Don’t FAIL! Create great visual content like a pro!

Content is Everything!

Social media content that includes images can fail for many reasons.  The actual text overlay can be offensive, contain misspelled words, have bad grammar or just be boring. The length of the post can be too long and rambling, sending your readers on to the next post before they even finish your post. You can have too many hashtags, which looks silly to most users who are not marketers. Most importantly, a badly executed image or graphic is going to be an instant turn off, and imply many unintended things about your company. Bad photo or logo editing, too much clip art, bad layout, typography or color choices, or poor photography says your company is not professional, you do too much yourself or you simply do not pay attention to details. It all impacts your brand and your identity.

As a very visual person, I love art, photography and beautiful images in the social media content I consume.  Truly, who doesn’t?  I am especially attracted to social media content that is visually appealing first.  That is why I gloss over most political posts, because, well, they are boring and to me, unprofessional.  However, I am captivated by those food videos, showing something delicious being created in 60 seconds.  That works on me!  I also am captivated by stunning photos and simple text.  I can read it and understand it in a few seconds, and decide if I want to engage more with that content. Recently, I saw a Valentine’s post from a local winery, which I love, but the content was too busy, and had too much cute clip art. And the biggest turn off?  The winery logo had been badly photo shopped so that you could still see the edges of the previous background! Nit picky?  Maybe, but it showed a lack of attention to detail, resulting in a less than professional presentation, and the message was lost on me.  Your business cannot afford to generate less than professional content!

Creating beautiful, engaging content can be simple and effective, even for small businesses. You just have to know a few basic best practices and maybe have a few simple tools up your sleeve, but it will make a huge difference in how your brand is perceived!

Here are a few simple rules to follow, and a couple of useful tools for creating beautiful and engaging content yourself.

First, keep it simple! A well chosen image and a few lines of text are all you need! Refrain from using a lot of clutter like clip art, multiple calls to action or collages to get your message across.  You can link your simple message back to your website where they can get more information, see more pictures, and act on your call to action.  Your post should be what catches their attention in the sea of content they are browsing.  A simple, professional image and well thought out tagline will accomplish this. Keep it simple!

Secondly, the image is key to your message so use the best you can find. You can use a professional stock image that you can purchase from places like iStock or get free from Pixabay, or use photos you have had professionally taken.  In a pinch, you can use a quick digital photo taken with a camera or phone, but know what you are doing. Lighting and shadows are everything! You can use a simple online photo editor like PicMonkey or  Fotor.com to touch up photos and add beautiful text treatments to make your images stand out. Or if you have some design knowledge, you can use a very robust image editor like GIMP, which is a free download. Be sure to put your logo on all images! I’ll put links to all this at the end of the article.

Finally, write copy that is engaging and meaningful to the reader. They will consume it in a matter of seconds, so if they have to read a ton of text to get your message, you’ve already lost them!  If they have to navigate a bunch of hashtags, you’ll lose them too.  Hashtags are great and useful to marketers, but use only a few, and don’t have them interfere with the message. Spell check and check for proper grammar on everything you post. If you need help with grammar, try a website like grammarly.com to help you proofread your text. Remember, keep it brief and guide them to where you want them to go with a call to action at the beginning of the post, so they know where to get more information if that is your intent.

Creating good content can be easy once you know a few simple rules and have access to some useful and professional resources. Looking at the two examples above, visually you can see one looks polished and professional while the other looks amateur and poorly executed. Think about the content you like to read and what catches your eye.  Keep it simple and professional and you will have happy fans who connect with your content!

No time to create content?  We would love to help you create the content you need to captivate your fans, drive more business and engage your readers! Have more questions?  Feel free to give us a call and let’s chat over coffee!

Resource Guide

Royalty Free Photo Sites

istockphoto.com/

dreamstime.com/

fotolia.com/

http://www.123rf.com/

https://pixabay.com/ Free Images

Photo Image Manipulation

Picmonkey.com

Fotor.com is the best free online photo editor!

Befunky.com

gimp.org/

Online Proof Reading

grammarly.com/proofreading