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social media how to Are you ready to use infographics in your social media marketing?

Do you know how to get started?

Creating infographics is getting easier. When you illustrate a concept with images, you’re likely to find a bump in social media visibility.

In this article you’ll discover how to create and promote infographics to put your content front and center.

everything you need to know about infographics

Find out everything you need to know about creating and marketing infographics.

Why Infographics?

Infographic marketing offers vast potential for growing your audience, generating engagement, earning links, enhancing brand recognition and improving Google rankings.

infographic search data

People seek out infographics for quick bites of information.

Sounds pretty good, right? If you’re interested in learning how to fully maximize the benefits of infographic marketing, this guide is for you.

The most common model of infographic marketing is this: Research. Create. Embed. Hope. Most people find the data, hand all of the results to a designer, embed the finished product in their site and hope others will pick it up and share it with their audiences.

Below I show how you can improve and streamline that model so you leave nothing to chance.

#1: Determine Audience Interests

If you’re looking to create an infographic that has audiences thinking, “Wow, that’s so cool! I have to share this!”, you need to evoke strong feelings. So before we even start, I’m going to ask you to do me a favor. Step out of the box. Right now. You can’t be in the box and create successful infographics.

If you think your industry is too dry or boring to fit with infographics, you’re still in the box. There’s always something cool to be discovered, created and shared—you just have to look, adjust and direct.

Your niche and products matter to some degree, but in many cases you don’t need your infographic to be about your business itself—you just need it to be of high interest to your audience.

infographic art

Make infographics so compelling people can’t help but share them.

To know what your audience craves, you have to get into their heads. Building marketing personas goes a long way in helping you create content targeted to their interests.

Let’s say your company sells business phone systems. Who are your prospective buyers? Based on a marketing persona, you’ve found that they are business owners, chief communications officers and IT directors. Those people are interested in business development, economic growth and marketing strategies. They probably read magazines like Forbes and Financial Times and have studied subjects like economics or business.

You can adjust and direct those interests to create an infographic that shows statistics about business development and growth in general, but doesn’t mention your company specifically. The result is a useful, interesting infographic your audience can share across the board because it applies to their network and makes them look like an expert.

#2: Find a Killer Topic

With your audience’s basic traits in mind, you can use tools like BuzzSumo, Google search, Google News and Topsy to find topic ideas to inspire your overall concept. Type in your keywords (e.g., your audience’s interests or traits) to see the most shared articles across the web related to those terms—the last six months should be plenty.

six month topic search in buzzsumo

Use popular topics from the last six months to inspire your next infographic.

When you find some relevant topics, click over to the sites and snoop around—fill your mind with ideas and let them slowly shape themselves into different infographic theme concepts.

Brainstorm different themes and narrow them down to one or two. You’ll be able to see which one fits best as you organize your data (discussed below). When you have a strong theme, it’s much easier to choose which data to keep and which data to ditch.

#3: Distill and Organize the Best Data

As with the conceptual stage, you’ll have to hit the virtual pavement and research your topic thoroughly. Look for data and statistics that support your topic, but aren’t readily available to everyone. Search for PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and other data sources.

Using specific search operators in Google can yield excellent results. Here are a few I’ve tried:

  • site:slideshare.net startups statistics
  • filetype:pdf startups statistics
  • startups intitle:statistics

Filter the results by date and database (e.g., images, news, videos) to find data that may be hiding in less-traveled corners of the web.

filter art

Filtering helps you distinguish great data from merely good information.

Once you’ve completed your research and have a ton of useful information, start organizing the data.

Many marketers try to include every statistic they find and often end up with an infographic that is text-heavy and overwhelming. Keep in mind that people are busy and mostly just scan content. Readability will make or break your infographic.

Avoid information overload by evaluating your data objectively. Is it integral to your story? If you’re not sure, take it out.

#4: Share a Clear Creative Work Order

When you’ve decided on the final theme and direction, write up a clear creative work order that specifies the visual theme (include examples if necessary).

translate infographic art

Translate as much data as possible to images.

My creative work orders include color codes to show what should be text and what should be visual. The designer can tell at a glance how to convey specific information.

The example below is a partial color-coded work order I made for an infographic related to the growth of startups and new businesses. I provided data and asked for it to be presented in a theme based on the TV show Shark Tank. I chose the theme because the premise of Shark Tank is that hopeful entrepreneurs sink or swim, and startups face similar challenges.

*Any text highlighted in green is text that we actually want to see included in the infographic. Text highlighted in brown should be visual. The rest is just direction for the design or images.

