Are you ready to develop a profitable social media strategy?
I’m sure that you already have a facebook page, a twitter handle and maybe a pinboard, but your competition does too.
What you truly need is a strategy that allows you to engage your target audience on those platforms – thus meeting your set goals and objectives.
When it comes to visual marketing, images are viewed more than any other visual content. Truth is, there are different types of images. Many of us use stock photos, captured screenshots, infographics, memes, and so on, but have you ever used illustrations, vector art, and icons to create compelling social media content?
In this post, you’ll learn how profitable social strategy can be created using these under-utilized visual assets.
What is an illustration?
According to Wikipedia, “an illustration is a visualization of a subject made by an artist.
It can be in the form of a sketch, painting, drawing, photograph or other kind of image of things seen, remembered or imagined, using a graphical representation. Here’s an example:
Typically, an illustration tends to clarity or prove something in a graphic manner. That means you can clarify your message, product or objective to your ideal customers on social media platforms better using illustrations.
Before I share the 4 steps to a winning social media strategy using uncommon visuals, let me show you how powerful illustrations are.
Take a look at this illustration…
At a glance, what specific messages can you draw out from the image above. Although it doesn’t contain attributions or instructions, but here are a few things that are clear, even to an infant:
- A lady is sitting on a chair, typing on a keyboard
- The desk is cluttered. It’s obvious she’s struggling to get things done
- She has a cup of coffee (already cold because she’s busy with work)
- As for location, it’s possible that the lady works from home or office
And so on…
Isn’t that amazing? At a glance, I’ve explained what the illustration depicted in a clear and informative way.
Imagine how powerful this can be, when you begin to illustrate your messages, and share them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and most importantly, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram.
I’m always excited whenever I talk about visual storytelling and marketing with a client. Most times, I will forget what the topic was, and begin to share case studies, and success stories from brands.
However, I promise to be focused today. So, let’s explore the four simple steps that you should take if you want to use illustrations and other uncommon visuals to develop a profitable social strategy that works. Are you ready?
Step #1: Identify your social audience needs
The first rule of marketing hasn’t changed: know your audience.
The same rule applies when promoting your business on social media. It doesn’t matter what product or service you’re offering for sale, as long as you can connect with people deeply at different levels of their needs, you’ll definitely win their hearts.
You’ve got to be specific about your audience’s needs. Because this will determine the goals you want to achieve.
Using the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can engage users effectively on social media. Understand each stage, and provide relevant content that will drive this engagement.
It’s well worth spending adequate time researching and understanding the audience that you need to connect and engage with on social media. If you’re a digital marketer, the type of audience you could be seeking for includes:
- Current clients or customers
- Prospective clients/customers
- Business Associates
- Journalists and editors
- Bloggers and content marketers
- Information marketers
- Affiliates, agents
- Thought leaders
If you try to send your message to all these category of people, no one will listen. Because the messages will be broken.
Quick fix: Choose a specific audience. Learn about them; their needs and wants, frequently asked questions (FAQ), keywords they search for, etc.
You’ve got to see past the obvious. Who is interested in your product or service? Is there anything unique that could appeal to a certain audience?
Here’s an example: If you’re a personal trainer in the fitness industry, you already know that you’ve a diverse group of people to target.
Because some people want to burn excess fats, other want to build muscle. Another group might even want to learn the best workout that will keep them fit.
Where does your ideal customer fit into? Are they beginners, intermediates or experts. When you identify a specific group of people, it becomes easier to create the right visual content, and illustrate specific messages, tailored for them.
Step #2: Start with a “focused” visual content approach
Why the obsession with visual storytelling?
Top brands such as WalMart, Dodocase, Ebay, and the like have discovered the immense potentials of adopting a visual content approach.
In fact, ModCloth uses its popular boards at Pinterest to collaborate with bloggers, offer huge discounts, and also feature a style gallery of its customers wearing their merchandise.
The retail brand shares inspiration boards with fans. Styling and makeup tips are common practices you’ll find on these boards. Occasionally, they share recipes, DIY’s, and images of cute animals and weddings.
