Your Social Media Channels Need a Visual Strategy

What does ‘content’ mean to you? For many marketers and brand owners, the answer is written content in the form of blogs and articles. But audiences prefer looking at pictures than reading endless reams of text – a picture paints a thousand words, right?

Humans are naturally visually wired. Which is great news for businesses because the opportunities are huge: visuals allow you to communicate more complex messages, induce more emotions and be more engaging than with words alone.

Visuals have also been a key factor in the growth of social media. In 2012 Dane Atkinson (CEO of SumAll.com) reported Instagram as having as much as 10 times higher engagement than other platforms like Facebook and Twitter due to its image-led approach.

That’s why any good social media strategy today takes images as seriously as it takes words. So how do you make sure you’re putting visuals at the heart of your social media strategy? Here are our tips.

Don’t tell if you can show
It’s sometimes harder to show personality or communicate effectively with words. Replace text with images to get your message across wherever you can.

Create your own
Visual content is more shareable and this makes it a great opportunity for brands to get in front of more potential customers. Creating original visual content means customers are more likely to associate it with your company.

Be consistent
Finding your visual style is really important. While you want variety to keep things fresh, you need to keep some consistency. This gives the audience something familiar to remember you by. Videos, animations and graphics are very different content formats, but you can link them all with a signature icon or style that users come to associate with you. Here are some of our signature styles…

Tell your story
Often it’s not what you do, but why you do it that matters most. Create an emotional connection with your audience based on shared values. Your story is your most important asset here – think about the ‘why’ behind your business and put it centre stage.

Include user generated content
Visual content doesn’t just have to come from your marketing team. Encourage employees and customers to share images relevant to your product or service. Photo or video competitions are also great for creating user generated content.

Don’t forget words
Images are powerful but they often work better if they include a little bit of text. Just remember, when it comes to adding words, keep it short and sweet in so they don’t lose their impact.

Have a question on social media or design? Tweet us @infographicly_ - we’d love to hear from you!

Or if you’re looking to visualize your story on social media, why not ask us about one of our social media visual packages? Email us on 


3 Steps to Creating Awesome Social Video Content

Hang out anywhere on the internet, and you’re just a click, tap or a swipe from a video. We just love the stuff, and there is no end in sight when it comes to our appetite for video. According to a Cisco report published last year, video will make up 80% of global web traffic by 2019 and we’ll be sharing almost a million minutes of video every second.

And social is where we’re getting our video fix: more than half of Facebook users watch at least one video every day. While images were once the top performing content form on social media, soon a post won’t be worth the laptop it’s written on if it doesn’t have a video accompanying it. The online experience has become truly video-led.

But if we’re consuming more video, that means brands need to create more. Video has long been seen as expensive and time-consuming to create but we aren’t talking about commercials, but a new breed of video: the social video.

These are videos that have been specifically created to be delivered via social media, and primarily on a mobile device (almost 80% of social media use is on mobile). They’re short, snappy and need little more than a smartphone camera and good dollop of creativity to record - which means that any company can create great video content that drives engagement.

What makes a great social video? Below I’ll go through the 3 things you need to consider. (Quick note: while you can stream live videos to social, I’m sticking to pre-recorded video for now!)

Read more here via @Entrepreneur-ME

Ready to create the awesome shareable videos your customers want to watch without breaking the bank? Ask us about our social video packages.

 

 


5 Brands That Get Their Visuals Right

For brands it’s always hard to get visuals right and annoyingly easy to get them wrong. But when brands do get it right it can be really powerful.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite brands to see how solid visual brand guidelines and a strategic use of visuals on social media can boost reach, improve engagement and tell a brand story.

Innocent drinks

Innocent are arguably the Kings of branding. They have a HUGE following on social media (+250,000 people on Twitter) for a company that sells smoothies. Their simple, upbeat and often quirky style has resonated with a lot of people and they’re expanding their business rapidly because of it. The secret: amusing and visual tweets people not only want to read but actually retweet.

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Pip & Nut

Pip & Nut is a relatively new brand selling nut butters in selected shops in the UK. While they’re small, they’re growing fast and I think it’s down to the time they spent getting their branding right from the start. Their packaging is super instagrammable and they really know how to harness social media to spread the word about their brand.

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ASOS

Looking at ASOS’s instagram account is just a joy. The mixture of beautiful photography and candid snaps is really on brand for them and will keep customers coming back to see what they post next.

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Business Insider

Now we come to the infographic style visuals (we clearly can’t resist…). Business Insider is a German-owned American business news website. They've understood the need to relay bits & pieces of information through visuals to the point that they've created their own separate Instagram page just for all their sharable graphics. 

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S’wich

We just love everything about this brand - not least their yummy Shawarma! S’wich has taken a huge amount care to make sure that everything from their packaging right through to their mouth-wateringly tantalizing social media feeds is all on brand and speaks to a UAE audience. I don’t know about you, but I suddenly realised I’m very, very hungry.

