There is no question about it — if you’re utilizing social media, your content must be visual. This doesn’t just apply to the obvious visual networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
Facebook posts without visual content get lost in a sea of images, and even on Twitter, once a text-only micro-blogging platform, visual content is mandatory if you want to succeed.
Visual content not only grabs attention, it makes your posts memorable. The average person will remember six times more information if it is presented with a visual.
Visual social media posts are more likely to be liked and shared, and are more enduring than text posts (how many times have you seen a popular photo or meme pop up multiple times over months or even years?).
If you’re not using visual content in every social media post you make (yes, even on Twitter), you’re not using social media to its full potential.
The extra work required will me more than worth it, and it’s easier than you might think. Ready to get visual? Here are 6 steps to help you get more engagement with visual content.
#1 Choose a Design Tool
There are lots of graphic design tool out there, many of the free to use online. We prefer Canva, a free web-based program that offers lots of fonts, templates, and options for designers at any skill level.
Think you don’t have the skills to create a social media-worth graphic? Try Canva.
With Canva, you can add a logo or watermark to photos, add text, create eye-catching quote graphics, and even make your own professional-looking infographics.
Even better, Canva has a full selection of templates designed for specific social media networks, so everything you create will fit properly when uploaded.
#2 Be Consistent with Color
A big part of branding is utilizing colors that express your brand’s personality and make it recognizable. Your color scheme should be used in your social media visual content as well.
This might mean adding your logo and other color touches to images, using your color schemes for graphics and quotes, and otherwise working your colors into the visuals you post.
If your brand doesn’t have specific colors attached to it, it’s time to adopt a color scheme.
The Logo Company did an in-depth analysis of the psychology of color in logo design. Some of the things they concluded:
- Red is an energetic and powerful color that conveys excitement.
- Orange commands attention and conveys friendliness, and, sometimes, rebelliousness..
- Yellow conveys optimism, warmth, and clarity.
- Green conveys nature — companies that want to be associated with naturalness and/or the outdoors often use green.
- Blue conveys trust and strength. Blue says that reliability is a priority.
- Purple is creative, imaginative and creative and fun.
- Black (and grey) are no-nonsense colors that convey seriousness and/or simplicity.
Of course, these color descriptions aren’t set in stone. Many companies make colors or color schemes their own without following a color chart.
Think also about color pairings instead of a single colors, which can add even more distinctiveness and recognizability.
#3 Choose the Right Fonts
Fonts can make all the difference when creating images with text. Good typography doesn’t even need additional imagery to be visually appealing.
The biggest pitfall people make with typography is using multiple different fonts. Two fonts can work well. More than that, and your graphic starts to look cluttered, unfocused, and amateur.
Choose one font to use as your brand’s primary font. Look for a font that is clean and relatively distinctive, but not too distinctive.
A font like Ironwood, for example, is distinctive but also has a lot of associations that make it not distinctively yours (plus, it’s a trite font, something you want to avoid).
Simpler fonts are more effective. Even if other brands use them, it’s not usually instantly noticeable if you use different color and style choice for your branding.
A second font should compliment the first. To see how a pair of fonts can work together well, look at some of the templates on Canva, which are created by pros who know how to combine fonts in a visually appealing way.
In general, when pairing fonts, one should be more distinctive and one more simple.
#4 Utilize Templates
Social media requires several types of graphics, including covers for Facebook and Twitter, properly-formatted Facebook graphics, and the classic square graphic that can be used on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Templates will make your life so much easier, especially if you customize them.
In Canva, start by choosing a template, like one of the ones below.
Upload your logo and customize the template by placing it in a corner. You might want to add an additional color detail, such as a frame to enhance it — but as with most things graphic design, keep it simple.
When you’re ready to make a new graphic, all you’ll have to do is add an image to the background of the template and text over it.
Use these graphics to promote content, specials and offers, events, even inspirational quotes and memes.
#5 Choose the Right Text
While the visual part of visual content means a lot, it doesn’t mean everything. People share content on social media when it hits all of the right notes — it’s both visually appealing and actually interesting.
Your followers are interested in your industry, or else they wouldn’t be following you. But there is a big difference between a visual post with text that says something like “Click here to read the latest blog post!” and one that offers something of value like “10 Ways to Make Your Business More Profitable.”
Rebekah Radice always has catchy visual content that draws you in.
And don’t always use visual posts to steer followers to your blog. That’s effective and important, but some of your graphic content should be self contained.
Self contained graphic posts like a quote or a tip are highly sharable if they’re relatable, useful, and not the same thing they’ve seen a thousand times on social media.
Quick tips (also known as life hacks) are especially valuable as a potential visual content gold mine. Tips should be short, easy to read on mobile, and simple to understand. Sometimes, a good picture virtually says it all:
Quotes also have a lot of appeal, though you need to be careful about using quotes that are so over-used that they’ve become trite, especially on social media where they’re ubiquitous.
Some common quotes to avoid include “Live, Laugh, Love” and “Dance Like No One’s Watching.” (For a longer list of cliches to avoid, click here).
Strong quotes include lines from very recent speeches (award acceptance speeches can be very quotable nowadays), which are still fresh enough to not be seen as trite, and obscure quotes from lesser-known people. A good resource for quotes people don’t see every day is BrainyQuote.
#6 Mix Up Your Media
Visual content is more than just graphics. It includes video, too. You can create video content a couple of ways: With a video camera and tripod or camera person, or with a smartphone.
The video camera setup isn’t always the best option, especially if you’re out and about (covering an event on Periscope, for example). As long as the video on your phone is high definition and looks good, there’s no reason to spend a lot of a video camera.
Some of the things you can do with video include:
- Product launches
- Event promotion
- Quick tips/life hacks
- Q&A (using live video like Periscope)
- Holiday Greetings
- Event coverage
- Business and/or employee profiles
- Special offer announcements… and, really, anything you can think of that might interest your followers.
Unless you’re doing a lecture or covering a full event, your videos should be short, ranging from six seconds (vines, which continue to be very popular) to about 2 minutes or less.
The same person who might plan to make time to watch a 30 minutes lecture video may also stop a video of it clocks 5 minutes or more if they’re scrolling through social media on their lunch break, never to return to it.
Time is valuable. Never waste your followers’ time with video content that is succinct and to the point.
Good, strong, entertaining videos can get lots of engagement, so try and incorporate them into your social media plan along with still graphics.
If you’re not using visual content as a major part of your social media strategy, you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential engagement. The extra time it takes to create your own unique visual content will pay off in the long run.
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