How to use visuals in your business communication

84% of communication is expected to be visual
Do you use imagery when you’re talking about your business? Did you know that by 2018 84% of communication is expected to be visual?

That’s quite a lot isn’t it? 84% – worth paying attention to perhaps? 2018 is now not all that far away! 

SO WHY IS IT THAT VISUAL COMMUNICATION IS SUCH A BIG DEAL? I found some stats…

If you HEAR some information you’re likely to remember only 10% of it three days later. However, if an IMAGE is included, you’ll remember 65% of the information three days later – that’s impressive isn’t it?! Reading is inefficient, pictures are instant. Afterall, 81% of people only skim the content they read online.

Using text AND illustrations to follow directions gives you 323% improvement over someone following directions without illustrations. 323%!!. Imagine going to IKEA and receiving instructions without the pictures. I’d probably give up!

Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and 89% more favourites and 18% more clicks. Which equals more exposure and on Facebook, posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without and Giphy is serving more than 1 billion gifs a day. So people like gifs. You probably guessed that one, they are EVERYWHERE!

Also, video is expected to account for 74% of all web traffic this year, with 52% of marketing professionals claiming that video has the best ROI.

So ignoring visual communication is probably not a very good idea. If you spend some time on it then you will have a far bigger impact, in less time than it takes to read this blog post (or watch the video!) when someone sees your content.

If that wasn’t enough for you, here’s some more reasons why visual communication is reeeeeeeeally important. 

VISUAL COMMUNICATION IS FAST

Your brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Wow. This is great for you – because this means that providing an image is a really quick way of getting your information seen and noticed by the right people.

How often do you scroll through your favourite social media channel and a certain image will make you stop? That’s what you’re aiming for. To be the disruption that makes your ideal client stop in their tracks and click through to find out a bit more.

IMAGES = CLARITY

Using imagery can help to not only support what you’re saying but to provide more clarity on your point. Sometimes you’re reading something and you just need a handy infographic to help you grasp the stats right? Infographics are liked and shared on social media, 3 x more than any other content!  (please share mine 😉 )

VISUALS HELP YOU STAND OUT

So here I go banging on about brand identity and consistency again… Being consistent with your branding is a really effective way to make the most of that tiny gap when your ideal client sees your visuals. Using the same colours in each post, including your logo in the same corner, using illustrations in the same style – these ALL help with brand recognition because you are being consistent and ensuring that your imagery is recognisable, your images will stand out. You’ll be that disruption we were talking about earlier. People will notice you – and that’s a good thing. 

VISUALS CREATE MORE ENGAGEMENT

I’ve already covered some facts on this above, but here’s some more just for good measure. Last year, 37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their businesses, second (only just!) to blogging at 38%. Maybe using visuals on a blog is the way forward?!

Organic Facebook engagement is 13.7% higher on posts with photographs and 13.9% higher on posts with video and posts that include images have 650% higher engagement than regular text posts that’s a lot! If you want engagement on your blog or on your social media – then using visuals is clearly the way to go.

USING IMAGES WILL HELP PEOPLE TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU SAID

Remember the stat above? You want people to remember at least 65% of what you said right? So use an image, otherwise they’ll only hold 10% of it three days later.

It’s so much easier to recall an image in your mind than to try and think of what you read. If you’re looking for a specific article in a newspaper or magazine, you’ll tend to look for the image that went with it rather than the title or the first few words. Did you know that 65% of the worlds population are visual learners?

HOW CAN YOU USE IMAGERY IN YOUR BUSINESS TO ENSURE THAT YOU MAKE THE MOST OF IT? 

It doesn’t have to hard. Here’s some suggestions:

  • ensure that you have a really strong brand identity and a style guide that you can follow which will mean that all of your visual communication is on brand.
  • become friends with canva. It’s free, it’s easy, it means you can create images while you’re still half asleep and they will look good.
  • use these images anywhere and everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, Pinterest – wherever you can
  • ensure that your offline imagery is consistent with your brand image and has the same vibe as the imagery you are using online
  • have a set of illustrations created that you can use
  • create gifs – you can use giphy as mentioned above
  • use screenshots
  • use photographs, you can take your own (if you’re good!) use stock images, or better still, hire a photographer to take amazing photos for you (these will be more show stopping)
  • create videos and embed them on your website
  • embed social media posts on your blog
  • create a slideshare, and ensure you include images to get your point across. You can embed this on your blog too.
  • use memes
  • create an image to highlight a sentence or a heading
  • use a graph
Please let me know in the comments of any useful tools that you know of that would help others to create visual content. Thank you!

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