Have you fallen out of love with social media? Does it seem drab and boring these days?
The good news is that you can rekindle your love for your favorite social sites!
So, here's what you need to do:
- You still need to whisper sweet nothings, you know, engage!
- Of course, paying attention to what your followers need is important, too, so be sure to continue to share valuable content.
- It probably wouldn't hurt to be a bit clever or funny at times.
And, sometimes you'll need to change things up a bit. Sure, you can broadcast important marketing data or small business tips. But, wouldn't it be nicer if you showed how much you care? One simple way to do this is by sharing visual content.
Why Visuals Matter
By now, you've probably heard that including visuals in your blog posts can boost the value and credibility of your content. This is true even when the included graphics have nothing do with the content you share. Crazy, right?
And, when you share images on social media, your followers will throw themselves at your feet. Well, maybe they won't, but they will be curious to see your graphics and start interacting with you in ways that you will definitely love.
Here are a few (tweetable) statistics that explain what I mean:
You have probably seen some tweets with URLs that look like this:
This is an image link that lets your tweeps know that there's a photo present in your tweet. As it turns out, tweets with those links get way more engagement than tweets without them.[Tweet “Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.”] [Source: Hubspot]
According to SocialBakers.com, “photos still get all the action” on Facebook. Basically, posts with images received more interactions than those without photos. You're probably not surprised to learn that when you post pictures on Facebook, they get more clicks, likes, and comments than text-based updates.[Tweet “Facebook updates with pictures get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs.”] [Source: FastCompany.com]
Did you think that sharing images was only for the Twitter and Facebook? Think again. Posting images on LinkedIn company pages has been shown to dramatically increase comments.[Tweet “Posting images on LinkedIn company pages show 98% higher comment rate.”] [Source: Buffer]
What Types of Graphic Content Can You Use?
So, we agree that a great way to keep your relationship with your social media peeps exciting is to include visuals in your status updates. Sure, you can use stock photos, but you should probably add a bit of sparkle and pizazz to them ahead of time. More on how to do that later.
Now that you're ready to mix things up a bit on social, don't forget to optimize your images for each network. Check out this handy dandy cheat sheet with the image dimensions for the most popular social sites. Or, you can use this simplified version created by Dustin Stout (over there on the right).
And, that's not all you can do to keep things interesting. Instead of sharing images only, consider using a plethora of visual goodness to keep your followers interested and coming back for more.
So, share content like:
- Graphic Quotes
- Short videos
Okay, now on to the tools you need.
Tools to Create Great Graphic Content
I'd love to tell you that there's an app to help you make rockin' graphics that will wow your social media peeps.
But, there isn't.
There are MANY apps for that!
And, that's good news because you'll likely never run out of tools you can use to make cool visuals. Today, I'll focus on three popular types of visuals — and the tools you can use — to spruce up your social media posts.
1. Visual: Graphics With Overlays
When you have photograph or image that you'd like include with a social media update, you'll probably want to add your own unique message or put your stamp on it before you share it.
This is where Canva and Picmonkey come in. Both are web-based applications (though Canva now has an iPad app). Both are super easy to use and don't require design or technical knowledge for you to create an awesome graphic. Here's one I created recently using Canva …
Canva offers templates for a variety uses (including social media) and you can now share your designs with other Canva users (sounds like it's turning into its own social network!). Picmonkey also has several templates (check out the collages), lets you start a design from scratch, or simply edit what you already have.
Before jumping into the next topic, I have to mention A Beautiful Mess app (iOS & Android). The girls on the SocialKNX team swear by it, so I'm going to have to give it a whirl. It's next on my list! If you use it, let me know what you love about it.
2. Visual: Graphic Quotes
A graphic quote is basically a quote that's dressed up in a cute, fun, or fancy way. One simple tool you can use to make one yourself is Quozio. Simply enter your quote, who said it, …
… choose your style, and then share with your social media peeps.
Pinwords is just as easy, too. Upload a picture to use as the background for your quote, or select one of the four backgrounds provided before sharing on your social sites.
3. Visual: Infographics
Infographics share complicated information in an easy way which makes the data quick to consume. They can be a nice complement to blog posts, but they are also great to post on social media. You might choose to share a snippet of your infographic on social to drive readers back to the full post.
Did you know that you can create infographics with Canva? Again, ease of use is a huge time saver and you get all the tools you need to mock up a fantastic graphic. Here's one (with fictional stats) I created in just under 12 minutes. Granted, it's only part of an infographic, but it does give you an idea of how long it might take to create one that's fully fleshed out.
Note: This is important. I know you know this, but you really should use real data and statistics (not made up ones like I used).
Of course, there are other visuals you can create to rekindle that spark you once had with your favorite social sites. Consider creating MEMEs (imgflip can help), GIFs (check out imgflip and quickmeme), and videos (try Vine).
And, speaking of videos, did you know that you can now share and watch videos using the Twitter mobile app? Your heart skipped a beat when you read that, didn't it?
Check out this Twitter video from Doogie Howser himself (pre-Oscars) and then bask in the glow of a love renewed with social media. Start making plans of your own. Think about how you can wow your social media peeps with creative and clever visuals.
Use some of the tools I mentioned today and then come back and leave a comment with how things worked out for you. Or, give me a shout out on Twitter (@DAllisonLee).
Okay, now off you go …
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015