social media tools Do you want more engagement on your social channels?

Have you considered using visual content?

There are easy-to-use tools and tactics you can use to create visual content that attracts viewers and engages them.

In this article you’ll discover how to use visual content to boost engagement.

boost engagement with visual content

Discover how to boost engagement with visual content.

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#1: Create Animated GIFs From YouTube Video

Millennials (people reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) are known as Generation GIF. If you check out publications like BuzzFeed, Gawker and Deadspin or browse the front pages of Reddit and Tumblr, you’ll see animated GIFs are everywhere.

Animated GIFs expand your marketing channels and increase the chances of your content going viral on Tumblr and Reddit. And from there, content is often picked up by major publications and blogs.

There are tools that make it easy to create animated GIFs. Here are a couple you might want to try:

MakeaGif is a free online tool that lets you create animated GIFs using photos, YouTube videos, uploaded videos and web camera videos. You can also use it to modify an existing GIF.

makeagif screenshot

With MakeaGif, you can create GIFs from a variety of sources.

GIFYT allows you to create high-quality GIFs from YouTube videos. With this free tool, you can select what portion of the video to turn into the GIF and add a caption.

gifyt screenshot

GIFYT lets you add captions to your GIFs.

You can check out some of the GIFs created with GIFYT here.

#2: Install On-Hover Sharing Buttons

Sometimes readers are inclined to share an image, but they either don’t know how or simply forget to do so. A mild mouseover call to action that encourages a share will prompt more visual shares from viewers.

Use a plugin like WWM Social Share On Image Hover as an easy way to enable mouseover sharing (Here’s how to securely install WordPress plugins!) With this tool, you can automatically place buttons on all of your images so your viewers can share them in an instant. It’s a surprisingly effective way to increase engagement.

wwm social share on image hover plugin screenshot

WWM makes social media share buttons appear when users hover over your images.

Here’s a page where you can see mouseover share buttons in action, and here are more plugins that add image-sharing options on mouseover.

#3: Play on Emotion

Connecting with your audience on an emotional level leaves a long-lasting impact. When something sparks an emotional response, the viewer is more likely to share, comment on and remember it.

Visuals are great for this purpose. Humans respond to what they see, more so than any other form of stimulation. If you’re connecting emotionally with users, they’ll start to associate those feelings with your brand.

According to Fractl research, the two most engaging emotions (in terms of provoking shares) are positive feelings (such as joy, interest, anticipation and trust) and the element of surprise.

#4: Celebrate Unusual Holidays

From National Hamburger Day to National Book Lovers’ Day, unusual holidays are hard to resist. They’re also an awesome source of visual content inspiration. There’s an idea for a cool image to create almost daily.

Coca-Cola does a great job of using unusual holidays in their social media marketing. They published these images of cute animals to celebrate National Polar Bear Day.

coca-cola national polar bear day post

Coca-Cola celebrates holidays like National Polar Bear Day with visual content.

To find holidays and observances, you can check these useful lists of unusual holidays and days of the year for inspiration.

#5: Ask Viewers to Contribute

You don’t have to use your own visuals to capture your viewers’ attention. Flip the script and ask your viewers to contribute their images. People love seeing their work promoted by a brand, and it makes them feel appreciated and special.

On your social channels, ask viewers to submit designs, logos, photographs, drawings or anything else uniquely suited to your product. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic platforms for this style of campaign.

Here are two easy-to-implement visual contest ideas to engage your audience and create more visual context around your brand.

Caption Contests

Publish an interesting image and ask your readers to come up with a fun caption. You can use Facebook ads to engage even more people.

Foodler runs caption contests regularly on their Facebook page.

foodler image caption contest post

Ask viewers to provide a caption for a photo.

Selfie Contests

Selfie contests are being embraced by many retailers these days. For example, Kenneth Cole’s selfie contest offered fans the chance to win free shoes every month for a year.

kenneth cole selfie contest image

Ask viewers to submit a selfie to enter a contest.

Selfie contests serve several important goals. They provoke action, so they spread easily. Because selfies are personal, many participants are supported by their friends and followers with likes and comments.

These contests also build trust. When you see other people sharing love in visual and creative ways, it’s easier to trust the brand and its message.

#6: Design Interactive How-Tos

If you want to show customers how to use a product or offer a visual guide that relates to your brand, turn this content into an engaging brand asset.

A tool like Whatfix allows you to make interactive how-tos in minutes. It’s easy to use and customizable.

whatfix screenshot

Create an interactive walkthrough to show viewers how to use your product.

Here are some examples of Whatfix-powered flows.

#7: Tailor Visual Content to Your Audience

Different audiences respond better to different visual content. You need to identify what content resonates best with your audience.

Begin by creating different types of visual content and releasing them on different social platforms. Make infographics, comics, videos, slide shows or anything that has a visual element. Even single-shot images with text overlays have their place.