Intro Section:

  • Over the course of five seasons of Shark Tank, there have been 93 episodes, 377 pitches and 186 deals.
  • As of 2013, the Sharks have offered to invest over $20,044,000 in 109 companies.
  • However, only 1/3 of the deals made on the show actually close!
  • After the deals are made, the entrepreneurs and their companies undergo a months-long vetting process by the Sharks.
  • According to Daymond John, “Only about 20% of [deals] close after doing the due diligence.”
  • Why such a low rate?
  • Since 2012, only 1 in 17 ventures have ever seen a profit.
  • The Sharks are tough—but the real world of venture capitalism and entrepreneurship is even tougher!

Using those clear instructions, the designer produced this:

shark tank infographic

Clear design direction makes for a strong infographic.

Ask your designer to make a thumbnail of the infographic and give you the final Illustrator file. You’ll need both when you start the promotion phase.

Cite your Sources!

Whether you’re writing an article, a blog post or creating an infographic, it’s important to cite your sources—both to give credit to the original articles and to lend additional credibility to your own content.

If you list statistics without explaining where you found the data, people may doubt the veracity of your content. Make sure you list all of your sources at the bottom of the infographic so people can read more about the content and statistics you’re sharing.

As an added benefit, you can let your sources know that you’ve included their content in your infographic. Who knows, they just might choose to share it on their site or social profiles!

#5: Publish and Promote the Infographic

At the beginning of this article I said people research, create, embed and hope. This is where you replace hope with promote to ensure your infographic is picked up and shared by others.

Below I’ll share how you can use social media and blogger outreach to get the word out. You’ll also discover how simply repackaging your content can generate different types of links.

Write Supporting Articles

The journey to discovery has to start somewhere and the most likely place is your own website.

Write companion articles to support your infographic and publish them (and the infographic) on your site along with the embed code. When others find your infographic, they can grab the embed code and share it on their own sites.

Your articles should cover specific aspects of the infographic in greater depth. The key here is to avoid regurgitating what’s on the infographic. Write something complementary and of value so people are more likely to share.

word choice art

Replace hope with promote and watch your infographic take off.

One of the main reasons marketers use infographics is to get links back to their sites. When you send out custom introductions to your pitch lists (discussed below), tell them about your infographic as well as your companion articles. It makes sense for anyone writing about your infographic to refer and link to your article in the body of their text.

Once you publish, share your content and infographic on your social profiles as usual. You can get even more mileage by using your infographic stats in a series of tweetable snippets.

Submit to Places That Love Infographics

When your image is ready, one of your first steps is to submit it to sites that accept infographics. My favorite is Visual.ly. Visual.ly gets the ball rolling and can create a tidal wave of visibility. I’ve had infographics picked up by large industry news sites simply by submitting them there.

visually infographic share

Visual.ly gets things moving and puts your infographic in front of large companies.

You can also find Google communities and sites dedicated to sharing infographics, such as Infographics Plus and Digital Information World. Another angle is to reach out to people who run infographic boards on Pinterest, as these can also generate tons of repins and site traffic.

Hypertarget Your Audience With Social Ads

Facebook is one of the most surefire ways to promote your branded infographic to your audience. With its advanced ad targeting, you can’t miss!

Using ads with the Clicks to Website objective, you can create dark posts with a snippet about your infographic that includes a thumbnail. Dark posts let you post as many ads as you’d like without them showing on your Facebook page.

infographic crop in ad

Use a section of your infographic in social ads.

Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Outbrain also have promotion options. Their effectiveness varies based on the topic of your infographic and where and how you advertise. On Reddit, for example, you have to find a relevant subreddit to advertise in to create a buzz.

On Outbrain and StumbleUpon, popular mainstream topics do well—BuzzFeed-style headlines capture a lot of interest.

logos for twitter stumbleupon reddit outbrain

Multiple social ads boost your infographic’s visibility.

Twitter can be more focused based on keywords and hashtags, but the traffic tends to be more expensive. If you have a large budget, use all of these methods. Otherwise, start with Facebook ads and work your way down the list.

Partner With Bloggers

Successful blogger outreach starts with a good pitch list. Find and reach out to people who have shared infographics about similar topics in the past, as they’re the most likely to share yours if you simply tell them about it.

blog partner art

Partner with bloggers to share your content and build links back to your own content.

An easy way to find compatible bloggers is to Google [your keyword] + infographic. Here are a few search operators you can try:

  • “keyword 1 keyword 2” + infographic
  • intitle:infographic + keyword 1 keyword 2
  • allinanchor:infographic + keyword 1 keyword 2

You may want to consider using Google’s date filter to find sites that have recently shared these infographics.

Reverse-Engineer Shares to Build Your Pitch List

To expand your pitch list, you can reverse-engineer shares on popular sites to find potential partners. Visual.ly and Google Images are perfect for this tactic.

