You now have a good idea of what content to share on your feed, but how do you get people to actually stop scrolling and read what you have to say? In this episode of Feed Your Brand, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard share a guide to crafting visually stunning posts on social media to capture your audience’s attention and drive unprecedented engagement for your posts. Discover the secrets to stopping the infamous “doom scroll” dead in its tracks, making your content irresistible to your followers. Learn how to create eye-catching images that leave a lasting impression, elicit emotions, and draw your audience into your world. Break free from the conventional branding norms as Tom and Tracy reveal why over-branding can hinder your engagement and what unique tactics can set you apart from the crowd. Explore the power of colors, master the art of mixing it up to keep your content fresh and exciting, always leaving your audience curious for more, and uncover the native tools available on social platforms to add dynamism and energy to your visuals. Plus, find out why less might be more when it comes to self-promotion and why letting your content speak for itself can lead to unstoppable engagement. Tune in for all of these and more!
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Guide To Creating Visually Stunning Posts On Social Media For Greater Engagement
In this episode, we’re going to share our guide to creating visually stunning posts on social media for greater engagement for your podcast. Tracy, that’s a mouthful. We need to unpack that.
The main point of what we want to talk about is creating greater engagement. The main thing that you need to do when you’re creating greater engagement is to stop the doom scroll and hub it. Stop going through and having them skip what you’re saying. We want to stop the scroll. We want to have a feed-stopping post. That’s the goal of it.
If we get that far, and they stop, and you’ve got great, valuable, and interesting information, there’s no way they’re not going to engage at that moment in time. They’re going to remember it, come back, and follow you. Something is going to occur when you provide value there. That’s on you. I hope you’re not trying to clickbait people and you’re really providing something of value. That’s not our discussion about what you should have in that.
Our discussion is about how to get them to stop and take a look at it. Part of it is visual engagement. Here’s something interesting I found out, Tom, because I’m teaching AI Lab to all of our clients and anyone who wants to join it. I teach an AI Lab on Tuesday at 4:00 PM Pacific time. It’s been interesting and fun to talk to there.
Every single piece of advice and everything I’ve been doing, I’ve been running through the chat on the side, double-checking and seeing what they say, and if it’s counter to what we say or in alignment with. I ran it both through this idea of how to get feed-stopping engagement on your social posts and how you make them visually engaging.
I type that into both ChatGPT and Google Bard. I got the same advice from both. There’s one significant difference that we do that I believe is the differentiator that makes the difference. The advice is not common. It is not over-branding. That’s the number one piece of advice. They’re out there giving you number 2 or 3 on both of their lists. That is, “Make sure that you have consistent branding and logo and your colors match and do all of that.” Over the years, the number one thing we found to increase engagement and stop the scroll is to break the over-branding model.
This is one of my pet peeves, and it comes from the long hard experience of doing this in podcasting for several years. Typically, branding experts will say that for every image to promote, every episode needs to be the same. Your branding needs to be consistent. A lot of time, all that changes about the graphic is the actual text of the title. Otherwise, the image looks the same. If they are using a guest headshot, they will change that too. Otherwise, it’s the same.
Whenever anybody scrolls through somebody’s social feed or even your own blog feed on your website if you’re making a blog for every episode, every image looks like you keep going. “Seen it.” It is because people don’t read those words as fast as their brains process the visual, graphic, or image they’re seeing.
That’s why we’re talking about visually stunning. We want visual stopping. It happens more on the image, color, and branding side of things. This is the image. I get it that brands are trying out there to create brand awareness and do all of that. Brand awareness is not engagement. I want you to think about that.
If you are a brand that has deeper pockets, you can afford to do that. As entrepreneurs and individuals with podcasts, we don’t have big budgets. We need to do brand awareness campaigns. What we need to do is get a client. We need to get somebody to buy our goods and services, take engagement, join our lists, and become a part of our community because we’ll be able to bring you in and take you through our funnel, our next thing, or whatever it is that we are trying to get the engagement for. That’s the most important.
