Written by Shane Barker

Are you exploring the power of visual communication in your social media strategy?

Most marketers today do.

80% of marketers include visual images in their social efforts, 63% use video, while 35% have embraced live video.

But what is visual communication?

Visual communication makes use of infographics, images, videos, and other multimedia content. When you use visuals, you make objects the center of your message rather than text.

Using this on social media can attract and hold the attention of your audience. This is because visuals can excite your audience and they can help them associate something tangible to your product, and this can improve brand recall.

If you are not using visuals yet, then you are missing on a great opportunity to engage your audience.

So, how can you achieve engagement with visuals? Let’s find out.

How Does Visual Communication Improve Social Media Engagement?

Adding a visual to your content can help you attract and keep the attention of your target audience. It can also increase engagement in various ways, including:

1. Makes It Easier to Convey Information

Consumers prefer to learn more about products and services via visual communication. 66% of consumers would prefer to watch short videos for the same. On the other hand, text is preferred by only 18% of consumers.

The study also found that 86% of people would like to see more branded video content. Out of those, 36% said they wanted to see more educational and explainer video content, while 14% wanted to see more demos.

Another study found that time-starved buyers (73%) had less time to read and conduct research. However, they were willing to spend over ten minutes with interactive audio and visual content.

Consumers prefer visuals over text. By posting more visual content, you can encourage your audience to engage further with your social content.

One of the brands excelling at this is Whole Foods Market. They offer customers informative and valuable visuals on social media. They also leverage user-generated content (UGC), through which they share unique recipes with their audience on social media.

Image via Instagram

2. Makes Your Content Accessible

Visuals speak for themselves. Your target audience does not have to read walls of text to understand what you mean. They help you convey information with ease leading to a better appreciation of your brand.

Visuals can also make your content accessible, especially to users who disregard text posts. As a result, more users will be inclined to check out your content, hence increasing your reach.

But how can you tell what kind of content your audience wants to see?

To find this out, you need to analyze the way your audience interacts with your content. For this, you can use content management tools like Outbrain and BuzzSumo. These tools can help you analyze your audience and their interests so that you can provide the right content to them.

One of the companies making their content accessible is Intelligentsia Coffee. They provide videos and instructional whitepapers for their audience along with useful guides on topics they need information on, like how to brew coffee.

Image via Instagram

3. Helps You Appeal to Different Kinds of Audiences

How does your audience react to your content on social media?

Examine your analytics thoroughly to understand them.

Does your audience react differently to various forms of visual content?

Homing in on what resonates better with your target audience can help you improve their experience with your brand. Producing such content will help increase your engagement as well.

Consider the different visuals you can produce and see which ones seem to resonate the best with your audience. Ask yourself questions like:

Does your audience respond better to videos?

Do they like images better?

What do they share more?

Once you have a list of favored visuals, share them consistently across the various social platforms.

4. Creates an Emotional Connection with Your Audience

Arousing strong emotions is one of the keys to creating viral content on social media. Brands should create content that has captivating plots, authentic characters, and surprise endings.

Employing this strategy in your visual communication can make your content go viral. It can also increase the emotional connection your audience has with your brand.

Work on creating visual messages that can move your audience to either laugh, cry, cringe, or gasp. These are messages your audience can associate with a feeling and hence lead them to share your content.

According to a Deloitte study, leveraging these emotions can also lead to brand loyalty. The consumer expects you to treat them just like their friends do. It means learning to listen to what they want and then engaging with them at the right times.

Include emotional triggers like empathy, responsiveness, and others in your visual messages. Evoking these emotions can increase engagement too.

Here is a good example:

Apple did a fast-paced video that targeted their audience’s emotions.

Four “underdogs” had a chance encounter with the boss, who gave them two days to pitch their idea. The team brainstormed branding ideas, created a prototype, prepared a presentation, and consulted with other departments using Apple products.

In the end, we don’t see them pitch, but their smiles show they have an excellent presentation to give the boss.

Image via YouTube

The visual storytelling in the video creates an emotional connection with the audience. It’s engaging and entertaining while showing how Apple products can help at work. Apple used protagonists that their target audience can relate to in the video so that they could connect to it.

Partnering with an influencer can improve this connection even further. The audience feels personally connected to the influencers and, in some cases, considers them as one of their friends.

You can capitalize on these emotional connections and the fact that the audience trusts what the influencer says, to promote your brand. The audience will want to listen to the influencers, and their messaging can appeal to them in a personal manner. Doing this can help your brand create an emotional connection and increase engagement.

Ready to Kick Start Your Visual Communication Strategy?

Visual communication can help you convey information quickly to your audience. People, too, prefer to learn from visuals, and this can increase your chances of engagement.

The visuals make your content more accessible since the audience does not have to read through walls of text to understand your message. Visual communication also helps you appeal to different kinds of audiences and you can vary your content based on what your audience likes to see.

Visual communication is also a great way to create an emotional connection with your audience.  This can lead to increased brand trust and loyalty.

Including emotional triggers can make your audience relate that emotion to your brand. If the visual content moves them, then they will most likely share it with their friends and family too, hence increasing your reach.

What are you waiting for?

Embrace visual communication in your digital marketing strategy and improve engagement with your audience.

About Author

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.