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3 Ways to Use Visuals on Social Media to Grab Users' Attention With so much social media 'noise,' here are a few tips to ensure your images stand out on platforms.

By Brian Pittman

This story originally appeared on PR Daily

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Interest in infographics has risen 3,000 percent during the last five years, according to Google Trends. That's because infographics -- and images in general -- can cut through all the content that overwhelms the public today.

Here are three ways to catch the wave and grab short attention spans with distinctive visuals:

1. Curate customer photos.

Photos of real people move audiences.

"It's instinctive to look at faces, and a smiling face seems less corporate than a logo," says designer and infographics expert Bob Zeni. "More than anything, that explains the popularity of emoticons."

That's why Harley Davidson often posts images of customers riding, relaxing on and tinkering with their bikes. These photos are usually submitted by customers.

"Ask for submissions from customers using your product if you can't create these kinds of images," Zeni suggests. "Or use hashtags to collect and curate photos. You can create your own unique hashtag or piggyback onto an existing one."

#POTD and #PhotoOfTheDay are two popular hashtags to consider. Both were used in the Harley tweet captured here.

Register for PR Daily's Sept. 24 PR University webinar "Images and Infographics for Communicators" to create distinctive visual content with the potential to go viral.

2. Talk the talk.

It's not necessary to avoid acronyms and jargon on social media to the degree you do in PR and press release writing.

"Instead, speak the secret language or lingo of your online community of users," says Zeni.

For example, Lego's popularity extends to a global community of adults who speak a unique shorthand language. Among these fans, AFOL stands for "adult friend of Lego" and SPUA stands for "special part used again."

Lego uses these and other acronyms in every image caption, Tweet or post.

3. Fly your colors.

Federal Express images show an astonishing variety of subjects—signage, drivers, planes, packages, the FedEx-sponsored race team and even the sky. What unites them all is FedEx's signature color purple.

"It's a canny and insightful choice as it communicates in a vibrant, dynamic and regal way that contrasts sharply with the brown of its leading competitor," says Zeni. Though brown is meant to convey dependability and durability, FedEx was built on speed and flair—and purple certainly communicates that.

His advice: "Be consistent with your color palette. Use it in your logos, signage and every single image you post to social media.

Brian Pittman is a consultant to Ragan Communications and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University.

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