Q. What is both visual and numerical, enticing yet informative and has the ability to go global in one single jpeg file?
A. It is the Infographic! (official definition: graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge.)
Is it just me, or have you noticed that infographics seem to be appearing everywhere across the net, providing statistical snapshots of anything and everything – from ‘gold medals at the London Olympics’ to the meaning of brand colours and rates of coffee consumption to the population growth.
There seems to be an infographic for every obscure piece of trivia or statistic you could possibly think of. For example, have you ever wondered how many bridesmaids wore identical dresses at weddings? The ‘Bridesmaids by Numbers‘ infographic will tell you this and more!
But all joking and pink tafetta aside, I will admit, I am a fan.
I’ve always loved a good statistic and the fact that infographics (or data visualisations) breakdown complex data into simple and easily digestable chunks of information packaged up in a pretty, colourful and well designed image makes both hemispheres of my brain happy.
As a marketer, I am even more impressed as these images can act as branded content with a high propensity to go viral. Infographics have the ability to cut-through because they are visual, easy to consume and even easier to share. They are a tool that can be utilised to showcase products and services, position brands as thought leaders, influencers and specialists in their chosen industry, tell a story and ultimately increase reach and engagement. In addition, they can be a great PR tool, as it is always useful to have relevant statistics and numbers of interest when pitching stories.
Even better – according to this recent report from Buddy Media, infographics and other visual content shared on Twitter generate two times more engagement than those without images.
So how can you create and utilise infographics in social media marketing? Here are my observations from across the web:
1. Provide quality content.
Just like all social media marketing, the key is in the content. To engage and enhance sharing potential, infographics need to provide quality information of interest that is different or unique. Don’t rehash or copy a competitor’s data, find new research and tell a different story with a unique perspective or interpretation. And don’t just try to disguise an advertisement as an infographic. Today’s consumers and web users are well informed and highly knowledgeable so will very quickly see through advertisements posing as infographics.
2. Invest in good design.
As with all marketing communication tools, it is worth investing in good design that creates a layout which is visually pleasing and easy to absorb. Break up the text with numbers and images – according to this Smashing Magazine article, the key to infographic design is “show, don’t tell”. Simplicity appears to be a good rule of thumb. This article from the Guardian also has great advice: 1. Keep it simple, 2. Less is always more, 3. Tell a cohesive story and 4. Make sure your readers can consume the information across all devices and platforms.
3. Take it social across all your platforms
Don’t place an infographic on your website and let it just sit there. Leverage its potential and reach. As it is an image, an infographic has the ability to translate across many platforms and be used on blogs, Facebook pages and other social networking sites. Pinterest is an especially good platform for images and there are a number of accounts devoted purely to infographics. You can also send it to sites that specialise in infographics like dailyinfographic or coolinfographics to which many people subscribe.
4. Maximise your ROI!
Although it is not a disguised advertisement (refer to point 1), ensure that your infographic is sufficiently branded and embedded with clear links back to your website or social media platforms.
Before signing off, I think it is important to acknowledge that not everyone is a fan of infographics and a backlash is slowly emerging online. Their rapid proliferation and unaudited content have caused ripples of discontent and may see them reach a saturation point in the not too distant future.
But I still like them!
So what do you think – are you an infographic fan ….or are you over them and believe that they just perpetuate pointless information? Have you utilised them as part of your social media marketing strategy? What are your tips on how to create good infographics and leverage them for marketing purposes? Love to hear your thoughts and perspectives!
Until next time