Posted by Murray Sye
on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 11:17 AM
Are you including visuals in your social media posts?
If not, you should be.
If you're like me, and you're scrolling through your Twitter feed, what's more likely to catch your attention? You got it; a tweet with an image or video attached to it.
That's why social users are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.
So what makes visuals so powerful in social media?
Perhaps it has something to do with this: 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. When it comes to quick, clear communication, visuals trump text almost every time.
Today's short attention spans, especially on social media, force marketers to use visual methods to capture people's attention. And those that are embracing visual content in posts, tweets, shares, pins and more, are experiencing huge returns in terms of increased traffic, leads and conversions – and yes, more customers. Visuals allow marketers to set their content apart form all the junk that's floating around the web today.
Need more convincing?
- Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links that plain text.
- After Facebook's timeline introduction, engagement with videos and photos increased 65%.
- 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
- Tweets with images are 150% more likely to be retweeted.
- 60% of people are visual learners, using infographics are a great way of capturing the attention of a web user.
- 27% of people have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest.
- Blog content with relevant images get 94% more views than content without.
- Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them.
Here are 6 tips to get the most from using visuals in your social media efforts:
1) Find high-quality free images
Of course, you need access to images, which I would say is a good place to start.
With all of the image resources out there, there's no excuse to use same old, boring, predictable 'stock photography,' that you have to pay for. You can of course use your own high-quality photos, but there are also an abundance of free image sources out there – free to use, with little to no restrictions.
Whatever source you use, always check the license – you don't want to unwittingly steal someone's work or use it in-appropriately. Confirm if the license allows for modification, or if the photographer requires credit.
Here are a few awesome image sources that are free for the picking (and many don't even require attribution):
Morgue File has an easily searchable database chock-full of free photos.
Pixabay has over 370,000 photos most free for commercial use with no attribution.
Death to the Stock Photo You help fund their photo shoot road trips (for a small fee), they send you a whole bunch (like 200) photos. Great images by the way.
Gratisography Photographer Ryan McGuire provides a collection of highly animated images, all high-res, all free from copyright restrictions.
Picjumbo A great source for totally free photos for personal or commercial use, no restrictions.
There are many more photo resources out there, and I'm in the midst of capturing as many as I can find and wrap them all together into one nice neat ebook. So stay tuned for that.
2) Make your images pinnable
Hopefully you're among the 70 million people using Pinterest. Pinterest is now the 4th largest driver of traffic worldwide. Why is it so popular? Pinterest (outside of its SEO nutrition) provides a virtual social pinboard allowing millions of users to "pin" images off the web into different organized boards that we can easily share with everyone.
To make the most out of Pinterest, ensure your blog posts have at least one pinnable image, which is easy to share. Oh, and it helps to make pin images vertical, so they show up better on mobile devices.
Install the "PinIt" button on your blog or website, so you'll get some additional Pinterest love.
3) Optimize size and quality
Patience we just don't have. So do yourself and your audience a favor and reduce the file size so it will load faster. You can resize your images in programs such as Photoshop or Microsoft Paint. And there are numerous free image editing tools that can compress your unwieldy images. Check out, Kraken.io, TinyPNG, TinyJPG, or smush_it, to name a few.
Also, as with all of your content, remember to keep your visuals mobile-friendly.
4) Design your own infographics
Infographics can provide a ton of valuable information all wrapped up into one single 'easy to digest' image. Infographics are a powerful tool that have helped businesses grow their traffic an average of 12% more than those that don't.
You don't have to hire a designer to get professional-looking infographics. There are countless online tools out there to help you design your own. Here are a few to help get you started.
Piktochart has a free version or you can upgrade to pro for $29/month. Piktochart offers over 400 customizable themes that are easy to use regardless of how graphically-challenged you might be.
Easel.ly is ideal for anyone who wants to convey a thought, lesson plan, or concept in an easy-to-follow visual form. Easel.ly features thousands of free infographic templates and design objects which users can customize to create and share their visual ideas.
HubSpot will start you out with ten free customizable infographic templates that will give you the inspiration and foundation you need to build your own infographics right in PowerPoint.
5) Use GIFs and short social media videos
Animated GIFs are short clips of images that play on a loop – kind of in-between an image and a video. They're often fun, short and sweet, entertaining – and highly shareable. You can embed your GIF and share it across all of your social media platforms. Animated GIFs can really add some interest to your Twitter feed.
Short videos, such as the 6-second Vine videos, or the 15-second Instavids on Instagram are also popular. These short videos are a great way to show how to do something, to highlight your skills, or introduce a new product.
6) Spice up your images with text
Words are another way to make your visuals pop. You can add a call-to-action overlay, or make a visual quote (as above), which can be shareable. (You only need to open your Twitter feed to see just how popular these visual quotes are.)
If you want to be heard above the noise and see improved conversions, it's imperative to include visuals in your social media campaigns. Keep it interesting by mixing it up. Try a video, an infographic, or add a text overlay to your images, so your social media efforts get the attention they deserve.
Written by Murray SyeMurray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.