As we all know, there has been a technology shift over the last ten years as a direct response to how audiences consume information. People prefer to use small, portable mobile devices as they are often on the move and want access to the Internet from wherever they are on whatever they are carrying. As a result, small businesses in every industry strive to meet the demand for multichannel visual content to remain competitive and relevant.
In fact, a study conducted on 1,500 content creators reported a noticeable impact of visual content on brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, social media engagement, and sales.
So how do you create captivating visual content that attracts, engages, and retains your audience? In this post, I'm going to equip you to do just that. I'm going to cover:
So first, let's cover the basics of visual marketing.
Because the competition for consumers' attention is fierce, brands embrace the power of visuals to grab viewers' attention and engage their audience. Visual marketing means using graphics, videos, infographics, apps, GIFs, memes, SlideShare presentations, animations, sketches, doodles, user-generated content, and data visualization to educate or get a message across.
We have all heard that a "picture is worth a thousand words." In the digital marketing landscape, pictures and other visual content forms are also worth more impressions and higher conversion rates.
When you are scrolling through your social media feeds, what type of content grabs your attention? Chances are it is some type of engaging visual content. Social media visual content evokes an emotional reaction for viewers. It also yields the most engagement and best return on investment.
Since 90% of the information our brains process is visual, it is crucial for your business to focus on creating engaging visual content to attract your target audience. Do you need more convincing on the value of visual content marketing?
As we just established, using engaging visuals on your social media channels can result in huge returns. With the right tools, creating visuals is an achievable task, even for those who are not professional graphic designers or videographers. Below are four of my favorite visual marketing tools and how to use them to create imagery and tell your brand story to connect with your customers.
If you are looking to create social media visuals and display banner ads, Bannersnack is an excellent tool for you.
It is web-based, which means there is no need to download or install any software. Choose from a wide variety of editable templates for all major social media platforms or start from scratch.
Select the banner size you want to create from one of the many presets Bannersnack offers for most of the popular social media and ad banner sizes.
Edit one of the pre-made templates or start from scratch. The built-in banner generator makes it easy to create animated or static banners.
Start by selecting a design you like and choose various sizes to create a set at one time. The banners below are the original templates.
Customize the template by adding or editing text, uploading your own assets, or using included elements such as buttons, background, headlines, or colors to deliver the message in your brand voice.
I like to use a green call-to-action button because, in my testing, it has the highest click-through rates. Below is the same set of banners custom-branded for my brand identity.
You can also edit all the banners at once or each banner separately. The ability to create multiple sizes of the same banner simultaneously is a huge time saver.
Once your designs are ready, embed or export them to any major advertising platform such as AdRoll, Google Ads, and Ads Display Network.
Choose from and customize one of the templates or start from scratch. Notice that you can sort through the templates by category or scroll through them all to find one you like.
Click on the template you want to customize from the left side navigation, and it will move to the design area where you will make your changes.
Every element in the design is customizable, including background, text, buttons, and more. Below is the original Facebook cover template.
I customized the above template with my branding colors, logo, and message in the image below. When you are ready to use your Facebook cover, you can get the embed code or export your final product in multiple image formats.
Note that embed code will not work on social media. It is only useful on sites where you can access the source code and use the HTML code.
We have only touched the surface of the awesome features of Bannersnack. Get started for free, try it out and upgrade if you like the results by choosing the package that best suits your needs.
Canva is a well-known, easy-to-use, and user-friendly visual marketing tool. It comes with an extensive stock library of over a million photos and graphics.
Use the images from Canva's library or upload your own. Customize templates with banners, text, buttons, and their images—or upload your own.
The interface is intuitive and uses a drag-and-drop process making it quick and easy to create visuals for a massive number of uses, including:
If you do not already have a Canva account, sign up for one now. After you have created and verified your account, go ahead and sign in.
From Templates in the top navigation menu, select Facebook Cover. Scroll through the templates and choose a design you want to customize and click Use this template to open the editing canvas.
Your visuals should reflect your identity and match your brand's website online presence. Consistency is crucial so that your target audience recognizes your online material from assets such as your logo, font, and colors.
From this screen, you can customize the template with your brand assets. If you decide you would prefer to use a different template, simply click on it from the left side navigation and it will show up in the editing window.
I am going to start by changing the colors to match my brand colors. Click on the part of your template where you want to change the color.
Notice the color square that pops up over the template. Click on it to open the color panel.
Change the text and other colors by selecting them and replacing each with what you want. Click on Uploads from the left sidebar navigation.
Upload your logo, click on it to add it to the image you are working on, resize it, and move it to where you want it.
See how easy it is to use a Canva template to create a customized visual? The possibilities are endless regarding the types and sizes of designs you can create using the free version of Canva.
Infographics show data, statistics, and processes in memorable and visually appealing designs. Venngage enables users to create infographics in three easy steps:
The free version allows you to create five different infographics to see how you like the program. Venngage gives users access to an extensive database of thematic designs, stock images, icons, charts, and templates.
