There are 3.48 billion social media users around the world. With so many people online, and so many accounts vying for attention, it’s no surprise there is a continuous need to create compelling and fresh visual content to engage your audience in social media.
Since the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds, you have a limited time to create an impact – and make people want to see more.
The state of affairs
If you want to create an effective visual content campaign for your social media, it’s important to understand how business accounts already leverage images. This provides a clue on how, when and why to use images in your own strategy.
In 2020, 63% of social media is made up of images, and nearly 66% of updates on social media are visual content. Why is that?
Put simply, because it gets more views, more clicks and, finally, more conversions!
Content posted with relevant images gets almost double (94%) more views than content without – across topics and categories. On LinkedIn, for example, posts with images have a 98% higher comment rate, while a similar increase in engagement is seen on Twitter and Facebook.
There is also a biological explanation to why visual content is so effective. Our brains are wired to process visual stimuli 60,000 times faster than text. And, if that’s not enough, humans are also 65% more likely to remember information received if it includes an image.
By using compelling visual content, you are making your content optimal for your audience’s consumption! So let’s take a look at tips on how to create visual content for social media.
Top Tips for your visual content
Before creating visual content for your social media accounts, it is a good idea to create an overall strategy that supports and gives meaning to your content.
The first step is to know your audience – this might require an in-depth audience research, in case your business has not yet done so. This is a fundamental step not only for marketing campaigns, but also to drive up sales and conversions.
Then, think about themes connected to your audience interests. What topics might they find interesting? In this step, you can look for inspiration in other social media accounts and create a mood board with interesting color palettes and types of content.
Lastly, decide the frequency in which you will post in social media. A calendar is a handy tool that helps you organize content creation and scheduling, ensuring you don’t miss anything.
And there is another benefit of having a visual strategy in place. Whenever you are at a lost of what kind of content to produce, you can go back to the basics: who is the audience, what themes are they interested in and what kind of content have you decided on? Look back at your answers to these questions to get inspired!
Keep it simple
Sometimes, less is more. If your visual content has several features, such as text, many colors, animations and photos, it might be too much of a visual stimulus. As a result, the main message you want to convey gets lost.
Take for example the Instagram post above, by Nivea Indonesia and using content created by a Klaud9 photographer: the various elements of the image use variations of the same two colors, without cluttering the visual.
Do you like the text, but it doesn’t fit with the photo you want to use? Keep a document with all visual content ideas (such as quotes and copy, gifs and more). You can then go back to this document to create more content in the future.
“Keep it simple” is also a good motto for when considering grids and collages. Avoid putting too many pictures together. Most social media allow you to post several images at once, so you can think of ways to showcase several photos without putting a grid together. In this way, each image can be appreciated separately, but still as part of a whole.
→ Need original and authentic photos for your social media? Klaud9 finds the perfect local photographer for your needs!
The same goes for filters. We know they are tempting, but don’t over do it!
If you want to add filters to your images, first decide on one filter that serves your purposes. Then, consistently use it. This helps create a sense of cohesiveness and consistency in your social media account.
There is a plethora of images you can find online. But not all of them can be used in your social media. If you are not using your own original photos (which we recommend doing, with professional local photographers), pay close attention to copyright.
Make sure that the images you want to use – be it photos, templates or illustrations – are royalty-free. In some cases, this means purchasing the rights to use the images. In other situations, all that is needed is to give credit to the image creator. If opting for user-generated content, be sure to always get explicit permission.
Use stock photos the right way
Stock photos can get a bad rep, we know. That’s mainly due to the overuse of some same-old, repetitive and fake-looking photos.
But stock photography can be a huge helper when used correctly! Today, you can find authentic and specific imagery that fits a variety of contexts, situations and demographics.
Always revert back to your visual content strategy to get a good grasp on the kind of photo you need. Once you do, search for the images in the right database. For example, if you need asian stock photos, Klaud9’s marketplace is the place for you. Looking for black and melanated women photos? Check out CreateHER.
Size image and resolution
A very important – and often overlooked step – is making sure all images you use are in the right dimensions and with adequate resolution. Aspect ratio is different in each social media, so make sure you don’t lose any information due to poor, automatic crops when publishing content.
You can take a look at the specific sizes for different kinds of visual content in this guide. And as a rule of thumb, aim for images at least 1080 pixels wide for any social media. This guarantees you won’t post blurry or pixelated visuals.
Keep in mind that videos and stories might have different specs – and that also depends on where you intend your audience sees your content. Here, analytics come in handy: if you know the majority of your followers use a laptop or PC to see your social media updates, landscape visuals work well. If, however, they use their smartphones, vertical content should be prioritized.
Be careful with text
According to Facebook, ad images with less than 20% of text in perform better. So take it easy when adding text overlays to your visuals. A few rules of thumb to follow:
- Keep it short
- Use high contrast (black letter overs white background, for example)
- Don’t describe the image – add to it
- Always confirm grammar and spelling
- Ensure readability
By adding these tasteful and simple animations, Coca-Cola made its post that much more eye-grabbing!
There are many free tools, like Canva and Adobe Spark, that allow you to create simple but effective animations for social media. These can be used to draw attention to a specific element of your visual or to communicate more in less space.
Besides, GIFS, cinemagraphs animations might grab your audience’s attention even better than a still image. Remember our previous advice on keeping it simple: a little movement goes a long way!
Think about your audience and representation
Remember how we stressed the importance of knowing your audience? The whole reason behind creating visual content is effectively connecting with your audience. To achieve this goal, it is important to create rapport, and to show your followers and clients that you know them, their struggles and their desires.
If your visual content is not relatable, this cannot be achieved. For example, if your brand caters to women in their 40s, using images of young females won’t communicate what your brand and products are about. Similarly, if you want to make sure people know your products can be used by people of all sizes and body-builds, be sure to show it in your visuals, with diverse models appearing in your visuals.
Bottom line is, your audience should feel represented in your social media visual content.
Plus, people are paying more and more attention to social responsibility and inclusivity in the way brands market themselves. By being mindful of how your social media breaks with stereotypes and strives for diversity, you will be ahead of the curve!
Don’t add images just for the sake of it
After talking so much about the importance and benefits of using visual content in your social media marketing strategy, you might be tempted to throw any image with your posts. But be careful!
People are surrounded by content at all times. To break through the clutter, your visual content should add value to your audience. It should have an effect on the individuals you want to reach. Ultimately, it should be something people actively look for or wait for.
If you simply put any image out in the social media world, just for the sake of it, you will condition your audience to expect just that: a meaningless image. This will drive engagement down, social media will put your content in the feeds of fewer and fewer followers, and your objectives won’t be reached.
That’s why a visual content strategy and knowing your audience is essential. Both elements allow you to know what is the best kind of content for your clients. Once you do, you can commission authentic, fresh and original photos that can be used in a variety of ways in your social media channels, as well as newsletters, websites and even printed media!
Klaud9 can help you with that step! Wherever you are, and whatever your needs are, we pair you with a local photographer within 24 hours. We adapt to your budgets and requirements, guaranteeing a high-quality experience and amazing photographs!
Discover our on-demand photo shoot packages or create your own custom shoot with just a few clicks 👇