There are a million and one things we could all talk about in our social media posts, but before we can get people to listen, we need to grab their attention with some scroll-stopping visuals. Here’s a few important reasons why:
- 70% of all human sensory receptors are concentrated inside the eye (Hubspot)
- Posts with compelling visual elements get 94% more views than those without (Hubspot)
- Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement than those without (BuzzSumo)
- Blog posts with a visual every 75 to 100 words earn more shares (BuzzSumo)
- 14% more views can be generated by press releases if they contain photos when published (Hubspot)
Take More/Better Photographs
The most obvious form of visual content for many is the photograph. And with most of us having a camera phone less than arm’s distance away throughout our waking hours, photos are probably the easiest visual content for us to create. That said, a bad photograph is going to do nothing for your brand; it won’t stop the scroll or get people paying attention to what you’re trying to say. So, you’ve got a few options here:
Improve your own photography skills. There are loads of resources out there which can help you improve – and inspire – your photography. Check out YouTube, TikTok and Reels for loads of great video tips and tutorials. Here’s a quick one on improving your smartphone photos from B&H Photo and Video. I’ve also created a free how-to guide specifically focused on taking better photographs for your business.
Use stock photographs. Stock photos are a quick and easy way to have more ‘professional looking’ imagery on your website and social media, and they’re often free to use. However, they are typically easily recognisable as stock imagery and they can actually create a bad feeling towards your content, so I would personally recommend avoiding this route. Find out why in my blog 5 Reasons You Need to Stop Using Stock Photography In Your Business. Also, make sure you’re using legitimate stock photography sites; just because you’ve found an image on Google does NOT mean you can use it.
Hire a professional photographer. When it comes to easily getting lots more visual content that is specific and relevant to you and your business, there is no better way than hiring a professional photographer. I know, for many, this can feel out of reach especially in the early stages of business, however, before writing off the idea, I recommend thinking about your own hourly rate and multiplying that by the number of hours that you’re having to spend coming up with, and creating, new and interesting visual content for your business. I’ll bet the price of the professional feels a whole lot less daunting in comparison – and would free up a whole load of your time to work on other things that you love doing within your business.
Whatever method you choose, be consistent. If you’re using your camera phone for your imagery, try and stick to the same style, such as using the same filters on your photos, so that when you look at your Instagram grid, for example, there’s a clear ‘look’ to your imagery. If you’ve got access to more professional-looking content too, I’d try and avoid flitting between the two, especially in Instagram as it really stands out when your grid is all over the place visually. One option is to keep only your best photographs for your grid and save the rest for your stories, or to add your phone snaps to branded graphics, which which I’ll cover next.
1. Create Custom Graphics
Thanks to tools such as Canva, great looking on-brand graphics are now really easy to make, without the need for a designer. And there are soooo many ways you can use graphics to mix up your visual content. How many of these ideas are you already using?
Branded image graphics. Instead of always posting a straight photograph, why not try adding the photo to a graphic? This will instantly associate the photo with your brand and add a little variety to your visual content. As suggested above, I try and keep my Instagram grid to professional photographs and branded graphics only. And by having something similar to the image below, I can keep my grid looking on-brand, even when using a lower quality phone image or incorporating someone else’s branding.
Quotes. I love a good quote, and whether you’re looking to inspire your audience, or just to keep things relatable, quote graphics are great way of attracting likes and shares for your content.
Testimonials. If you’re not sharing the great feedback that you’re getting from clients, then you definitely should be! If possible, try and include a photograph of the product or service so that your audience can see exactly what your clients are raving about.
Infographics. This might be one that you hadn’t really considered foryour business, but can be a great way of explaining processes or highlighting stats and figures relevant to your industry. Again, Canva is a great place to start creating these.
Animated graphics. Movement draws the attention of the eye, hence why videos are great visual content (more on that later ?). You can also create a similar effect by adding animations such as stickers into your graphics.
Memes. Memes are funny, relatable and are super share-worthy (if done well). They’re a great way to mix up your content. You can even incorporate them into your own graphics to keep them on-brand.
3. Start Going Live
So many people shy away from live videos, but they are an awesome piece of content that can help to get you noticed by your followers. When you go live on Facebook, your audience is automatically notified, so the curious amongst us will jump straight on and watch. And if you go live on Instagram, you’re automatically bumped to first place in your followers’ Stories feed. There are lots of other great reasons to jump on a live:
- Facebook live videos generate 6 times more interaction than regular video (Facebook)
- 82% of people prefer live video from a brand over standard social media posts. (Livestream)
- 87% of people will watch a live stream if it includes behind-the-scenes content. (Livestream)
Live videos are a great way of showing your audience what it’s like to do business with you and, because your followers are able to comment and ask questions in real-time, they’ll really help them to feel connected with you. All that said, I know that the prospect of going live on video can be pretty-damned daunting, so check out my top tips for going live here.
2. Try Out Different Video Formats
Video is one of the most popular forms of visual content, both amongst consumers and marketers. Viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video (Social Media Week) and nearly eight out of ten marketers feel that video has a direct, positive impact on sales. (Hubspot) So now we know why video is so great, let’s explore some easy ways you can incorporate video into your content:
Product/service videos. Videos are a great way to generate more interest in your offerings and explain some of the features and benefits of your products and services. This video was created using Animoto, however you can start creating videos for your business for free using Canva.
Explainer videos. You don’t need anything more than your camera phone to record video for your business, so there’s no excuse not to be showing your audience what you can do for them. Video is a great way of explaining what you do and how your products and services work.
Behind the scenes. Audiences love behind the scenes content and by regularly sharing videos of you doing what you do, you’ll build trust and help your followers to understand what it’s like to work with you.
Timelapse. Timelapses are a fun and engaging way to show a process or transformation, especially when a real-time behind the scenes video would be a bit dull to watch. They work great as Stories, giving an insight into a day in the life of you and your business , or you can overlay text to provide a bit of an explainer, like in the following video.
Video testimonials. Don’t tell your audience how great you are, if you can get someone else to do it for you! If they’re up for it, ask your loyal fans to record themselves raving about you.
5. Introduce More User-Generated Content (UGC)
Considering 79% of people say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions (Stackla), it’s definitely worth sharing whenever your clients are talking about you online. (Although, if they haven’t shared it in the public domain, do make sure you ask permission first.) One great way to encourage more UGC is to create a community around your business with some unique branded hashtags.
Boom. Lots of fun ways to try mixing up your visual content. I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have, give me a follow over on Facebook and Instagram and tag me in your posts so I can take a nosey!