This is Chapter 7, Part 1 from the Copywriting for Social Media Guide.
Boring written content is out. Visual content is in – and here to stay. And, clearly, the importance of visual content in social media is undeniable.
And, this importance has even been emphasized a lot lately by the changes that occurred across almost every major social network – including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.
Additionally, videos have also become powerful tools for brands – very useful in engaging easier with their target audience. Not to mention that virtual reality (VR) is finding its place as a marketing tool in many businesses. Now, all you need to do is keep up with these trends and you’ll do just fine. 😀
So… let’s start with understanding what visual marketing is all about, shall we?
What is Visual Content Marketing?
The great value of visual content marketing is its ability to tell a story really quickly and to share information in a way that is easily remembered by the readers. Why is this important? Because, visual objects carry emotion, and they can reach your audience in ways the written word cannot.
What is Visual Social Media Marketing?
Visual social media marketing is the process that includes the use of video, images and other visual content – such as infographics – to help your copy (your message) stand out from the crowd and to more efficiently reach your target audience.
Did you know that photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more clicks on links than text-based posts? (Well, they do, at least according to KISSmetrics.
So, yeah, talk about the importance of visuals on social… 😮 Oh, and let’s not forget Instagram – as it turns out, Instagram registers 3.5 billion likes every day. 😲 Check out some interesting Instagram statistics, here.
Why visual communication is efficient 👀
Visual communication is the most efficient way of passing information because the human mind processes things in images. Most people respond faster to visual images than to words. Brands need to understand the effect images have on their audience and use them wisely to attract and maintain their consumers.
So, any form of social media post should use images and graphics because it will have a great impact on boosting your brand.
Here are the benefits of visual marketing:
The use of consistent images, logo, and colors boosts the brand image of your business and makes it easy for people to identify a product with the company. So, be aware that by using visual communication, you’ll build brand awareness of your company or organization.
According to studies, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes texts. With this in mind, be aware that it will save you time when using visuals to communicate information to your audience.
The thing to remember here is that basically it is faster to process a visual signal than to read a sentence of a paragraph full of text.
If you consider the cross-cultural communication (when people can’t understand a certain foreign language), you’ll quickly realize that a symbol or a picture can remove the language barrier.
So, in case you are interested to promote a product or a service to people across different cultures, you should definitely consider using images and graphics – because they are flexible and can easily be understood by different people.
Visual communication is more eye-pleasing than words. People will enjoy reading your information more if you grab their attention with visual material. In fact, if the visual you are using is also highly artistic, it brings aesthetic enjoyment to your audience.
Also, if you choose to post a funny picture for example, by making people laugh it’ll help them memorize the information better. Which is exactly what you want. This also works when you post an image that has a high visual impact on the reader (real-life photos, sad photos, happy photos, etc).
There’s a reason why social media platforms encourage ads to have fewer words and more graphics. And, the reason is that visuals stimulate people’s emotions and make them respond faster to an ad, promotion or any other social post.
✍️ Bottom line:
Visual content is key to social media engagement. And, as everyone’s time is limited in this fast-paced society we live in today, visual communication is a great help in communicating your ideas as a brand, faster and better.
Check out some visual content marketing statistics you should know about in 2020. According to Brain Rules: “We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.” So, visual is the best pair you can find to make sure your message on social gets remembered.
What is content readability? Content readability is the user experience of how difficult or easy it is to read a text.
🔑 Key: Social media and readability go hand in hand. The key is to write short and clear messages, so your audience is able to read and clearly understand your content.
Keep in mind that if you won’t be able to create a copy that people can easily read, building your audience will become a difficult task.
Actually, readability on social media is so important that the UK Government has released a set of guidelines for their social media activity that would facilitate readability.
According to Readable.com “writing for social media needs to be short, sharp and to the point” because “you have 7 seconds to grab someone’s attention”.
Is your writing easily readable? You can find out with the help of a readability score.
What is a readability score? It is a computer-calculated index which can tell you roughly what level of education someone will need to be able to read a piece of text easily. This score basically identifies a grade level corresponding to the number of years of education a person has had.
A score of around 6 is the approximate reading level of an elementary school student in the USA or primary school in the EU. This goes up to a score of around 10-12 on completion of high school or secondary school.
🔑 Key: The readability of a text should neither be too difficult, nor too easy as people may feel bored.
✍️ Bottom line:
The readability of a text can influence the extent to which people engage with your message and even the way they receive the message of your text.