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Do you know any more brands that are killing it on social media? Tweet us at @infographicly_

 


Communicating Your Startup Story with Good Presentation Design

Startups are great for doing things a little differently. They have the freedom to not just break the mold but redesign it completely and that’s always exciting. But when 90% of startups fail, there are some tried-and-testing techniques that are essential to help their chances for success.

A big key to success is simply getting your brand out there. To do this you need to have a visual style that you use and develop with you as you grow. If you get your branding right from day one your bank account and new team members will thank you.

Data visualization is great for developing your brand. Being able to communicate your story in a visual way will help people understand what you do much more easily. Infographic.ly has been helping business on this mission with creative and presentation design in the UAE and GCC.

Here are just a few ideas of how data viz can help with your branding:

Making your decks look phenomenal

There’s something really impressive about a well-designed presentation, probably because they’re usually something that’s been cobbled together on powerpoint an hour before a talk. Data visualization is great for investment pitches and helping people really understand your brand. The visual element means you’re twice as likely to be more persuasive than startups with no visuals in their decks. When your data is presented beautifully and clearly your audience will understand you more and will be much more likely to remember your brand.

Read more here via @Entrepreneur-ME

Do you have any more tips for startup branding? Tweet us @infographicly_


How Non-Profits Can Use Data Visualization for Good

Data visualization is useful for all sorts of things – mainly making complicated things more digestible (and no, we’re not suggesting you should eat quantum physics). Non-profits, more than anyone else, need to get their message out there. And because us humans are visual creatures, visualising those messages, and your data, is the perfect way to do it.

When we’re bombarded with content on social media 24 hours a day from friends, family and over 1.2 million charities and foundations in the world it can be hard to get your non-profit to stand out. Every extra click you can get counts, and if you use an infographic you could be seeing a lot more clicks.

45% of web users click on a link if it features an infographic and 30% will forward it. All this adds up to a 12% increase in web traffic and, for non-profits, potentially a lot more revenue and awareness.

Here are just two of the ways data visualization can help your non-profit:

Making public reports more accessible
In most organisations reports are only seen internally and not distributed to the world. They can be as long and confusing as you like (even though your employees will hate you). Non-profits on the other hand have a lot to shout about that the public needs to see, and most importantly, understand. A dull, 50 page report just won’t cut it.

This infographic annual report from Wellstone is a great example of how you can transform your report into something that your supporters will understand.

Using animation to tell a story online
Animation doesn’t always have to cover a light-hearted subject matter. Motion graphics can get across a lot of information visually in a short amount of time. A perfect combination for getting your audience’s attention and engaging them.

This infographic video from ShareTheMeal shows just how powerful simple animation can be.

Do you have any favourite infographics or data visualizations from non-profits? Tweet us @infographicly_


Animation for Business: Using Motion Graphics to Communicate Effectively

Animated infographics are no gimmick. Like their static siblings, they’re here to stay. That’s because animation is a great way to get across lots of data or information that you can’t show in a single static infographic.

And don’t think that just because it’s animation that the topic has to be light-hearted. I’ve seen impactful, fantastic motion infographics about gender inequalitythe US population and the slave trade.

Animation can be used for whatever point you want to make, and the ones we’ve made have certainly been varied.

Read more here via @Entrepreneur-ME


The Perfect Report – Don’t Make it Shorter, Make it Better

We want to make reports better. Long, dull reports just aren’t our thing (actually, they’re not anybody’s thing). But the problem with them isn’t that they’re long, it’s that they’re not visual.

To create a good report you don’t need to make it shorter - after all, it might need to be long to include everything it needs to. You just need to make it better.

We’re pretty proud of the reports we create. We make sure they’re visual, waffle-free and interesting. This is because we are review every piece information and ask ourselves two questions:

  1. Can I visualise it?

Data is always better visualised because humans are visual learners. Lots of numbers on a spreadsheet don’t mean much to us at a first glance, but a nice graph or other data visualisation can make things clear straight away.

If you can visualise it, then do. If you can’t that’s OK too, just make sure it’s written out clearly and succinctly. Reports should be about simplicity.

  1. Do I need to say it?

You don’t need wasted words. If it’s not necessary, get rid of it. Often we feel like we have to include things in reports like an “about us” page and mission statements. They’re normally very inward-facing and don’t mean an awful lot. By getting rid of the things you don’t need to say, you create a much more engaging piece.

But why does creating a simple and visual report matter?

Most people won’t read a report from start to finish - in fact, in our era of scanning and skimming, the average person reads only 20% of what’s on a page.

So if you want to create the best chance that people will read at least some of it (especially the important bits) and remember it afterwards, then presenting the information better is vital.

One of the best ways to do that is through good data visualization. We humans process visuals faster than text, which is why visuals are key to highlighting important information - and to creating better reports.

Do you have any more tips for writing and designing a great report? Tweet us @infographicly_.


