Trying to improve social media engagement?
Social media is on everyone’s minds and eye-catching visuals will help to stand out from the crowd.
For many businesses, social media can increase brand awareness, humanise the organisation, increase web traffic, boost sales, promote content and create engagement.
If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.HOOTSUITE
But it can be hard work to gain audience attention!
The use of visual content and graphics can be one important point of difference. Remember this quote, “A picture is worth a thousand words“… well, believe it or not, this was first used in the early 1900’s and it is still so true today.
Images catch attention, increase click through rates and build engagement. They tell a story and can condense complex information into a simple visual.
Brian Dean from Backlinko recommends using eye-catching graphics to stand out in the feed. Even though it requires more time and effort, it is worthwhile and will help increase traffic.
Because our brains are wired to process images faster than a chunk of text.
Vision trumps all other senses.BRAIN RULES BY JOHN MEDINA
We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.
Here are a few interesting facts from the visualteachingalliance.com:
The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text. – 3M Corporation, 2001
Ideas presented graphically are easier to comprehend and remember than those presented as words. – Kliegl, R., Smith, J., Heckhausen, J. & Baltes, P.B. (1987)
A good infographic is worth a thousand words.
Visual aids in the classroom improve learning by up to 400 percent. – 3M Corporation, 2001
Why bother with the time and expense of creating visual content?
Research conducted by Microsoft indicates that we only have around 10 seconds to gain a user’s attention.
However, we know that in general our audience is suffering from information overload. They are trying to process things quickly in order to separate the important things from the irrelevant.
This is where a key graphic can make all the difference—at a glance they can make a judgement as to whether this post rates more of their attention and whether it is important to them. They can choose to ignore, engage, leave a comment, or click through.
A good first impression goes a long way
Make sure your profile image is clear and not distorted, especially if it is your logo. Graphics should be good quality, correct dimensions, include alt tags, keywords and tags.
It is important to keep your graphics, colours and typefaces cohesive so that your brand identity becomes familiar to users. The consistency will pay off—it only takes 5-7 impressions for people to build recognition. If your visuals have a different look and feel each time, there will be no cumulative recognition.
Please be careful not to infringe copyright laws. Simply stated, if you create the image then you own the copyright. If you get it from another source then the copyright belongs to someone else so you will either need permission or a licence. Stock photo sites (yes), google (no).
Types of social media graphics
- Cover image
- Profile image
- Infographics to highlight stats
- WIP photos
- Products in use
- Inspirational images
- Funny memes and puns
- Customer generated content & reposting
- Themed images
Images that follow a theme such as a colour, style or a topic can help grab attention and create brand recognition. They can be used alternating with other posts to create variety. For example these quotes with the gelati colour theme would look good in a social media feed or on a blog:
Your social media strategy
Most organisations are aware that they need a social media strategy—this is about where the business is heading …
Who is your audience?
Who are your customers and what content do they want to see? Research demographics and competitors.
What is the goal?
Think about building brand awareness, sales, engagement, driving traffic to the website, humanising the brand …
There are lots of ways to encourage engagement from running contests and giveaways, asking questions or advice, and using emotive visuals.
What to share?
Choose appropriate visuals that relate to your audience, content, brand and message. Use a variety of graphics to create interest—photos, infographics, screenshots, video, animation.
You could include a behind the scenes photo, a video of a new product, team members in action, images from an event, or create a collage. Anything with baby animals is sure to be popular!
Where to share?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top four. It is a good idea to have a complete profile on each of these as they can show up on Google search when people search for your brand.
Your social media plan
The social media plan is about how you’ll get there. These are the steps:
- Create accounts
- Set up a calendar (eg. weekly, monthly, yearly)
- Choose content (include public holidays, special events, new products, industry events)
- Source or create relevant images for each post
- Write an appealing caption and add relevant hashtags
- Proof-read the content
- Schedule posts (I use Hootsuite)
- Monitor comments & conversations
- Analyse stats and measure engagement
- Generate reports
- Go to step 2 and keep repeating!
If you already have a social media presence but need to improve it, consider increasing your focus on the quality of the visuals. Try to incorporate a variety of different media to create interest.
Strong visuals will not only enhance your social media accounts, but build brand awareness and familiarity, keep your organisation at the top of mind, and ultimately help build sales.
Useful books on Amazon
- Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media for Business (2019 Fall Updated Edition)
- Social Media Marketing 2019: How to Reach Millions of Customers Without Wasting Your Time and Money – Proven Ways to Grow Your Business on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook
- Social Media Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, 4th Edition
- The Social CEO: How Social Media Can Make You A Stronger Leader
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