It's no secret that visuals trump text updates when it comes to engagement over social media. A recent analysis from M Booth shows that on Facebook photo updates are liked two times more than text updates. Pinterest, a social media site that is exclusive to photo sharing, has recently beaten out Yahoo organic traffic to become the 4th largest traffic driver worldwide. Additionally, according to Huffington Post's 100 Fascinating Social Media Stats, users spend 50% more time on Instagram sharing pictures than they do on Twitter tweeting.
The message to marketers should be clear. In order to increase engagement with a social media marketing strategy, visuals must be used. Here are 3 types of visuals to consider when posting status updates:
1. Infographics are great way to display text in a fun and eye-catching way that is easy to read. 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. So it is not a big surprise that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles, according to recent study by CustomerMagnetism.com. They convey information in a way that takes a fraction of the time to read. It's the job of a well-crafted infographic to convert text-heavy information into digestible visual masterpieces. When creating an infographic, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Choose a topic for your infographic that is popular and give it a unique and catchy title. People like infographics because they feature relevant information in a way that is fun and easy to take in.
- Make sure that your infographic follows a theme and tells a clear story. Arrange the information in a way that builds upon itself. Think of it like an article, include a catchy heading and some information to hook the reader, and then go more in depth before you end with data conclusion.
- Include a diversity of sources. Like in a good blog post, use a diversity of 3rd party sources to back up your points.
- Promote your Infographic. It's not uncommon to see the same high-quality infographic on different blog posts. Promote your infographic to other bloggers, and make sure that they're linking it back to your website where the infographic is hosted. This will drive website traffic and increase your site's ranking.
2. Comics. Whether you're dealing with dense information or something more lighthearted, almost any post can benefit from being accompanied by a comic. Comics can come in a variety of different forms: single frame comics, comic strips, comic books, comic book series, cartoons, and graphic novels, to name a few.
Figure 1. Google cartoon. Source: CopyPress, (http://www.copypress.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/2011-recap/bing_1.jpg)
The reason comics are so effective is that they help convey messages that are otherwise hard to convey over text. They're also easy to remember and enjoyable to read. Take this advertisement for Google for example (figure 1). The second you look at it you understand that even though Bing is gaining market share on Google, they're still a long way away from being a real contender. While a written statement might need to include stats and extra explanation to help drive the message home, this simple comic can be understood in less than five seconds and will create a lasting impression.
3. Memes. If you think memes are a phenomenon of modern social media, you are mistaken. Memes have been around way before the creation of "Success Kid", "Annoying Facebook Girl", or "Scumbag Steve". The term meme was coined in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and is meant to describe a way for people to transmit social memories and cultural ideas to each other.
Even before the term meme was invented, in 1972 AlkaSeltzer's advertising team came out with the ad campaign "I can't believe I ate the whole thing". A meme that is still repeated to this day by people who eat too much, even if they don't know it's tied to AlkaSeltzer. In 1984 Wendy's came out with an ad campaign revolving around the simple phrase "Where's the beef?" This became an instant meme that is still a well-recognized popular culture reference. And a phrase that is tied to Verizon's superior cell phone reception, "Can you hear me now?" became a meme the day it first aired in 2002.
With this being said, memes aren't going anywhere. The modern meme has evolved into something that has come to be known as an Internet meme. These memes are quickly created on sites such as MemeBase almost as fast as they evolve and/or fizzle out. But you shouldn't let their quick lifespan discourage you. Internet memes help to drive home a marketing message and can greatly increase shares on a post. Therefore, without spending a ton of money to create your own pop culture icon, go ahead see what's trending and, if it fits, use it in your own meme.
Now of course there are other factors that go into driving engagement besides posting funny pictures or creating another video of the Harlem Shake. But use these techniques in conjunction with quality content that resonates with your audience and you are sure to see some awesome results.