When you think of visual marketing, what comes to mind?
More than likely, it’s the vibrant, eye-catching images that filter through your social feeds.
They’re the ones that capture attention and drive action.
So, what do you need to know about branding on social media?
Here’s how to get started!
Everything You Need to Know About Branding on Social Media
Did you know that:
- 50% of users have re-posted a video or photo they came across online
- Content with an image receives over 94% more views (which equates to nearly double the views) than content without images.
- Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without images.
- 60% of consumers are more likely to interact with companies whose images appear on local searches.
Visual marketing is a powerful way to connect and interact with your audience.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Visual marketing has evolved, and with it, so must your online strategies.
The good news? There’s no need to go it alone.
There are many examples of businesses and brands using visual marketing right.
Just look at brands like Starbucks, Constant Contact, Marketo, Nike, and Chobani, and you’ll see how they’re putting visuals to work.
What They Have in Common
Each one has created a massive appeal through strong visual content.
Companies with a strong visual presence dominate on Instagram to, Facebook, Pinterest, and Vine.
And it’s no surprise that this type of content has struck a chord and found an audience.
In an online world where content moves at a lightning pace, visuals captivate entrance and create an instant connection.
In fact, images are the single most important tool when it comes to your social media content optimization.
According to the Adobe 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization survey, more than 80% of respondents point to images as either “very important” or “important” in relation to their marketing optimization on social media.
But how can you use them to optimize your social media content and audience experience?
Understand the Types of Visual Content
- Data (infographics, etc)
- Longform (ebooks)
- Behind the Scenes
- Tips and How-To’s
For me, combining each suggestion above works best. It keeps my content fresh and fun, never stagnant.
But what works best for me, may not be the case for you. For example, Chobani makes a delicious Greek yogurt. It’s one of my favorite morning treats and a great addition to any meal.
Following Chobani on Instagram gives me a ton of recipe inspiration. But one look at their social media content and it’s easy to see that Infographics might not feel on-brand.
The bottom line? Determine what type of visual content feels like the right fit for your business and then identify how you will use it.
Step 2: Once You Know the What, Now Figure Out the How
Now it’s time to dig into how visual marketing will support your business. Like anything else, knowing what you’re looking to achieve before you get started eliminates the “throw it at the wall and hope it sticks” strategy.
- How does this support your overall goals?
- How will it create conversions?
- Who will you make your audience care about it?
- How will it make your audience feel?
Step 3: Know the 3 Keys to STRONG Visual Content
Key #1 – Consistent Color Range
Color impression accounts for 60% of the acceptance or rejection your product or service.That’s huge!
While there are many factors that affect how and why consumers buy, a recent Kissmetrics study shows that color plays a major role in the decision-making process.
Understanding the psychology behind each color will help you get inside the head of your consumer.
- Black conveys a message of power and authority. It speaks to a stylish and timeless message, imparting a sleek, formal, luxurious or classic experience.
- Yellow is seen as fun, joyous and optimistic. Brands like Nikon, Subway and Best Buy bear the brand of a bold, deep yellow.
- Orange is my brand color and one that embraces every aspect of my business. It’s cheerful, inviting, encouraging, friendly and confident. Orange makes me happy!
- Red is a color that is emotionally intense. When we see red we think of “strength, adventure, energy and love.” It is extreme, exciting and vivacious with Coca Cola, Virgin and Pinterest embracing this vibrant hue.
- Blue makes us think of tranquility. It promotes a feeling of calm, and can symbolize loyalty. When we think about blue, we think of the words “unique, trust, reliable or clear.” Brands prominently displaying blue within their logo are Facebook, Dell, HP and Oreo.
- Green causes people to think about nature. It’s calming and refreshing. Green symbolizes balance, growth, and freshness and can also speak to financial stability as green is the color of money.
Choose a Color That…
- Best represents your company social media promotional strategy
- The feelings you want to impart, and
- The action you want them to take
Key #2 – Choose a Font that Matches Your Message
Fonts play a critical role in telling your brand story.