They use illustrations to pass their message across to tens of thousands of fans. ModCloth has created a successful social media strategy, which is driven by visuals, which was made possible by the interaction with its online community and focus on the interests of its customer base.
ModCloth has a single focus: To build interaction with its online community and growing customer base.
It doesn’t matter what visual information you plan to share on social media, make sure that your approach is focused on a single goal.
Having too many goals will drown your efforts. You can’t possibly set a goal to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media fan base, build email list, and grow sales, all at the same time.
That’s failure at the corner. Even in real life, setting too many goals don’t work. Because achieving them becomes a hard nut to crack.
Step #3: Choose your hot buttons, and stick to them
A “focused” visual content approach is key. After all, visuals remove the necessity placed on people. Instead of having them read your 1000-word content, you can summarize it using illustrative visuals.
On average, your readers will only read 28% of the words on a page. How do you intend to convert them into customers if they don’t consume the best part of your content?
Hence, the need for a well illustrated visual content.
People are distracted online. The average attention span is currently 8 seconds, which is 1 second less than that of a goldfish. To keep people engaged with your campaign, you’ve to choose hot buttons and stick to them.
Hot buttons are your business core topics. For example, if you sell men’s apparel, what major brands do you want people to know more about?
MenWith.co showcased 12 different brands of men’s apparel on their Instagram homepage. Those are their hot button topics. And they usually create insightful content on these major brands.
Ideally, find keywords related to your hot buttons (major topics). Use these keywords in your tweets, when you share on Facebook, and in your image titles at Pinterest, etc.
As time goes by, you’ll create a huge awareness for your brand, and Google will favor you in their organic search listings. Because you’ve gained a lot of social signals over a period of time.
Step #4: Set a budget and schedule your visual assets
How big is your social media marketing budget?
Do you even have a budget at all?
I ask this question, because most small businesses think it doesn’t matter. They want to generate leads, increase brand awareness without spending money. But it doesn’t work that way.
Social media is a viable channel for growing your online business, especially when you use images. Recent data shows that images on Twitter generates 150% more retweets, and more likes and comments on Facebook when you use photos in your content.
What is the average marketing budget for social media?
When The Content Factory analyzed the cost to outsource social media marketing services, they found that the industry average falls within $4,000 – $7,000 per month, which works out to about $200 – $350 per day.
But you can go small. The good news is that if you’ve $100 to invest in social media marketing, you can use this checklist:
a). Design/Illustrations/photos – $40: Before spending this amount on graphics, you can download free PSD files, vector arts and icons at freepik.com to get started. By the time you begin to see results, you can upgrade to a premium account.
b). Advertising/Reach – $30: When you don’t have an already existing audience, advertising can help you. You can create a Facebook page, set up a PPC campaign and get people to like your page.
You can run a Facebook ads for $15
Twitter ads – $15
The comparison chart below from Wordstream shows you the possible outcomes of Facebook and Twitter ads. It shows that the dollar you invest in a day might generate a higher click rate on Twitter, and get you more views on Facebook.
You can also spend money on social media scheduling, analytics, and sharing buttons. You can use Buffer, Sprout Social or HootSuite to schedule your tweets, facebook posts, etc.
Most importantly, to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors, you’ve got to position your brand properly and invest in your education.
All visuals are not created equal. For most small businesses, infographics work best for them.
But if you’re a freelancer, consultant, or you desire to enhance the image of your brand faster, you can use illustrations and vector arts to clarify and make a point – and dazzle your target audience in the process.
Social media strategy is the master key to winning on the web. You should set milestones and benchmarks, after all, you want to measure your impact on people’s lives while growing your customer base.
“90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster than plain text.”
As usual, I’m looking forward to your comment. Have you been using visual illustrations to promote your content on social media networks?
Michael Chibuzor is the founder of Content Marketing Up. He's a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media power user. He's passionate about changing his world with words. And every content he creates has that tone that will impact your customers. Follow him on Twitter @mikecoder
To learn more, visit http://contentmarketingup.com/
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