Get the people who are stopping, scrolling, and engaging to listen to a podcast to give it a try. That’s step one.
What we’ve found over time is that mixing it up is critically important. It’s important if you are showing up in someone’s feed on a continual basis and it seems repetitive. That’s what can happen with the over-branding model. Here are some of the visually stunning rules that we have come up with. They’re the rule breakers, the things you should do are the opposite of the rules. Some of them are rules.
It may be an exception to some people’s rules, but I don’t think it should be. It is ironic. We’re talking about visually stunning on a podcast where we’re speaking to people.
Here’s the number one rule of all of our podcast things. How do we get you off the podcast and go somewhere else? That’s what we want you to do. I’m not sharing my images here, but you can find us anywhere on social media @Podetize or @TheBingeFactor, which is my other show for serious podcasters. You can go there and check out what we are talking about.
You can see in my Instagram feed the variety I’m going to discuss now. Here’s what we do. We say the number one thing you should do, and a number one rule for us is to mix it up, mixing up your color from week to week and post to post, your font size, not necessarily your font itself. You don’t have to do, “The type size should change.” You should create a variety. Sometimes, maybe some words should be bigger than others. Change the font color. That’s critically important. You might change your background color and font colors.
Play with the color value because that is the biggest deviation from your brand that you can create. It’s also the most impactful and important. This is where we want you to mix it up the most because color is one of the first things we take in when we see something. It’s what makes something stand out in an environment.
If we’re out there, we were forging for food back in the olden days. We would know when something was dangerous and fruitful. Our eyes are attuned to this. Scrolling is no different than scanning a landscape. We need to think that through carefully. Color is one of the most important things we can do. Remember that color can evoke emotion and align or reinforce messaging. Think about your color in terms of, “Is it reinforcing the positivity and negativity? What is the message in this post I’m creating? Can the color reinforce it? Can it also be complementary to my brand?” It is something I want you to pay attention to.
“My brand is predominantly blue. I want this to be yellow or orange.” It’s something that stands out. It’s a complement in the complementary color world to my brand color. It does stand out in contrast to my brand but still coordinates. We can still come up with that. You might want to think about what those colors are ahead of time and have accents and complements that are part of your brand guide for your overall brand. They are pre-approved colors. It’s not any orange that people chose. It’s the orange you chose. That could be something.
The other thing is that there are colors that represent trends. In a given time and month, there might be a trending color that is happening consistently. If your topic is aligned with that trend going on in the marketplace, don’t forget to align your colors with that trend. That’s something to pay attention to. Colors are the main thing that we want you to mix up because the number one signal is that this isn’t the same as the last post, and it’s not a repeat post. What’s next, Tom? What is the next big area of visuals that we talk about?
We didn’t coordinate this ahead of time. I would say it’s either the position of things or what the main focal point of that graphic is, which, a lot of times, we would use a unique image every time for our own posts somehow in alignment with the topic discussed.
The imagery is the next biggest thing. Positioning is important, but it’s secondary because we don’t compare side by side unless we’re looking at it on a blog post where you have all the blog feeds in a row. Typically, when we’re looking at it in social media, it doesn’t play with that. The imagery is more powerful on the social media side of things. The impact of that image is what’s important as the next thing. Color and image secondary to that and the images that we chose.
There’s a great story about BuzzFeed. They are renowned for this. Buzzfeed has issues and problems as a company, but that has nothing to do with what they championed and discovered. They would AB test every single little thing on an article, the headline, the title, the color, and the image they used. They’re renowned for talking about an article that they posted, which was one of their most viral early on, and posts about the ten fruits that are most chemically dangerous. They have the most chemicals on them. It was an article about organic fruit.
It is pesticides versus organic.
There are ten fruits listed in the article. They tested all ten fruits as separate images and tested which ones had the biggest impact and got the most clicks. That shows you both the popularity of the fruit mattered and the impact of that fruit because they were all colored. It’s a fabulous story to me that tells you that making a concerted choice is critically important here.
