In Talk Visually To Your Audience, I explained why you should include visuals in everything you post. One of the visuals mentioned is a graphic.
With a photo or video, the focus is on the picture or pictures. With a graphic, the emphasis is on the words. These words can stand alone or accompany a photo or illustration. Either way, your graphic must contain verbal information that’s useful, interesting or enjoyable to your readers.
Here are four popular types of graphics to consider:
Tips. You have knowledge that would interest your reader. The trick is determining what that is and convert it into tips. A beautician can offer tips on using makeup. A personal trainer can give advice on staying fit. An accountant can recommend ways to reduce taxes. Placing these tips in a graphic highlights your expertise and gives your readers useful information. That’s a win-win situation.
How-tos. Do you know how to change a car’s air filter? Carve a turkey? Install a dishwasher? You know how to do something plenty of others don’t but would like to. Videos are the best way to demonstrate your capability. However, a graphic with photos accompanied by step-by-step instructions works fine, too. In fact, the graphic has a major advantage over the video: readers can quickly and repeatedly refer to it as they perform the task.
Checklists. Checklists visually say “these things are important.” An electrician can list the tools needed to change a ceiling fan. A golf pro can list the five most important clubs a duffer should carry in his bag. A marriage counselor might list the warning signs of spousal abuse. Visually, you can create boxes next to each point so the reader can check them off, or place checks next to each item as emphasis.
Quotes. If you have a Facebook account, you no doubt have received a quote graphic in your Timeline. Quotes often express thoughts better and quicker than we can. They can be funny, thought-provoking or solemn. Likewise, they can come from the Bible, politicians or your grandmother. If you are pressed for visual subject matter, a quote graphic is a go-to solution.
Here are two final thoughts to keep in mind.
One, be sure your image is relevant to your post (if not the post itself) and consistent with your brand. If you own a mortuary, posting humorous quotes about funerals sends a disturbing message. However, posting a checklist of considerations when planning a funeral is useful.
The second recommendation is to think outside the box – literally. Many graphics are simply boxes with copy superimposed over a tinted background or a photo. By simply creating a graphic in a relevant shape – a pork chop for a butcher or tool box for a handyman – you can easily but distinctly separate yourself from competitors.
Graphics that engage and enlighten lead to what every social marketer wants – more likes, comments and retweets.