HubSpot found that using 3 font styles makes it easier to read content. I would increase that to 4 and find those that feel like you.
When determining font, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my company fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
- Is my content fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
Your essence is wrapped up into your branding. The fonts you choose play a big role in helping align who you are with the perception people receive.
Key #3 – Create Harmony in Every Design
Harmony is what happens when every aspect of your design is synergistic.
Nothing should stand alone or contradict the key takeaway of your design.
It’s finding the perfect balance and harmony within every element. Make them work together, complementing one another, rather than competing or detracting.
Step 4: Create Visual Content Your Audience Will LOVE
Now that you know why visuals are so important, your next step is to make images your audience loves to share.
Create branded cover photos that are consistent with your website, blog and offline marketing. Peg Fitzpatrick is an excellent example of streamlining all online properties into one consistent look and feel.
Create Images That Speak Your Audience’s Language
Design social media images that have your target market in mind. Know why your fans and followers hire your business (what “job” are they hiring you for) and the problems that you solve.
Now be that solution through visual marketing just as one of my favorite food bloggers, Pinch of Yum does in all of her designs.
Repurpose Your Content
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel for your social media visual content. Look to your evergreen content and determine what can be repurposed into new media.
- Livestream (Blab/Periscope)
Build Thought Leadership
Use visuals to establish thought leadership and build credibility within your industry or niche.
Take quotes from your past articles, videos or presentations and create quotable social media graphics.
How to Use Quotes in Your Business
- Ensure that your color palette, font and graphics match your company look and feel.
- Know the goal of every quote you post. Is it for entertainment, elevating thought leadership or driving followers into your latest op-in offer?
- Find a style that works for your brand and each social network. What’s receiving the most traction and interaction? Now duplicate that over and over.
- Create an easy to use template in Canva. that allows you or anyone on your team to drop in text without the need to reinvent the wheel each time.
- Look to companies with an established visual presence for inspiration. Rob Russo with Bold Brand Fast is one to check out for a consistent brand image and message. You can see his latest tweet or Instagram post and instantly recognize the brand.
Step 5: Tackle Each Social Network Visually
Every social network is unique. Your visual content should be too. Design your graphics with each social network image size in mind.
Step 6: Use the Right Tools
As a business owner or entrepreneur, it’s not enough to create captivating visuals. You need to find an easy way to design them without spending a ton of time.
The five tools below are designed to ignite and inspire your visual design efforts allowing you to increase awareness, engagement and visibility…in less time.
Step 7: Promote, Promote, Promote
Can you believe that 56% of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants without any content plan in place?
No plan, no matter the industry, always equals imminent failure.
Get strategic and create a promotional strategy.
How to Create a Promotional Strategy
- Share across ALL social channels
- Get Branded (partner and co-brand)
- Build mutually beneficial relationships
- Boost your posts
- Join blogger and outreach websites/groups
The key to building a solid visual brand is to keep it fresh, relevant and exciting.
Consistently take stock of your visual marketing and your message.
Identify the needs of your audience and determine whether your visual content is still hitting the mark.
Bottom line: if you want to create differentiation through visual marketing, it’s going to take a commitment.
Analyze, assess and tweak. Have fun testing what works, striking what doesn’t, and creating a visual brand that stands out online.
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Full disclosure: Links on this page may be affiliate links which means that if you decide to buy, I will earn a commission. 3 things you need to know: I only recommend products I use within my own business, am extremely happy with, and can confidently promote.
Tanmoy Das says
Wow! These are some valuable tips for creating a visual brand for a company.It is of paramount importance to create a visual brand on social media. Visual images affect our brain in a different way than text & capture our attention easily. As the saying goes –
Pictures say a thousand words!
I have written a post on how to leverage storytelling to boost conversions. Please check it out –
It’s amazing what colors and font can do to effect your brand’s persona. I’ve seen plenty of businesses that I cannot take seriously because of the fonts they chose to use. Making sure your visual content is harmonious with your brand’s image will in turn help you achieve a strong, consistent impact on your audience.
