The Power of Visual Storytelling
As cliché as the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” might be, this concept is driving some big changes in PR and marketing. Visual-centric social media has seen explosive growth and valuations in recent years, and these are just a few statistics (from VFM Leonardo Inc.) that showcase this shift:
- Pinterest now has 70 million users and had the largest year-over-year increase in audience of any social network in 2012
- Instagram has more than 120 million monthly active users and was bought by Facebook for $1 Billion beacuse of the traction it's gaining
- Photos shared on Facebook receive 2 times more "likes" than text-based posts
- Videos are shared on Facebook 12 times more than text-based posts and links combined
- On YouTube 100 million users are taking social actions (liking, sharing) every week
Now take a look at some of these same stats presented as an infographic.
Far more engaging and attention-grabbing, right?
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information or data, intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by using images to enhance the visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. They capture attention because they are more relatable on an emotional level – we feel a stronger connection to shapes and graphics that are familiar. Knowing how to feed an audience that’s hungry for information in a world of rising volumes of data and falling attention spans will be the deciding factor in who’s content gets clicked on.
LinkedIn, which has become far more social that we might initially think, is a great example to point to. Quite often I hear LinkedIn described as “the Facebook for work,” used for professionals to view each other’s picture and resume. However, this platform is growing by leaps and bounds in its versatility – we can comment as company pages, attach files, post regular status updates, like, comment, and share, as we would on other social media channels.
LinkedIn recently announced the launch of a new player specifically for infographics via SlideShare – which the company purchased in May 2012 – and is offering a paid upgrade for its SlideShare PRO product so that metrics and analytics of these infographics can be tracked more easily. In an article from TechCrunch on the news, LinkedIn reported that in 2012, 43% of B2B marketers used infographics in their work, up from 28% in 2011. This presents a great opportunity for our B2B technology clients to reach and engage a more business-oriented audience. Infographics can be powerful storytelling resources that help simplify a complex technology for this group – which I know I personally would find refreshing, too.
I plan to write another blog on what goes into the most compelling infographics, and how we can work together to execute a content strategy to support them, but would love your thoughts. What do you think makes a great infographic?