How Visual Content Dominates Social Media And How to Leverage This For Your Brand

On 16.03.2017, by


As a marketing professional, it’s part of our blood to notice trends and embrace them with open hands. 2016 saw visual communication platforms blossom and the recent mammoth IPO of Snap Inc. bears testament to the growing significance of visual communication. Whether you’re in B2C, B2B or personal marketing, visual communication is quickly becoming a very important way to connect with your audiences and by leveraging a platform like Mass Planner, you already have a powerful upper hand to getting your content noticed. The challenge is how to produce great, engaging content that holds traction in a saturated market.

In order to do this, it’s worth understanding the how and why visual content is the key to the future of online and social marketing. One way to approach this would be looking at the psychology behind visual stimulants. From an evolutionary standpoint, visual aids were responsible for identifying threats, finding food and sparking love. It comes as now surprise then that only 10% of the information you hear is remembered after three days while an incredible 65% of information that you see is remembered 3 days later. The brain is significantly more responsive to visual stimuli than what you hear or read.

By appealing to people’s sense of visual aid, you can create more powerful and engaged reactions to the content you share on social media. It was found that people who respond to directions with both text and illustrations performed 323% better than people who followed instructions without illustrations. By appealing to people’s naturally stronger memory processes, you can create a more engaged response. For instance, BuzzSumo analysed over 1 million articles and found that articles with an image once every 75-100 words was shared double the amount of times than articles with fewer images. Likewise, Facebook posts with a picture receive on average 2.3 times as many engagements than ones without. As a marketer your goal is to maximise genuine engagement with your content, so the question is still raised – how do you produce visually compelling content?

For the sake of appealing to the hallmark tendencies of marketing professionals, we’ll focus on the three ‘low hanging fruits’ of visual content. Relevancy, emotions and great design.

Relevancy

To achieve the desired result of content, your marketing efforts need to focus less on your goals and more on the goals, wants and needs of your target audience. By providing content that is relevant to your buyer or audience persona, you are providing value. Your goal as a marketer is to create value but by then focusing on the value that they expect from you as a company. There’s no point in a clothing company creating infographics of a marketing sales funnel. It’s not relevant. By positioning your company within the expectations of the market, and aligning your content strategy to it, you can create highly engaging content.
Time relevancy is also a defining factor of why content becomes engaging. When there’s hype around a topic, people want to share it with their friends as people want to provide value to their friends or be known as a thought leader in their social circles. For instance, if a clothing company plans a slideshow to promote on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google fashion groups, focusing on a fashion relevant event, such as a reputable fashion week gives the audience social currency in the form of relevant information to share and promote.

When constructing visual content, ask yourself whether this type of content is what your audience expect of you to produce, and what they need or want. That ensures that you have their attention once it’s published. Then be sure to ask yourself whether or not it has relevance to the target audience’s interests and social circles. If you achieve that, then there is potential for engagement. Once you combine both, you have a piece of content that has powerful potential to be engaging and useful for your brand.

Emotions

The great advantage of visual aids is that you can appeal to people’s emotions far more efficiently than written content. There’s a reason cute cat images are some of the most shared content around. There’s also a reason memes have found extraordinary success as a medium for sharing small snippets of information. It’s because they can create emotional responses in the form of humor, anger, love, and interests. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

As a marketer tasked with creating engaging content for your audiences, identifying your audiences emotional sensitivities can bring personality to your brand and encourage engagement. For instance, a surf company can appeal to their audience’s sense of adventure and adrenaline to promote a new line of surfboards. By affirming associations between your audience’s emotions and your brand, you create a personal connection, which will increase trust and ultimately help you increase conversions.

Design

Great design goes a long way when it comes to visual aids. It secures a sense of professionalism and integrity that most brands overlook when producing visuals. It’s incredible just how many people expect poorly produced visual content to have an impact on social media or beyond. Simply, In order to have an impact you need to create stunning visuals. This is a lot easier than most people think.

Great design is a combination of fonts, colors, structure and graphics that work comfortably together to visualise ideas. If you can’t visualise information properly, it can often be more harmful than you think. A poorly designed graph screams of boredom and unprofessionalism. On the other hand, a slideshare presentation with great branding, color scheme, and font scheme streamlines the user’s experience, for instance, and helps retention rates increase. If you’re building a presentation, you could use different color themes as highlighted in this article. Alternatively, if you’re looking to share a simple message, perhaps use a block font such as Arial in bold over an emotionally related image that has had a slight dark transparency applied to it. A simple font is crisp, contrasting and easy-to-read. If you’re looking for free stock photography, try out Pexels.

If you’re a larger company, you could always look at outsourcing design work. Companies such as 24slides provide professional design and presentation services for very affordable prices. If you have a limited budget, you could always look towards tutorials on Youtube. For inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start.

If there’s one thing we learned from 2016, it’s that content is still king. 2017 is going to see a massive increase in visual content and in order to compete in a social sphere saturated by content and information, you need to appeal to the customer and prioritise their needs, wants and expectations. You need to do this while positioning yourself as a professional and reputable leader with well designed visual content that evokes emotional responses. Relevancy ensures your audience is interested and provides a foundation for engagement.

About The Author

Jonathan Jeffery: I’m interested in global politics, digital marketing, start-ups, scuba diving and techno. Australian based in Copenhagen. You can find me on Twitter at @jonathanjeffery

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