Social Media Loves Visuals : Understanding Content

Heard of Social Media visuals yet? Every social media manager or strategist worth his salt will tell you about visuals. Videos, images and graphics sell on social media. A post, update or tweet with visuals in it is likely to gain you more interactions and engagement. If you do it without a visual, engagements and conversion drops dramatically. Many social media platforms are now having to devise clever ways for users to use imagery. Development of the platforms is taking the direction of images and other small motion visuals such as GIFs.

What informs our opinion about social media visuals

Analysis shows engagement rises more than 2% on Twitter when a tweet has a visual. On Facebook, the number is higher, resting at 2.4%. If you include an emoticon or ‘feeling’ on Facebook, you may just hit the peak of 2.6 % in engagement. In a twist, emojis do not have the same effect on Twitter. One of the possible reasons to this would be because Twitter is less emotion-oriented than Facebook. Other sites such as LinkedIn also report a sharp rise in updates that have images. Snapchat, Vine (owned by Twitter) and Instagram are primarily visual-oriented.

Why social media loves visuals (Cascade effect)

  1. Social media is cluttered. With millions of posts, updates and tweets being sent out every minute. Users of Social media platforms have to filter out the clutter in some way. It is also common knowledge that the human brain responds better to visual stimuli. It is thus no wonder that social media visuals attract more attention.
  2.  Social Media visuals pass information quickly. Having an image related to the story gives a quick mental picture of what is in the content. Contextualizing images is thus important if you want them to earn you any engagement. Images win on their speed of communication and the precision with which they deliver information to the reader. Your content will get higher prioritization over similar content without images.
  3. Ability to impact more heavily on target audiences. Images and social media visuals in content are able to speak in more than one way to your target audience. You can blend two or three themes and messages in an image.
  4. Images deliver headlines well. A reader is able to decide the main focus of your content from going over the image. They then decide if they will read the rest of the content. In short, nobody ignores what they can digest using their eyes only. This brings us to the infographic. Anybody with the ability to develop an infographic today is doing it. This is because infographics are easy to the eye and present information in small easily understood bits while building the bigger picture.

How to use visuals in content

Best practices. When using visuals in social media content, put them into context as we have mentioned above. Also ensure that the photos, videos, GIFs and other graphics that you use are clear. Good quality visuals for social media will load easily across different devices and still communicate your main ideas. You may also try two or three images in the same social media post. In such a scenario, arrange the images in some way to present a possible sequence of events. If your social media platform allows the insertion of images within text, do it. This rests the mind of the reader as they go through your content. It also creates an effective way to progressively summarize the main points of your communication.

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