When you think about that image, you want to think about reinforcing the message of the article or the episode. You want to think about its color balance. Is it creating that impactful color on its own without those other color changes you need? That’s great. Can I make a contrast to the title and text I use on this along with the image of that? If I’m going with strawberries, red, and I pick yellow titles, they are going to have a great contrast between each other. It is going to be eye-catching in my feed.
Thinking about how you can use those to the nth degree is one of the things that viral companies worry about. If they’re worrying about it, why shouldn’t we be a little smarter about our image choices and think about the reinforcing impact and visual impact of those? There are a couple of rules over there. This is the same rule that ChatGPT and Google Bard suggested, which is higher quality images. This is the number one mistake.
A lot of times, we take these horrendously bad screenshots, or we have a bad camera, and I am guilty of that. If you look at some of the old episodes of Feed Your Brand, my camera stunk because it was the camera that came with my computer. It would go blurry because I talked with my hands. Since I improved my camera, our feed, and social media improved. We saw a significant jump in the improvement of the quality of it.
If you’re using video and it’s you on the video, make sure you’re using higher quality. If you’re using external images, pay for those images, and get better stock images. It’s going to make a difference in the quality of your feed compared to others, or get a great camera and go take those images yourself if that’s what they are.Brand awareness is not engagement. Click To Tweet
If you have the ability to take or acquire original images from your guest if you’re interviewing a guest and talking about something relevant to them, anything you can do to have original images is always going to be a huge advantage. It’s simple. People scroll through the social feed. What’s that? They haven’t seen that before. There’s an immediate stop of the scroll when they haven’t seen it before.
This happened the other day. One of our daughters is taking a photo she was going to share on Instagram. Her hand in the air was blurry. She was like, “I don’t want to put out a blurry image.” She thought about that in her mind before she posted it on social media. We don’t want pixelated, blurry, and bad quality. What she ended up doing was, because the rest of the photo was good, she put the graphic words over her blurry hand. It was perfect because she didn’t have to grade it and blur it out to be able to get the caption to read. It worked out great. There are things that you can do to use images that may not be 100% perfect and get around that.
We’ve got mixing it up in color, impact, fonts, and imagery. Let’s go with that positioning and experiment with formats. Does your headline go at the top? Does it go at the bottom? Do you put a little graphic ingredient in your podcast cover art? What do you do about those things? Fix it up, try different things, and make it dynamic in how you’re testing that. See what’s working for you.
One of the things we always do when we create social media is have a rotating set of templates. We do use this template variety. The impactful image goes here. The graphic goes here. Every single one of them is mixed up for color and a variety of positions. It also gives them the ability to say, “I got this image that is a left-side image. Let me use the one where the graphics are to the right or top because the impactful part of the image is at the bottom.” Use those templates based on the imagery. It can help you create the variety you’re looking for and not be generically applied. You can make it. It has an application to the image you’re using.
All four are prepared ahead of time, having some templates prepared, some colors approved that are intentional and not random, and switching up those templates from episode to episode. However, I would always recommend it. Exercising some contextual judgment based on the image is like, “This is a great image. It evokes the feeling I am trying to get across with this episode. The main focal point of this image is in the upper left corner. I need to think about putting some of the other text that’s going to otherwise obscure some of that image elsewhere in the image.”
I’m going to use a sports analogy, which men are going to be okay with. A lot of women might not like it, but you need to call an audible right there and say, “That’s the template I was going to use, but I’m going to change it up and deviate from it. I have an image that’s going to have more impact and get that social engagement, connection and motivate people to click to find out more.” Those positions, font sizes, and colors, preparation is great, but what are we trying to do here? Get people’s attention.
When you’re finding out something that works, don’t do it the same way every single time. That’s what we’re pointing out to you. When you find something that works, try, experiment, and move things around. It doesn’t look the same every single time. You don’t break our number one rule, which is to get boring and look like, you’ve seen it, read it, and clicked on it before. That’s the number one thing we don’t want to have happen.
