Social media is on everyone’s minds and most organisations are aware that they need a social media strategy.
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
The tricky part is standing out from the crowd—the use of visual content and graphics can be one of the main differentiators.
Remember this quote, “A picture is worth a thousand words“… well, it was first used in the early 1900’s and is still true today.
Images capture our attention, increase click through rates and engagement. They tell a story and can condense complex information into a simple visual.
Because our brains are wired to process images faster than a chunk of text. 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)
90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual. – Hyerle, 2000
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%.
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 our audience is suffering from information overload. They are trying to process things quickly in order to separate the important things from the unimportant.
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 this organisation is important to them. They can choose to ignore, engage, leave a comment, or click through.
How to encourage engagement?
There are lots of ways to encourage engagement from running contests and giveaways, asking questions or advice and using emotive images.
This could be a behind the scenes photo of a new product, team members in action, share images from an event, caption this image, or create a collage. Anything with animals is sure to be popular!
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 start recognising your brand. If your visuals have a different look and feel each time, there will be no cumulative recognition.
A good first impression goes a long way
Make sure your profile image is clear and not distorted, especially if it is your logo.
Optimise your graphics
Graphics should be good quality, correct dimensions, include alt tags, use keywords and tags.
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
Aim for a clean and professional looking page that relates to your brand identity.
- Cover image
- Profile image
- Infographics to highlight stats
- WIP photos
- Products in use
- Inspirational images
- Funny memes and puns
- Customer generated / reposting
Your social media strategy
A social media strategy is about where you are headed …
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, driving traffic to the website, humanising the brand …
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.
Where to share?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top 4. 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
A social media plan is about how you’ll get there.
- Create accounts
- Create a calendar (eg. weekly, monthly, yearly)
- Determine the content (include yearly holidays, special events, new products)
- Source or create relevant images for each post
- Write an appealing caption and add relevant hashtags
- Proof-read content
- Schedule posts (I use Hootsuite)
- Monitor comments & conversations
- Analyse stats and measure engagement
- Generate reports
- Repeat regularly!
If you already have a social media presence but need to improve it, consider increasing your focus on the quality of the graphics.
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 build sales.