How to Boost Engagement on Facebook with Visual Media!

There’s a reason Instagram is so popular: the mobile-only app focuses exclusively on sharing images and videos. As one of the fastest growing social networks with over 400 million active users, Facebook clearly saw Instagram’s value back in 2012 when it purchased the company for $1 Billion. Add Facebook’s whopping 8 Billion video views a day to the mix and it’s obvious how important visual content is for marketers. Visual content – both images and videos – gets the highest organic reach on Facebook and is set to be even bigger in 2016. Marketers would do well to plan out a solid editorial calendar, ideally a few months at a time.

In the blink of an eye

On average, Facebook users check the platform 14 times a day for 41 minutes per day. That’s a lot of scrolling through the news feed, consuming a vast amount of content, most of which is visual. In fact, a whopping 2 billion photos are shared daily across Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, according to Facebook’s 2015 earnings call.

As we scroll through the news feed quickly, our brain is processing as much as a dozen images in a fraction of a second. MIT neuroscientists have found that the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. That is very little time to catch someone’s attention and draw them in, encourage them to click like, comment or share.

Tips and tools for creating eye-catching visual content

Choose images and scenes with vibrant colors. Include everyday people, especially women, in your ads. Social advertising agency, Consumer Acquisition, conducted a study of over 100,000 Facebook ads and discovered that the best performing ads included images of women. Not super models or highly edited perfect women, but rather, regular women that we might see in our news feed as shared by any of our friends.

Less is more when it comes to text overlays. Remember, if you’re going to boost your post on Facebook, you cannot have more than 20% text on images. Same goes for your video thumbnail.

Shorter videos tend to perform better than longer ones, but it pays to experiment and see what your audience prefers. Consider animated videos and video montages, too. I love using video creation tool, Animoto, for creating professional looking video montages (using a combination of text, video and photos). Another great tool I enjoy using on my iPad and iPhone is Adobe Voice, which allows you to easily load your images or stock images and narrate with your own voice to create quick, professional videos.

5 ways to stand out with your images and videos

Fit in – what do I mean by that? Well, every time you scroll through your news feed on Facebook, you likely see a range of photos and videos from friends and people that you follow. Almost all of which are “home grown,” shot with a smartphone and feature everyday people doing everyday activities. While images should be enticing, they needn’t be overly professional. In fact, it’s better to seem as human and delightfully imperfect as anyone in your feed sharing what’s important to them.

Get creative – It might be tempting to push your product or service, using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as free advertising platforms, but you’ll see more engagement on your posts if you reduce how much you “sell” to your audience. Instead, your social pages should be extensions of your brand, in which you promote a certain kind of lifestyle, and naturally integrate your product or service as an answer to living that lifestyle. Think about who your customer is: What do they like? What’s important to them? What kind of image do they want to project online? Have a specific vision of who your customer is and then post visual content that speaks to their interests. When it comes time to promote your business (about once out of every five posts), your audience will feel like they know and trust you. Businesses that get it right across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter include Jetsetter, Callaway Golf and Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Tell stories – I often get asked how a business that is seen as “boring” can possibly come up with engaging content on Facebook. Believe it or not, it’s easier than you might think. Create short videos that tell a story, ideally with an emotional, human element. Get together with your team and come up with all manner of stories that illustrate your company, its founders, the team, your brand, what your stand for, your company culture, and more. Spotlight customers – tell their stories. A great example is this Kleenex® video featuring a heartwarming story about an elementary school custodian who receives a surprise burst of love and gratitude from the staff and students. (You may indeed need to reach for a Kleenex®!) If you can include emotional elements in your video stories, you’ll draw your audience in even more.

Crowd source – get your customers to submit their photos and videos by providing incentives, such as a chance to win something. Or, interview them on Skype, Google Hangout or Blab. Don’t be afraid to ask what they love about your company and its products and services. Of course, you want to select positive experiences and highlight these on your social channels.

Captioning – for your video content, I strongly recommend adding captions to the bottom of your video throughout or to highlight key points. Given videos on Facebook automatically play without sound, you want to draw your viewers in within the first few seconds. In fact, you would do well to create your video content that would make total sense to anyone who watched with no sound at all. Many content producers post videos with just background music and let the captions do the work of telling the story.

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