How Visual Content Can Increase Engagement
In the marketing world we often times hear the buzzword “visual storytelling.” What does this mean? It‘s exactly as it sounds – telling your story through more imagery or graphics and fewer words.
Posts with less than 40 characters on Facebook receive 86% more engagement than those with higher character counts. Twitter is the opposite – it only allows 140 characters, and tweets with 71-100 characters generally receive 17% higher engagement.
These stats show us that keeping your message concise pays off in the form of engagement. Now imagine making that copy more engaging by pairing it with an eye-catching visual. Engagement for your social posts will increase if you add visuals to help deliver the message better than any phrase could.
And people will actually remember your message. Hallelujah! While text-only posts are recalled a mere 10% of the time, words + visuals have a recall rate of 65%.
This visual media comes in the form of pictures (with and without text), videos, infographics, links with preview text, and more.
Here’s a recent mind-blowing stat I came across:
The attention span for humans is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to an even shorter 8 seconds. But is all hope lost? No.
By adding in this visual content, you can reach your audience and deliver your message before your customer turns away or keeps scrolling.
As community financial institutions, it can often be disheartening when we see our carefully crafted Facebook posts or tweets go unanswered or “unliked.” Perhaps establishing a social media presence in the first place was an uphill battle, met by resistance from leadership or the compliance department. Any of this feel familiar?
I am here to tell you to not give up. There are some extremely easy ways that you can begin to look at your content strategy from a “visual storytellers” point of view. Not only can this be fun, but it will also translate to more engagement on your channels, which is exactly the pick-me-up we’re all looking for.
Look At Your Community
As community institutions, this is part of our mission. We are here to help build relationships, grow our communities, and give back whenever possible. Whether you are teaching financial literacy to the local high school, running a food drive, or giving a scholarship, let your multimedia content tell that story.
Because my job consists of empowering Kasasa financial institutions to make more of an impact on social media, I see a lot of great examples:
With all these excellent examples of community involvement, one of the most common missed opportunities is not using community involvement activities to tell a full story.
By looking at each community engagement in a three-pronged approach, you can easily add context & story to your activities.
Let’s take the example of “Valor Credit Union’s” trip to the local high school to teach financial literacy to a group of students.
This activity was most-certainly planned in advance, so to begin our story, let’s give a little context to our audience. This is the “pre-event” stage. Say 1 week to 3 days out we could post something like:
“Next week we’re taking a trip to [Tag local HS] to see how our seniors did on their monthly budgets. What percentage do you think stayed out of the red zone?”
In the “during” stage you can capture and post photos of the event. This is generally what we see most FI’s doing. These posts contain multiple pictures and a pretty lengthy description of what The FI is doing, which we learned earlier does not help engagement.
By giving that context a few days out with the pre-post, you’ve eliminated the need to let your audience know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You can just focus on the how which means you can keep that message pretty short and sweet.
“It’s so great to see financial literacy working its magic on [Tag local HS] seniors. How many of you wish you could have had some help prior to entering the “real world”?
This stage is also a great opportunity to encourage others to get involved. While the use of cell phones and social media are generally discouraged while in school, we can make an exception for the sake of this argument. During this event, we could ask students to tweet us how much they saved, or to share one takeaway they learned from the event on our Facebook to be entered in to win movie passes to the hot new blockbuster.
Now, to the final stage. To tie it all together we will use the “post” stage to reference back to our original post.
By using Canva or Infogr.am, you can create a simple infographic or chart of how many students stayed within budget. By doing this we are showing results, giving our customers information and value in a digestible format, and finishing the story.
“It’s safe to say the [Tag local HS] seniors know the power of a budget. We’ll see if next year’s class will set a new record!”
These tools are free and offer a simple and easy way to create professional graphics. – A must for any business running social on a shoestring budget. Here are a few video resources to dive into to get you started using these tools:
This three-pronged approach can be used in nearly every instance or engagement you partake in.
Look At Your Customers
If you are having a hard time figuring out what to post or how to tell your story using visuals, point the lens towards your customers.
