Almost everyone with access to the internet is on social media and that is where businesses have found themselves jostling for space over the last decade.
With so much content flowing through social media, businesses are in a battle to get their posts seen by their audience and beyond.
Social media marketing is effective in increasing engagement and brand awareness, but when there is so much content already available, it becomes much harder to be seen, or even found, especially for smaller businesses.
What many businesses have found is that visuals tend to make a difference to the engagement rates of their posts.
But what kind of visuals should businesses be incorporating into their social media marketing? And how do they create or source them?
Here are the top tips and tools you need when using social media visuals.
Data has become one of the most important content generators in 2019. A large number of popular written pieces and social media posts are related to data.
If you have written a data-driven piece of content, you will probably have created charts for it. At the very least, you will have a data set that you may want to share with your social media audience.
You can choose to share your graphs from the article or blog post you have written, or collate the remaining data into a new and more attractive visual that will be more shareable.
Popular data visualization forms such as graphs and charts are universally recognizable. If you contextualize the data properly, these graphs can share a wealth of information in a single post.
While many marketers might be tempted to create graphs on Excel, these will not be attractive on social media.
Instead, there are tools that marketers can use to visualize the data sets they have in attractive and engaging ways.
Data visualization tool: Venngage
As a content marketer at Venngage, I know how convenient it is to have access to a data visualization tool.
Venngage has a library of charts, graphs, and mind map templates that will help marketers visualize the data they have.
The templates on offer are highly customizable, allowing you the freedom to change elements, add items, adapt the font, and change colors to best reflect your message.
Venngage also has a brand kit section that allows you to upload your brand logo, colors, and fonts so your visuals can be uniform and brand-forward.
High quality visuals
It should go without saying that social media needs high quality visuals. When there are so many businesses all jostling for attention on social media, only the best images will get any attention.
Taking great photographs isn’t something all businesses can do—hiring photographers, renting studios, and contracting models can all break a budget.
For businesses trying to save some money, this isn’t the best process to follow. Which is why so many organizations have turned to stock images.
Though stock photos have become somewhat passe, they still have their place in the digital marketing realm.
But businesses need to choose carefully—don’t use the photos that everyone uses from the first two or three pages. Instead, dig deeper and you may be able to find something unusual.
Also, always ensure that the photos you choose are aligned with your brand so your audience recognizes the image as one of yours, even if it is a stock image.
High quality images tool: Unsplash
There are a number of stock photo websites available but one that stands out is Unsplash. The site has over five million high quality, unique photos in its library.
All the photos are royalty free—though you should credit the photographer—and the visuals are as attractive as they are unusual.
To make an impact on your social media channels, using photos from Unsplash will make a huge difference.
Use GIFs in social media posts
The NEW first day of fall is… today! It’s officially PSL season! ? #PumpkinSpiceLatte pic.twitter.com/usLI9kywW6
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) August 27, 2019
People love GIFs. They are fun, quirky, and they relate so much information in a few seconds. GIFs can be informative and humorous, which is what makes them excellent shareable content for social media posts.
Incorporating GIFs into your social media marketing strategy may not be the easiest thing—your followers may not be used to it.
But you can start by using a GIF or two every week and gauge the reaction to understand whether or not it is worth continuing with this method.
You can also create your own branded GIFs that are uniquely your own which will be educational and entertaining for your audience.
GIFs tool: GIPHY
GIPHY is undoubtedly the leader when it comes to GIF sources. The site has millions of GIFs, as well as short videos that you can use for a variety of purposes. GIPHY literally has a GIF for everything.
Plus, GIPHY offers a GIF-maker tool where you can upload photos, videos, or an existing link that will be converted into GIFs.
GIPHY is a great way to source and create brand GIFs that will have your audience hooked to your posts.
Videos are becoming the most important type of visual in digital marketing. They generate high levels of interest and are seeing increasing shareability.
YouTube, the dedicated video social media network, has become the second most popular search engine, after Google. Clearly, businesses need to start creating videos, if they haven’t already.
Videos of your company, your staff, your product in action, and testimonials, are all doing extremely well for businesses across the board.
There is nothing that can’t be used as content to make a video—the creative avenues are as endless as a marketer’s imagination.
Making videos can be challenging but fortunately, there are video making tools that you can use to create high quality, engaging videos that will improve your social impressions.
Video tool: Lumen5
Among the many video-making tools, Lumen5 is an online video maker that is versatile and easy to use.
Lumen5 has a storyboard that incorporates natural language processing (NLP) to read the text of any link you feed it. The system then automatically creates a video from the data it has received.
You can adjust the data and visuals to your needs, and add more content and audio as needed. Lumen5 also has a brand kit that you can use to brand your video.
Add text to visuals
Many marketers are under the notion that their social media visuals have to be pristine—they mustn’t include any text on them. But this is not true—you can, and should, add text to your visuals.
Text on visuals can be used for a number of reasons—as an enticing headline, as an inspirational quote, or to highlight data.
While visuals attract attention, text gives context to the image and the contents contained within. By adding text to your visuals, you make your social media post multi-layered and more engaging.
Text tool: Grammarly
The Grammarly chrome extension can be used for a variety of sites, including for social media posts.
Though Grammarly is generally associated with writing long-form articles, you can use the extension to proof-read and correct any text you are writing on your visuals.
It may seem like you have little chance of making an error when there is so little text involved in creating a visual, but when you are in a hurry, it is easy to make the most egregious errors.
Use Grammarly to prevent making mistakes and you will be able to create attractive visuals.
Visuals on social media have become an important part of digital marketing life. There are a number of tools that are making it easier for marketers to get their content noticed.
By creating visualizations of data sets, you can make your data-driven pieces stand out. You can also use high quality stock images that are unusual yet attractive.
GIFs are engaging and fun, while videos have been making strides in social media. Finally, don’t be afraid to add text to your visuals, as they make a post more interesting and contextualized than a single image.
With these tips, and the tools that will help you execute them, you can create attractive social media visuals that will see your engagement rates soar.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage. She enjoys writing on various marketing-related topics and about using social media, improving conversions, best practices in writing, and how to be your most productive self.