Everyone knows visual content is hot right now – videos, images, live video… it's everywhere. But what makes Shareable Visual Content?
What types of visual content work best? What should you create?
In this post, I share the Secret Sauce to Visuals that Your Audience will Devour – with 5 Ingredients for creating engaging, shareable visual content.
One of the most often asked questions I receive is about what makes shareable visual content.
There is no magic formula, but these are the 5 elements I have seen time and time again in visuals that get shared like crazy:
5 Key Ingredients to the Secret Sauce of Shareable Visual Content
We love “new” things. And it's no different when it comes to shareable visual content. We are all over new content like a hot piece of gossip and it will often inspire us to share.
Creating original content puts you ahead of most other small businesses online. In fact, most businesses don't create much original content – they mainly share.
There's a statistic about pinned content on Pinterest and it goes like this: 80% of content on Pinterest is shared content – only 20% is original.
This applies to other platforms too. We share more than we create.
So why not be in the 20% creating content for the 80% to share?
Kim Garst has built a huge, engaged following on Facebook by posting original content on a daily basis:
Her fans look to her for consistent original, eye-catching content and they love sharing it. Many of her posts get thousands of shares.
Sean Blocksidge from Margaret River Discovery Company has also built a loyal, engaged following by posting one original photo of the Margaret River Region on Instagram every day.
This consistency has been a huge part of his success as one of the highest rated tours in Australia (and the No 1 Tour on Trip Advisor for a number of years running):
By posting original content every day, Sean stands out as a source for the Margaret River. Very few businesses in his region are sharing as consistently as he is. It's no surprise then, that his content shows up everywhere (including his blog) online and draws customers to his tours.
TIP: When you consistently post original content, other businesses notice. We are all looking for content to share, so if you share consistently the chances are higher that you will get on someone else's “hit list” for original content.
Consider creating original visuals as well as sharing the content of others – be in the 20% creating content for the 80% to share!
Types of original content that share well on social media as images OR videos are:
- Funny Photos/Images/Videos
- Visuals that evoke emotion
To stand out in your industry and to catch the attention of fans, consider creating attention grabbing, original visual content on a consistent basis.
Start out by focusing on one key platform, and when you have your content creation, sharing and engagement running smoothy with systems, then consider focusing on other platforms. Repeat the process to create original, shareable visual content there!
One of the most effective keys to great shareable visual content is to create ‘timely” content. This means that you post quickly in response to an event, celebration, or news.
You may have heard of the Oreo Tweet where Oreo's marketing team acted swiftly during the Superbowl a few years ago. While the power went out during the game they quickly tweeted “Power out? No problem” with an image suggesting that you could still “dunk in the dark'.
We may not be Oreo, but there are two ways that you can create timely content:
=> Act Swiftly
Getting something out there quickly in response to an unplanned event will definitely catch attention if you have the means to do it.
Queensland Tourism did just that when it snowed in Queensland (heads up, it never snows in Queensland… it's bloody hot here in this part of Australia!).
Now, admittedly they had a slight warning about how cold it would be …. but in reality nobody ever REALLY believed the weather forecast, and we were still shocked that it actually SNOWED in Queensland. When the snow came, Tourism Queensland dropped everything and focused on milking the content:
— Queensland Australia (@Queensland) July 16, 2015
It worked – the content went viral in Australia and then around the world. If you can create content quickly with photos or video – either with photos or using tools like Canva to create an image, you can get the jump on sharing!
There's no doubt that being the first to get your content out there is a huge advantage.
It's not always that easy if you are a sole operator or a small team, but knowing a few visual content creation tools on your desktop or Mobile can be handy for getting content up quickly in response to an event.
But in reality, waiting around for something as shareable as Snow in Queensland is not a good strategy to rely on. Sometimes you have to plan a little:
=> Get Savvy and Plan Ahead
Fortunately, we can take advantage of upcoming local, national or world events to get a little creative with our marketing… and give your visual content more chance to be shareable.
Lindt Chocolate did this recently, when we had the Australian Census. In the lead up to the Census they posted a fun image that they knew would resonate with their chocolate-loving audience:
I highly recommend you check out the Lindt Australia newsfeed. You will see that they often plan ahead to post about national and regional events, like our 2016 Federal Election:
Sometimes it's about planning ahead for a sporting event or a celebration like Easter or Christmas. You can get your content ready ahead of time:
Tourism Australia saw an opportunity a few years back, when certain groups around the world were making bold predictions that the world would come to an end.
Instead of preparing for an Armageddon Tourism Australia prepared an image that they set to release the morning of said-end-world-day. When we all woke up in fighting fit and healthy Down Under in Australia (ahead of the rest of the world), they posted this:
It goes without saying that their clever planning got a LOT of press. In fact they received millions of dollars worth of earned (“free”) media coverage from releasing just one Tweet and one Facebook post…. without paying one cent for PR.
The image went viral all over the world with headlines such as “We're Still Alive” gracing newspapers.
If you are not Tourism Australia, don't worry. You can still plan ahead. Amanda Smyth, blogger at Cooker and a Looker is savvy about her visual content and often plans ahead.
She created this clever and funny image prior to St Patricks Day.
On the day of posting, it received good shares. She was able to create it easily using DesignFeed, a tool that helps you quickly create visual content creation.
There's great power in acting swiftly to post visual content in response to an event, breaking news, or celebration. Posting in real time engages fans emotionally “in the moment” of an event, inspiring them to share and take action.
If you are stuck for ideas about what to post, check out this helpful website which will give you suggested days of celebrations around the world.
You can also do a search on International, National and Local events to leverage them for content ideas.
