By Patricia Redsicker
Do you use images to boost engagement?
Are you looking for tools to create better visual content?
Creating compelling visuals for your social media marketing can be challenging.
In this article you’ll find just about every resource you need to create visual stories on all of the major social platforms.
The Big Picture
Visual content has become extremely important to marketers’ social tactics. That’s because of a growing consumer interest in images as evidenced by popular sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.
People connect more emotionally with images than they do with text. In fact, customers are more likely to take action or make a decision when prompted with an image.
That means brands using visual social media content to drive a stronger message to their audience will naturally cut through the noise and rise to the top.
Here’s a lot of important stuff you need to know about visual content for social media marketing.
#1: Making the Case for Visual Content in Social Media
The use of visual content in social media has exploded, partly because it’s so easy tocreate and share images and video with a smartphone, and partly because images are more persuasive than text content. Here are some important reasons why you should include visual stories in your social marketing tactics.
Why Use Visual Content in Social Media Marketing?: Over at the Marketing Tech Blog, Douglas Karr breaks it down for us with an infographic (of course) to explain why any social marketing should be dominated by visuals.
Visual Social Media: How Images Improve Your Social Media Marketing: In this Social Media Examiner podcast, visual marketing expert Donna Moritz explains the importance of visual content, and how you can use images to take your marketing to a whole new level.
The Facts and Figures on the Power of Visual Content Marketing: Jeff Bullas takes it home with an explanation of why pictures have become so popular and why using them is smart. He reinforces his point with another amazing infographic that proves how powerful visual content is!
#2: Exploring Types of Visual Content
There are different types of visual content, ranging from images and video to infographics and SlideShare presentations. Some are easy and cheap to create, while some might require a professional designer. For small businesses looking to get big results on a small budget, check out Fiverr for great deals. Here are some ideas for visual content that will help make your message more engaging.
Four Types of Visual Content That Cut Through the Noise: Ekaterina Walter(author of The Power of Visual Storytelling) shares four types of visual content that your brand should definitely be using to engage communities and customers.
28 Ideas for Engaging Visual Content to Post on Social Media: Jennifer Kardell gives us 28 more ways (some simple, some outright genius) to use visual social media content to connect with buyers.
30 Compelling Examples of Visual Storytelling on the Web: For some great examples of visual content, check out these amazing illustrations shared by Jessica Moon on Digital Telepathy. They’ll definitely inspire your visual creativity.
#3: Creating Visual Content
Creating powerful visual content can be challenging. Fortunately, with a little work and some tips from these articles, you should have no problem at all. Check them out:
26 Ways to Use Visuals in Your Social Media Marketing: Strategy, strategy, strategy—that’s where it all starts. Social Media Examiner’s very own Debbie Hemley is a genius with her complete A–Z guide for getting started with a visual strategy. This might seem like a lot to digest, but once you have it down, you can execute these ideas across multiple social channels (including your blog).
10 Free Design Tools for Creating Stunning Visual Content: HubSpot’s Ginny Soskey will blow your mind with these free tools for creating stunning visual content. Everything from infographic templates to tools for sprucing up images, it’s all in there.
How to Make Visual Content for Social Media in 5 Minutes: Here’s yet another great post by Ginny! This time she shows you how to customize an image for social media in just five minutes! Don’t miss it.
5 Tips to Make Your Visual Content Pop: Fandom Marketing covers five secrets for designing images for the social web. These tips will not only make your visuals look great, they’ll grab your readers’ attention as well!
#4: Getting Your Visual Content Shared
Creating compelling visual content is only part of the equation. Now your audience needs to know it exists! Make sure you distribute your visual content far and wide via social media and encourage others to pass it along to their friends and peers. Here are some tips for sharing your images.
4 Tips for Making Visual Content Go Viral—and Benefit Your Business: Dan Tynski over at Content Marketing Institute shares a study that takes a look at the viral potential of visual content on Google+. Although the research only looked at Google+, the implications are intriguing and can be applied to other social platforms as well. This is fascinating stuff.
