Marketers everywhere are constantly told to “show instead of tell” their offers if they want to attract and keep a reader’s attention. This rule certainly applies to social media as much as it does to any other marketing tactic. You’ve heard the old “a picture is worth a thousand words” adage, right? In today’s information overload, visual content can help you quickly communicate your message and capture the attention of your audience. So, in a time where everyone is doing visual content, how do you stand out?
In any given minute of the day, users post 208,300 photos to Facebook. In that same minute, Instagram users upload 27,800 photos and receive 510,000 likes, and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube (Source: Buzzfeed Stats). Are you feeling overwhelmed by these figures? You’re not alone!
The sheer amount of visual content already out there is staggering. It’s safe to say that, without a cohesive strategy, your voice won’t cut through the clutter. Social media is all about what your audience wants to see, so it makes sense to focus on them first. Listen and learn from your community-what are they talking about? See what your target audience is sharing and commenting on. Make sure your content is relevant to what your consumers want, and don’t be afraid to mix it up when it comes to the types of visual content you post.
There are many tools out there that you can use to help create your own compelling visual stories. Below are some of my recommendations, but first—a word to the wise…
There are many websites out there offering “free” images through creative commons licensing, but there have been some recent incidents involving bloggers getting called out for copyright violations, because they used a “royalty-free” image that actually wasn’t. You always run the risk of the free photo later being sold and copyrighted, which means you can’t use it anymore, or worse, being uploaded by a person who didn’t actually create it, thus making you an unwitting accomplice to copyright violation. When in doubt, protect yourself and don’t download the image. Consider investing in purchasing your own stock photos, or better yet, dust off the camera and brush up on your photography skills to create your own.
Now, without further ado:
Adobe Color CC: This website is great for choosing pleasing color schemes. You choose a main color, select one of the many color rule options to pick from, and Adobe will show you four complimentary colors for your palette. This is the tool I most often see one of our own graphic designers using when deciding on what colors best conveys the message she’s looking for.
Google Fonts: Google offers hundreds of free, open-source fonts to browse and choose from, which you can download and use when designing your visual content.
Vine: This is an easy to use app for mobile devices, which allows you to quickly and easily create short, looping videos. You can publish the videos through Vine’s social network, and also share them on other social media platforms.
InstaQuote: This mobile app allows you to add text to photos and pictures on the fly. This is a great tool to have if you see something inspiring while out and about, and can’t necessarily get back to a computer to edit and share it. (iOS and Android versions are both available.)
Canva: This is a simple graphic design program that anyone can use to create high quality graphics for blogs, social media posts, presentations, and much more. There are free features and paid features, but even the paid features are inexpensive. This is my personal favorite-I love the templates they have that make choosing the size of your image easy to figure out.