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Graphics and Video Boost Social Media Success

Let visual design promote your work

Social media was born from the need and desire to share news and ideas (aka content) with lots of people as quickly as possible. Email and bulletin boards arguably served this purpose for a long time before early internet sites like GeoCities and Friendster. These new approaches emphasised personal interests and encouraged users to create profiles for themselves, including photographs.

social media graphics and videoAs 1stWebDesigner's excellent history on social media hints, it was Friendster's photo-driven platform that really grabbed the attention of that first fledgling group of internet enthusiasts. Founded in 2002, Friendster gained 3 million users in its first three months, or one in every 126 people on the internet.

To Succeed in Social Media, Tell and Illustrate a Story

Even as Hummingbird requires more relevant content (prompting some to say even 500 words is not enough) it is images and video that help social media efforts really stand out. Also, audio occasionally makes an impact (as owners of major league sports teams have re-discovered). Images and video reach audiences that might otherwise be too passive to read a page, leading to that social media nightmare: no shares.

Telling a story is key to succeeding in social media, as Pennsylvania State University researcher Jonah Berger recounts in his book "Contagious: Why Things Catch On." Making a narrative part of a larger story can be the key to creating viral messages. Triggers that prompt a strong memory encourage sharing for any number of reasons. Images, of course, can be powerful triggers.

In the burgeoning world of visual social media, where images help foster emotional and personal connections. Use images and videos to boost your message, or story. Adding a relevant, supportive, and striking photograph or an entertaining 15-second Instagram delivers a story that people are more likely to view and share. This can even help foster a sense of connection and community.

Increase Your Visual Stock Library

What if you need a specific image now? Not everyone is a talented photographer. Some images are just hard to capture, too. Time-lapsed photography or capturing elusive creatures like butterflies or nocturnal creature require specific skills.

social media graphics and video
Fortunately, there are online photography sites like Shutterstock that stock thousands, maybe millions, of images you can search for and download for a fee. Some photographers incorporate animation in their work, giving an extra kick to an image. Searching for a specific video topic, like the butterfly example, can show you where this technique makes a rather commonplace image far more interesting.

Photos and Videos Get More Reads and Shares

It's much easier to attract interest with quality photos and videos than with 500-word articles or unadorned tweets and posts. But you still need to blog, tweet and share. To get more mileage from your blogs, take the time to include photos or videos. Do this in your social media messaging and you will see your posts get more shares.
Adding an image to your tweets make it twice as likely to be retweeted, particularly if you upload the image and don't tweet something from another site like Facebook or Instagram.
Social media analysts Socialbakers report that graphics are a powerful tool for sharing or liking on Facebook. This year, 93 percent of the most-shared (or liked) Facebook posts included images, up from 85 percent in 2012.

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