Are you creating visual content to market your business? Pouring hours of time into making images, infographics, slide decks and video?
Then read on because in this post I'll be talking about the four big mistakes you may be already making that are costing you traffic, shares and sales with your visual content.
There's no doubting that visual content is super hot right now. Everyone is creating images, infographics and slide decks – even short video – the tools available to us are better than ever before and the possibilities for visual content creation are endless.
If you don't get a few things right, then you may be wasting hours of time creating content that gets seen by few… not by your ideal target audience – the ones that will be more likely to become more than fans… the ones that are likely to become customers.
So let's jump in and take a look at 4 mistakes you might be making … that you can fix NOW!
Oh and there's a handy little infographic to remind you later!
4 Visual Content Mistakes
#1 Neglecting Your Home
Many of us want to rush out and start our Pinterest strategy when we haven't addressed one very important thing – our website.
And don't get me wrong, it makes sense to want to pin like crazy and get your content out there on Pinterest. But there's something that many businesses just don't realize.
A great Pinterest strategy starts without you pinning a thing. It starts with an optimized website.
To let me explain this better, I'll quote the super savvy co-founder of Curalate, Apu Gupta. His team found that 85% of content pinned from websites to Pinterest is pinned by users, not by brands.
Think about this for a moment. That's not the marketing departments… that's people, random people, in websites, sharing content. As Apu says :
So where does this leave your visual content strategy?
If you are pinning to Pinterest without looking first to review the visual content on your website, you may well be missing awesome opportunities for free marketing.
Because there is an Army of Marketers on your website, at any time looking for content to share!
Is it there?
Visual content on your site should consist of:
- Portrait sized images (images that are longer than they are wide get shared better on Pinterest).
- Images that stand out and showcase your brand well.
- Header images with simple text overlay. Why? Because when these are shared to Pinterest from your website, they are easily processed, and they give instant context to the person viewing the image – context that allows them to make a quick decision to engage with your content, read it, click through to your website, pin it… to be discovered by their friend who will do the same… and so on.
- At least one shareable image on every page.
It's not just about traffic to your site, it's about traffic on your site and the traffic going away from your site… taking images with it!
HOT TIP: Do a simple check on the types of images being shared from your site by typing in www.pinterest.com/source/WEBSITE (where WEBSITE = your website.com) ie to do a source check on my website you would type in www.pinterest.com/source/sociallysorted.com.au – you will see all the images being shared from your domain by users.
This is free marketing for your business! Don't let them come to the site and have nothing to share. Make sure you give them optimized, shareable images.
And don't make the mistake of changing the URL of seasonal pages like sales, tours or featured products… keep something there that welcomes people clicking through from Pinterest – what will they arrive when they click through on one of your pinned images?
Will the information be relevant? Will they stay and spend time on your site?
Always be thinking of how your images show up on your home base… on your website, and then how they show up when they are separated from your website out on the visual web and on Pinterest.
#2 One Size Fits All
If I had a dollar for every person that asked me “can you just tell me how to create one image that works for every platform”…well, you know how that story ends.
So let me put this simply. One image does not fit all. You need to take into consideration the different nuances and characteristics of each platform.
- Instagram is about moments in time, taking us with you and images are square.
- Pinterest is about getting inspiration, aspiring to do, make or buy something (or actually doing, making or buying it)
- Facebook is about hanging out with your family and friends and being entertained.
Not every image will suit every platform, and when you add size into the mix, it makes it even more important to move away from the “one size fits” all approach.
I wrote about the importance of posting native visual content here. Check it out.
And I wrote about how to use different image sizes that suit each platform here. Check it out.
Yes, you can streamline your process a little and this post will tell you how – for instance, when I created the header image in this post, I also created a pinterest size image and an image for instagram. But some of those images (ie the Pinterest image also suits Google+) suit more than one platform… but they don't suit all of them.
You can be savvy without getting greedy. Think how you can make one image fit 2 platforms vs making it fit all of them.
#3 Not Driving Traffic
Before starting to create visual content, think about where you want people to go beyond the image…To your website? Your blog? Where are you driving traffic to?
I see so many people spending hours creating awesome visual content but not thinking about the end result.
Where do you want people to end up with it? What do you want them to do? Because here's the thing:
Visual content truly is like a time machine – it transports fans from one social media site to another all over the web.. and most importantly back to your website.
And it does this again and again over days, weeks, months, years.
In fact, visual content has more longevity than most other types of shared content. Think about it –
- a tweet may last minutes or hours on the newsfeed, sometimes a day or two.
- a Facebook post might last hours, or a few days, maybe a week if the story is recycled.
- a pin lasts weeks, months, years.
I have had images pinned to Pinterest show up years later. I am talking 2 or 3 years down the track – my image is still being shared and driving traffic back to a blog post on my site.
So that makes for a pretty good investment of your time and resources in terms of how you create and share your visual content as it has the potential to drive a lot of traffic for you over years to come.
It's worth investing time in creating good visuals. They get shared. For years.
So, do me a favour. If you are creating a series of images to share, an infographic or a slide deck, consider first how you want it to drive traffic.
And to do this you need #3, but first, here is an infographic I made for this post… consider it an investment that I know will bring me returns for weeks, months and potentially years to come (you can pin it to Pinterest, hint hint).
Guess what? The infographic above was made with Canva's new infographic templates in around 30 minutes with the text and headings ready to go. Soooo easy. Love?
#4 No Call to Action
People (despite what you make think) like to be told what to do. In a nice way. Don't create visual content and leave it totally up to them to take action – a little helping hand can go a long way towards fans sharing content the way you want it to be shared.
What do you want them to do?
You should know this from #3. This starts with the endpoint and working backwards:
- like or comment?
- share your content
- click through to your website?
- opt in or subscribe to your content?
- sign up for a webinar or event?
- buy your products and services?
You can include a call to action in the image itself or the description. Note the infographic above? My goal was to get people to click through on the image to arrive at this blog post. Maybe that's how you found this post.
In the alt-text of each image I have a call to action with the name of the image, and an invitation to click through to read more. Why? Because if someone finds that image on Pinterest, I want them to find this blog post. They go together!
Think about your calls to action. What do you want your readers/fans/viewers to do? If you don't know and you don't ask them… they may just end up on someone else's website.
Over to You
Which of the 4 mistakes (if any) are you making, and how will you start changing your approach to visual content?
Is there something new that you now want to try?
Leave a comment below and let us know.
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