You can also check out the Hemingway Editor which is a great free online editing tool. It basically analyzes text for readability. And, it is great in making your writing more efficient, clear and powerful. How this tool works is that it examines your words and sentences and it points out areas you should change to make your writing better. It sounds like a cool tool. 😎
Here’s a great example of an easy to read text by Henneke Duistermaat:
Example of a not so easy to read the text: 😑
✔️Use readability as a social media tool
- Be customer focused – Your social posts have to be clearly written with your customers in mind. Your copy has to be focused, and it must have a ‘must click’ hook for your audience to click on your post, like it and share it.
- Keep it short – When it comes to creating your social posts, clear and simple communication is the way to go. Avoid long sentences, complicated words and jargon.
- Find the right hook – The key here is to give your readers a reason to engage with you. So, when creating your post (besides adding the link to a blog post for egg) find that ‘something’ (a desire, a pain point, a gain, etc) that would trigger your reader into clicking your link. Of course, this involves knowing your audience – but we guess you already know how important that is on social. 😛
- Know the difference between the social platforms – when creating your readable content be aware that what works on one social platform, doesn’t always work on another one. The key here is to experiment with different versions of your copy and see what works and what doesn’t.
Stand out from the crowd – According to Sheryl Sandberg – Chief operating officer at Facebook: “There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers.” Talk about difficult to stand out from the crowd. 😟
These numbers can be overwhelming but look at the bright side: there is a huge potential audience waiting for you to make your mark on society. So, there’s one thing left for you to do: find a way to stand out from the crowd!
Attention-grabbing, hooking paragraphs are your goal. But how do you achieve that goal? Well, if you want your readers coming back for more… and more, you need to make sure your writing isn’t boring, too complicated or meaningless.
As we’ve mentioned in the above, readability is key. Otherwise, people will simply lose interest in your writing as well as in your brand.
The secret is to master the proper writing techniques to attract your readers, and one of those techniques is the use of great paragraphs. How?
The first thing you need to remember when writing is that you need to make your writing enjoyable, pleasant and easy to read. You need to ensure that your reader will pay attention to what you have to say.
Here are some visual tips that will help you do just that:
Write short paragraphs
Keep your paragraphs short. You can break up long paragraphs into shorter ones. This will provide an uncluttered page that will make your writing easily readable. Your paragraphs can be as short as a single sentence, or a fragment. Or a single word.
Don’t worry about complicated fragments. The simpler, the better. What you’ll be left with is a tidy page that your readers will most likely enjoy reading. Like this:
Bulleted or numbered lists are a go
This is a really efficient writing technique that is quite overlooked by writers. For example, when you have a sequence of words, instead of adding them in a long sentence, choose to create a bulleted or numbered list. It will attract attention and make your text easily readable.
👇 Like this:
The benefits of adding bulleted lists in your content:
- Make writing easier
- Easier readability
- Finding important information easier
- Uncluttered pages
- Visual appeal
- Help you rank higher in the search results
Or, we could have written the above information like this 👇:
There are many benefits in adding bulleted lists in your content, such as easier writing, easier readability, finding important information easier, uncluttered pages, visual appeal and they help you rank higher in the search results.
Which version is easier to read? 😊
Overall readability is key
When done with your writing, take a look at how your writing looks like. Is it:
✔️ appealing enough?
✔️ easy to read?
You can always have look at other blogs, websites, social platforms to get some inspiration from copywriters/content writers who already master the art of writing.
Make your writing visually attractive enough to grab your reader’s’ attention.
Active voice is your best choice – E.g. Instead of “It is known that…” use “We know that…”Now, let’s talk about Content
Tips that will help create great paragraphs:
- Verbs and actions will help you out.
- Focus on simplicity – short, simple and clear words go a long way.
- Start with the conclusion to grab attention (this obviously only works in descriptive and persuasive writing, not in a suspenseful story – where you wouldn’t want to spoil the big reveal in the end). So, start showing your reader in advance the main takeaway points and then fill in the details.
- Avoid monotony by varying your sentence lengths.
- Don’t try to impress your audience by being too clever – this approach may turn against you in an awkward situation.
- Find your signature writing voice – this usually develops naturally, through a lot of practice.
✍️ Bottom line: It may take some time and practice until you develop the appealing writing that will make your readers come back for more. But with practice and hard work, success will come to you.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele
Key in writing: Love what you are doing, dear copywriter! 😉