The online environment is jam-packed with content, and the average browser now needs visual stimulation in order to draw their attention – that’s why Facebook posts with images get 2-3 times MORE engagement.
Whether you are currently using visuals or not, it’s time to step up your game.
5 Visual Content Marketing Tips to Use Now
- Fit the image to the platform.
- Get consistent and stay that way.
- Focus on a creative narrative.
- Put thoughtful consideration into image selection.
- Always, always, always use visuals.
Implementing these recommendations right now will not only improve your marketing results, they will also ensure that you aren’t playing catch-up later with fixes and edits that you could have been doing from the beginning.
Fit the image to the platform.
This might seem obvious, but a quick scan of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook posts will show that there are still a lot of people posting content that isn’t formatted to the proper size and proportions for the platform.
Where one image looks good for Instagram, it will be weirdly cropped when viewed on Twitter.
For example, this vertical Instagram Stories post featuring Jason Momoa and Henry Cavill was shared by someone on Twitter, and with the cropping, the post loses a lot of its star-power impact.
The platforms all seem to have different image display sizes and can change those periodically, so it’s important to create content to their specifications, and stay up to date on any changes.
Also, take a quick look at your posts – you can easily see if there is something displaying weirdly and act to correct it.
Does this sound like busywork? Well, it is a little. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to think that you have to create content for each platform, but that’s where tools can come in – resources like Canva can help you take one piece of content and resize it for a different platform. You’ll still need to fiddle with it once it has been resized, but at least you won’t need to create it from scratch.
Get consistent and stay that way.
On the topic of creating a piece of content and using it across platforms comes the related tip: be consistent.
Part of strong branding is that you have an overarching style that gets applied to everything that is created and published.
This is especially useful when you have more than one person creating content. Following the brand guidelines means that no matter who is creating, the result is still consistent.
Whether you’re a one-person show or have a team of content creators, the brand style needs to be created and documented.
If you don’t have those guidelines, set aside some time and really think about it. Here are some ideas to start with:
- Write down what you want the brand to represent.
- Generate a list of keywords you want to be associated with you, like “professional,” or “fun,” or “glamorous.”
- Select colors and document the HEX or RBG codes where you can find them so you can be sure you are using the same colors every time.
There are reams of articles about branding out there, and it’s for good reason: branding is important. And being consistent about it is also really important.
Focus on a creative narrative.
You don’t need to have a big budget to create original, attention-capturing content.
Instead, create a novel and unique take on the same old concepts. One of our favorite examples is the Instagram account @sheepwithaview which was created by @VisitNorway.
Imagine that your business objective is to get people to travel to your country. You can have a beautiful feed, with original images of the highlights of your country. This is a traditional take on marketing a travel business.
However, while @VisitNorway actually has this kind of account, they opted to create a new one that had a very unique take on their particular country. @sheepwithaview is a feed entirely filled with gorgeous pictures of, you guessed it, sheep.
It’s an innovative approach to featuring images from Norway, and as such, it’s got an amazing and engaged following. Staying top of mind is one of the keys to effective marketing, and @VisitNorway is doing so with this inventive idea.
There is nothing wrong with traditional. But, creativity will always come out on top if it’s done well.
Put thoughtful consideration into image selection.
Speaking of doing it well, any visual content marketing will hinge on which images are used.
Not only do you need to use high-quality pictures, but you also need to ensure that the photos are relevant to the written content that accompanies them.
It won’t do you any good to create a fantastic post about paying teachers more money if the image is of a bouquet of flowers.
It also reflects poorly on your brand if your chosen image is out of focus, too dark or overexposed, or poorly cropped.
Where to go for great images? Well, first of all, don’t just do a Google image search and take something from there. That could land you in copyright trouble.
Plus, there are lots of places, free and paid, to get images that don’t require attribution. Keep in mind, though, that everyone else in the world has access to these images as well, and that could mean that a great stock photo ends up getting overused.
What happens to an overused picture? It gets ignored. Our brains automatically register it as un-noteworthy and move on. And that is exactly what we want to avoid when marketing.
The other option is to get original pictures taken. You can take these pictures yourself or hire a professional. While taking the photos yourself might seem desirable from a cost perspective, you may just end up short-changing yourself in the long run.
The busy and fast-paced world we live in means that our audiences are being bombarded with content all the time.
Visuals are the best way to get their attention.
Stunning visuals are the best way to capture attention and keep it.
Most of the time it’s actually worth hiring a professional to create visual content for you. Look for one that has created content that matches your brand identity and the aesthetic you’re looking for.
Not all photographers and videographers are created equal, and it makes it easier all around to hire someone who already creates in the style you want. That way, you’ll spend less time exchanging edit requests and more time creating content your audience will love.
Always, always, always use visuals.
Is this a visual content marketing tip? It should be a rule.
Going forward, all your marketing content should include a good visual. Text alone just isn’t going to cut it.
Visuals are no longer a nicety; they’re an essential core component of a successful social media strategy.Michael Patterson
Making that a rule can seem a little daunting. But, fortunately, there are lots of visuals you can choose from:
- Quality stock images
- Professional original branded photos
- Behind-the-scenes pictures and/or videos you take yourself
- User-generated content (like testimonials)
- Animated videos
- How-To videos
- Data visualizations
- Visual quotes
Whatever kind of visual content you decide to use, remember to keep it consistent with your brand guidelines. Ensure that it is high quality, and relevant to the accompanying text.
And above all, keep in mind your audience. Create content, visual and otherwise, that they would find interesting. Great images and text won’t generate engagement if no one in your audience cares.
BONUS: 4 Visual Content Tips for Your Site
Include an ALT tag for every image
What’s this? It’s a very short text description of the image. Search engines use this text to learn what your image is about, and it’s a fantastic way to add some relevant keywords.
Additionally, ALT tags help your photo show up in image search results, which is actually a pretty big deal.
It might seem insignificant, but it makes a difference for SEO, so go back and add ALT tags to your site’s images right now, and make it a habit to do it going forward.
Fix broken images.
Sites undergo alterations and changes, and often get edited by different people. As a result, sometimes images that were working just fine last month are no longer appearing on the page.
This is bad news for user experience, and the last thing you want after you’ve spent time and resources driving traffic to your site is for the visitors to leave because the site looks unprofessional due to broken images.
Compress your site’s images.
Social media platforms automatically compress pictures we upload to them. Unless you have a specific plugin that does this, your website isn’t compressing the images, and therefore those pictures can take a very long time to load.
This also is bad for user experience. There are lots of sites that offer free image compression that doesn’t compromise the quality of the picture. We really like tinypng.com.
Use relevant keywords in the image filename.
Another small but distinct act that can help boost SEO. Don’t use a bunch of keywords, but also don’t leave the file named DL45464.png. Consider naming it after the page or article it will be appearing in.
9 Visual Content Tips to Use Now
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.Charles R Swindoll
At the end of the day, your marketing success will be the result of pulling all the pieces together into a cohesive whole. Some of the pieces may seem tedious or unimportant. Being methodical and having a process can help ensure those parts don’t get overlooked, because all the components are important to the finished product.
What tips can you share about improving visual marketing content?
Tell us below!