We all want to know that one trick that will help us win on social media. Maybe a quick hack to win on Facebook, or to create the next viral post.
I don’t have that magic solution, but I do know something that can surely improve your content and drive more engagement and traffic.
A piece of content with a visual receives 94% more views on average than that same text shared without a visual.
This preference is clear across every social network. On Facebook, a post with a photo gets 53% more likes than a pure text post. On Twitter, a tweet with an image gets 150% more retweets than a tweet with only text.
If you’re selling a product, visuals are particularly important. Visuals help us to better understand what a we’re purchasing. This avoids any misleading surprises that may occur.
With these statistics, it should be no surprise that the most visual social networks have seen the greatest growth recently. Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram saw the most user growth in 2014.
So how can you take advantage of this opportunity? Here are five things you can do to better use visuals to market your content.
1. Make it Relevant
Adding a visual to everything you share is the most basic step you can take to increase engagement and drive traffic.
By visuals, I mean any kind of imagery, including photos, infographics, quote or text-based graphics, and even memes or screenshots.
When you’re choosing a visual to share on social media, you need to keep in mind who your fans are. You want to be able to answer some of these questions, so that you can create visuals that can keep your users engaged with your content.
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the demographic of your social media followers?
- Who do you want to attract with your social media content?
- What kind of content do they find valuable?
- What style of imagery do they typically share?
- What kind of content do they engage or comment on the most?
Once you have an understanding on the type of audience you’re targeting, consider how you can incorporate the kind of information your audience wants with your company’s brand. You want to produce visuals that are aligned with your overall brand, while getting the message across.
Unsure of what visual to add? If you have nothing original, grab a unique license free photo from the internet. At my company Viraltag, a visual-first social media scheduler, we help you find relevant photos to share from stock libraries on the web and from our user generated available content.
Some other great sources of free royalty sources are Death To Stock Photo and StockSnap.io. In addition to these free sources, you can also check out this list of stock photography sites that offer free visuals for use.
2. Watch Network Preferences
Images are presented slightly different on each social channel. Make sure to pay attention to channel preferences and optimize your visuals accordingly to see the best results.
For example, when sharing a link on your Facebook business page, you have the option to select one or several photos to appear. If there is more than one image at a single link, you can choose how you would like to present those images. Choose a single photo from the mix or add them all as a carousel as shown below.
Simply paste your link in the Facebook share box and the choice of photos will appear. Then, you can replace the link with your own caption and choose the way you want photos to be displayed.
Are multi-photo posts better? It’s still up for debate. Several Facebook strategists report an increase in engagement with using the multi-image for ads. You’ll want to experiment to see what works for your audience.
Every social network has slightly different size preferences as well. Make sure to check the requirements of the network you’re sharing on and resize your visuals to fit.
Following these sizing guidelines will help you maximize the potential of your links.
- Facebook: 1200 x 630 pixels
- Twitter: 440 x 220 pixels
- Google+: 250×250
- LinkedIn: 646 x 220 pixels, maximum of 2MB in size
- Pinterest: 800 x 1200 pixels
- Instagram: maximum size of 1080 x 1080 pixels
- Tumblr: 500 x 750 pixels, up to 10MB
3. Create Unique Graphics
- Canva is a great tool for making original designs
Where it’s possible, take an extra step and create your own original graphics to complement your written content.
These days we see a variety of graphics on social media. Some include the bold, colourful infographics or flowchart style graphics, which are popular on Pinterest. However, simple text or simple designs backed up by an interesting pattern or photo are a great way to create something unique and shareable too.
Text on photo style graphics are becoming increasingly popular on Pinterest and Instagram, in particular. It’s a great way to catch someone’s eye and create a connection, leading them to click through to your text.
However, creating those graphics can be intimidating to the non-designers among us. They can also take time that most of us don’t have.
Fortunately, there are some powerful and easy to use design creation tools for those of who may need a little help. Try out Piktochart to create original infographics and Canva to create simpler text on photo graphics. If you’re looking for something more humorous, Memegen is a great tool to help you create original Memes.
4. Branded Imageries
If all goes well, when we share that powerful and engaging visual, our audience will help us expand our reach by sharing it.
On most social networks, the person sharing the link or photo will have the option to edit the caption and make it their own – and most often do!
We don’t want to lose out on the opportunity to market our brands and businesses when that photo reaches new audiences. Brand your photos by adding a watermark of your logo. In the photo above, our company Viraltag adds our own logo to photos we share. This way, when someone shares our photo or uses it for alternative posts, we can get accredited for it.
Use a tool like Canva or Pablo by Buffer to add this into your photo before sharing it.
5. Think Visual from Step One
Finally, don’t wait until you’re sharing your content to add that visual. Think visually from the beginning of your content creation and when you’re planning your social media calendar.
When you are creating a piece of content, think first about the image you could add or a graphic you could create. After you’ve crafted you content or decided on a link to share, think about how you can create a visual that can depict what you’re trying to convey. Consider how you can create a graphic that can connect with your social media fans.
Often, your users are your best marketers. With shareable visuals, your social media followers will be more engaged with your content.
Let us know if you find these tips helpful. What other visual tips do you use to market your content?