Do you remember that old saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words? Considering the trends of social media these days, it may be worth even more. Both the current statistics and the predictions for the near future indicate a single major trend: all kinds of content need to contain great visuals in order to attract and maintain people’s attention.
Some Relevant Statistical Numbers
Before you continue reading, try a simple experiment: go to your Facebook™ or Twitter account and start scrolling down your newsfeed. Which type of content caught your attention? The ones featuring photos or videos, right? Point proven, now let us back it up with a few statistics:
- People’s interest in reading a piece of content increases by 80% if it features coloured visuals (photo, graphic illustration);
- People will remember 65% of the information they read in a piece of content featuring images, compared to 10% if the information is heard;
- Content featuring relevant visuals gets 94% more views than content without visuals;
- In just 3 years (between 2012 and 2015) video content viewed on mobile devices increased by 844% (yes, eight hundred and forty-four percent)!
We will also add to these statistics a prediction made by the statistical research company named Syndacast, that by 2017 video will represent 74% of all internet traffic. Now let us see how to use visual media effectively to get more views, shares and comments on the social media:
1. Don’t Tell Them, Show Them!
In explaining good story writing, legendary author Mark Twain said that writers should not say that the old lady screamed; instead, they should drag her on stage and make her scream. This century-old piece of advice is valid for the creation of marketing content in the age of social media. Whenever you can replace words with visuals, do it.
Here are a few simple examples: instead of telling your followers your brand story, create a time-lapse video of relevant photos, from your first garage workshop, to the shiny new office headquarters you own now. Instead of telling your audience how great they will feel using your products, show them happy people who are enjoying the benefits of your products.
2. Help Them Make Sense of Numbers and Data
Visualising is the simplest way of explaining any kind of information. People will not really understand how big the Titanic was, until you place its photo alongside a regular airline jet. They will also not make much sense of the improved benefits of your new product, until you show them a side-by-side comparison to the results obtained with the old product.
Cold numbers and percentages are meaningless until they are put in perspective, and this is why pie charts have become so popular. Guess what pie charts are – visual representations of percentages!
3. Place Memorable Quotes in a Visual Framework
Do you know why memes became so popular? Because they associate a witty quote with visuals which either reinforce, or contradict the quote. Some of the most creative ways of presenting memorable or significant quotes involve either superimposing images on the letters themselves, or integrating the text in an image. People will take a good look at the image and in this time the text will be firmly recorded in their memory. Plus, no one will share a bit of text, unless it is a piece of news of worldwide importance or a celebrity said it. The impulse of sharing comes from the visual quality of the “packaging” of the content.
4. Encourage Users to Create and Share Visual Content
Here’s one great way to have a continuous stream of shareable and potentially viral visual content: encourage your followers to showcase their stories, how they relate to your brand and products, how they feel using your products and what motivates them to be loyal to your brand. People love being in the centre of attention, even for a few hours or days. Having their photos featured on a brand’s social media page is their ticket to the proverbial 15 minutes of fame. Pair it with a contest, the expectation to win an exciting prize, and the videos and photos will keep being sent to you over days and weeks without a break.
5. Give Your Offers an Attractive Look
Consider the small text promoting a 50% discount for a pair of shoes, lost somewhere towards the bottom of your newsfeed and the lavish graphics promoting a 20% discount for another brand of shoes, featured in the discount coupon. Which one are you most likely to notice and click on? Surely, 50% is a great discount, but you have no idea if you like the discounted shoes in the first instance. While a great product photo, cleverly integrated in the visuals will make you want those shoes, even if you had no intention to purchase a new pair before you saw that offer. And even if you won’t actually buy those shoes, you can think of at least one friend who would love the offer and you share it.