Written by Lisa Kalner Williams

August 1, 2017 at 12:00 am

What You Need to Know About Visual Content for Social Media

The following guest post was written by Alla Bogdan.

We all know that visual content is key to social media engagement — so why are so many marketers slow to incorporate visual content in their social media marketing plans? Let’s overcome this hump, shall we?

How Do We Know That Visual Content Performs Best?

Social Media Examiner tells us that 37% of marketers in 2016 said that, next to blogging, visual marketing was the best performing, most important type of content for their business.

John Media, creator of BrainRules.net, says that “vision trumps all other senses.” He goes on to say that pictures are easier for the brain to retain than text, because our brains “see words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them.”

So, why aren’t all social media markers amping up their visual, and cooling their heels on all text posts?

Why Are Social Marketers Avoiding Visuals?

There are several reasons why social media marketers might be avoiding visual posts. Some think it’s too hard, others think that visual posts are less valuable, and others think visual content might be enjoyed, but it doesn’t increase engagement.

None of these things are true.

1. They think they need a professional graphic designer

We all know that the Internet is rife with images we simply aren’t allowed to use. And let’s face it, Creative Commons images or images labeled for reuse simply don’t offer the types of images our social audiences want to see. So, most of us think we need a graphic designer to create great images for visual posts.

That isn’t the case, as there are options out there that let you use licensed photos for your social media. But even now, few social media marketers really explore what they can do with social and the types of visual posts they can create to engage and hook an audience.

2. They think images don’t convert

What? Of course images convert. They increase engagement. They make social media users happy. And smarter, because they can convey important information in a consumable way.

BuzzSumo did a study about the impact of images on social shares, and it’s firmly in the “you should post social images” camp. They say that images on Facebook see 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images. Tweets with images can see 150% more retweets than their plain text alternatives. The proof is in the pudding. Images get shared more often. More shares often equal more likes, leads and sales.

If you want your promotional visual to convert, you need it to be link active and contain a Call to Action (CTA) button in it. Your followers instinctively tap this button and get redirected to your landing page or blog.

You don’t need a designer to create these CTA visual posts. You can use such tools as Canva or PromoRepublic to edit images or create yours from scratch in Graphics Editor.

call to action image

What Types of Visual Content Should You Be Posting?

There are several types of visual content you should be sharing regularly. As for the when and where, we’ll get to that soon, but these engaging content, educational content and promotional content are the big three for your content plan.

1. Engaging Content

Engaging, or interactive content, is useful and fun for readers. It offers value in the form of information, but it’s not an infographic or a straight educational post.

This type of content includes quizzes, polls, games, contents, and other types of posts that create an experience for the reader. These types of posts are infinitely shareable, because they catch the eye but offer an interactive quality that is the epitome of social media in terms of shareable content. Fans and followers are engaged, but they are in control of their experience.

For example, you can ask your audience to vote with “Like” and “Heart” like in this Facebook post to define what they like or prefer.

2. Informational Content

This is where we get into information-heavy images that tell the reader something they didn’t already know. These types of posts are especially helpful to industries that don’t necessarily have a visual element like a product or brick and mortar location that they can photograph and share. You’ve educated your fans and followers, but you’ve engaged them with an image. Win win.

Litographs is an online store that creates art from books. They sell t-shirts and posters and other items that appeal to readers. So they know that their followers are bookworms and would love to learn some new #WordOfTheDay.

3. Promotional Content

It’s always a good idea to promote posts with real photos of your product. If you think they are not good enough, you can enhance them with engaging stickers and attract more attention to them.

Take a look at this promotional post with the hashtag #RitaThursday that Chili’s Grill and Bar used to promote its margarita happy hour.

Easy? Actually, yes. If you pay attention to what your competitors are doing, and use your social media insights to discover what your fans and followers are liking and sharing, it’s easy to create visual posts that will boost your brand on social.

Alla Bogdan

Alla Bogdan is the head content marketer for PromoRepublic. As a digital marketer and content creator, she has a love of technology, self-education and new opportunities. She is also a biblio and linguaphile.

What you need to know about social media visual content
Lisa Kalner Williams

Lisa Kalner Williams is the Lead Social Media Strategist for Sierra Tierra Marketing and the Content Marketing Director for Agorapulse. You might see her speaking across the country on how to better market using Instagram.

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