A Guide to Creating Visual Content for Social Media Marketing

You need visual elements in your content. It draws attention to your content. It keeps people on your pages longer. It increases the likelihood of engagement and conversion. Every one of these statements is true. None of them are newsworthy at this point. With the exception of some absolute beginners, people understand that digital marketing content needs visuals.

It’s time to move on. The challenge now is creating visual content that stands out against everybody else’s’ visual content.

That takes a bit of effort. Fortunately, it can be done. Even better, you don’t need to be a graphic designer or even artistic to make this happen.

Planning and Assessing

The first thing to do is examine your current social media marketing. Which platforms are you using. Where are you getting the most engagement? Where are your numbers not so great? What visual content is gaining traction on those platforms? What about your competitors? It’s important to know the visual content that is drawing in the most engagement for them.

By taking a close look at your current content marketing efforts you can begin planning ways to incorporate visual content where you haven’t been, and to improve your offerings where you have. This is also a good time to explore types of visual content that you have not previously used. Here are some things to consider:

  • The visual content that has earned the most engagement in the past
  • Visual social media platforms that you may not be using yet
  • Types of visual content that can be easily produced with the best results
  • Which types of visual content will most likely appeal to each of your audience segments

Ultimately, you want to determine what kind of visual content to create, where to share it, how to produce that content efficiently.

Part 1: What Kind of Visual Content to Create

There are several types of visual content you can use in your digital marketing efforts. Here are some options to consider.

Video Content is King

There are many kinds of visual content that can make your social media marketing content better. You should use any of those that work for your brand and increase the likelihood that your campaigns will be successful. That said, if you aren’t using video, you are on the wrong path.

Just consider these statistics.

  • 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day
  • 60% of marketers use videos in digital marketing
  • Web conversion rates are 34% higher when video is used
  • 70% of millennial shoppers enjoy watching videos as part of their online shopping experience
  • 82% prefer live video to social media postings
  • A video posted to Facebook has 135% higher organic reach than a photograph

In addition to this, live streaming video has clearly moved from being some sort of cutting edge offering to the mainstream. In fact, just in quarter two of 2017, it grew by 53%.

Video isn’t the only visual content, but it does desire a significant amount of your attention. Of course, it isn’t enough to simply offer video content. There’s too much risk for saturation at this point. Instead, you have to produce videos that truly stand out.

Know Your Goals:

Video is exciting and it has tons of potential to engage and convert. You can share video on nearly any platform. There are ways to use video at every point in the conversion funnel. There are uses for both long format and shorter format. There really isn’t a customer segment that isn’t drawn to this medium.

The danger is not having enough focus, and as a result not having specific goals. Before you produce a video, determine who your audience is. Know your call to action and your message. Here are a few tips.

  • Videos introducing your company and what you do are great for early funnel customers.
  • Videos that delve into the benefits of specific products and services work well for mid funnel.
  • Product demonstration videos and testimonials work for customers who are seriously contemplating a purchase.
  • Behind the scene content builds trust. So do interviews and content showing the personal side of your brand.

Production Values Matter:

You don’t need a videographer and the best equipment to produce videos your audience will appreciate. Still, it is important to pay attention to production values. Invest in video and audio editing software. Write out scripts and rehearse them.

Tell a Story:

Every video should have a message. It should have an introduction, middle, and a solid conclusion. You can accomplish this by thinking of each video as a story. This could be the story of a customer’s experience, the development of a product, an employee’s passion for technology, or any number of things. Without a storytelling format, videos can seem pointless and rambling.

Use Live Video to Create Real Time Engagement:

Live streaming is a great way to bring people along to events, to demonstrate products live and in person, even give a peak behind the curtains. Live streaming is spontaneous and exciting. It also takes practice to ensure that things flow nicely and that you keep your live audience engaged. Consider some dry runs before truly going live.

Pictures Still Matter

Marketers have so many options when it comes to types of visual content that something as simple as pictures may seem outdated. Nothing can be further from the truth. Photographs and images are still a great way to draw attention to your content. Images keep people on your pages and reading your content.

