Spice Up Your Social Content

engaging visual contentWe all know the reasons for using images on social media. If you need a refresher, check out this infographic, which gives the rundown on how Facebook images are 12 times more likely to be shared than links and text or how Pinterest generates more referrals than Twitter and Google+. Brands that want to connect with their buyers know visual content is the way to go. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve got a pretty comprehensive list ranging from simple to outright genius.

1. Cover Images

Your cover image is the first chance you have to tell your social media followers what your company is all about. Whether for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any of the other various platforms available, be sure your cover image is in place, clear, and somehow upholds your company’s message.

2. Twitter Background

Your Twitter background gives you a little bit of room to move. Consider switching the image out on regular occasion to promote contests, introduce new products, or just have some fun with your visual content.

3. Infographics

These are a great way to share statistics and other relatively boring but important information in a colorful and fun image. Whether you design your own from scratch or use templates, infographics are a valuable item in your collection of visual content.

4. Call-to-Action

Your Facebook image can very much be a call-to-action. If you have something important going on, an offer you think no one should miss, post that CTA to Facebook with the link to the landing page. Make sure it’s visually stimulating enough to catch some attention.

5. Meet the Staff YouTube Video

Video content is a great way to introduce your staff and show their personalities. Anything that fosters a connection between your company and your fans is a good thing. Another good thing is that you can repurpose the video across several different platforms, and then it will remain on another social media platform—YouTube—to continue generating views.

6. User-Submitted Pins

Pinterest is still super-hot and not showing any signs of slowing down. One way to keep things fresh is to sponsor a contest where customers can submit their own pins. Either allow your staff to choose winners or select the pin that receives the most re-pins. Keep in mind that re-pins are the best possible way to continue generating attention for your company.

7. Behind the Scenes Vine

A quick Vine video of your company hard at work can show your customers everything they need to know. Don’t worry about cleaning up and putting on your best clothes, either. The more real you are in your video, the more you’ll relate to your fans. Give shots of the offices, the break room, your warehouse, and maybe a few silly faces.

8. Memes

While the images used over and over might get old, the concept of a meme simply doesn’t. If you can use some of the hottest new images out there and create your own clever marketing tagline, your meme could just go viral.

9. SlideShare

These educational slide shows are another way of sharing lots of information without using the dreaded wall o’ text. Show off some of your latest products, convey statistics, provide how-to instructions, or let your sense of humor shine through with parody slide shows. However you use them, they’re sure to be effective.

10. Meet the Mascot

Mascots are traditionally customer favorites, especially if your company has adopted something cute and cuddly. If your mascot is a real animal, share images of his adventures with the company. If he’s simply a cartoon, animated short films can highlight that cuteness while also sharing information about your company.

11. Snap Offers

While Snapchat might have a questionable reputation, you can still use it for good. If you’ve got an offer with a deadline, consider sending it out to your Snapchat contacts. Once that image self-destructs, so does the offer. This social media platform could go a long way toward creating some immediacy with customers.

12. Instagram Direct

Direct messages through Instagram are also great for sharing offers with specific customers. You might consider targeting your most loyal Instagram followers and send them the messages offering a first look at cool new products, discounts on popular favorites, or even freebies. Rather than being inundated with first-time buyers looking for a good deal, you’ll instead continue building loyalty with customers who’ve been around a while.

Integrating Pinterest with your website is a great way to get a bit of SEO help while also showing visitors just how cool your customer think your products are. Target has done a great job with this tool, but they’re not the only ones making use of “now-trending” tool. You might need a developer’s help to get this one working, but the social proof you’ll receive is worth the trouble.

14. Dream/Inspiration Boards

Why not share your ideas with your customers on Pinterest with your own dream boards. Instead of image after image of your products, show them in use. Fashions can be modeled with other brands and accessories. Home décor can feature in professionally decorated rooms so pinners can see great ways to use it. The sky is the limit, so create new boards if you see more than one way to use your products.

15. Graphs and Charts

Videos and photos are fun, but sometimes you just really need to get your point across. Graphs and charts with statistics about your company are a great way to let your customers know exactly what’s going on. Bold colors will catch the eye, and simple graphics ensure customers will stick around long enough to see what those graphs have to say.