Visual.ly isn’t just a great place to promote your own infographics, it’s also a great way to find them. Why would that matter? When you find infographics similar to yours, you can do a backlink search to find out who has shared them and ask if they’ll share yours as well.

For example, if you’re looking for infographics about how to use Google+, go to Google and search site:visual.ly + google plus.

google plus results for visually

Search Google to find the related infographics on Visual.ly.

Visit each of the pages in the results and look for the source URL. For example, this page on Visual.ly: http://visual.ly/how-increase-your-google-engagement-281 links to this page on Quicksprout: http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/02/14/how-to-increase-your-google-engagement-by-281/.

Go to ahrefs and paste the second link (Quicksprout) into the box to do a page-specific backlink search. The results will look something like this:

backlink check on ahrefs

Do a simple backlink search on ahrefs.

Next, sort the backlinks or referring domains by ahrefs DomainRank and you instantly have hundreds of targeted sites you can pitch to.

You can also have good luck finding potential sharing partners via Google Images. It may seem counterintuitive, but for the Google Images method to work, you have to find popular infographics on Visual.ly first. So go to Visual.ly and look for “popular” infographics.

infographic search on visually

Use Visual.ly to find popular infographics before you do a Google Images search.

Visit the infographic page, identify the source and copy the URL. Then head over to Google and paste the image URL into the search box and filter by Images.

infographic search results

Search Google Images to find out how many times an infographic was shared.

In the results, look at how many times an image has been shared. Add the sites with the most shares to your pitch list. In the image above, I found an infographic that has been shared 440 times, including on the BBC America site. That source site is definitely going on the pitch list.

#6: Repackage to Generate Different Types of Links

You’ve been on quite a journey so far, but you’re not done yet! Since you have the Illustrator file from your designer and the written work order with the text version of your image, you can start repackaging your infographic as an animated video, presentation or ebook.

A good animator can take your Illustrator file and create an animated version of your infographic that you can then submit to video marketing sites to generate more links and visibility.

Presentations are easy enough to make. Take your most important points, grab your illustrations and drop them into PowerPoint. Then upload your presentation to SlideShare.net and other sites that accept presentations.

Finally, take your presentation, expand upon it with text from your research, add a few illustrations from your infographic and voilà! You have an ebook you can use as newsletter or email linkbait.

#7: Measure and Track

To gauge whether your infographic marketing is effective, it’s important to track key performance indicators (KPIs). Some of the most popular KPIs are basic social interactions (retweets, +1s, likes), links and traffic back to your infographic article, Google organic rankings and mentions.

You have several tools at your disposal to track social engagement. ShareTally tells you how many times a page has been shared socially; Tailwind app keeps track of how many times your infographic has been repinned on Pinterest; and TrueSocialMetrics can show you who engaged with your content, as well as other general statistics.

share tally data

Social interactions are an important KPI to track.

Other tools include Mention.com, which tracks mentions of your infographic. Moz tracks domain authority, links built, ranking changes, etc. You can find a lot of data within the Google Analytics Social tab, and Data Hub Activity shows you who has shared your content socially.

data hub activity

Use Data Hub Activity to see who’s been sharing your infographic socially.

Regardless of which KPIs or tools you use, the key is to track the data consistently to determine if your infographic marketing investment is paying off.

Over to You

Infographics are a must in every marketing arsenal—audiences are drawn to visual content much more than lengthy text.

A little preparation on your side (like research and organization), along with a detailed work order for the designer result in a more streamlined process and a superior end product, which in turn impacts your site’s visibility and overall engagement.

What do you think? Have you used infographic marketing? If so, what is your creative process? Do you have other ideas for promotion? I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave your comments and questions below.

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  • Fantastic post here that I find only here. Get more knowledge about infographic and many more things that don’t know before.

  • I was precisely looking for a good guide to infographics and I find this! It’s great, thank you.

    And by the way, does anybody know if there is any app you can use to do interactive infographics (with different links embedded in it).

  • Great guide on infographics Marcela. Thank you for putting this together.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Thanks Jitendra let me know if you have additional questions!

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Nadia I’ve used Thinglink for that, the only problem is that the infographics then lose quality as they are heavily compressed, but if quality isn’t an issue, then check it out!

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Christian, my pleasure!!

  • Thanks a lot, this tool seems really interesting. It seems to offer many creative possibilities and new ways to drive traffic.

  • Nick

    HI there, great article! Do you have any resources for creating an infographic on your own, possibly for free instead of using a designer?

  • I haven’t created many infographics because I get caught up in the graphics and putting everything together. It becomes overwhelming.

  • Great info Marcela. Until now I only used infographics I shared from other blogs. At the moment I think about to create my own infographics. Your tips will definitely help me in the creation.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Nick, unfortunately I’ve never tried that route, but I’ve always heard of programs that you can use, but I can’t personally recommend any, let us know if you find any that you like!

