With more than three billion active social media users around the globe, each with an attention span of roughly eight seconds (that’s less than a goldfish, folks!), marketers have no choice but to engage in the cut-throat competition that is social media. Because of this, standing out among competitors and peers is not only desirable, but essential for a company’s survival. Instead of posting and sharing content you find personally interesting, take a moment to assess the current social media landscape to ensure you’re posting what your customers want to see—visual, engaging content.
According to Socialpilot.co, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. To capitalize on this statistic, here are five steps to increase your visual game on social media without breaking the bank:
A picture is worth a thousand words. Medium highlights a social media post accompanied by a photo is 10 times more likely to get engagement, and Adweek magazine notes tweets with images receive 18 percent more clicks than those without, and are 150 percent more likely to get retweets than text-only tweets. Because of the high level of engagement posts with photos receive, it’s imperative that you weave them into your social media strategy. Keep in mind, though, posting the “right” image for your audience is paramount, so be sure to share images that are relevant to your target audience. For example, if posting content on ways to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds around the home, try including a photo of a backyard or swing set that consumers can relate to. The easier it is for them to make a connection that items in their very own backyard could be contributing to a mosquito problem, the quicker they are inclined to remedy the situation.
Harness the power of video. According to Inc.com, around 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day, with the popular social network reporting more than 100 million hours of video are watched on its platform daily. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube—the king site for video sharing—it is clear that video content is the way of the future, and the future is now. But before you post just anything to your social media pages, there are a few things to consider, such as the topic, the audience and platform you’re targeting and the ideal length.
Be sure to choose simple software to ensure video efforts don’t become a complete time suck.
Facebook Live, for example, is an easy way to reach your followers, and has the potential to attract a larger audience, generating more online visibility and branding. For a Facebook Live broadcast to be successful, give your fans about 24 hours’ notice to tune in, and make sure the description of your broadcast is catchy enough to help viewers understand what your broadcast is about. Try creating an engaging graphic to announce your Facebook Live post that’s easy for your followers to share across social media platforms—more on how to do this later.
Once live, interact with commenters by name, and try to respond to as many questions in real time as possible. Prepare enough content to keep the camera rolling long enough for people to find your video and tune in. It certainly seems long, but Facebook recommends going live for at least 10 minutes. Once you find what works for your brand, rinse and repeat—often! The more you go live or add other videos, the better, as Facebook prioritizes this type of content in people’s newsfeeds more than any other content uploaded.
Content is key. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people are attracted to information-carrying photos when the images are related to the user’s current task, and can quickly prompt an emotional response in viewers, spurring them into taking some type of action. Before posting just any photo, consider overlaying short text to leverage the attention-grabbing aspect of the photo while providing text-based content to communicate actual information. Instead of simply sharing a photo of a mouse to try and elicit an action from your followers, add an interesting stat about the health risks they pose or their quick breeding capabilities. This information coupled with an image of the pest in question allows consumers to visualize these pests in their house, and is a much more effective way to communicate the need for prompt removal by a pest control professional.
Don’t break the bank. So you don’t have a degree in graphic design or an unlimited budget to enlist the help of a professional? No problem! There are a multitude of free and cheap resources on the web that can help you easily and quickly create these types of visuals on your own. Canva, a popular graphic design tool website, utilizes an easy drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts for you to customize your images to help them stand out on consumers’ newsfeeds. Stencil, PicMonkey, Snappa, InDesign and Adobe Photoshop are also great solutions, with free and tiered subscription options available based on your specific needs. And of course, there are the multitude of ready-made, professionally-designed assets available to pest control companies that subscribe to the PPMA Mainframe.
Trial and error. Once you’ve designed compelling assets, it’s time to test what resonates the most with your target audience. For example, you can utilize Twitter’s analytics tool to assess which posts received the most engagement, allowing you to replicate the process for future success. If you notice lifestyle photos perform better with consumer audiences, you may want to tailor future content to follow this same direction. Or, you may notice images of the pests themselves have better engagement, and so future posts should feature pests on a more consistent basis. In addition to images, infographics and visual contests tend to perform extremely well on social media, so be sure to incorporate a wide variety of visual content each and every month.
While the social media landscape may seem too vast to conquer, by using the right photos, adding compelling copy, designing your own engaging posts and knowing just when to share them, you’ll be able to increase the engagement rate and overall efficacy of each social post published, every single time. Don’t wait, and start getting the most out of your social media presence today!
Cindy Mannes is the executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance. Visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma for more information on how you can become involved.