5 Rules For Great Visual Content

SOCIAL

December 9, 2021

Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is a writer who can sound like everybody's best friend. Pop culture references included at no extra charge.

Has your social media content been falling a bit flat? Perhaps you are peeking over the fence at those amazing Instagram accounts and wondering why can’t our company be like that? The truth is that visual content has changed the social media landscape and is a driving force behind some of the biggest platforms out there.

In recent years even the more traditional platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have changed their algorithms because let’s face it, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, we spend less than 8 seconds deciding if a post is “worth our time.” So it makes sense that images have become a focal point.

So do you have to have a professional suite of products to help you execute great visual content? Absolutely not. The truth is that it comes down to just a few simple-to-follow rules. 

5 Rules to Visual Content

Using the term “rules” in a social media discussion is a bit misleading, so let’s reframe them as guidelines. After all, there are no hard and fast rules and even if there were, the game is constantly changing. Even if you are known for pushing the boundaries, these five tips should always be in the back of your mind.

1. Keep It Simple

Have you ever seen a post that was just too busy? What did you do? Chances are you kept scrolling. Most companies that struggle with creating great visual content do so because they take a clown car approach. Just because that many images will fit within the framework, doesn’t make it safe to drive. Rather than getting your point across, you are more likely to confuse your audience and confusion does not equal conversion.

Instead, stick to a single focal point. Make sure that your audience knows exactly the point that you are trying to get across. Remember the #1 rule in marketing, it is not about you. Just because you get how those 9 images tie into your product or service, doesn’t mean your audience will. 

2. Use Proven Methodology

Thanks to the digital revolution, anyone that has a cell phone in their pocket can take professional-grade photos. Whether it is lining up the shot just right, or hitting it with that moody filter the ability to connect with your audience has never been easier. That being said, not all photos are created equally.

Going back to those crispy photos that you drool over on Instagram. Do you know the difference between the ones on your phone and theirs? Yes, they have likely been edited but it is much more basic than that. Knowing how to frame a shot is elementary, and something that will up your game. Use the rule of thirds, try different angles, don’t just snap and go. This is especially true if you are shooting your product or service.

3. Do Your Research

As mentioned earlier, social media is not about you, it is ultimately about how your content resonates with the audience. Because of this, it pays to do your research and see what they are liking and sharing. Failure to do so will cost you time and money. 

In a recent article, we covered hashtag research. To get a good idea of what type of imagery your potential audience responds to, scroll through each hashtag and take note of the number of likes, comments, and shares that a post has received. While this is not the end all be all, it will give you a great jumping-off point. 

4. Size Matters

All jokes aside, the size of your images does matter. Understanding the size preferences that each social media platform utilizes should probably be higher on this list. The last thing that you want is your image to be distorted or cropped once uploaded.

Many platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, provide internal tools to help you get the aspect ratio dialed into perfection. Others may not afford the same luxuries. This becomes more relevant if you are using software to create images related to your business, although many platforms allow you to select from a template to help guide you from the start.  

5. Use Text Wisely

Text is incredibly powerful in visual content, but it can be easy to go overboard. We have all seen the images were created by someone that was going happy-go-jacky like a donkey eating waffles with text. Most people will avoid reading these types of posts, and all of that effort is done in vain.

Instead, use text in your visual content sparingly. Remember the saying “less is more?” The text should be used to immediately grab the audience’s attention. If you can capture their attention for a few seconds, they are more likely to read the post. That translates to engagement which leads to conversion.

Want help with social media strategy, messaging or even management? We're not super public about this, but we do offer it (yes, all of it). Contact us to learn more.

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