Question: 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?
Question by: Ashley
Keep the Marketing Consistent
"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."
Invest in Infographics
"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."
Tell an Authentic Story
"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."
Pair Video With Text
"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."
Be Sure of Your Brand First!
"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."
Format Your Visuals Correctly
"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."
Link Back to Your Business
"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."
Do What Others Aren't Doing
"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."
Don't Just Leap on a Growing Trend
"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."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.