Using Visual Marketing Effectively

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How many times have you stopped scrolling when you come across a GIF or a striking image? Almost every time, yes? That’s because we’re naturally attuned to pay attention to motion or bright things. That’s why visual elements do so well on social media. But how can a brand make the most of visual elements? We invited entrepreneur and visual marketing advocate, Dustin Stout to talk to us about how brands can grow their reach and build a strong social media presence by using visually attractive elements.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Dustin Stout
Topic: Using visual marketing effectively
Format: Eight questions directed towards the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What is visual marketing?

It’s all about using visually appealing elements to attract and engage your audience. These include images, GIFs, videos, infographics, and even emojis and extra spaces in your tweet. All of these are eye-catching ways to get your brand and your message out to your people.

Humans naturally gravitate towards shiny objects and visual elements. That’s why, as Chris reminded us, a single picture can often say so much more than words. Use that to your advantage.

Q2: Why should you incorporate visual elements in your overall social content?

As we said before, visuals capture our attention and stay in our minds longer. As our guest pointed out, our brain processes visuals faster than text and associates them with emotions so effectively that they become more memorable and easy to recollect. Above all, using visuals means that you can convey so much more than 280 words ever can.

Chris added to Dustin’s points saying that videos can make an even more powerful impact on people than static images. That said, even a static image is so much more effective than no image at all.

Q3: How often should you use visual content in your social marketing?

This is subjective. How often you should use visual elements in your social messaging depends on what your brand is, your industry, and what your audience expects from you. If visual elements can help your audience understand your message better, then, by all means, use all kinds of visual elements.

Christine spoke about changing up your visual game. For example, she often uses GIFs in her replies or images in her posts. However, on the off chance that she doesn’t use either of these, she adds a heart emoji to her tweets so that there’s still a visual element that grabs people’s attention. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works for your brand.

Q4: Which is more effective, GIFs or static images?

Both are effective if you use them in the right context. Before you choose, ask yourself which one would serve your audience better. Sure, you might want to use your favorite GIF again, but if an image with useful text can be even more helpful to your audience, choose that.

As Dustin explained, if you’re trying to communicate a sensitive or serious piece of information, then a GIF might be unnecessarily distracting. Customize your visual game to suit your situation.

Lance expanded on this idea, suggesting it’s best to consider it on a case-by-case basis. Would an image convey less, more, or the same amount of information, emotion, and urgency as a GIF? The answers will vary for each tweet, and you should make sure you know the answers so you can make a calculated decision.

Q5: What are some ways to use videos in your overall visual marketing?

Videos are great for when you want to share instructions or how-to guides, onboard new customers and help them understand your offering, and to showcase your product in a demo or product introduction.

Madalyn spoke about how you can upload videos to YouTube, and then cut out shorter pieces of it to share on your social channels. For example, if you do a one-hour interview with an industry leader, you can use snippets of it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even share as Reels on Instagram. There are so many creative ways to incorporate video in your broader marketing strategy, so before you start, make sure you plan out how you want to go about it. That’ll help you along the way.

Q6: Share some best practices for making visual content.

Dustin’s top tips included using high-quality visuals and sticking to your brand. If you’re not too confident creating visual material, hire someone who can do the job for you. Identify a single clear message you want to convey in your visual and do so without overcrowding your design. Choose your colors and patterns wisely to attract attention, and most importantly, always use alternative text when you upload visual elements so that people who consume social media through screen readers can access them as well.

Dustin also shared the image specifications for each social channel.

Facebook and Instagram posts: Square (1080×1080) or Portrait (1080×1350). Stories: 1080×1920

Twitter: You can use both square and portrait style images, with the same specs as Facebook and Instagram. But you can also use landscape style (1920×1080).

Pinterest: 1000×1500

Masooma spoke about the value of adding a human element to your visuals. If your brand guidelines allow it, feel free to share elements of the team behind your brand. This helps people resonate with your brand easily.

Q7: Share some practices to avoid when creating visual content.

Some of the common mistakes to avoid when creating visual content are using small text that’s hard to read on handheld devices, not having enough margins on your images, and not using a clear and descriptive alternative text.

Our friends from Aventi Group had a few more good points to share including using low-quality images or audio clips, shooting videos in a poorly lit background, and using other people’s images without proper credits.

Q8: What are your favorite tools for making visual content?

Dustin gave a shout-out to SoVisual, a tool that he’s building. He also uses Photoshop to do some of his more complex designs.

Jim shared a handful of his favorite tools such as Canvas, Camtasia, Easil, Lately, and Adobe Spark.

Our community members shared a few other popular tools, including Audacity, Wave Video, Vegas Pro, Blender, Ecamm Live, Giphy, Powtoon, Raw Shorts, PicsArt, and VSCO.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks so much for reading through, and for more great insights from our chat with Dustin, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you have some spare time next Thursday, join us live for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. We’ll be on from 1pm ET. Catch you then!


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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

Say hello: Personal blog | LinkedIn | Twitter

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