Case Study: Why an Infographic agency is your report’s best friend

Reports are notoriously dull - just pages and pages of text and a few dry statistics. It makes watching paint dry look like an exciting pastime. Don’t panic here is where a creative agency can turn things around.

Humans are visual learners, which is why infographics work so well. Visualising statistics helps us understand what they mean far better than seeing them on an excel spreadsheet.

The visual-ness (shh, it’s a word) of infographics make them perfect for company reports too, because they naturally engage the reader and encourage people to remember the information being presented.

And because infographics each tell a story, they can be shared both as part of a report or on their own - allowing you to make the most of all the hard work that goes into a well-designed report.

Here are some examples of just how infographics agencies in the UAE can change your report and how to make them really stand out:

Think visually

report-blog-01This is a great example how visualising data differently can make it more impactful and easier to understand. Our client has employees across the globe, and they wanted to visualise their employee network in their annual report. Before the report showed where the employees came from on a standard bar graph, but this wasn’t the best way of representing the global nature of the business. We put the information on a map, and now you can really see where staff are and how they are connected!

Use iconography

report-blog-02I love using iconography, because they often mean you don’t have to explain something with words. Take this ‘before’ example - even though the information is in a chart, there is lots of text and it takes a long time to read and understand. Once we added iconography, it became much clearer because of the simple icons and reduced explanatory text.

The use of blank space also breaks up the page and makes it really pleasing to look at. Which brings us onto my next tip…

Use blank space

report-blog-03This particular client just gave us a draft version of their report, and it’s not uncommon to see reports full of tables that look like they’ve been made in Excel. We took all that information and added icons, used colour effectively and, most importantly, allowed room for the information to breathe. I think you’ll agree that the end result looks much more digestible!

Good design is all about simplicity and that means not cramming loads of information onto one page. Simplicity is key and simplicity means leaving negative space.

Be selective

report-blog-04This is a great example of just how much an infographic can transform your report. It sums up what visualising data is about – creating a stunning visual that’s also informative.

Before, important and interesting stats were put in long bits of text and badly-made charts. We picked out the most important, interesting and relevant ones and transformed them into an infographic that tells a story that people want to read!

If you need help putting together a report or infographic, contact us to see how we can work together.


Nobody Wants to Read Your Report

Do you love spending 2 hours questioning your life choices?

Do you get excited for 90’s style Excel pie charts?

Are 48 pages of data ‘just not enough’ for you?

Then you’ll LOVE reports™. In fact, long, tedious reports are simply the best thing ever. Especially when delivered in sweaty boardrooms on a Friday after 4 pm. Here’s why:

We get to catch up on sleep

If you’ve missed out on a good eight hours, there’s nothing better than sitting back and delving into 62 slides of report-fueled slumber. Tip: If you snore, be sure to position yourself carefully at the back of the room.

We get to flex our theatrical muscles

When your colleague pretends to care enough to ask a question during a painful report, their efforts should be rewarded! Points go for poise, enunciation and conviction. Bonus points if they manage to say words such as “fascinating” or “hmmm, absolutely”.

They make us reflect on our life and ask “was it all worth it?”

Say what you like about them destroying your soul, there really never is a better chance to sit and contemplate life than when you’re reading an annual report. They sure do put things in perspective, and inspire you to ask yourself those life-defining questions like ‘what if I packed up and moved to Thailand?’ or ‘I wonder if it’s too late to take over the family farm?’.

OK, maybe you get my point by now, there’s really nothing good about boring reports. Especially since reports don’t have to be boring. They can even be fun! (there, I said it.)

For the lowdown on how to do make that happen, take a look at my ‘guide to the non-boring report’ and report back with your findings. ;)


The Basics of an Engaging Report

According to science, humans have the attention span of… oh look! A Pokémon!

Where was I? Ah yes, that’s right. Scientists now say we have a shorter attention span than goldfish at just eight seconds. Eight seconds! No wonder we find long winded, complicated documents like reports duller than dishwater.

Because 83% of learning occurs visually we need to rethink how we do reports. It’s no good sticking some statistics on a page. We need to be able to visualise them. Apart from creating engaging infographics, there are some simple things you can do to transform your report into something people actually want to read:

Structure

Create a structure that flows. It seems obvious but I’ve seen a lot of reports where graphs and copy are all over the place, with no logic to it. While your company’s annual report might be a little bit less exciting than your favourite novel, it needs to read like a story. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end, with all the information put across in a logical manner.

Iconography

The right icons at the right time can play a huge part in information retention. Words are processed by short-term memory, whereas images are processed by long-term memory. Visual retention is much higher, so make use of this –  if something matters, make it memorable!

Colour & Typography

Highlighting key information through well-chosen colour changes and typography variations also help with information retention – and it’ll make your report much nicer to look at. Using colour and typography effectively also lets the reader know what to read first, what’s important and makes everything much clearer.

So even if you do get distracted by Pokémon every eight seconds, you can still learn how to use the principles of good design to your advantage and make reports more engaging and less of a snooze-fest.