You’ve probably figured it out already. If you are not using visual content in your marketing, your readership may be lagging. Even the most boring niches have found ways to add visual content, some for several years now. And if you check out your personal social media pages, that vast majority of posts have visual content.
Today’s consumer of products, services, and social connections insists upon visual content in order to stay interested. “Show me, don’t tell me,” seems to be the mantra of the day. If you are not yet convinced, one single statistic tells it all. Content with images and other visuals gets 94% more views than that without them.
The other wonderful thing about visual content is that there are now amazing tools to create it. So, no excuse. If you are going to stay relevant, attract visitors who can then convert to leads and paying customers, you should not publish a piece of content without a visual from this day forward.
Hold on One Minute
Before you take that last statement “to the bank,” remember the other “rules” by which you must play as your content, any content:
- Know what your audience wants and needs. If, for example, you intend to craft a humorous piece of content, do you know the types of humor you audience loves? What might offend them?
- Content should never be seen as an ad or hard sell. That’s why native content is so in use today. You can inform, entertain, and inspire your audience, but your product or service takes a “back seat.”
- Content offers and asks – it never makes demands.
- Content is best delivered in small, snackable chunks of content – visuals are perfect for this, of course, because they can make a point and they will also break up that text.
- Content must keep your brand identity pure.
With this in mind, here are nine immediately usable tactics for visual content.
A lot of tweets just get ignored, because the social platform is so heavily used. By putting an intriguing, humorous, or inspirational visual in your tweet, your audience stops and takes a second look. When they do, there is a much greater chance that the text will be read. You can use a tweet with a visual to drive people to another piece of content by asking an intriguing question or pointing them to another piece of content that will be of interest. Embedding a visual is simple.
- Log in to your account
- Go to settings and click “design.”
- Go to “Customize Your Own”
- A box will appear prompting you to create your design. You can upload a picture, drawing, or other image (you will be prompted to “choose file”). Add your text and you’re done – post it
While cover images are important on Twitter, such as this brand new one from Uber:
Images as a part of a tweet can engage more often. GE created custom comics as a part of a tweet series about women in STEM:
You can also create a collage on Twitter. Just compose a new tweet, click to “add photos,” and then click “add more” – you can put up to four photos or images in your post.
Give Your Product or Service Reality
One of the best kinds of native advertising is to tell stories about real people. This takes some time, but happy customers like the idea of being featured. Put out a call for photos or videos of people using your product/service. They will respond. Your story does not have to be long and involved. ModCloth features women wearing its clothing on all of its social media platforms.
Use the Same Cover Image Across All Platforms
Brand consistency is important, and people will remember your brand by that one image. This is a short and simple tactic with no further explanation needed. Your brand, your logo, and a singular image for every cover.
If you have not posted content on SlideShare, you should consider it seriously. Think about this: it is one of the top 100 visited sites; it has 18+ million pieces of content (slide shows), and crosses 40 categories. You can upload presentations, documents, videos, and slide presentations. Even better, you can imbed share buttons and get that content all over other platforms.
Ana Hoffman, expert in web traffic generation has shared her own case study of her experience with SlideShare, and it is a pretty compelling argument to get on board. She also provides strategies to “win” using this content medium. The key to getting loads of traffic however, is to create a stunning slide deck in the first place. Browse some creative presentation templates, choose enticing background images from Pexels and polish it up with great typography.
Market The Same Image or Text on Multiple Platforms
You know where your audience hangs out online. Usually there are two or three platforms you are going to use based upon that information. When you create a great post and insert an amazing visual, use that visual across platforms your audience uses.
The alternative is this: if you have a theme, let’s say one of a joke a day or an inspiring quote of the day, use that same text across platforms with a different visual for each.
Get Comfortable with Video
Short videos (no more than 90 seconds) can capture an audience quickly. If you add humor or inspiration, it will go even further. Check out the explainer video that was created for Dollar Shave Club. It is on its home page, but has made the rounds of all social media platforms, including YouTube, with the same impact. That video cost $2,500 and it has reaped amazing rewards.
“How To” videos can also capture your audience if your product/service requires some instruction for customers. And if your customers send in videos, all the better. Feature them on your website, your blog and on all of your social platforms.
Check out these stats on videos from DigitalSherpa.
- 80% of Internet users remember watching a video ad within the past 30 days
- 50% of Internet users have accessed YouTube and watched business-related videos an average of once a week.
- 64% of visitors to a website are likely to buy something after having watch a video
And one of the best things about video? It’s so easy to get a call-to-action in them.
Use a Variety of Visuals
Don’t get stuck on just one form of visual. Mix them up – use photos, memes, infographics (great tools for creating these now, even interactive ones); take impromptu pictures in real time and post them with a great caption. Or better, post a photo and ask your followers to caption it, awarding a prize for the winner. Not to beat a dead horse, but ModCloth has contests for followers to name a clothing item – the winner gets the item.
Create Animated Gifs
These are so easy to do, and can be posted anywhere. An animated gif is a couple of images that play in a loop. You’ve seen them on your Facebook page – most are humorous, but content marketers often use them to advertise sales, new products/services, etc.
There are good tools to create gifs now, and they don’t have much of a learning curve.
Photo albums have also become quite popular, especially if a retailer has a number of products but not enough for a catalogue. The problem with albums is that visitors have to click and click and they probably will not stick around long enough to do that. A Flipagram is just a way to feature all of those photos as a video – no work on the part of the viewer – nice.
No one wants to read walls of text anymore, and given that mobile devices have surpassed PC’s for reading/viewing content, visuals will be the method by which users get information, education, and their entertainment. They are just no longer an option. Content marketers need to keep very current on the latest technology and trends in visuals, because this in an area that is evolving very quickly.