Getting Visual with Social Media

visual social media

Visual content and imagery have proven time and again to be the medium that most engage social media audiences. Actually, visual content attracts most people in general over other types of content. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that a viral YouTube video attracts more attention than a print ad in the Washington Post or the New Yorker.

Whether it’s a short clip on Facebook, a really fantastic board on Pinterest, or a creative infographic, people respond better to visual communication – which means they respond better to visual marketing in social media.

If you haven’t utilized the use of videos, slideshows, infographics, Pinterest boards or Instagram because you think it is too time consuming, too expensive, or too difficult, then consider the helpful instructions, tools and insights provided by lonelybrand on visual marketing. 

What Kind of Visuals Work Best in Social Media Marketing

1.    Original content

Pinterest and Facebook are ruled by shared content, 80% of visual content is passed on from one to the next, and only 20% is original content. Obviously this means if you can create original visual content that sparks interest, it could receive a lot of shared attention. Not only that, but original content also identifies the professionalism of a business.

If a business site has a bunch of stock photos of “business buildings” or “a pair of hands” or even a cliché sunset, it doesn’t exactly say “wow, these guys really have it together. Just look at the time they took on these less-than-mediocre-website-images.” Borrowed content doesn’t go viral. Original content that goes viral is borrowed and shared by many. Take the time to create your own stuff to represent your brand.

 2.    Content that delivers a message or communicates a clear concept

Let’s say a bait & tackle shop puts together a Pinterest board called “Stuff We Like.” It consists of pink headphones, a giraffe wearing a baseball hat and a 400 lb. man on a pogo stick.

You’re thinking “What the heck…” right? Of course you are, because even if one of them happens to be even mildly funny, they communicate absolutely nothing, and represent the brand even less.

Photos, images, and other visuals must connect with their audience. Whether it’s an inspiring photo, a hilarious video clip, or a widely sought after infographic, make sure to present a solid message or clear concept in all of your visual social marketing.

 3.    Immediately recognized content

Always put a little piece of your brand in every video, photo, slide, infographic or any other image.  If you are consistent this way, then your social media audience will immediately recognize your brand in all visuals you post.

 4.    Have a great design

Whether it’s a great color palette, a breath-taking photo or marvelously edited video clip, design definitely matters. Ugly photos don’t get shared, and boring videos make people hit the X button very quickly. Visual stimulation and intrigue are the cornerstone social media marketing with visual content. Visual content that doesn’t attract visual interest is just like a Sumo wrestler who lost his diaper: they’re there and ready to go, but no one wants to look at them.

Let’s look at some examples of brands of that get it right.



Kmart’s “Ship my Pants” commercial re-invented their image as a social wallflower. The commercial captured attention, entertained brilliantly, and it certainly inserted their brand loud and clear, while also bringing light to a new or little-known service. This video became the fourth most watched on YouTube.

The Human Rights Campaign

visual social media

The Human Rights Campaign’s logo change was incredibly simple, but because they made clear why and what the change from blue to red represented, marriage equality, it became one of the most highly visible and visited images on Facebook. This goes to show that simplicity can work if it is profound.

Smaller Businesses

visual social media

Let’s look at smaller businesses Havahart, a wild animal control service, has amusing and informative animal protection categories for Pinterest boards. Using the outdoors as a related subject matter to their service, they use Pinterest boards to relay informative gardening tips, but also adorable animal photos, and most of all, they promote animal protection and welfare.

Well done, guys.

Since we’re on the topic of critter removal, let’s look at another smaller business, Victor Pest. Victor Pest uses instructional YouTube videos to promote their brand via demonstrations of company products and tools, and also provides tips for prevention and solutions for mice and other rodents who make their way into your house. Instead of relying on a standard blog post to convey the information, they employ the use of visual media to engage and educate their audience.


visual social media

Okay, one more, just because it’s one of the best video campaigns I’ve ever seen. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is emotional, poignant and effective. Dove’s video in which women describe themselves to a sketch artist (who can’t see them), and then a stranger describes that same woman to the artist and both sketches are compared – is a masterpiece.

While you may not have the budget or even a reason to produce something like Dove’s video, consider the kinds of images you use in your marketing, and how you can use them to connect to your audience in a tangible way. The more powerful the visuals, the stronger the story and the more powerful the response.