In 1983, Steve Jobs famously lured Pepsi’s youngest CEO, John Sculley, over to the then-nascent Apple with a single question: “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
There’s no doubt that Apple has changed the world today, but sugared water hasn’t done too badly either. In fact, there’s one particular drink – widely known as “liquid cocaine” – that has conquered the world with a slew of movies, magazines, TV shows, and even a video of a man freefalling from space.
To be fair, Red Bull has blazed a trail that no other drink company – or any company – has dared venture down (until GoPro came onto the scene). While many brands have their fingers dipped into the content marketing honey jar, the energy drink company has gone all-in, head-first.
How far in? Well, it has an entire independent division of the company dedicated to creating content, called the Red Bull Media House, with an eye on being profitable – according to its founder Dietrich Mateschitz.
And it’s been working out peachy great so far, especially on social media. According to Social Bakers, posts on the dedicated Red Bull Stratos Facebook page on the day of Felix Baumgartner’s leap from space received an astronomical (pun intended) 900,000 interactions, including 83,000 shares.
One particular image, of Felix right after landing, generated around 21,000 comments, 49,000 shares, and 482,000 likes alone. Astronomical, indeed.
Three years later, Red Bull’s Facebook page has close to 45 million likes. Its feed continues to be dominated by incredible and death-defying stunts captured in photos or on film, which its fans adore:
Go for the low-hanging fruit
As you can see, visual content done right can pay off handsomely on social media. Most companies won’t have the resources (or the stomach) to go all-in like Red Bull did, but thankfully, there are low-hanging fruit that can be easily picked by any marketer – even those on a thread-thin budget.
Here are four things you can do to improve your visual content for social media right away.
1. Don’t settle at one – post four images on Twitter
Back in 2013, Buffer discovered that tweets with images get 150 percent more retweets, 89 percent more favorites, and 18 percent more clicks. Earlier this year, Twitter itself found that tweets with photos received 313 percent more engagement.
So yes, you should definitely use images when tweeting. But don’t just stop at one. Twitter allows you to share up to four images, which automatically form a neat little collage within your tweet.
Because if one image tells a thousand words, four will most definitely aid you in better telling your story.
2. Use Twitter cards
Small Biz Trends calls Twitter cards “tweets on steroids” – and rightly so. You see, by setting them up, anyone who tweets links to your content will automatically have a “card” containing a variety of rich media added to the tweet that all their followers can see.
Depending on the card type you choose, you can add large images, videos, and even audio to your tweets. This opens up a world of possibilities for engaging with your followers.
The only downside: the card is only shown if your followers click on the “View Summary” link. However, tweets that are pinned to the top of your Twitter stream will automatically show the cards as well:
Here is how you can get them set up. Granted, it’s a little troublesome, but well worth the effort.
3. Use infographics, but break them down
You probably know by now that infographics are excellent at captivating their audience. And you don’t need to be a design expert to create them, either. Tools such as Piktochart make the process extremely simple.
However, because of their length, they just don’t look very good on Facebook or Twitter.
Instead of cramming the entire infographic into a single post, here’s what you can do:
- On both Facebook and Twitter, use the most compelling portion of your infographic as the featured image, and add a link to the full version:
— Piktochart (@piktochart) October 21, 2015
- Break your infographic up into logical parts, and post them as an album on Facebook, or as a collage (as mentioned above) on Twitter:
- Or if you have more time, cut your infographic into two and recreate it as a single image:
— Piktochart (@piktochart) October 27, 2015
This way, you can reap the benefits of having an engaging infographic that retains visual appeal in bite-sized chunks that are easy on the eyes.
4. Use GIFs
If you’re a citizen of the Internet, you’ve probably come across animated GIFs – probably in the form of a reaction, like this:
And while you’ve had your share your fun sending GIFs back and forth with mates, you probably don’t think it’s appropriate for use in work-related stuff. Well, Hootsuite sure thinks that it’s perfectly fine:
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) June 18, 2014
With a single GIF, this tweet pulled in 173 retweets and 120 favorites, which is certainly not too shabby. Through this, Hootsuite was able to communicate its fun company culture better than a static image could:
And without all the additional effort a full-blown video would have taken, either. Talk about low-hanging fruit!
At Piktochart, we love responding to our users with GIFs on Twitter, because we think it far better demonstrates how we feel about them:
— Piktochart (@piktochart) October 26, 2015
It earns us many brownie points, too:
@piktochart Hahaha! You guys are super cool! You just earned more points
— The Black Trouser (@RadhikaNandwani) October 26, 2015
Custom GIFs can also be used to explain certain processes or guides that couldn’t fit into 140 characters:
— Piktochart (@piktochart) October 23, 2015
Here is an extensive collection of GIFs if you ever need one at a moment’s notice.
Consistency is key
If you don’t see results right away, do not fret. It takes time – and sustained effort – for things to catch on.
In the words of Buffer’s content crafter Kevan Lee: “If quality is a commodity, perhaps consistency is the key.”
Do you know of any other visual low-hanging fruit that social media marketers could use immediately? Let us know in the comments below!