The verdict is in: pictures are worth a thousand words. When it comes to capturing user interest, conversions, engagements and recall, visual storytelling through social media does work.

Don’t agree? Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media. In a study conducted by Xerox, researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent.

Why Should You Care?

Before you invest in organic and paid social campaigns, you need to develop a strategy for your visual storytelling. To put your dollars to good use, you need to offer a good user experience.

Like any other marketing tactic, visual storytelling through social media must begin with a plan. But according to the CMO Council, only 27 percent of marketers have a process in place to aggregate, organize, and manage their brand’s visual assets.

To get ahead, set a foundation for your social content to include compelling visual and supporting content. Now, let’s dive into the details…

Social Images

Social imagery is critical for capturing consumer mindshare and engagement, but not all images are created equal. When selecting the perfect social image, choose one that satisfies these needs:

Quality: The image should be clear, discernable, and pixel perfect.

Size: It should fit dimensions of each respective social channel. Here are dimensions by network, according to Buffer:

Image dimensions by network - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Relevancy: The image must relate to the post’s theme. Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without images. In addition to being relevant to the post, you also need to be relevant to your end user. Ask: “Does the image fit with my user’s values and mindset?”

Emotional appeal: It must evoke emotion. Aim for sadness, intrigue, belonging, curiosity, happiness, etc.

Authenticity: Is the image authentic to your brand and social followers? In terms of authenticity, be mindful of two things:

  • That the image portrays real-life situations—be cautious of stock photography or clip art. Instead, choose images that include real-life situations and people.
  • That you’re not trying too hard. It’s easy for people be turned off by a phony or overtly promotional message.

Sensory: Similar to emotional appeal, the image should offer the viewer a chance to get in touch with your brand’s psyche.

While many brands have a library of visual options, to establish the right social image, consider incorporating the following:

  • Visual bullet points
  • Service or product-centric imagery
  • Presentation screen shots
  • Infographics
  • Descriptive illustrations
  • Storyboards
  • Illustrated words
  • Diagrams or charts
  • Memes
  • Visual captions

A Perfect Pair: Social Content

Along with a compelling visual, a social post must have compelling content to support it. While each social channel has different copy parameters, the perfect social post follows a similar approach. Create a post that is:

  • Brief: While certain social profiles have different character limits, you generally want to keep social text short. Aim for fewer than 200 characters or two sentences.
  • Grammatically correct: Avoid excessive use of adjectives, keep an active voice, and watch for grammar and spelling errors. These can make your brand come off as less-than-credible and unprofessional.
  • Real: The post should mirror your overall brand personality; command a unique voice and capture it with minimal words.
  • Conversational: Convey your brand voice appropriately; be professional yet conversational.
  • Timely and newsworthy: People want to read content that is in the now, and seasonality matters. No matter the industry, you can take newsworthy items and leverage them as brand social content, or piggyback off of the next major holiday.
  • Actionable: What do you want the reader/user to do? Always end a social post with a call to action or question to prompt further social engagement.
  • Hyperlinked: The post should drive the user to your website, blog, product page, or ANY owned channel, thus creating the opportunity for a conversion.

How to Make Your Life Easier

Got all of that? Thankfully there are resources available to make it all easier. Enter AdParlor’s Ad Mockup Generator. This free tool allows you to create social mockup for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads. It’s simple: input important data like your company social profile, body message, image, and a call to action. Then preview your ad, edit, and download.

Parting Words

Adding a visual element to any social media post increases visibility and user engagement. Use these best practices and tools to capture and hook an audience.

Do you have additional tips you would like to share? Add your thoughts in the comment box below!