In this example let’s say you recently served a loan to a husband and wife, The Johnsons, who are looking to open a new coffee shop in town. You could follow their journey.
Pre – Take pictures (or video) from the day they got their loan and celebrated.
During – Go snap a photo of the work in progress as they begin building.
Post – Grab lunch with the rest of the team when they open.
Be their champion and brag about them on your social channels. Not only does this make The Johnsons feel amazing, but you’re giving your customers social proof that you are in their corner.
Obviously, whenever you are going to show your customers you must get their approval first. To do so, I recommend you approach them in a warm manner, sharing that you want to show them some love and help promote their business. People generally like to be praised and flattered. You can also tell them that it will share the story of your bank or credit union in the process.
As another example of looking at your customers for content, which does not involve the three-pronged approach, say a teenager walks into your branch to open a checking account. This will be her first bank account and she is really looking forward to the extra Kasasa rewards she’ll receive each month so he can spend it on new music. Ask if you can snap a picture of her and get a quote.
Look at Your Surroundings
During the Kasasa Rewards Rush, looking at the communities around us was the foundation of our content strategy. Because we had a mobile truck experience driving around the United States, we focused on what was around us. Everything from the truck itself, to the monuments along the way.
We tried to sneak something Kasasa-related in every photo to make sure people knew where it came from (most of the time this was the truck itself.) We would also use PicMonkey to add in a hashtag to give a 21st century watermark.
This is not as easy when you don’t have a big branded truck driving to new destinations each day, but it can be done. It plays into community, but doesn’t have to be tied to a planned event. It also generally does not follow the three-pronged approach.
When looking at your surroundings for visual content, look for things that stand out, or are relatable. Have a local monument? Gather up the employees and snap a group photo by it calling out your city or telling the story of how it was built.
Is there a local park that you frequently visit? Pull out your smartphone and take an artsy photo of the landscape asking your customers their favorite activity to do in the park.
Is there a ton of construction going on, or a new road being built? Grab a 6-second video of being stuck in traffic and add in a relatable caption. “When all you want to do is reward your customers, but traffic says no :/” Chances are, most people are feeling the same way, so by showing your brand is human too, and weaving in your brand message, you can capture their attention, increase your engagement, and share your brand message.
All of these visual content ideas require you to add that human element to your brand. It’s important to really capitalize on this aspect of your content strategy. If you look at a megabank’s social presence, it is hardly there.
The competitive edge of community banks has always been that they are an authentic part of the community. You get to know your customers, you take the same routes to work, support the same small businesses, and eat at the same restaurants. This is also the competitive edge you can use to your advantage in your content strategy.
Don’t be afraid to show off your personality and show that you are present in the community. Whether that is highlighting your favorite restaurants and getting your customers chiming in on their opinions, highlighting your employees, or showing that the new construction on the way to work dampers your morning too, put a face and a voice to your brand.
By adding visual content to your brand’s social media presence you will begin to see an uptick in engagement and reach. Throughout all the highs and lows of your efforts remember one thing: building a solid social media presence is similar to saving for retirement: It requires consistent contributions that don’t seem so big at the time, but add up to something enormous.
- When participating in a planned community engagement, follow the three-pronged approach to your content strategy using unique visuals for each step along the way.
- Focus on telling your customer’s stories.
- Polished visuals are great, but not 100% necessary to success.
- Use free tools like Infogr.am, PicMonkey, and Canva to create professional graphics aimed at delivering value to your customers.
- Look for ways to relate to your customers (i.e. the traffic example).
- Experiment with different mediums (pictures, graphics, cell phone video, or charts and infographics).
- Be human. Show your face(s) and use your unique voice.
Check out some of our other related #BankOnSocial content that can steer your towards positive business results through the power of social media:
- Mike Delgado (Social Media & PR) of Experian and Andrew talk about ways to humanize your brand on social media. See the full conversation.
- Helen Lawrence of the Bank Social Conference guest-hosts a #BankOnSocial webinar on the “Components of Successful Visual Content."