We spend a lot of time working with people who want to share their story. Everyone’s got one.

But the real question is this: how can you share your story in a way that makes people want to learn more?

If you want more views, clickthroughs, shares, and overall engagement on your social media posts, you’re not alone. According to the 2014 State of Inbound Marketing, 84% of marketers cited organic, top-of-the-funnel sources like social media, blogs and search engines as rising in importance in 2014.

Posting visual content is one of the most important things you can do to improve your social media strategy. A successful social strategy will often include photos, videos, infographics and graphs.

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But hang on. Posting visual content for the sake of posting visual content is not the best way to optimize your presence on social media. It’s important that your visual content be compelling, relevant and correctly formatted.

Here are some tips on creating aesthetically pleasing, impressive and compelling visuals for social media.

Here’s what we know.

  • 63% of social media is made up of images.
  • Nearly 66% of updates on social media is visual content.
  • 50% of all Internet users have re-posted or shared a picture or video they saw online.
  • 54% of all Internet users have posted an original picture or video that they have personally created.

Visuals are vital to online success.

When I graduated college, I worked as a waitress before starting with Big Sea. I started a social media strategy for them. I wanted people in the area to know that we had some really great things to offer on a daily basis.

It wasn’t a big deal and it wasn’t hard — and yet, at the same time — it was. Here are some factors to take into consideration.

  • Don’t add an image just to have an image. It’s obvious what you’re doing.
  • Good lighting is crucial. Find a good photo filter and use it consistently. No one wants to see a dark photograph they can’t make out, so go with bright colors whenever feasible.
  • Don’t use boring or irrelevant images. Next.
  • Avoid overused stock photos. Sometimes you have to use them and there’s no way of getting around it. Try finding the most relevant, non-cheesy ones. Your fans will appreciate it.
  • If you’re creating a graphic, use colors that people can associate with your brand or fit the topic in discussion.

Let’s put this into perspective.

Imagine yourself scrolling through your social stream around 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. If you don’t already have plans that evening, chances are you’re going to start thinking about it soon. Let’s assume you want to go out instead of watching Netflix (LOL).

You see a post from a brand new restaurant in your area and the picture makes you call your friends and suggest going there. What’s swaying your decision? Maybe it’s the Waldorf salad or happy hour sangria they shared on their Facebook wall. I can’t tell you how many people came to my restaurant and said “I’ll have the special. The one you posted on Facebook.”

People are wired to take in visual content faster.

It almost hurts my feelings to see businesses describing a great product – whether it’s food, new piece of technology, furniture, makeup, whatever – and not have a picture to accompany the text. Show them why it’s exciting.

The brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of the information sent to our brains is visual. I’d say those are two pretty compelling reasons to add images to your next social blast.

In many cases, you can use a collage full of images in a grid or place a frame around a photo. Grid images are easier to overlay text and they’ll give order and professionalism to your images.

What now?

It might be time to rethink your organization’s approach to visual design. Spend time on your visual content to bring in the traffic you really want.

If your social media strategy needs a visual boost, let us know how we can help.

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