The 'Science' of Visual Content (as Proven by a 7th Grader) and 3 Ways to Use her Findings to your Advantage


Science Fair projects...If you have a middle schooler or really bright grade schooler, you have been doing Science Fair projects...ahem...I mean you have been 'helping' your child with Science Fair projects for years. This year, my 7th grader tested which one had the greatest effect on memory: Visual Content (photos only), Textual Content (just text, no photos) and Auditory Content (things you hear).

After studying adults over the age of 18, she discovered that in fact, adults remember visual content over the other two mediums. Text came in 2nd with auditory a distant third place. So, what does all this mean?

Well, we live in an extremely visual world. We are being bombarded daily with images, text, sounds, videos, moving objects, scrolling Facebook feeds, and attention grabbing Tweets. How do you stand out as a brand? How do you get 'seen' instead of fading into the background?

Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are the most visual of all social platforms. Frankly, there is only so much 'space' for brands to use while competing for your attention. What's a business owner to do?

1. Stop Selling. Right, that's what I said. Stop being salesy. We all hate sales, anyway, so this should be easy! However, when you post content on social media, you actually shouldn't put anything overly promotional, because Facebook will penalize those posts. Facebook surveyed their members and determined that people want to socialize (gasp!) on Facebook, and not be constantly 'sold' to. So, they have algorithms in place now that if your post has words like: Free, Ends Today, Discount, Enter to Win, etc. your post will not receive as much organic (also know as FREE) reach on your page. For these types of posts, you should use a targeted Facebook ad campaign (more on this soon!).

See an example of overly promotional versus not, and the reach (33 vs. 534). Facebook really is that smart!


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2. Attach an emotion to your product through pictures.  Steve Jobs was a mastermind at this at Apple. Yes, they made pretty incredible products and were pioneers in their field, but they sold billions of dollars worth of products because of how they made you feel or what VALUE you perceived you got from having an Apple, an iPad, etc. Even Nike doesn't really sell their sneakers, they sell athletes, they sell power, strength, the ability to be on top of your game. They never say - SNEAKERS FOR SALE! They don't have to. If you are a loyal Nike, Ford, Apple, etc. person, you're doing it because you are passionate about these products. Evoke a genuine feeling that someone can relate to. People's faces (especially women and children) tend to get a positive response on Facebook.

Here's an example:

3. Get good graphics. I cannot stress this enough with small business owners. Many people do not take the time to truly create compelling content with a graphic or photo. There are so many amazing tools out there like or to create beautiful, eye catching images. Make sure the graphics are sized correctly for your social media platform, too. One list that I like for a quick check is the 2016 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet. Please note that with Facebook's new carousel ads and other great options for paid advertising there are very specific sizes listed for photos. Don't forget to read Facebook's Tips and Recommendations page for the best advice to make sure your advertising is at peak performance. Be careful when adding a link and having an 'automatic' photo pop up. They are not always the way you want them to look!

Here's a message that just doesn't resonate in text...

Something better would be:


If you can say something with a photo or graphic - DO. It will reap huge benefits. And, not just because my 7th grade Science Fair 2nd Place Winner says so, but because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. In addition posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without (Stats from Wishpond).

Now...look at the same text here:

Graphic from  bmariesmith

Graphic from bmariesmith


Social media marketing is all about experimenting. You have to test, evaluate, emulate positive results, rework negative results. The beauty of it, is that you can do it so inexpensively, and on the fly. There is a science to it, and once you crack the code that works for your company, keep improving it for future success. And please...use a compelling graphic or great photograph to help tell your story before words.

Stay social,