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May 2, 2018 (Updated: March 23, 2020)
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Infographics are taking social media — and the marketing world — by storm. These short, informative posts can act as a catalyst for networking with targeted demographic groups. Effective business infographics entice readers to click through to a website, where they read high-value content that converts leads into sales. What is an infographic, though, and how can it be used to help a business like yours?
An infographic is a graph or informational chart that delivers a summary of interpreted data, information, or knowledge in a visual form. Examples of infographics litter social media newsfeeds daily and include posts like political poll graphs, weather maps, statistical reports, or sports and entertainment news.
These visual posts are considered to be a “safe” SEO tactic with more than 300 percent higher chances of being shared virally than an all-text post. Readers and followers trust business infographics, and they carry a measure of authority on social media.
Image via Flickr by USDA NRCS South Dakota
Google’s algorithmic Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 updates caused many optimization specialists and writers to turn away from guerilla marketing tactics and gravitate toward easier and more natural methods.
Google’s updates effectively put a stop to the keyword-stuffed click-bait articles that once overwhelmed social networks. These articles forced readers to click through dozens of pages of advertisements to read a short, emotionally manipulative article meant to work as a sales funnel. Many of the most popular Facebook pages lost droves of followers using click-bait article marketing to drum up more income from advertisers.
Google is constantly working to eliminate spam and promote genuinely helpful content. It makes more sense to have writers dedicate their time to researching statistics and creating original business infographics and video scripts than it does to have them focus on all-text articles. Infographics paired with narrated videos or short chunks of text are far more shareable via social media than text alone.
Business infographics are so popular because they are effective at reaching broad audiences. A person who receives an auditory message will remember only 10 percent of it after three days. That same person can see an infographic and remember 35 percent of it three days later. However, when that person sees and hears a message simultaneously, they remember 65 percent of it three days later.
Because informational videos and articles that are flush with infographics are better teaching tools than plain text, it is easier to build brand awareness and gain exposure through their use in social media posts. Followers scroll past text-only posts. Infographics are an efficient organic marketing tool that can drive traffic to websites. The return is well worth the investment.
Nearly everyone gravitates toward infographics before text. Pictures and video are an effortless way for humans to glean information, while reading takes effort. The human mind processes words as tiny photos. It takes time and effort to interpret the meaning of letters. A meaningful infographic is worth 1,000 words because it can deliver the same information in a fraction of the amount of time it would take someone to read several paragraphs of text.
Infographics are far more effective at teaching visual-spatial learners information because they think in pictures rather than words. There is a subset of the population who is especially attracted to visual presentations. They gravitate toward Facebook and Pinterest. This is where infographics are the most effective.
Those who learn best by visual aids have other traits in common that marketers and educators have noticed. They learn holistically, meaning they understand and retain information by connecting it to a concept or understanding that they already have. Marketing by exploiting emotional touch points is very effective for this population.
Visual-spatial learners need to visualize words to spell them. They use intuition instead of logic to solve problems. They tend to excel in the arts, mechanics, and technology while struggling in other areas. These people learn new information and concepts in layers and by association rather than sequentially.
A sequential learner learns lessons by following logical steps. A holistic learner learns best when there is an emotional tie to the subject matter. They are great at visualizing the big picture, but they tend to get lost in details. Their learning is done in short bursts.
When creating viral content, understand that the largest group being targeted is holistic learners who are socially extroverted. Readers depend on their social connections for advice, information, and support. Creators do well to depend more on infographics and less on audio sequential content like podcasts.
It is vital for social media marketers and business owners who are doing their own marketing to understand what it is that makes people want to share content. There is a delicate balance of factors that go into creating a viral post. Business infographic designers need to follow a few rules: Their finished products should be unique and creative, easy to read and understand, and shareable.
No one wants to see the same infographic design hundreds of times. While templates are acceptable for some purposes, there are times when stepping outside the box and creating original content is a better idea. If using a fill-in-the-blank template, try to find a way to spice up your content to add a little flavor. Keep the following tips in mind when creating infographics.
Shareable business infographics require more effort to go viral than throwing a graph up on a website and expecting results on social media. Content must be shared on different platforms before it can go viral. Take the time to build an audience on each social media platform before expecting big results. Create posts for each one based on strategic marketing data. Know what works best for each platform and what type of people frequent each site. It is important to know how to reach, approach, and sell to each demographic group.
Getting followers to interact with an infographic post and share it with their friends is the primary goal of social media marketing. Viral infographics offer a financially advantageous method of gaining exposure and boosting website traffic because efforts are organic rather than paid.
When done properly, engaging and information-rich posts can spark conversations, drive sales, and build long-lasting business-to-consumer relationships. Companies can establish a name as an authority figure, boost brand recognition, and increase market saturation with viral marketing.