Theo Moorfield says
Very informative, makes a great read! I have been struggling massively recently to get any engagement from my followers whatsoever. I’ll put the advice here into action with high hopes and I will report back with my results.
Tanmoy Das says
Creating eye catching visual contents is an integral part of social media marketing . In my experience if you are able to carve a niche for our brand by creating stunning visual images for your posts then you will be able to attract lot more engagement as you have mentioned . The key is to create visual images in sync with your brand’s goal which the audience can easily relate to.Another critical factor as you pointed out is designing unique images according to the social network as the dimensions vary across the social networks.
Always love reading your posts Rebekah . Thanks for sharing this in-depth guide on visual marketing.
Shelly Kramer says
Hi Rebekah, Great suggestions! I like the 3-4 fonts suggestion. Fonts can change the feeling and branding of your content. Another reason having a style guide makes sense.
Rebekah Radice says
Hi Shelly! A style guide is crucial in my opinion, but a tough place for many to get started. I tested multiple fonts before landing on mine. While it’s never an easy undertaking, it can as you said completely change the look and feel of your content. Important to take the time to get it right.
Nidhi Samuel says
Couple of really unique ideas got from you post Rebekah and thanks for the same. Loved reading this post as I am a social media learner and very much interested in this industry. Looking forward to learn and read such informative and actionable tips and articles from you.
Rebekah Radice says
Hi Nidhi! That’s great to hear. I look forward to seeing you back on the blog!
Rob McDonald says
I love this article on Visual Branding.
We all know how important visual branding is to our content. We have become a visual society and we need eye-catching images in our articles to get noticed.
This is something that I am currently working on to add a brand face for my business. It can be extremely hard to do, but with all of the tools out there today there certainly is no reason why it cant’t be done cost effectively.
I guess right now I am using a little bit of everything. I use Photoshop for the majority of my visuals, but I also like Canva, as it is refreshingly easier to use. Sketch is a tool that I have tried before, but it just never quite clicked with me. I do want to revisit it later.
Recently I have come across Affinity Designer, so I am presently experimenting with it to see if it might work with my business. It does have some good tools within, so it may become my go to tool to replace Illustrator.
Thanks again for this eye-opening article and I hope you have a great weekend!
David Boutin says
Awesome post, Rebekah, especially the parts about repurposing your content into visual mediums like infographics and SlideShares, and, of course, that GIFs and Memes are their own category of visuals 🙂 You know me and my GIF obsession!
Sherman Smith says
Great post on visual content..as far as tools right now I’m using Buffer’s Pablo, canva, and visual.ly for infographics. I can honestly say that it makes a big difference in getting your content noticed and reshared. My content is continuously get shared on twitter, and it does help to keep engaging with your followers as well.
Thanks for sharing Rebekah! Have a good one!
Well done. This is a full bodied article and not just the usual 7things. Thank you for the effort.
Jeff Stephens says
Love this deep dive into the value of quality visuals in your overall (coordinated) message!
One thing I like to do with my visual content is to make the consumer think about what the image means in relation to the message. Not too much but a little bit.
All art should be in the eye of the beholder. Let them pull points together and see how your creative image applies to the message. Don’t just use basic drab stock images. Think creatively with what you put out there to represent your brand.
Thanks again for this great post and I can’t wait to get into that presentation!
Kirsten van der Griend-Mann says
Another great article! I really enjoyed how key points were broken out and relevant visuals, stats etc. were used to support recommendations. It definitely helps with the learning process!
Quick question about font styles. It was suggested to use 4 font styles to share a brand’s story. Is this 4 different styles within the same content piece? Can’t that be interpreted as unprofessional and somewhat messy-looking…Or can this include bolding, italicizing or changing the size of the same font, just making it look slightly different?
Ben Henson says
This is where the choice of the font is essential. Where consideration has been paid to the selected faces and weights, it’s possible to create highly effective graphics. You’re right though, it’s all to easy to get it very wrong 🙂
Deb Scott says
What a GREAT article! Thank you! deb 🙂