for social media cannot be emphasized enough. Life is busy nowadays, and people’s attention spans are very short. In fact, people form a firm impression in just 50 milliseconds. Few users will slug through wordy copy or a boring block of text to glean the point of your post—they’ll just scroll right past it. An eye-catching photo or video, however, will grab, and keep, their attention longer. In fact, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without. Little wonder, then, why every major social network, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, have made changes to accommodate the growing significance of photo and video!
Here are more statistics to spark your interest:
-An estimated 84% of communications will be visual by 2018.
-Facebook posts from brands that include images earn 87% more engagement.
-Tweet with images earn up to 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.
-Posts including videos attract 3x more link clicks than text-only posts.
-Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts..
-Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.
How to Create Great Visual Content
-Leverage text well. When you’re making a post for Facebook, Twitter, or your website, utilize copy over empty space, and use different font styles, sizes, and colors to make the text easy and interesting to read. But don’t go overboard—the point of a visual after all, is to let the visual speak for itself. Don’t overcrowd with too many words.
– Use high quality images. This one should be a no-brainer, but many people make the mistake of thinking that a photo is a photo, and that their followers won’t notice the difference between a high-res photo and a slightly grainier one. Unfortunately, they are wrong. High quality images speak to your brand’s credibility and professionalism, while low-quality images (grainy, blurry, cheap-looking, etc.) detract from that, potentially even throwing off potential customers from your business. Like it or not, your photos represent you as a business.
-Use a range of visual content. The beauty of visual content lies in its endless possibilities. Don’t think that you’re stuck between simple still images and basic video. Go crazy, get creative, and get some variety! There are many apps and programs you can use to make interesting moving content such as a Boomerang or a Cinegraph. Other ideas for more unique still imagery: infographics, quote graphics, professional photography, interesting facts, etc.
-Tap into modern trends. The Internet is an ocean, with waves churning and changing the water daily—meaning that few things stay the same week to week. Staying afloat on social media means riding the tide of modern trends. Scour the net to discover the latest visual trends. Look to Pinterest and Instagram to see what’s “hip.” You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) copy this content exactly, but you should think of what appealing factors the images you like incorporate, and what common elements they share that you can emulate.
-Consider color palettes. What are your brand’s colors? What feeling do you want people to have when they see your posts? Identify the colors that define your brand, or define the feeling you want to invoke, and use those to inspire your creations.
-Use an online graphics editor. Not a graphic designer, and can’t afford one? No problem! With the power of the Internet, you can easily create beautiful graphics, even if you’ve never done them before. Some great resources to try are Canva, PicMonkey, PiktoChart, etc.
-Get inspired. Always be on the lookout for inspiration—whether you’re at the office or out. Even while you’re out strolling, pay attention to advertisements, store displays, menus, etc. Save anything interesting you can find, so that you can reference it later. Once you start opening your eyes more, you will find that great visual examples are hiding in plain sight!