7 Ways to Improve Online Engagement With Visual Content
The better your images convey your message, the more memorable your words will be.
It's been proven true over and over that content rich in visual elements, particularly images, gets more likes and shares in the online world.
Not only that, visual content compels audiences to stay on your website for longer. Moreover, people cannot help but get drawn towards visually-appealing content. However, engaging your audiences with it is no mean task. Mentioned ahead are a few tips that can help:
1. Use visuals in your blog for social media engagement.
Blog posts are one of the most popular and powerful mediums of engaging audiences through content. However, the factor that mainly contributes to their strength is their share-worthiness. If you want to engage your audiences through your blog, you will have to ensure that your posts can be shared across social media platforms easily. This will get your blog the exposure it needs. Plus, you will be able to tailor your content for relevant audience, and connect with those who read and comment on it.
According to webdam.com, posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts. Incorporating visual content in your blog not only enables your audience to get a faster and a better grip over your message, it also facilitates better retention of the information you dish out.
When it comes to remembering large amounts of information, we tend to recollect it better when it is displayed visually rather than verbally. Also, most blogs require the blogger to put in a lot of effort in presenting important information and tips that you don't want your audience to forget. Visual content, in the form of images, videos and infographics, can help here.
Related: 26 Ways to Bring Your Blog to Life
2. Let your visuals speak for themselves.
Nobody likes text-heavy content. According to hubspot.com, visual content is more understandable, and "by adding visual elements that can explain what the page is trying to say, targeted audiences can better understand or appreciate your brand's message."
Visual content is effective in conveying information crisply and quickly, which allows you to deliver more with less. Using appropriate photos instead of words can go a long way in improving engagement. In fact, keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement than you might otherwise see. You can even get up to 66 percent more engagement if you reduce it to fewer than 80 characters.
Use tools such as Canva, BeFunky, PicMonkey and Placeit to create interesting and attractive images. RecordIT, LICEcap and CloudApp are popularly used to create GIFs. Want to create images from popular quotes? Recite can help you with it. Pixlr Express is a great tool that lets you easily crop, color, and edit images. It also allows you to create interesting visual content using special effects, overlays, text, borders, and more.
It is best to allow your stunning visual content to speak for itself. You can add an introductory paragraph and a call to action in text, but do not forget to incorporate images, a video, or a slideshow to keep things interesting.
3. Connect with your audience on an emotional level.
If you really want to leave a lasting impression on your audience, you will have to connect with them on an emotional level. They will enjoy liking and commenting on, and sharing your content once you hit the right notes with them emotionally. Visuals can do a great job with this. By nature, people tend to respond better to what they see as compared to other forms of stimulation. If your audience is moved by your content, they associate the same sentiments with your brand, thereby inspiring trust and loyalty.
Common visual elements that can be associated with positive or negative emotions include color, texture, big words, usability, readability, photo style and shape. For example, warm and earthy colors like red, orange and yellow tend to stir up positive emotions such as optimism and happiness. Pictures with symmetrical elements can create a sense of order and predictability. Contrarily, images with asymmetrical elements can evoke feelings of unrest and chaos. Close-up pictures can give rise to a personal emotion, whereas images taken from a distance indicate isolation and seclusion.
As per the results derived from a study conducted by Fractl, happiness is the main driver for social media sharing. Emotions layered with and related to happiness are the top drivers of viral content.
4. Optimize images for SEO.
Did you know that the images you use play a huge role in SEO?
A lot of people aren't aware that photographs can be optimized for search engines. It's really easy. All you need to do is use your target keywords in the image's title, file name, description and alt text. Make sure the image dimension matches the image size as displayed. Reduce file size for faster loading and add a caption for easier scanning of the page.
Although they will not be displayed on your website or social media platforms, they will be read by search engines, which will factor them in when computing your search rankings.
5. Use relevant images in the correct size.
While using beautiful pictures clicked by professional photographers could lift the look of your website, you can also take the photographs yourself and use them. Do make sure that they're clear though. If you cannot use your own photographs and want to avoid using stock photos, you have the option of sourcing images from flickr.com and pixabay.com.
It is advisable to steer clear of using obvious stock photos and go for more genuine-looking ones instead. Further, don't make the mistake of using a particular image simply because it is eye-catching. The visual elements you use should be in keeping with the rest of the content on the page. Refrain from using images that are confusing or have the potential to be misunderstood as something else. Only use those which suit your brand's personality.
Apart from being pertinent, the images also need be the right size. Using very large images increase the loading time of your page, which is a big no-no. Resize images before uploading them (if required) so they will be displayed properly.
A tool like Social Image Resizer allows users to upload the desired image, choose from a huge list of options, and place the image where you like. Also, you can move and scale the selected area to grab the optimal look for your image. This tool can work particularly well when it comes to using images on your social media page.
6. Get and provide authorization for image usage.
Visuals created by you would definitely be the best option when you want to use them in your blog/website. You can also commission a professional to create visuals for you (and procure the sole ownership of the resulting images). However, if you plan to use images off the Internet, make sure you have the permission to do so.
For most of us, it isn't always possible to use our own images. In such cases, you can use free photos with Creative Commons licenses. Pick them carefully as some require you to give proper attribution to the photographer. Others may or may not allow you to modify the images. For a small fee, you can also buy a license to use other people's images through services like iStockPhoto and Fotolia.
Further, allow your audience to use and share your images freely. You can mention this in the "Terms and Conditions' page of your website/blog. This will allow your visuals to go viral.
7. Use different kinds of visual content to appeal to different audiences.
No two people are the same and different audiences will react differently to visual content. This is why you need to figure out what kind of content will resonate best with your audience.
You can start by creating various types of visual content such as pictures, infographics, GIFs, quote cards or macros, graphical data, comics, videos, slide shows, memes, and so on, and publishing them on different social networks. Depending on the kind of response they receive, you will be able to understand what does or doesn't work with your audience.
Whether it is images, videos, GIFs, infographics, slideshows, or other interesting visual content, they are extremely popular and widely-used on all social media platforms. With image-dedicated social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram making waves on the Internet, you can rest assured that using visually-rich content is the order of the day. The above tips should help you get a clearer idea of how you can engage your audience with visual content.
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