When you’re finding something that works, those mix it up a little bit the positioning, and some of those things can do it. If most of your colors are light, try dark. Mix it up and play with how you can do that. Another thing I want to suggest to you in mixing things up and trying things is I’m going to call it native tools in TikTok, Instagram, and other places where you can mix with flying graphics, things that animate, little gifs, and stuff like that that you can add on top of things.
You can even go to GIPHY and do that. Add a cursor icon, an arrow, or a hand that’s moving and pointing to things that are critically important. Try some of those things and see what happens. Mixing it up every so now and again, but trying the native tools is going to see what’s popular. If you try the tool on Instagram, you’re going to see what’s going on. You’re going to see the colors or music that’s popular that you might want to put onto things. There might be some of those things you want to test out and try before you go and reimagine your entire set of templates or the way you want to do it. Test it out and see if it resonates with you. It might only apply to a specific episode that has a certain feeling or style. It might not be for everything.
I have a couple of sports episodes coming up, and it’s not a normal part of my theme to do anything sports-related as a common practice, but it might be great to capture those sports fans by adding in a little of those animated elements. You have the sound of a bat or a ball flying through the scene. You are capturing somebody’s attention by saying, “This episode’s about Yankees baseball.” I have an upcoming episode about that. That’s something you want to do.
The other reason I want you to take a look at those is that they’re mobile optimized, which, too often, our graphic designers design things on a large computer screen and forget what it’s going to look like when it’s tiny on your phone. The way most people scroll through their social feeds is on their phones. If you are putting packing too much in and overdoing it, it’s going to become apparent when you are using the tools, and you realize you can’t cram that much stuff in.
Another tip I like to share, Tracy, regarding all this is something we experienced with the image for an episode video that we had created. It’s important to think about the context of where it’s going to be played or how it’s going to be displayed. I want to share this about YouTube because there are some player controls. YouTube is often going to put ads on your video and skip the ad after a few seconds. Some other text like, “Do you want to watch it on YouTube versus on your website?” There’s a lot of stuff that can exist at the bottom of that YouTube video.
If you plan that with your thumbnail or any certain graphics on the thumbnail of the video or even a lower third in the video, you got to make sure you test it out and you know how it’s going to be viewed because there may be a lot of other stuff you have no control over that is on top of the graphics and that diminishes the impact of your message.
That’s why you want to check out how it looks specifically on a mobile device and in the format that you’re looking at. You don’t want to look at it, examine it outside of it, and not look at it, load it into Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as Tom’s referring to here. Those things matter. Take a look at everything you do from that formatting and say, “Is this something that has been working, and should I standardize it? From here, let me take it and create a variety from that moment.” Try that for a little while and see if you can increase the greater engagement you’re looking for. Someone to stop, watch it all the way through, and listen to it. The last thing I want to touch on, Tom, is this idea of people’s images.People aren’t out there because they want what you have to sell them. They're looking for something to change their life to help them. Click To Tweet
Do you mean using a guest image?
If we’re talking about promoting this episode that we’re doing or our coaching call, there are images that go out with your and my picture.
That’s for promotion.
It’s the same thing if you were promoting, and after the fact, you’re sharing this. An option to do visually impactful images is to do visually emotive views of you. You are going, “Wow.” There’s a whole list of them. You can get a list of all the visual emotions that you should try for TikTok. There’s a list of 30 of them. There’s wow, surprise, and disgust. You try to make your face do all the emotions.
We have one of us doing all of that. Here’s the problem with that. You are not going to do it actively for every single post. You’re likely to be wearing the same thing every single time. Go for black or white in that scenario, change it up, and make sure the background color you drop in goes behind you to silhouette yourself and make sure that’s going to happen and put visually impactful.
My team has failed on this. I gave them a hard time about it because they made the background blue on every single one of these. Our coaching calls are over-branded in the portal that we use them in. Because we’re also using them and sharing them on social media, it’s not good. I’ve gone back to them and said, “No, we can’t do that anymore. It’s one thing for it to be visually identified, and I want everybody to know clearly that these are coaching calls in our event portal, but I don’t want that on social media. We have to mix it up and play it up.”
