5 quick ways to make your college’s content more viral online

Date posted: July 31, 2012

Visual marketing has never been stronger. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are increasingly relying on images to complement their text-based platforms, and with the growing craze of image-only platforms such as Pinterest, your school should definitely invest in visual content. It is now possible, with only a few images, to create a brand identity, condense and explain large amounts of information, and drive student engagement. How can you do all of this? One word: visibility.

Source image: www.alleecreative.com

 Source image: www.alleecreative.com

Here are 5 quick tips to make your content more visual and therefore sharable online:

  1. Make existing content more visual with infographics: The appeal of infographics comes in how they present an otherwise dense topic in a simple and easy-to-understand format. By summarizing text through visuals (such as images, charts, etc.) infographics make data accessible and enjoyable, which thereby increases their online circulation. Remember that although infographics make for a great way to drive prospects to your site, it is absolutely relevant that that ones you post are meaningful and relevant. Before working on infographics, always start by asking yourself “Why should my audience care about this? What will it mean to them?” Similar to the textual content on your school’s site, the visual content has to be significant. Here is a list of free tools to create infographics.
  2. Use hi-res, high-quality images: Infographics can be time-and resource-consuming. If you cannot afford to create them internally, make sure you use high quality pictures to create relevant images that will make your audience react. Your images should be at least 580 pixels square (the dimensions of a Facebook photo in theatre view). You can use this format for any newsworthy data your school wants to share.
  3. Create videos for YouTube and Pinterest: Most schools already know about the importance of having a YouTube presence. However, very few of them are aware of the referencing power of Pinterest. It is now possible to pin videos on Pinterest (Go to the ‘About’ section, then to the ’Goodies’ and drop the Pin it button). Since Pinterest is all about images, videos are a way to make your page stand out.
  4. Include visual content into all the school’s communication: Don’t restrict visual content to your social media platforms. Use photos on your your blog and through your email marketing initiatives as well.
  5. Optimize your images for SEO : For every picture you use, make sure to:
    • Use only image types BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG.
    • Use words that describe the content of the image for the file names.
    • Use image alt text to describe the image.
    • Provide context for the image in the page’s surrounding text, if possible.

Here is a more detailed guide to optimize your images for Google.  

Popular visual content for schools:

    • Student-generated content:

User-generated visual content is the most shared type of content in social media. Photos and videos are great opportunities for student-generated content. Invite students to upload photos of them enjoying an event on Facebook and Instagram, and then feature the best ones on both sites. Here are a few lists that could easily be turned into a visual graphic:

      • “10 steps to your career as a nurse at (your school’s name)”
      •  “Checklist for registration”
      • Templates for resumes to apply to certain jobs
      • “Wisdom from the Expert” about a specific topic
    • Tutorials:

Tutorials through video or image are a great way to offer sharable, relevant information. On Pinterest, tutorial pins see a 42% higher click through rates.

    • Results:

Visual content is an easy way to track results of an on-going project your school is involved in. It can be featured in a “Before/After” image.

    • Testimonials:

Shots of testimonials to add value to the board. You can also choose to share a story with a series of posts on your blog or Facebook page.

Beyond images: use killer text/captions:

If a picture is 1,000 words, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a handful of words to summarize the pictures or graphics you post on your site. Captions really help anchor the visuals on your site. Here are a few tips for writing text for images:

    • Add a call to action: Images see an 80% increase in engagement when a short text is associated to them.
    • Use your keywords: Make sure these short texts include your specific keywords.
    • Whenever you can, put a link in your caption: Pinterest especially rewards captions: type in the URL in the caption section and Pinterest will hyperlink whatever you put in the caption.

Here are a few tips to make content more sharable by platform that you can apply to your school. Going further with sharable content: http://visual.ly/how-make-your-content-viral