Director, Social Media Practice
In the last two years we have seen a huge resurgence in the use and popularity of infographics. Social sharing and consumption of these visuals makes it one of the most popular forms of content on the web. For a look at the volume, search #infographics in Twitter.
Exciting as they are, infographics are not new. Data visualization is one of the oldest and most frequently used methods to communicate a complicated or otherwise unseen message. The first recorded use of visual communication dates back 30,000+ years: cave paintings. We also see them every day when we follow our GPS maps or pass a U-turn sign. A quick example is Washington D.C.’s Metro Subway Map from WMATA:
Infographics have become so prolific that we see both good and bad examples in our Twitter feeds all the time. I would say that they are posted too often, but I’m also guilty of oversharing. The fact is they do their job well by grabbing our attention and stating a message in a way we can all understand.
Before committing resources to building and designing infographics for your audience, consider these concepts:
Look to your community to see what content and topics it shares and discusses. Are people sharing statistics? Is the conversation formal or relaxed? A frequent mistake is trying to please everyone on the web.
Now that you know your audience, you can then focus on your story. Infographics can be used to share more than data. They are also used to explain a process, a timeline of events or the identity of a business. Your infographic may not require any numbers. Does your community truly know what you do or understand the value of your business?
The Tone and Personality
Sometimes it makes sense for an organization to utilize a more traditional and formal info graphic. The audience in industries like finance or government contracting may prefer a “straight to the facts” approach. Those in the lifestyle market or sophisticated marketing professionals might be the right communities for bold, fun or even silly designs.
Your infographic must have a theme! This does not mean simply utilizing the same colors throughout. A theme requires a core topic or subject represented by the visual components. For example, if your business is in the aviation industry, you may choose to have the story incorporate aircraft, pilots and other visuals that relate to your message and audience.
Beyond your community viewing this infographic, learning from it and understanding the message, you want them to take action. Your goals will include brand awareness through views, thought leadership and social sharing, but ultimately your audience’s attention should lead to some measurable key performance indicator. What do you want them to do? What are you promoting? For example, if your organization invested resources in an industry research study, you may use this infographic as the content that leads your community to download the full study.
Infographics are currently one of the most effective ways to grab your audience’s attention for multiple reasons, and your efforts could be wasted if you do not incorporate these concepts during development.
Do you have any good examples of great examples? Post them and let us know why.