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Nadia, yes, it’s one of my favorites, it’s a lot of fun!

  • Yes! You can use PowerPoint. There is a way to modify the slide size. Slide Share has a good video on doing it. I have used PPT a couple of times and also Canva. I liked PPT better though. You can be as creative as you want!

  • Excellent article. I have learned how to make infographics recently and I decided to make one to showcase my business. As I started creating it, I looked for some examples and found that there are none out there. I’m wondering why? I’ve created mine and shared it on various platforms and gotten quite a bit of positive feedback. Any thoughts?

  • Hi Marcela De Vivo

    I am glad that I found this today and could share it here for the benefit of my fellow readers here.

    I am sure this will give an overall idea about Infographics, the trend now is that, ifographic is here to stay, and surely it can do wonders in the field of social sites as well as to the other communities like writers, bloggers, marketers etc.

    The author Marcela De Vivo very well explains the in and out of Infographics in a wonderful way. This will definitely give an indepth knowledge about this new system.

    Thanks Marcela for providing such a lot of information to your visitors.

    I am glad that I could curate your content here in this Internet Marketing Social Website.

    May you have a great and profitable weekend.

    Keep writing!!
    Best Regards,

    ~ Ann

    Hey, Marcela, I am glad to share this at kingged,com and I up-voted it and shared this comment there in the comment column. Thank you ones again for sharing this educative tool. Have a good day

    ~ Ann

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Amandah, totally agree, it can be. Have you worked with a good designer before? Sending it out to a good designer makes the project manageable.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Great! Keep us posted about how it goes!

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Aimee, not sure I follow, examples of your business? Of infographics? Let me know so I can better help.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Thank you very much Ann, appreciate the share and vote of confidence!

  • Hi Marcela,

    I have a graphic design background and could reach out to my network. However, when it comes to graphic and web design, I’m particular. Maybe too much. 🙂

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Trust me I know…I’m not a designer, but I’m super particular. I think the key here is 80/20. I had to come to that conclusion and it’s made production much more streamlined.

  • What I mean is creating an infographic of your business/company. Services you offer and the like. This is the one I created:

  • It’s good to outsource and automate. I need to find a balance. 🙂

  • Nick

    Thank you, Aimee. Good old PowerPoint. I’ll give it a try.

  • Natalie Conde

    Infographic is a very best tool to make your blogsites more visual and pleasing to readers. But just be aware that there are images that are copyrighted. It may not create a problem the moment your content goes live but it come back to haunt you in the days to come.

  • Useful guide to follow for doing infographics.

  • Hi Marcela,

    I really like the efforts you put in this comprehensive guide to learn infographics phenomena.

    My question: when you research data from several website, how you interconnect them? How much time it takes you to make one infographic? what if i have a blog post and convert that content in infographic as it is and provide its source in the end? Does it make sense?

  • Dimitris Provatas

    Great post, just what I have been looking for. Need to start doing some research now!

  • Dimitris Provatas

    One thing I would like to know is where to create this amazing infographics. Which tools would you recomend and preferably free.

  • Cristina.vargas

    Excelente información!! muchas gracias por compartirla!

  • Owen Hemsath

    Very strong article. Almost overwhelming. Im going to save this for the future. Do you have any suggesstions for finding an infographics artist?

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Natalie, ideally, you’ll create your own custom graphics in an infographic.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Thanks Suzy!

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Sumit, it really depends, our team does it fairly quickly because we do so many of them, so it would be a matter of the resources that you have involved in the process.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Dimitris, there are some free tools out there, but it’s ideal if you find someone who has experience designing infographics.

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Hi Owen, you need to look for a great designer/illustrator. You can try local “gig” sites like Craigslist or however you normally search for talent.

  • We’ve just begun doing infographics, so this post was timed well and really gave us something to think about. This was extremely thorough, and the thought and time that went into it is much appreciated 🙂

    One question, though: If your blog doesn’t have much traction yet, how would you recommend pitching to other sites? Do you think this matters? Thanks for your input!

  • Thanks for reaching out, Danny! We’ve included the link.

  • Awesome – what speed 🙂

    Will be sure to share this article with our email list – it’s the blog post i have been thinking about but never got round to write.

    Kudos

  • Marcela De Vivo

    Absolutely! You should definitely let others know about your infographics, I give you 2 great methods in this article 🙂

  • Thanks 🙂

  • Super cool!

  • someshl

    great post i must say. Creating an infographics isn’t enough until and unless you know the science behind that to promote it.
    thanks a lot for this great piece of article. Now, I’m creating an Infographics following your article.