16. Comics

Making customers laugh is a great way to make sure they remember you. Posting comics that promote your company culture or match your ideals just helps you make that connection quickly. If you have a talented and witty graphic designer or artist on staff or who may owes you a favor, try your hand at some original content, too.

17. How-to Videos

Building customer trust is the number one reason for posting content, and nothing does that faster than a how-to video. If the products are easy enough to use without instruction, you might consider posting some tips on new ways to use the items. Maybe you could show buyers how things they already own make your products even better.

18. Testimonial Video

Give your customers a voice by including their video testimonials or reviews. You can either accept videos they make themselves or invite them on site to participate in a video production. Either way, they’ll be thrilled to be a part of your company if even for just a day.

19. Product Catalog

Take a page out of J. Crew’s book and put your entire product catalog on Pinterest or Instagram. Just be sure you don’t post everything all at once. These posts have a pretty short shelf life, so you want to post no more than four or five per day. Be sure to include descriptions and prices, especially on Pinterest, because pins with prices get 35% more likes than those without.

20. Shared Boards

A great way to reach a whole new audience is to partner with another company and create a shared board. Invite that company to pin items that match a theme that fits your company. For instance, if you sell eyeglasses, invite a clothing company to pin fashions that would be incomplete without a pair of specs. A furniture company might partner with a bookseller to pin books that belong on your coffee table or bedside tables.

21. User-Generated Style Guides

Again, customer voice is extremely important, and user-generated content takes a lot of pressure off you. Inviting customers to upload images of your products in use is a great way to cover both bases. One company that does this really well is ModCloth, which includes a user style guide with almost every item in their extensive catalog.

22. “Staff Pick” Images

Share your staff’s favorite items on any of your social media accounts in the form of images or videos. You can choose one per month and even offer a special discount on that staff member’s choice. You’ll be surprised how many of your customers take your employees’ opinions to heart.

23. User-Generated Commercials

As previously discussed, Doritos has really cornered the market on this particular technique, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at your own version. Sometimes the prestige of being included on your social media is enough to mobilize your fans into making their own commercials, but other times you may need to offers some kind of prize. Don’t worry; you can get some great content without a million dollar payday like Doritos offered.

24. Polls

Why not give your buyers a chance to vote on your next products? A poll is a great way to get everyone involved and build some excitement before a product launch. Show some images of the items you have in mind and then invite everyone to choose. As an added bonus, your results will also make a great image to include at a later date.

25. Parody Videos

They may not offer much in the way of substance, but parody videos are fun and show your company in a great light. Whether you re-enact a popular music video, write your own skits, or present your own take on an old favorite, you’ll give your buyers a chance to see your lighter side. Before you put anything out there for the world to see, be sure you run them by several test audiences filled with people you trust. You don’t want to go viral for all the wrong reasons.

26. Inspirational Quotes

We don’t suggest using this method every day, but if you run across a quote that really fits your company culture, put it out there for the world to see. Remember that images always get more shares than text, so make sure the quote is presented as an image and not as a plain text update.

27. Photo Contests

Again, just as your user-generated commercials, photo contests will help you gather plenty of content from your most loyal customers. There are quite a few ways to go about this, too. Michael Kors pulled off a successful campaign on Instagram, in which users uploaded images of their own MK watches with #MKTimeless attached. The winner won a limited edition watch. Sounds easy enough, right?

Finally, make those customers feel super special by featuring them on your social networks. Whether you choose a “fan of the week,” a “customer of the week,” or “our new BFF,” you win that customer for life by simply recognizing their loyalty. If you make the choice a surprise each week, your followers will check in constantly to see if they’ve finally been chosen. If you want to build a bit of competition around the honor, let them know what catches your eye. Then sit back and watch the word spread.

Some of these take a bit of planning for a successful execution, while others can be posted with only a few moments’ notice. If you really want to make the most of your social media networks, be sure to give equal attention to all of them. Perform a nice mix of the easy images and those that require some hard work. You’ll be rewarded in the end as your customers share, like, and comment on all your social posts.

images credit: michelle meiklejohn/freedigitalphotos.net

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