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Visual content is a hot topic in the digital world, providing firepower to text-only content. But why does an image, infographic or video make such a difference to user engagement? It’s simple: visual stimuli is more effective at capturing people’s attention than text, with humans able to process visual content 60,000 times faster than text.

In line with increasing visual content demands from users and marketeers, Twitter has upped its visual game over the last few years, moving away from its micro blogging origins, to a platform that allows increasing creativity, from full sized images to live video in feeds.[1]

The Facts

  • Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than just 140 characters of text. [2]
  • Content with relevant visuals gets 94% more views. [3]
  • Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3 times more than other any other type of content. [4]
  • The equivalent of 110 years of live video is watched on Periscope every day, Twitter’s live streaming video app. [5]

But why does that really matter?

An average of 500 million tweets are sent every day, which is equivalent to 3.5 billion tweets sent every week [6]. Getting noticed is the biggest challenge on Twitter with brands and influencers all competing for the sacred digital nod; in the form of a like, retweet or share.

Higher engagement rates are a prerequisite for increased reach on Twitter; in other words more people with whom a brand can interact with. Visual content drives these engagement metrics helping overall commercial goals to be achieved; from increasing your Twitter following and overall virtual community size, to driving traffic to your website to facilitate increased revenues.

Getting visual content right is therefore a game changer for brands. So what are the top 5 rules?

Rule 1: Pick The Right Content For The Occasion

Visual stimuli and rich media are better at grabbing people’s attention than text; you only need to consider what makes you stop when scrolling endlessly through your feed. It’s not a match day report after a Premier League game, it’s a video recap from a player, or an infographic of the key stats. Make sure your timeline doesn’t get stale though, and mix up the types of content you opt for.

Rule 2: Know Your Audience

Content has to be relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach; use Twitter Analytics to tap into your audience’s mindset and work out what types of content they best engage with. Bland, outdated, or poorly designed visual content will do more harm than good, so create content that’s original, interesting and unpredictable.

Rule 3: Know Your Platform

What’s right for Twitter, won’t be right for Facebook or Instagram on a visual content level, so get to grips with individual platform needs. For example, multiple images in a sequence don’t display well on Twitter, but look great on Instagram. Stick to images, images & text, videos or infographics on Twitter.

Rule 4: Keep Content Fresh

A tweet has an average lifespan of 18 minutes, so mix it up, and change when you communicate with your audience to avoid getting lost in the Twittersphere.[7]

Rule 5: Don’t Forget The Basics

Don’t run before you can walk, or worse run but forget how to walk. Hashtags are the heart of Twitter, letting brands, people and influencers reach a wider audience than simply those that follow them. So whatever content you create, don’t forget the hashtag.

Hashtag facts

  • Tweets with 1-2 hashtags have 21% more engagement
  • Users are 55% more likely to retweet when there is at least 1 hashtag included
  • 40% of tweets with hashtags get retweeted, compared to just 25% without

The moral of the story is simple; 140 characters isn’t enough anymore. You’ve got to do more if you want to stand out from the crowd.


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