Note: Sometimes with “event” images, it's best to keep the image neutral without a lot of branding. I have found that these types of images tend to get shared well, as people adopt the image as their own when it is not branded and seem more likely to share.
Remember, fans are never more likely to engage with content than when something is hot or happening. Be timely with your visual content creation!
Every social platform is different and it's important to post content that is native to that platform. By “native” I mean that you should post content like your fans are posting themselves, and content they are already sharing.
Don't post like a Marketer. Post like a fan. Read more about it here
Here are some examples of Native content:
Fans come to Facebook to be entertained and inspired, and to hang out with their family and friends. They don't actually come to Facebook to follow brands and to buy things (as a general rule).
So… don't just talk about your business. Facebook is the perfect place to post light-hearted fun, entertaining content and to share the people side of your business. Try quotes, funny photos, behind the scenes images, and involve your fans in your day to day stories. ive them valuable content and earn the right to promote to them.
Give them valuable, shareable visual content, and earn the right to promote to them. As shown above, Kim Garst provides a lot of great original, fun and inspirational content of this type on her Facebook Page.
She also tailors that content to be relevant to the platform. So, on Facebook, it's not only important to post images that fans like and would post themselves but she includes video as well:
Facebook has dropped organic reach for business pages (very few of your fans will see your content) unless you use paid ads or have a very engaged audience and you post a lot of original content that encourages sharing (like Kim does).
However… currently, Facebook is giving more reach to Videos and Live Video. Include posts of both types and you are more likely to get some organic results on Facebook.
Instagram is about people and moments in time. Now that Instagram stories are here you can share your story with video and still images as well as on your main posts.
Give people a backstage pass, a sneak peek.. don't just post about your business. You have a mobile in your pocket, so use it to take poeple with you. Involve them and feature them.
Chocolate Johnny does this well. He shares behind the scenes of his chocolate factory and store, showcases his team, his customers and his products in a way that is engaging, funny and brings people back for more of his Perfection Chocolates:
You know, you make the best hot chocolate, milkshakes and mochas ever, when you get a reaction like this. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ #perfectionchocolates #?#milkshake #rosebay #kids #photo #chocolates #chocolate #chocolatier #instachocolate #Sydney #chocolatejohnny #entrepreneur #milkshakes #lovingchocolate #hotchocolate #mocha #chocolateporn #instafamous #customers #mates
A video posted by John ?Chocolatier (@chocolatejohnny) on
Chocolate Johnny is a real life Willy Wonka, and has a lot of fun across Snapchat and Instagram with his chocolate-fueled shareable visual content:
#Chocolatejohnny and the #chocolate dream #pureimagination #australia #music #sweet #livingthedream #singing (made by @ chocolatejohnny with @musical.ly) ♬ Pure Imagination (From “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”) – Josh Groban. #musicallyapp #JoshGroban #PureImaginationFromCharlieAndTheChocolateFactory #music #musicvideo #musical #musica #followme #bestoftheday #instadaily #sydney #fun #singer #dream
Instagram is about moments in time, a backstage pass, a sneak peek into the people behind the business, not the business itself. Take your community with you using the mobile camera in your pocket. And don't be afraid of getting stuck into video in 10 second snippets on Instagram stories or 60 second videos on your newsfeed.
Some tools that are great for creating short video for Instagram are:
- Hyperlapse – (Instagram's Time lapse photography tool that allows you to speed up footage. Great for a tour!
- Flipagram – a great tool for creating montages of video and images.
- Your Camera! Take out your camera phone and capture video on the spot. Or use Instagram stories to capture video and add text, annotations, stickers or drawings to bring your story to life.
Speaking of chocolate, snackable visuals catch attention and are easily processed. In fact, these days, most shareable visual content is “snackable”.
By snackable, I mean easy to digest (pardon the pun) and process. They allow us to quickly make a decision about whether we will engage – and they are perfect for our fast moving newsfeeds on any platform.
When it comes to video, grab attention quickly so that the viewer knows what the video is about in the first 3-5 seconds – don't start with introductions. Remember that not all videos are played with the sound switched on, so be sure to make it engaging visually.
One tool that is great for creating short video easily is Ripl. It allows you to animate text to make videos and has a new multi-image slideshow function, like you see in this video:
A video posted by Ripl (@riplapp) on
Snackable visuals can also give a quick visual snapshot or preview to a larger article, infographic, or video. Add a heading to an image if it helps to provide context.
Create small graphs, quotes, tips, or an image containing a small section of content from a bigger blog post or article. Snackable images can be embedded on your blog and shared from there or shared directly to social media.
Find out more about snackable visual content in this article I wrote for Post Planner.
5 A Call to Action
Visual Content with a call to action is more likely to attract engagement and shares.
A great call to action can be in the description or on the image, and should encourage your fans to engage, share or click through to another site.
Here are a few tips for adding a Call to Action:
- Get clear on your goal – what do you want people to do with your piece of visual content. Is it to engage (like, comment), share or click through to another site?
- Add back text for context – sometimes adding a heading or a Call to Action on the image can help people to make a quick decision about what you want them to do.
- Add a clickable link in the description – this is easy on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. It's a little harder on Instagram, where you only have one clickable link in your bio (so use it wisely for something important). Alternatively, add an easy to remember bit.ly or short link in the description of your image.
- One call to action per image – don't ask people to do too many things at once. Keep it simple: one call to action is best and make it count.
Mix It Up
Remember, the more of these 5 qualities you can combine together, the more likely your piece of visual content will fly.
Use this as a reference to see if you could be adding any more of these elements the next time you create visuals – and create more shareable visual content.
Over to You
What works for you when creating shareable visual content? Which of these tips will you use when you create your next piece of visual content? Leave a comment below!
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