I’ll openly admit that a year or so ago I wasn’t that aware of the term ‘infographics’. Sure I’d probably seen them bandied around but they weren’t really on my radar as a form of marketing communication.

Now, I literally see them on a daily basis being pinged here, there and everywhere across the social space.

If a good one catches my eye (and by good at that stage I mean aesthetically pleasing) then I’ll take 20 seconds to check it out. If the content is interesting and relevant to my areas of interest, it can quite easily steal a good few minutes of my extremely precious time. I’ll then be inclined to reward the creator by sharing it on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. I’d say that only happens with 1 in 10 though. As for the other 90%, I’ve no idea which brands published them, but why is that?

Fail 1

The first fail with infographics is that so many of them aren’t actually proper infograpics, they’re more like ‘blinged-up graphics’. According to Wikipedia, “information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge that present complex information quickly and clearly”. Any graphic that doesn’t do this is, well, just a graphic. Remember also that your infographic, whilst commercially neutral, is there to serve your brand so should still work hard to subtly influence your readers towards your offering.

Fail 2

Another mistake many companies make is that they approach infographics in a rather adhoc manner, without a long term strategy: “Let’s produce an infographic and get it viral on social media!” Okay, so the odd one or two may achieve social media stardom, but the whole point of infographics is, as with all content marketing, that it’s not a one-off campaign with a start and finish date, it needs to be a constant, steady drip of information to your followers. Just because you spent £500/£1000 on one, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s going to generate a pot of leads for you. You need to build up credibility in your industry first and that could take six months or more of regular infographics before people start perceiving you as the ‘people who know’.

Fail 3

Don’t expect your infographics to work as a self-standing marketing technique. They should be part of a much wider social media content strategy. If you’re communicating the same messages through your blog, white papers, industry news etc, then your infographics are going to get more traction by re-inforcing that same message. Also, remember that not all people respond to a visual representation of data, some actually prefer to read blogs with lists or charts so by focusing purely on infograpics, you risk alienating potential prospects.

What about you?

I’d love to hear about your own experiences. Have you published infographics in the past and, if so, how effective were they at generating leads for your business?