Social media has been a friend to small businesses like no other. The e-commerce industry, comprising mostly SMBs and startups, has thrived, thanks to the reach and influence of social media magic.
Brands like Freres Brachiaux, Two Days Off, Adventure Cats, and more have been able to connect with their audiences, try new ideas, and give back to the community through social media apps such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and others.
While no business can succeed on the power of social media sharing alone, the access to the global audience it provides certainly helps. However, the social media landscape isn’t a garden that you can stroll through and pluck the ripest fruits you like. It’s a land of tribulations: stolen credits, lost memes, and marketing campaigns that never quite got you the results you wanted.
To that end, here is a little something from us to you. A guide on how you can use visuals — the most potent thing on social media — to create a brand newsfeed that people will trip over themselves to follow.
But first, the most important thing: branding!
It’s easy for a post to get lost on social media. But if you brand it properly, the likelihood of it surviving the worst of algorithm butchery may rise. Adorning your social media post in your brand colors, fonts, and logo design will help users identify it and distinguish it from others.
Start by creating an iconic logo design for your business that reflects your true brand. Think of how it’ll dress, talk, and walk if it were a person. Then give your brand the colors, fonts, and vocabulary that matches that persona.
Creating branded social media content helps you stay on track and build a deeper connection with your audience. It forges trust and loyalty, as users come to view the brand as more than just a transactory business.
How to use visuals to create awesome social media content
Now we come to the meat of the matter.
It is no secret that visuals garner the most engagement and following on social media.
Yet, most brands seem unable to leverage this superpower and fail to leave a lasting impression through their feeds.
Below we are going to share tips and tools that can help you format your social media content most effectively. Because of space and other constraints, we’ll only focus on the top 5 types of visual content that get the most social attention and tell you ways how you can make those posts even more powerful.
- Original Graphics and Illustrations
I admit Adventure Cats may already have an upper hand over most brands.
As a pet brand, it can post cutesy and fun animal photos all day long and people will keep sharing those, tagging others in it, and making the posts popular.
But the brand is also using another trick of the trade: user-generated content.
UGC posts make the audience feel closer to the brand. It allows audience members to become involved with the brand, instead of remaining a silent spectators. It enables brands to use content that is already resonating with others and improve its reach.
Another cool thing about this post: it shows the cat gear in use. You can picture your own feline friend here and see how those goggles will look on him when you place him on your ski scooter.
How to use original pictures to their greatest advantage on social media?
- Show your product/service in action
Let people imagine what it will look like in real life when they are actually using it.
- Stay on-brand
If you are an outdoorsy brand, the bulk of your social media photos needs to show that. If you are a workwear brand, your setting needs to be an office or a home office. If you sell kitchenware, make the countertop your setting. Get the picture?
- Use high-quality images
Invest in a good phone or a good camera. Take high-quality photos and use photo editing apps such as VSCO or Snapseed to make your images that much sharper and better.
- Charts and Data Visualizations
Infographics, charts, and other data visualization formats always get good social media engagement. They are a tool for brands to impart knowledge without weighing down the feed. Modern infographics are bold, and colorful, and can be big or small, large or thin.
As long as you share useful data or information while remaining true to the brand spirit, your visualizations are going to hit their mark.
How to make your visualizations even better?
- Have a theme. Don’t share haphazard facts, no matter how interesting. Tell a story so your data seems more relevant and memorable.
- Consider the layout
It will determine how users navigate through your infographic. Usually, your topic or theme will help you choose a relevant layout template. When it doesn’t, break down your theme into sections and give each one a coherent, distinct layout.
- Choose the best format
Bar charts are better for comparisons while flowcharts help clarify timelines. Choose the type of data visual that supports the data you are sharing.
Short-form videos such as those posted on Instagram Stories or TikTok are going to be the future of social media. Already these content forms are the most heavily consumed content types for Gen-Z, and to a lesser degree, millennials. If your small brand, like almost every other business in the world, targets these two demographics, video needs to be routine content for your social media feed.
Videos not only work as great passive-entertainment media but also aid comprehension by showing things and processes in action.
Here’s how to make your video posts better:
- Include captions
People watch movies on mute mostly. When you add captions, you increase the watch time by 12%.
- Show how-tos
How-to posts always rank in the top ten. Show your customers how your products work, and the most effective ways or different ways you can use them. And see your ratings soar.
- Try different formats
You can do vlogs, tutorials, interviews, video memes, and many more. Try your hand at different formats to shortlist a few that work the best for your brand.
- Stock Photos
Small businesses and startups do not always have a lot of budget for high-end creatives. If you don’t have a fancy phone or camera, or if you aren’t a creative person by nature, your access to great original photography may be severely limited.
Well, not if stock photo sites have anything to do with it. Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels, etc. are treasure grounds for high-quality free images. Like, actually free. No strings attached. Photographers only ask you to give due credit, which you should anyway because you are a decent person.
With the help of free stock photos and some nice editing, you can create great on-brand visual content for your newsfeed.
How to use stock photos more efficiently for your brand?
- Never use unedited stock photos
No matter how pressed you are for time, make the photos your own by adding your logo or brand details.
- Use sparingly
They only gel in with your other brand imagery when there’s a lot of original photography to give them cover.
- Don’t use generic images
They are instantly recognizable and leave a bad impression on the brand. Look for images that are 100% on-brand and, when you can, buy the photo, so there are fewer chances of the same image doing multiple rounds on the internet.
- GIFs and Memes
Phone calls are over, emails are dead, and nobody texts anymore, except for the Boomers, maybe. Do you know how kids of today are staying connected? GIFs and memes, mainly.
If your brand has anything to do with Gen Z, Gen Alpha, and millennials, use the power of funny and relatable memes (and GIFs) to keep them coming for more.
The great thing about memes is that no matter the industry you belong to, there’s a meme out there about it that you can use to amuse.
A few things to keep your meme game strong:
- Try to be quick about it
Seen something meme-worthy? Got a joke ready for it? Don’t wait. Get on it quickly before it hits the tipping point and starts to fizzle out.
- Stay in the know
You can’t become the queen of memes if you aren’t staying abreast of the latest. Follow others, stay active online, and go on Reddit or Tumblr where memes first start sprouting. Don’t let your memes become stale.
- Don’t go off-brand
If the meme isn’t relatable or not in sync with your brand or something that your audience won’t appreciate, let it go. The best humor is organic. Don’t force it. The internet is not a forgiving place for cringe-inducing brand marketing.
Small businesses have limited tools at their disposal to widen their social media reach. In their small marketing kit, however, lies a tool that’s as powerful as any: visual content.
Visual content comes in all shapes and sizes. High-quality photos, quickly recorded funny videos, a witty meme capturing a viral pop culture moment, and video tutorials that help us understand how to use novel products. And much more.
Harnessing the power of visual content is where most brands struggle. Since you are a small business, visual content for you is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s a quick way to slide into people’s feeds, one wrong move and the algorithms throw you into a pit of obscurity that’s hard to come out of.
We hope that the tips and tricks we have shared in this brief guide will help you gain favor with fans and bots alike. And you’ll be able to create content that deepens your engagement with your audience and increases your followers count.