You don't have to be a graphic designer to succeed in social media. Trust me, I am by no means a graphic designer. In fact, if a project comes across my desk that is graphically something that I don't feel I can tackle, I hire a professional graphic artist to handle it. Why? Because effective graphics and visual content can make a huge difference in your business. And please note: graphics that make you money, don't necessarily come across as SALESY! In fact, the best ones sell you on emotion, feelings, an...ooohhhh, I want that, without even saying BUY ME NOW! Facebook will actually penalize you for 'overly promotional posts', and you will not reach as many people. Let your fans do the 'show and tell' for you. Trust me, they are your best sales people. Give them great visuals to share and oohhh ahhh over, to educate them, make them laugh, or inspire them.
Here are a few tips on how they can help you MAKE MONEY when done correctly:
1. Size matters: Make sure your graphics are sized correctly for the platform you are using. Many people just slap photos/graphics up and don't take into account how they will appear on their platform. For example, a shared photo on Facebook can be max size of 1200 x 1200 pixels. That same photo on Twitter will appear strangely because Twitter photos in the 'feed' display at 1024 x 512 - cutting off quite a bit of the image. Yes, you can click on the image on Twitter to see the 'full size', but most people respond to what they see in the preview. Make sure it's clear.
I use this cheat sheet daily from Constant Contact: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/social-media-image-sizes/
TIP:The only size they are missing from this list is the event photo for Facebook. That is 784 x 295 pixels. If you post events, please size accordingly.
Another TIP: When you use a hyperlink on Facebook - it will generate a preview with an image. Make sure that image looks good and makes sense for your link post. Sometimes it doesn't. Click on the little arrow to scroll through your choices. You can always upload your own image, it should be 1200 X 627 pixels.
Not as clear:
2. Tell a story:Graphics, photos, infographics and videos tell a better story on social media than text ever could. Video is especially great for this - and native video (that means you actually OWN the video and can upload it to your Facebook page yourself - not from a YouTube account) get HIGH engagement rates and lots of love from the Facebook algorithm, too. You can now upload short videos on Twitter from iPhones as well. I'm hoping Android follows suit soon!
Here are some graphics that could have told a story as text, but make more of an impact - and more SHAREABILITY than plain ol' text could.
Tip: I used www.picmonkey.com and www.canva.com to create these - for free! I also have a subscription (under $5/month) to www.clippingmagic.com for easily converting images into transparent backgrounds.
3. Call to Action: Images ARE powerful, but in order to make sure you are making money from your visual content, a call to action should be included in the text portion of your post or the graphic itself. A link to contact you, email address, phone number, link to an event that they can RSVP for (join), link to purchase tickets, special code they should use, etc. So, don't leave your fans hanging - tell them what you want them to do. Contests are especially important on Facebook. How will people enter? Using Like and Comment to win is perfectly acceptable now on Facebook, and I like to use www.Woobox.com's free tool to easily pick a winner (or multiple winners).
I prefer to collect email addresses to win contests, however, if you don't have an email list - this is either a GREAT way to jump start one - or you can simply do the LIKE/COMMENT option on Facebook. I also pick winners on Twitter - RT to win - and let them know what to do!
4. Facebook Ads: There is no doubt about it, Facebook ads work...Ifyou put together all the principles listed above: correct sizing - maximize your space!, tell a story, use video to your advantage and create a compelling call to action. However, Facebook does only allow 20% of your image to be 'covered' in text, so make sure what text is on there, is important. AND try to tell the story with the image. Photos with people do very well. We are ...well human! Remember to brand your images with your logo - even if it is small in the corner. People will get used to a certain style or color and you will be branding yourself with every post - whether you pay to boost it or not. Facebook reach is down, so understand, you will have to pay to boost some posts - it is a very economical way to get a large reach.
What other tips do you have for using visual content to make money? I'd love to hear them!
Stay Social, Terri