by Amy Bareham

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You and me? We’re visual people. (At least that’s what major social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have found.) Correct me if I’m wrong, but the social era has changed the rules of the marketing game. If your small business is struggling to gain social media traction, this article is for you. Too often, businesses get stuck in a posting rut. Social media managers post with the mindset of “what would I want to see,” rather than asking, “what do they want to see?”

picture_blogThe answer to what they – your customers and potential clients – want to see, is simple: images. A recent Hubspot study discovered that:

  • If people hear information, they’re only 10% likely to remember it three days later. Pair an applicable image with that same info and people retain 65% of the details three days later.
  • A colored visual increases a person’s desire to read content by 80%.
  • Content featuring a relevant image receives 94% more views than content without a relevant image.

This data tells us a few important things. First of all, it’s not just about posting tons of pictures – it’s about posting relevant pictures. What’s a relevant picture, you ask? Something that highlights an element of your content, fits with your brand and draws readers in. Perhaps a little something like this…(shown to the right)

Reading between the lines of this Hubspot data, we also learn that humans are remarkably predictable. As consumers, we’re continuously drawn towards all that glitters – the aesthetically pretty stuff. Now you may be thinking, “I’m a plumber. How do I make my small business social media accounts aesthetically pretty?” I hear you – keep reading.

How Visual Content Improves Social Media Results

GFXblogUltimately, you’re not drawn to bland, you’re drawn to bold. In a media-saturated world, playing it safe and letting words speak doesn’t always work. You have to pair concise content with a powerful picture. It doesn’t have to be a design masterpiece (although this will impress your followers). It just has to accurately reflect your brand.

This move towards graphics makes sense. We’re all running late, pressed for time and searching for something we can quickly relate to. Even if a reader doesn’t have time to digest your Instagram caption, he or she can double tap to give you a “like” in a matter of seconds. Keep in mind that images are meant to inspire and provoke curiosity. Content is meant to build trust and establish credibility. Text and visuals work hand-in-hand.

As an SEO copywriter, I have to accept that photographs and infographics are part of my arsenal, not part of my competition. Likewise, you need to maximize the storytelling power of a picture to ensure your content is read, and, perhaps more importantly, shared. So how does your small business take this information and utilize it to generate image-filled social media posts?

3 Ways to Maximize Your Social Media Following Using Visual Images

1.     Follow the leaders in your industry and learn what works

Don’t steal the images that work but strive to recreate the look and feel of social media posts with tons of engagement.

2.     Stop the grainy phone picture posts

These look unprofessional and will not reappear in your readers’ newsfeeds. Use a quality camera to capture your work – you owe it to yourself.

3.     Download a simple graphic design app

There are tons of them around. Playing with fun text and free stock images is an easy way to create informational and memorable visuals for blogs, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

You can also reach out to Townsquare Interactive for comprehensive marketing packages and a total web presence. We’ve gathered a bunch of visual, social media savvy people together to post on your behalf. So use your pictures to engage a thousand followers and keep an eye out for marketers who speak fluently in visuals.

You’ll realize just how compelling an inspirational visual can be.

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