In today’s digital age, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat have exploded in popularity and are heavily ingrained in our day-to-day lives. It has dramatically changed the communications landscape over the past decade. It has not only altered the way we communicate but also increased interactivity and connectedness, with access to real-time news and information, and evolved the way we do business today.
This boom in social media platforms has been further fuelled by the increased take-up of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as we stray away from desktops. Businesses are increasingly recognising social media as a valuable, inexpensive communications tool to reach out to their key stakeholders and to engage with them in today’s globalised world – thus diminishing the communications gap that once existed.
However, with our social media feeds constantly clogged with updates and news, it’s easy for information to get lost in the noise and reams of text. Words alone will not arrest the attention of our social media audience. However, by integrating compelling visual content, this can boost how your audience absorbs and remembers your message.
Visual content can take the form of images, videos, charts, infographics, animations, iconography, and gifs – providing companies with the opportunity to present bite-size information in a compelling manner.
Now an inescapable part of our everyday lives, visual communication is a key driver of engagement on social media. Notably, Facebook and Twitter have redesigned their news feed to allow greater emphasis on visual content, resulting in greater interaction. According to social media guru, Dan Zarella, tweets with images are 94% more likely to be retweeted than tweets without. Similarly, Facebook posts with accompanying images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
But why are visuals so powerful? It comes down to the way our brains receive and transmit information. Numerous neurological studies have pointed out that our brains are tuned to processing visuals at a vastly greater speed. In addition, it allows us to retain and transmit much more information when it’s delivered visually. Another fun fact – a group of MIT neuroscientists found that the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.
Putting the psychology behind this aside, creating good and relevant visual content requires a strategic approach. Simply posting visuals for the sake of posting will not optimise engagement. It’s important for visuals to be compelling, engaging, and relevant to our social media audiences. For the majority of us who are not creative graphic designers, the general perception that we have is that we are not well-equipped with the right skills and knowledge to create visual imagery. This has changed. Thanks to the rise of numerous tools, applications and websites introduced into the market, compelling visual content can be easily created in a cost-effective manner and customised for various social media platforms.
Social media is here to stay and will continue to impact and influence our day-to-day lives over the coming decade. It is vital for businesses to step up and grab the endless opportunities that social media platforms can bring about with the aid of visual communications.
By Hanisha Ganwani, Senior Account Executive