2012 was definitely the year of social media — but it was also the year of visual social media. If you’re looking to ramp up Facebook engagement on your Page, there’s only one place to start: with your visual strategy.
I know what you’re thinking — you already post photos, and you already know they get more views and clicks than regular updates. But are you posting them strategically? If the answer is “not exactly,” here’s some data from HubSpot that might surprise you:
- Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than the average post.
- Users upload 300 million photos to Facebook daily.
- Instagram usage has skyrocketed 1,179% since April 2012.
(Read more — and get some awesome bonus tips — from the infographic here.) The key to leveraging images is to start thinking about them differently — as a distinct piece of content, just as important to your content strategy as any other campaign. Here are 5 ways to do just that:
1. The “Snackable” Image Strategy
This surprisingly effective strategy is also the easiest once you nail the formula: a bite-sized update or question paired with a fun or bold image. I call it the “snackable” strategy because it’s quick, easy and fun for your fans — just take a look at how many people answered this Chick-fil-A status update, which features a simple “fill in the blank” question and an eye-catching text image: 4,179! (It was also shared and liked an additional 3,500 times combined.) The image doesn’t have to be text, either; Richard Branson recently posted an image of Peter Pan and asked people to share their own favorite character. Fun, fast and easy to digest!
Hint: If you’re looking for a great tool to customize your images, my favorite is PicMonkey.com.
2. The “Sneak Peek” Image Strategy
Believe it or not, people are not on Facebook to talk business — they’re on Facebook to have fun and most importantly, to interact with friends and family. So it doesn’t hurt if, on occasion, you go “behind the scenes” and share a personal snapshot from your day-to-day, whether it’s your puppy (guilty as charged!) or a candid office shot. Meet your fans where they’re at — ask for their advice on an office wall color, share a personal moment with your pet, and just let down your hair a little.
3. The “Action Image” Strategy
This third strategy can be combined with 1, 2, 4 and 5. What’s the secret sauce? Ask your fans to click like, share or comment.
When fans are asked to share a post, there’s a 3X higher like rate. When asked to comment, there’s a 3.3X higher comment rate. And this rate shoots to a 7X hike for shares. Amazing, right? But it’s just marketing 101 — if you want fans to act, you have to tell them what you want them to do. And the more engaged your fans are, the more people see your content. Engagement pays big dividends.
Melanie Duncan’s strategy is especially savvy — not only does she give a clear, direct CTA (“Share this important message and then click here to learn more”), she also offers a URL in the status update. Images + links ignite clicks!
4. The “Blog Post” Image Strategy
You probably spend a lot of time writing your blog posts and carefully choosing images and headlines to grab reader’s attention. So why post a link — and have Facebook auto-select a tiny thumbnail — when you could post a big, eye-catching screen grab of your latest blog?
It takes an extra couple of seconds to capture your blog post and upload the photo to Facebook using the “upload photo/video” button, but the results are worth the effort — one of my clients got 13,500 shares using this trick! Try Snagit to make your screen grabs quick and easy. (Just don’t forget the URL!)
5. The “Traffic Generating” Image Strategy
Finally, short teaser videos can revolutionize the way you run your Facebook Page and promotions. Not only do most people love video content, but Facebook now displays the opening frame just like a big image. Posting a video with a call to action (“Grab Your Seat” and “Join me, it’s free”) that creates some urgency or action is one of the best strategies I’ve ever used for driving traffic to a webinar, blog or online event. But again, don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting that URL — if your video gets shared as often as mine did, you’ll be kicking yourself later!
I hope you’ll treat yourself — and your fans — to some great visual content this year. But I want to hear from you too: what image strategies have gotten the biggest results for you? Share them in the comments!