Visual Social Media – time to harness visual content

The digital world is changing and so are the ways in which we promote businesses online. As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and that will certainly ring true this year.

The growing popularity of visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram has highlighted the need for businesses to think visually in order to engage with their audience online. Even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have changed their strategies, putting more emphasis on visuals in their news feeds. In one of our previous posts covering motion graphics, Mark Zuckerberg emphasised the importance of video content at their annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco:

“Fast forward five years, it’s going to be video,” he said. “If you look out even further, it will be more immersive content like AR and VR.”

Visual content is posed to take the lead, so if you haven’t already, now’s the time to harness its power on social media. Get it right. Get it shared. You’ll soon see the benefits it has to offer.

The visual shift in social media

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What started out as a website soon became a blog, which featured posts ranging from 500 – 1000 words in length, attracting interactions and comments from the wider community. A few years later, the digital user embraced even shorter content in the era of information overload, with the introduction of Facebook and within what seemed a blink of an eye, Twitter had us creating 140 character tweets.

More importantly, we have embraced the shift from text to visuals. Images are being showcased everywhere and thanks to Pinterest, Instagram and blogging sites like Tumblr we can now devour information quicker than we ever have before.

Looking back, it was inevitable that we would reach a point where image-based content is overtaking traditional written content. You only needed to look at the growth of apps like Instagram and record-breaker Pinterest to see that visual social media is clearly the way forward.

What this means for your business

With news that Pinterest is now the 2nd largest driver of traffic and Instagram has the highest engagement rate out of any social media platform, it only seems sensible that businesses start incorporating visual content into their social media marketing strategies.

Image editing site, PicMonkey.com has reported that they average 4.3 million images daily, which just goes to show that businesses are taking the visual shift seriously. If you haven’t already; now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon and embrace visual social media in all its glory.

There are massive opportunities for those businesses that can harness the power of visual social media marketing. Learn how to use visual content like images, infographics and animations and you stand a greater chance at reaching people with your message, driving traffic to your site and getting those all-important conversions.

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Leveraging the power of visual social media

Wherever possible businesses need to be using visuals to share their message. Stick with the rule ‘show don’t tell’. From creating unique visual content in-house, to outsourcing it to professionals, there are plenty of ways you can obtain engaging pictures, animations and infographic that you can use across social media.

Some companies have even taking to crowdsourcing visual content from their fans on social media. Encouraging them to promote your brand visually through photo competitions is a great way to gain access to unique, relevant and engaging visual content.

What makes visual content so special?

Facebook_likesAn ROI research report found that users are more likely to engage with brands that post pictures than any other form of media and photos on Facebook are thought to generate 53% more likes than the average post.

Why? Images and other visual content create a deeper emotional connection.

Businesses should use this information to their advantage, using images to create emotional connections that encourage engagement and drive sales.

Visual content also has the potential to achieve higher conversions, with videos increasing website conversions by up to 86%. If you’re looking to drive traffic and improve sales, creating visual content should be high on your list.

Brains love visual content

8_secondsIf you were wondering why visual content is so effective, the simple answer is that it’s the type of content our brain likes best. The average consumer attention span is just 8 seconds, meaning that a lot of written content is simply lost somewhere between the screen and the brain. Whereas, visual content can be processed by the brain in just ¼ of a second, making it much more effective.

Unlike written content, visuals grab people’s attention and get a message across much quicker. You only have to look at road signs for proof!

Our brains are also able to retain visual information more easily, making it more memorable and therefore more effective for marketers.

Creating effective visual content for social media

Pinterest_repinsThere’s a lot to be said for creating original content. Over 80% of pins on Pinterest are repins, which means that just 20% of content is original.

Be part of that 20% and you stand an excellent chance of your content getting re-pinned by the 80% of users that don’t create original content.

One of the best ways to create visuals for social media is by using the data you have collected for your reports and studies. You can easily turn it from being bland and boring, to exciting and engaging, by simply creating a few visuals.

Split the data up into different infographics, animations and images to maximise the benefits from a single piece of content and achieve a higher return on investment. Spread it across multiple social media sites and you’ll stand a great chance of driving traffic to your website.

Business_growth_12Infographics are great for this with online businesses revealing a 12% increase in site traffic after using them for promotional purposes.

Make sure your visuals include a call to action, website URL, branding and keywords in the image alt tags, which are great for SEO.

Using hashtags in tweets featuring your visuals, as well as Facebook and Instagram updates will also help to spread your content further and reach a larger audience.

Make it count

Your visual social media content should always be valuable to users. After all, they’re not going to engage with or respond to something that has little importance to them! From how-to ideas to inspiring quotes and motivating checklists, there are plenty of ways you can create visual content that shows users you care and encourages them to take action.

Ready to see what visual content have to offer?

Not every business has the resources and scope to create visual content for social media in-house. That’s where we come in! Here at VISU.AL we specialise in creating attractive, engaging and professional visual content that unlocks the value of your data. Whether you’re looking for content to be visualised, an infographic, a motion graphic or anything else visually-oriented, we’re here to cater for your needs.

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