There’s an App for That: How to Get the Most From Your Visual Content: In this post from Social Media Today, Erika LaChance shows us how to use some of the most popular apps (Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Pinterest) to distribute your visual content and increase engagement with your brand.
#5: Learning the Rules for Using Online Images
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you know the risk of uploading and using Google images on your site. It’s really important to make sure you’re playing by the rules and getting permission for any online images you use. Here are some tips about the right (and wrong) ways to use online images.
Copyright, Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images: Sara Hawkins (a lawyer and blogger) cautions us about the right and wrong way to use online images. If you use Flickr, Photobucket and similar resources to get your blog images, make sure you have permission and give credit to the original creator of that work.
10 Do’s and Don’ts for Using Stock Photos in Your Marketing [SlideShare]: HubSpot’s Ginny Soskey shares a brilliant SlideShare presentation by Brittany Leaning that makes boring stock photos fun. In fact, her best tip is “Don’t assume all stock photos are cheesy.” Take a look and see what she means.
#6: Using Instagram
With Instagram, marketers have a potential audience of 100 million active users who take over 40 million photos per day. Take a look at these brilliant ideas for using Instagram to reach a broader customer base.
10 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business: Vanessa Au gives away some great content ideas for getting extra visibility for your brand images with the Instagram community! Very cool post.
16 Creative Uses of Instagram Video: In just 15 seconds, you can create visually compelling videos to share on Instagram. Check out these fun (and sometimes funny) videos from brands that clearly know how to engage. Max Knoblauch will have you rolling on the floor laughing and learning at the same time.
#7: Pinning on Pinterest
Pinterest has become a household name. It’s the fastest-growing social network with over 70 million users. But perhaps the most attractive feature about this platform is the massive web traffic referrals (66.5%) it generates for marketers. Here are some ways you can leverage Pinterest for your business.
21 Unexpected Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest: Courtney Seiter at Marketing Land is all about using Pinterest in interesting ways. Some of these you already know, but there are some well-kept secrets in there too!
10 Creative Ways to Use Pinterest for Marketing: Since direct sales content is not allowed on Pinterest, Susan Gunelius of Sprout Social talks about 10 ways to do indirect marketing.
#8: Leveraging Flickr
Flickr is probably the best place to put pictures on the Internet these days. Flickr users upload and share 1.4 million photos a day and their pictures don’t slide down to the bottom of their friends’ news feeds. Here are some tips for leveraging Flickr.
5 Tips to Increase Your Visibility With Flickr: Ann Smarty addresses some common misconceptions about Flickr and how to use the platform to raise overall visibility for your brand.
More Than Photo Sharing: 5 Unique Uses for Flickr: Great post from Nancy Messieh that shows how to go beyond photo sharing to give your audience a more compelling visual experience.
#9: Capitalizing on Visual Content
Visual content was already important in 2013. Going forward, an even greater emphasis will be placed on images and video as larger numbers of your target audience use mobile platforms and social channels. Here are some resources toinform your visual content strategy.
Visual Content Marketing: Capture and Engage Your Audience: If you have 58 minutes to sit in on this webinar, it’ll be well worth your time. In this presentation, the good folks at Marketo demonstrate how to leverage visual content to create a successful social media campaign.
6 Ways Social Media Marketers Should Capitalize on the Visual Content Revolution: And if you don’t have 58 minutes, check out how Pamela Vaughanbreaks it down into six easy steps in this infographic.
Well, there you have it!
Pictures are in, text is out. With these tips from the experts, it should be no problem tocreate and implement visual stories into your social media marketing.
What do you think? What other visual content resources do you have? Link them up for us in the comment box below!
Tags: content marketing, flickr, image editing tool, instagram content, patricia redsicker, pinterest content, social media content strategy, social media marketing, visual content, visual storytelling
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Patricia Redsicker
Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice.