In newspapers and magazines, infographics have been around for decades. The idea of taking large amounts of data pertaining to a particular subject and presenting the data visually has been an effective way of communicating beyond the line chart and written description. On the internet, they have been going for years, but only in the last couple have they really hit a tipping point and become completely relevant for marketing.
Many websites and companies get into infographics based on recommendations or seeing them displayed and imagining how they too can participate, but few truly understand the benefits before jumping in. Here are the basics on what infographics do and don’t do and why most companies can benefit from them… if they do it right.
The first time people see an infographic online is often from a link they clicked on through social media. They see a friend post one to Facebook or a Twitter hashtag showing Tweets of an infographic. They stumble onto one in StumbleUpon, see one on the front page of Digg, or get blasted with them on Pinterest.
The reason that they see them is the inherent ability to be shared. Visualizations can portray a message in ways that articles or even videos cannot. They can be visually stunning and intellectually surprising. This makes them easy to spread on social media.
Any good infographic should have some sort of branding at the bottom. Occasionally, it’s okay to put it at the top or mention the brand in the middle, but the real promise of infographics is that they’ll be useful and “brought to you” by a brand rather than actively promoting the brand’s goals.
They can be passive promotion. For example, a graphic that talks about the biggest bank heists (interesting information) can be made by and branded for a home security company:
Are people who see this infographic instantly going to run to the URL and buy a house alarm? No. In 8 months after they have decided to get an alarm for their residence and they start doing research, they may come across a logo or a name that they recognize. They may not remember why they remember it, but they subconsciously recall enjoying something (looking at the infographic) and seeing the company logo.
When people need something, the first place they normally go is a search engine. An HR person might want to get training for their company on social media, for example. They may go to Google and search for “train employees on social media”. If they do, they will find the infographic below displayed very prominently from trusted sources several times.
Did the HR person learn anything they didn’t already know about social media? Probably.
Did they click the graphic or a link within the articles and land at Mindflash who offers the training they’re seeking? Probably.
The message in the graphic is engaging to Mindflash’ target audience. They sell training. The infographic engages with people seeking training.
Search Engine Optimization
More and more companies are using infographics for “link bait“. The Google Penguin algorithm change has hurt many companies and websites that relied on spammy or purchased inbound links for their optimization. They need help.
Infographics offer a way for companies to get others to link to them. By offering valuable information and quality content that others can post, they are hoping that their infographics will be seen and used. Hopefully, there’s a link to their website which Google and Bing love.
It helps to have an embed code on the post. This gives bloggers a quick copy and paste method to get the graphic on their site and to link appropriately to the source.
Search and Social Gold
Infographics are one of the few forms of content marketing that inherently have value for both search engine optimization and social media marketing. Done right, they can bring great benefits to those who create or commission others to create them. One caveat – there’s nothing worse than a bad infographic. They can have the opposite effect and actually hurt the brand.
Do it right. Hire well. Feel free to ask us for advice.
- The State of Social Media [Infographic] (bhlaab.com)
- Is It Really a Social Media Bubble? [Infographic] (socialtimes.com)
- Application of Charts and Infographics in Social Media Interaction (soshable.com)