When you’re planning your editorial calendar for the next month, think about how many visual assets each piece of content you publish can generate. For example:

  • Turn a comprehensive how-to guide into a video.
  • If you’ve been tweeting visual quotes for a few weeks, collect tweets in an appealing SlideShare presentation.
  • Create an instructographic from a how-to video. DirJournal is a great example of using an instructional graphic right on the home page (to make the landing page more engaging).
  • Turn a SlideShare presentation into a video and a GIF (with a tool like GifDeck).
  • Here are many more types of (visual) content you can create

A single piece of content can generate many visual assets. Also, you can curate a collection of stand-alone images into one solid visual asset.

To illustrate this, here’s a graphic of how you might plan the visual repackaging of monthly Google+ hangouts.

google hangout visual content ideas

Come up with a plan to repackage your visual assets.

Once you start marketing your visual assets, gather data on what social networks and what style of visuals are getting the most engagement. Determine which visual types are leading to traffic boosts and clicks and which are bringing the most click-throughs leading to purchases. Also, look at what visual content is being shared and where.

Engagement analytics software (like Fanplayr) can help you identify emerging patterns. Use this information to tailor your visual content to what your audience responds to.


Visual content is popular on every social platform, from YouTube videos to amusing Twitter GIFs. And there’s a growing influence from visual-only social networks like Instagram and Pinterest.

If you want to boost engagement, these tactics can help you get more out of your visual content.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these tactics to improve engagement? What techniques work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

how to boost engagement with visual content

Tips for boosting your engagement with visual content.

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  • Best post i’ve seen for a while Ann, very useful 🙂

  • kateglenn

    This post is jam packed with tools you can use now to grow your reach, B-2-C. If you’re serious about making a big splash you have to be willing to jump in! TY for the great articles/blog posts. You are making a huge difference for me in my continuing education in the field of SMM.

  • Another
    helpful tips, Thank you for this post Ann Smarty. Engaging with customers is
    very important. If you can’t get their attention. Who will visit your
    content? Totally agree of all the tips you’ve given.

  • Wow! Thanks for the great feedback, Linda!

  • Thanks for the kind words, Kate! Glad to hear it turned out useful!

  • Exactly! Thanks for your input, Barbara!

  • You’re very welcome Ann

  • Lipton ice tea

    nice tips, i want to try with my youtube

  • Another great piece on Visual Content, Ann 🙂

    Particularly love the tip on celebrating unusual holidays – there’s so many! B2Cs can utilise and put their own spin on each of those to great effect.

    Re-purposing content is essential! Why use an idea just once? 🙂

    Nice work!

  • Great post and very interesting and useful information. Thank u so much, Ann. 🙂

  • #mahendra nikum

    Hi! I like the portion of gif. It is really work on google+. I used three to four gif content then my +follow list is suddenly increased.

  • Let us know when I do!

  • Exactly! A good idea deserves a second and even third life!

  • Thanks for the comment, William!

  • Animated gifs really work out well on Reddit, especially if it is uploaded to imgur first. I have applied this tip to get plenty of visitors on my Imgur gallery from where I put a link to my site and get them on my website.

    I have the Pinterest button on mouse-over images, but perhaps having the rest of the buttons might help further. Will check out the plugin now.

    Interesting campaign by Coca-cola, they are spending more money on content creation than they spend on TV ads. Surely, it is paying off.

    Uttoran Sen,

  • I haven’t utilizing imgur yet! Good idea Thanks, Uttoran!

  • Ann this post is awesome. Thanks for sharing some new tools for visual marketing and improving engagement. Repacking content and making it easy to share and improves viewership. User-generated content driving engagement is powerful. Thanks for keeping it social and leveraging visual content in Lehman’s Terms.

  • Great to know it looks useful, Doug!

  • Eren Mckay

    Fabulous tips Ann! And I didn’t know about some of these tools. Will definitely incorporate them into my arsenal. Thanks!

  • Great tips and resources Ann! Looking forward to putting them into practice.

  • Thanks for stopping by to comment, Eren!

  • Please do share your results when you do!

  • Fav

    Great blog! Really like the ideas around creating GIFs 🙂

  • Visual content plays a major role on social media and it is true that mostly visual content go viral on the social media. Nowadays, visitors are not having enough time to go through the all text content, so visual content are meant for making the data easily understand. And it helps to boost engagement in search engines.

  • Awesome post, I think we are talking about touching human feeling and emotions with videos and gifs and images and increase our blog engagement.

  • Thanks Ann. I had a great time reading this. I will add surely add these to my visual content campaign.

  • John

    Really informative article on Visual Content .

  • It was interesting read, well defined

  • Never knew, well it’s interesting to know, hope to apply this technique soon, thanks Uttoran Sen

  • that’s exactly the post about be unique with the approach!

  • Hey Harsha, how are you doing?

    I think, Infographics are really informative and visually appealing and we can add various fun elements too. What do you think?