When readers and followers interact with posters, it’s an opportunity for businesses to represent themselves, build trusting relationships, and earn a reputation as a reliable, knowledgeable resource. When followers trust a business’s information and believe its product delivers something they need, leads can convert to sales much more easily.
Visual posts are 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than text-only posts. Keep social media posts short and to the point. The average adult likes to read at a 7th to 8th-grade level, so posts should score between 60-70 on the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Scale. These adults usually read very few or no books after attaining their final education level, and they prefer photos and videos to text.
Catering to the average adult is all about visual aids. They have a short attention span and like to digest information in short bursts. The most-shared infographics are 225-230 words. The higher the word count a post contains, the lower the number of shares it gets. The maximum number of words a viral post should have is 250.
Where posts are published is important, too. Lower word counts do best on Facebook and Twitter, while slightly longer posts do better on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Twitter and Facebook posts should rely more heavily on infographics sprinkled with very condensed text that make use of short sentences and paragraphs. There should be plenty of space between lines of text so it is easy for eyes to cling to the words. The infographic should be the main point of the post rather than serving as a supporting point for a lengthy article.
On LinkedIn, share posts with infographics that help support the main point, which is placed within the text itself. Followers on this platform are educated and well-read. They are more tolerant of text-heavy posts, though audiences still prefer infographics to plain text.
Business infographics should have intense visual appeal, but they should also be very simple to grasp. They should be a pleasure to read. A post should never feel like work to read, and infographics should entice viewers to pore over the accompanying text in the post. Make your infographics impactful by condensing ideas and using splashes of color and icons to highlight short chunks of useful information.
When creating new business infographics from scratch, research the science behind colors used in marketing. Content that is colorful has an 80 percent higher chance of being read. Infographic designers can harness the power of color to attract certain demographic groups across different platforms.
Color schemes make just as much of an impact as text in an infographic. Though color is subliminal, it is powerful. The most successful posts on the largest platforms have blue backgrounds and are informational charts or how-to guides. Red and green are the next most popular color schemes. All three are considered safe bets by marketing experts.
Designers mostly use several graphics, bullets, and icons in one infographic because those are the types of posts that get the most attention. Charts featuring primary colors are the most successful, and using three or four colors — including neutrals — works best.
Keep infographics in “portrait” orientation rather than “landscape” orientation because that is how they read best on mobile devices. As has been the trend for years, social media users are flocking to mobile devices over PCs and laptops. Most businesses rely more on mobile-friendly infographics than on those that look best on larger screens.
Some business owners are under the impression that a post’s likelihood of going viral is dependent upon the number of followers a page has. In fact, website ranking or the number of followers a page has does not largely determine the virality of a post. Rather, the popularity and shareability of a post are more dependent upon it having great content: catchy and casual informative text and illustrations packed with unique information. Popular posts are those that are deemed to be most relevant to a large audience’s lives.
Informational and how-to charts are the most popular, followed by mixed and single charts, visualized numbers, and anatomical infographics. Articles turned into business infographics are the most-shared and well-liked across all platforms. While these posts are not full of statistics or charts, they are rich in informational content that is played up with illustrations, avatars, icons, and contrasting colors.
How-to content takes visual-spatial learners through the sequential learning process in a way that speaks best to them. These pictures teach readers new skills in a step-by-step process while listing all the steps in the same infographic.
Mixed charts feature multiple groups of data presented in several graphs or charts in one infographic. A single chart highlights an individual point. Both varieties of posts are equally popular and go viral at about the same rate as memes. Posts that are short and have the least amount of factual data are most likely to go viral, yet posts should always be informative.
While this trend is showing signs of shifting soon, social media sites currently prefer posts that keep facts, statics, and data to a minimum. There is a trickling movement away from “fake news,” however, and popular preferences may quickly change in favor of fact-driven content. Try to keep a finger on the pulse of social media trends and deliver what the public wants when they want it.
Entertainment news is the most-shared content on Facebook, followed closely by sports news, health and psychology information, and educational posts. Pinterest users are most attracted to health and psychology posts, followed by food and lifestyle topics.
Twitter users like jobs and career infographics most, followed by entertainment and sports topics and educational posts. LinkedIn users want to see jobs and career articles most, but they also get high value from financial and business articles. Personally relevant posts were popular across all platforms.
What works on Facebook might not be appropriate for LinkedIn. Casual, information-rich business infographics that simplify complex ideas and use humor and bright colors to keep followers interested will work very well on Facebook and Pinterest. However, a more subdued and intellectual tone is required for the business atmosphere on LinkedIn. Build a portfolio full of diverse posts that can effectively reach the largest audiences on different social media platforms.
Striking the perfect balance between readability scores, color, word count, and subject matter is difficult. However, by applying the tips and information above, you should be able to increase website traffic and convert new leads into sales. Use the newfound attention from your social media pages to build an audience that will buy your products for years to come.
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