Why You Need To Use Visual Content In Social Media

Have you noticed that social medial platforms have all gone visual? Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram and Tumblr…of course. But Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Facebook have followed suit. Posts with pics earn more likes and comments than text alone. Pics with faces receives over 30% more likes and comments than pics without.

In developing your marketing strategy, you must include visuals as part of your brand or you will be overlooked. Textual content alone will get you only so far. Add a visual, and engagement increases. Add a human face, and the engagement increases significantly. You become far more memorable.

What is visual content?
Visual content is exactly that – visual over verbal. It includes photos, illustration, videos, animated GIFs, info graphics, designy quote boxes, memes, and typography that illustrates.

It used to be that visuals enhanced written messaging. Now, it’s more that the verbal content enhances the visual. The tip is to lead with the visual.

Why use visual content?
It is anecdotal. It tells your story.
It shares your process. Show what you’re doing, and people become interested in knowing more.
It is immediate. It’s easy to capture a photo and upload it in real time.
It differentiates. Through your own unique visuals, you set yourself apart from your competition.
It humanizes your brand. All brands need to be human and authentic. Photos and illustrations contribute to that sense.
It takes less time, most of the time. When you don’t have time to write, post a visual.
Everyone else is doing it. This is one practice where you want to run with the tide, not against it. Just as every website now needs to be responsive, every brand needs to incorporate visual content into its marketing and promotions.

Ways to deploy visual content:

  • Use native imagery — visuals that are genuinely yours. There is no competition with other brands when you use original content. If you use stock images, after them (make sure your license allows for alteration). Changing color, adding text, cropping are all ways you can customize stock photos to fit your brand.
  • Use typography within the visual. Overlay a headline, question, tip or quote. Make it something people want to share, pin and forward.
  • Make it a link. This can be done in the metadata – URLs and other information can be included in the file’s coded information.
  • Create different versions of a visual for different platforms. Instagram uses a square format. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook work better with horizontal orientations. Pinterest seems to prefer verticals. Tumblr and Google+ go either way.

Need a designer’s touch?
I’ll create your visual content for social media and blogs that is consistent with your brand, including color, type, images, and layout. To get going, email me to set up a strategy session.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.

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