10 Tips for Leveraging Visual Content on Social Media Platforms

Now that photo and video are increasingly important (see Facebook Timeline layout or Pinterest), how should entrepreneurs optimize their visual content to get real traction on social networks?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

1. Keep the Marketing Consistent
Karen Moon
Highlight your brand’s personality and understand what type of content resonates with your followers. Post a few things that strike an emotional chord and that followers will want to take action on. Once you figure out what works, hopefully they’ll look forward to your posts as an escape for the day — that’s why they are on these platforms.
Karen Moon, StyleMusée

2. Invest in Infographics
Doreen Bloch
A neat way to combine visuals with the text to get across your message is through infographics. These increasingly go viral across social networks, and they’re a good way to communicate effectively while engaging the audience. The best infographics are thoughtful and fun, and you can use them widely on Facebook, Pinterest, and many more networks to gain traction.
Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

3. Tell an Authentic Story
Colin Wright
Your images — like your words — should tell a story that is consistent and remarkable. Invest the time and money necessary to create such images, but don’t be afraid to show some untouched visuals as well, so long as they fit within that schema. The best stories, after all, are the ones that reveal a hidden truth.
Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle

4. Pair Video With Text
John Hall
Video content is key. Make an effort to get quality video content out on your site, and produce it alongside text-based content. However, a video is not worth producing if it isn’t of top quality, because people will associate crappy videos with your brand.
John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

5. Be Sure of Your Brand First!

Nathalie Lussier

Video and photo are just another medium to spread your message and your brand. Make sure that all the visuals you put together are congruent with your existing message, and you’ll be golden. If people can look at your photos and videos and know that your company is behind them, it’s worth more than thousands of repins on Pinterest.

Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media

6. Format Your Visuals Correctly

Lucas Sommer

Formatting your photos to the correct height and width is a critical step in making sure your photos have the highest impact possible when displayed on social networks. The width of a Timeline image is important. If you plan on highlighting the image, the resolution is different again. Pictures for Twitter should fit nicely in the stream; pictures for Pinterest should be formatted accordingly.

Lucas Sommer, Audimated

7. Link Back to Your Business

Lucas Sommer

Your website is the conversion hub towards which engagement spokes like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter should point. Use photos, videos and other content on social sites to engage your users where they already spend time; but once you have their attention, point them back to your website to achieve a conversion goal like a signup or sale.
David Gardner, ColorJar

8. Do What Others Aren’t Doing

Ashley Bodi

Too often with social networks, people tend to do the same thing with photos, infographics and video. Ultimately, people want to laugh and learn something they didn’t know. It doesn’t always have to completely relate to your business when you post something. Be real and share that awesome quote you found with your friends or fans, rather than making everything about your business.
Ashley Bodi, Business Beware

9. Don’t Just Leap on a Growing Trend

Steph Auteri

While video content and sites like Pinterest have a lot of marketing potential for small businesses, you shouldn’t use these tools if you can’t do it right. For example, don’t film a talking-head video if you’re terrible on film. When you put together a promotional piece that doesn’t project professionalism, it only hurts you.
Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

10. Spotlight Your Audience

Aaron Schwartz

Social networks are all about sharing. Interesting and vibrant pictures are great, but the best way to get folks to share your product is to show them using it! Highlight your fans and make them your biggest advocates.

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches


About Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.