Doing people’s faces and images is great unless it’s your own social media. Why do I need to have beyond the video? There are 101 little short videos of We in my feed and your feed, but it’s my feed. It already has a profile photo of me on it. It has that everywhere. It shows that I’m the one who posted it. We don’t need more of those. It’s more likely to get skipped if it’s got my image on it in my own feed because it still looks like self-promotion.
It’s a tip from me. We want that to happen, and that’s going to happen in the normal video clips. If it’s a static image, we don’t need that. The place that we do need it is in a quote graphic, in a shared graphic in what we call Ego Bait™ within our company, where I have a guest on my show. I’m saying something great about those guests.
When we have what we would call in the social media world a collaborative between two people, we want the two people’s photos on there. We want them to be more predominantly the other person bigger on our own feed and/or equal size because you might only give them one graphic, and you’re sharing it with them. They are going to share it on your feed. Maybe they don’t want their picture big on their own feed. We want to keep equal sizing on that.
Thinking about these collaborative style images, we want to have that other person’s image in our feed. Do we want ours alongside that? It’s an authority builder and collaboration signal. All of those things are great. That’s the best place for it. Do we need our picture on every single thing in every single post that we do? I’m going to say no because it’s our profile that typically posts these things. It’s our video being played of us talking about this tip in this thing.
Does it need to be on the cover thumbnail? Does it need to be on the graphic linking you to going to the episode? None of that needs to be there. Try it without it and see what happens. This is one of those things that go flying in the face of branding experts, which means that it flies in the face of what AI tells you to do. I am saying to you, remember that people are out there not because they want what you have to sell them. They are already like, “Please let me stop and click on something salesy.” They’re not looking for that. They’re looking for something to change their life to help them. When you are doing that and creating that impactful image that’s going to stop them from something they’ve been searching for an answer for, they are more likely to stop than they are if it’s like, “It’s Tracy again.” It’s all about her.
Who wants to hear her again?
If I’m following her already and I’m following a guru that I like, that’s going to happen. I’m going to stop, but I would stop whether or not their picture was on the graphic image. I’m stopping because the social media profile posting is someone I actively care about and am interested in. It doesn’t have to flip onto the other side and be everything about them.
This is where the social media influencers, and the social media advice that’s out there, are different than the advice we are giving you here. We’re giving you that advice because this is what’s going to get engagement to get your podcast listened to. That’s what we want here. That’s our ultimate goal with the way that we give advice here.Brand is actually about perception, not about what we say we are. Click To Tweet
Listeners are looking for what’s in it for them. Why should they bother to click? Does it help me? Does it help me to need that? Does it pique curiosity or build anticipation? Those are the things that are going to get people to click and listen.
Are you talking about somebody that I’m interested in? Your guest and those things matter. If we can reinforce anything from this guide to creating visually stunning images and posts on social media, you need to think about how it’s received on the other side if you want engagement. How is this looking to them? Is it looking self-serving? Is it looking too salesy? Is it looking over-branded? Is it looking like something I’ve seen, heard, and read already? I am not likely to engage with it.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the receiver or the eyes of the receiver and think about the impact that our social posts are happening on that side of things and if that is how we want to be presented to the world because the brand is about perception, not about what we say we are. That’s what I want you to check here because the perception might be off and maybe why you’re not getting the engagement, you’re looking for.
Let’s drop the mic there, Tracy. It is wonderfully said. What am I forgetting, Tracy? Anything else? I did it wrong last time.
In this particular case, check us out on social media. Don’t forget to check out Podetize everywhere you have on social media. Go ahead and check out The Binge Factor because it’s our example of how to do it in isolation. If your podcast is the only thing, and you don’t have another business behind it, check out The Binge Factor and watch how I’m doing things over there because it’s a prime example of things that you might want to try and do the experiments out there for some best practices are always over there. The Binge Factor and @Podetize anywhere on social media and check out the visuals. You can see for yourself what it looks like in action.
Thanks, everyone, for reading. We’ll be back next time with another episode of Feed Your Brand. – Tracy Hazzard