If you want to open more features and create more than five infographics, you will need to upgrade to a premium version.
Start by registering for a free account. Log into the dashboard to create a new design and see any infographics you have already created.
To get started creating an infographic, click on the green circle with the plus sign inside it. Select Free from the dropdown menu, search by keyword, topic, or feature, or scroll through the options to find a template you want to customize.
Importing your valuable data into an organized and visually appealing chart makes it easier to digest and understand.
With Venngage, start by selecting the type of chart you want to use, including:
Type, copy and paste, or import your data in a CSV or XLSX format. Your data will instantly fill the chart.
Venngage uses a drop and drag editor that makes it simple to customize a template. Edit and personalize it by changing the fonts, text, visuals, colors, and charts to match your brand and messaging.
Drag widgets onto your canvas and customize their orientation, color, and size. You can also lock groups into place. Enhance your designs with images and icons from the built-in library or upload your own.
Templates make it easy to swap out elements such as text, images, charts, tables, and graphs with your own. An example of templates' power is the popularity of website builders such as Squarespace to create professional-looking websites for people with no design or coding experience. For marketers who are not graphic designers, creating attractive infographics from scratch is a challenge. Customizing a template enables users to produce and share professional-looking designs to their audience, such as the example below.
Touting itself as the easiest video maker for social media marketing, Lumen5 enables users to create engaging videos from your existing content.
Lumen5 uses artificial intelligence (AI) to match your content with relevant video clips and images to create slideshow-type videos with overlays of text. You can create three videos per month (720p resolution) with the free version. Note that your video will include the Lumen5 watermark. If you enjoy using the platform, check out the upgrade options.
After you sign up and log in, Lumen5 will prompt you to perform one of the following actions:
The next step will prompt you to choose a video format from the following options:
You can also change or choose from this option later. The next screen will ask you to select a brand or style.
Lumen5's AI-powered engine will handpick sentences for you to accept or reject.
The following screen is the storyboard section on the right-hand side with the text on the left. Click on which sentences you want to include, reorder, or delete.
If your blog post is long, create a summary video using your subheadings and a few words to explain it. Try to keep your text fields under 140 characters.
After adding your text to the video, choose your visuals from the built-in library, or upload your own. Click on Media from the left-hand side.
You can also save your favorite media assets in one place by clicking on the star. Note that you can sort by videos, photos, and editorial or search through Lumen5's massive database of visual assets.
Lumen5 only uses royalty-free media assets in its library, so you do not have to worry about copyright issues.
If your blog post includes images, they will show up at the top of the media library. To add Music to your video, click on Music from the left side. Search the tracks by mood or upload your own.
Lumen5 allows you to set up branding for your videos to build brand awareness. Start by clicking on the Brand presets tab.
Here is where you can:
The final step involves adding an outro message or a call-to-action. Make sure you tell your viewers what you want them to do after watching your video.
When your video is finished rendering, you can find it in your dashboard under My videos. To see the available options, click on the three dots under the video.
Share your video directly to Facebook, edit it, make a copy of it, download it, or delete it.
Have you ever tried to resize a video manually? It requires a lot of reformatting, and it is not easy. However, with Lumen5, they take care of it for you. How?
Choose the video you want to resize from the dashboard, click on the three dots, select Share, and then click on Auto resize.
Choose from a Vertical of Square shape, and Lumen5's AI will resize your video for you. This is a huge time saver and a valuable benefit to users.
As you can see, there is no excuse not to use impressive visuals in your social media content marketing, given the multitude of available tools! However, it is crucial to remember the speed at which audiences consume your information on your website or landing pages, and that eye-catching visuals can hinder the user experience by slowing down load times.If images and other visuals take too long to load, your site visitors will get frustrated and leave.
However, the solution is simple. Be sure to optimize and compress your self-hosted visuals with free tools such as JPEG Optimizer, Compress Now, and Tiny PNG.
Although optimizing and compressing visual content on your website and landing pages will improve site speed, you may also want to consider using online storage to free up space on your mobile devices or website hosting platform.
Online storage is also a protective measure should your site experience malicious attacks that compromise or corrupt your data, information, and visual content.
There is no question that marketing trends will continue to shift over time as technology advances and consumer preferences change. What will remain the same is the usage of visual content as an integral way for brands to connect with their audiences. Be sure to align your marketing campaigns with your brand. Continue to create relevant, eye-catching, and appealing visuals to attract your target market to your messages.
Julie Weishaar is a Visual Digital Marketing Specialist who works to help small businesses increase their online visibility and grow by leveraging the latest in internet and video technologies. She specializes in creative camera-less animated video production, custom images, content writing, and SlideShare presentations. Julie also manages HubSpot CRM, blog management, email marketing, marketing automation, and social media for her clients.