Pictures can help people get to know your team. They can increase understanding of your products and how they work. They increase trust. Finally, they add to the overall appeal of your website and social media pages. This is especially true when platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are almost entirely visual platforms. Here are a few tips:

  • Share high quality and original pictures whenever possible.
  • Optimize images for mobile.
  • Avoid clipart and free stock images that people see everywhere.
  • If you do use stock images invest in a subscription to a well-respected service.
Use GIFs to Add Emphasis and Humor

A GIF is a looping image file. It usually depicts a single action such as an emotional reaction. They can be used to help further explain a concept when a video might be a bit much. They are bandwidth friendly. They can even be used as a touching or humorous element. GIFs can be embedded in social media posts, blogs, and any number of places. If you have video and want to pull out a segment of it to show, turning into a GIF is a great way to accomplish this.

Appeal to Visual Learners with Infographics

Data and case studies go a long way towards establishing thought leadership. Some of your audience members may truly appreciate long form text content such as white papers that dig deep into the problems your products and services solve, or case studies and testimonials that prove you get results. The challenge is that so many people are visual learners. How do you convey complex information to them in a way that is memorable and easy to understand?

This is where infographics come into play. These are visual representations of information. They can explain processes. You may have seen infographics describing what happens to you when you drink an energy drink, for example. They can be used to represent history or a series of events, such as a timeline. Infographics can be static, or interactive. An interactive infographic is one where users can click on or otherwise activate trigger points to access more content. For example, clicking on a specific event in a timeline might start a video about that event.

Infographics are a great way to repurpose old content. Check out old blog posts, podcasts, and papers. Then, see if they would make viable infographics.

Finally, don’t worry about cost or expertise. There are plenty of free infographic tools. With just a bit of practice you should be able to produce infographics quite easily.

Keep Longer Content Engaging with a Slide Presentation

Sometimes you simply have a lot of information to cover. Sometimes video is great for this. Another option is a slide presentation. This is especially the case if you would like people to be able to refer back to certain parts of your presentation for review. There’s another benefit. This is truly recyclable content. Create slide presentations for conferences, sales presentations, and webinars. Then share the same content for your social media audience.

Shop around for great presentation software. You can do so much more thank fancy transitions. Modern presentation software allows you to create and add animations as well as video. You can also interact with your audience creating slides and demonstrating concepts in real time.

Engage Your Audience and Gain Insights with Social Media Quizzes

Some social media quizzes are created just for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sharing content with your audience that is funny, touching, or thought provoking absolutely has its place. Brands who do this often gain loyal followers who are interested in what they might do or say next.

Social media quizzes are also a great way to ask leading questions that can accomplish two things. First, they can guide the person taking the quiz towards the products and services that might interest them. These quizzes can also teach you more about your audience and their interests and needs.

Part 2: Where to Share Visual Content

Once you’ve created visual content in any of its forms, you have to figure out where to share it. This depends on your target audience and your goals. If your target audience is 25 or younger, consider Instagram or Tumblr. Obviously Vimeo and YouTube are great for video content. However, embedding video into blog posts or directly onto your website works as well.

If there are new platforms, consider exploring those as well. If you have an email subscription list, visual content can keep both your emails and newsletters engaging. Finally, don’t forget to promote your video content. The more views the more engagement.

Part 3: Producing Visual Content Efficiently

Creating visual content can be time consuming. Fortunately, much of this is impacted by the learning curve. In many cases, creating visual content involves use of tools and equipment that may be new to you. Once you master these, things can go much easier. Here are few other tips to try out.

  • Make the best use of your time and equipment. For example, if you’re going to shoot video, spend time shooting video you need for different segments and platforms.
  • Begin planning visual content during the earliest phases of your campaigns.
  • Use crowdsourcing to get audience members to create and share visual content.

The best visual content doesn’t appear by accident. It is carefully planned, artfully produced, and aimed at the right audience members and platforms. Use this guide to determine the best visual content for campaigns as well as how and when to create and share it.

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One Comment

  1. Nice post.

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