Twitter isn’t known for being a visual platform, but images get noticed on the fast-paced feed. Here’s how to tap visuals for more effective Twitter posts.
Founded all the way back in 2006, Twitter is positively ancient by social media standards. Yet, it continues to be a key platform for marketing your business. Seen as an outlier to the more visual platforms like Instagram, success on Twitter can take extra experimentation as there is a different breed of visuals that work. Once you get the hang of Twitter’s visual language, it can become a rich, indispensable communication tool.
Here we’ll examine the top 10 visual tweets that you can try out on Twitter.
A Few Notes on Twitter
Creating visual content for Twitter is different than creating for Instagram or Facebook. Sure, well-composed visuals won’t hurt you on this channel, but there’s much more nuance to a popular visual tweet. Let’s cover a few rules to tweeting on Twitter.
- More than any other social media platform, everything is fleeting on Twitter. Your content will not last long. Success is measured in minutes and hours, not days or weeks.
- Whereas Instagram and Facebook are perfect opportunities to display brand identity, Twitter is not. It’s more about “stealing the moment” and showing relevancy to your audience.
- Don’t spend a huge amount of time coming up with the perfectly crafted visual — there’s no time! Instead, focus on the zeitgeist, the topics that are trending, what’s grabbing attention right now. Throw your hat in the ring, then move on to the next thing.
- Twitter is the home of meme culture. It’s where memes found their footing and began to blossom. Inside jokes, one liners, hot takes, and clever puns are currency.
- The pay-off for humor is big, but getting on the wrong side of a joke, or meme-jacking the wrong tweet (more on that later), can lead you down the wrong path. Be relevant, but do your due diligence. You don’t want your tweet to go viral for the wrong reasons.
Types of Twitter Posts with Visuals
With that out of the way, let’s get down to it, starting with the simplest and easiest visuals to pull off, and working all the way to the more complex and involved. Once you find a post format that fits your tweet style, try one of our Twitter post templates to bring your idea to life in minutes.
1. Straightforward graphics and photography
The easiest visual on the block, and sometimes the most effective, is static content. It could be a simple text-based graphic or even just a photograph that reinforces your tweet. If you’re using copy on your visual, keep it brief with a simple statement or call-to-action, and let the visual do the heavy-lifting. These types of visuals are best for creating interest and intrigue that lead the reader elsewhere, like a blog post or product page.
Since you’ll be posting often, look for a stock library that’s frequently updated and has a variety of images. On Twitter, you can guarantee that readily available images have been shared a million times already.
This can be considered another form of static content, but illustration is worth mentioning separately because it performs differently. A well-crafted illustration that perfectly articulates your message is a surefire way of gaining traction. Keep them simple, using line drawings and basic shapes, and hone in on the key element of your message for the most impact.
3. Video or animation
Video works across all social media platforms, but on Twitter you often find it works best for announcements and teasers of events, say a webinar, product launch, or company event. The best examples of video are when different mediums are spliced, such as photography, video, animation, and type, all collaged into one visual to create something striking and thumb-stopping.
4. Top-to-bottom meme
Okay, we’ve left it long enough, but the memes had to make an appearance eventually! Whereas all the content so far has been message-, product-, or service-led, now we’re entering a whole new world. As I mentioned before, memes aren’t a promotion tool. What you’re trying to do is show relevancy — that your brand is in on the joke, and that it knows its audience well enough that they’ll also get the joke.
The most basic meme format is the comment meme, or top-to-bottom meme, which usually involves a lead statement, an image, and then a closing statement. Sometimes, the wording is removed from the visual entirely and placed in the body of the tweet itself. The quintessential typeface for memes is Impact, all caps, displayed in white, often with a black stroke (outline) around each letter. In these examples, the joke is either a play on words, or something that captures a collective experience, but always something that is short, witty, to the point, and of the moment. Remember, the aim here is for the post to be shared far and wide.
5. Emoticon meme
Once memes were established as an effective viral marketing tool, people started to look for other ways of creating them. Emoticons are representations of facial expressions formed using keyboard characters, to convey the writer’s feelings or intended tone. As such, they are perfect for memes! They’re simple to create — no Photoshop skills required — but getting the tone just right is tricky. Their best form is when a problem or question is posed, and a solution or answer is given, usually in a rhetorical manner, such as our example.
6. GIF meme
The GIF, a humble medium that has had many incarnations, now finds itself linked inextricably to memes. Some of the most popular memes are those accompanied by GIFs. Similar to the top-to-bottom meme, and used in the same way, these are simply their moving counterparts. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to make GIFs. The beauty of memes is that they are meant to be reused and recycled. Jumping on another company’s meme with your own message or slant is a great way of joining a conversation — which brings us nicely to meme-jacking…
Not all memes are created equal. Some fall flat on their face never to be seen again, while others soar and are seen across the Twitterverse. Meme-jacking is the act of taking a popular meme and repurposing it with your own message. Companies such as Ruffles have become incredibly good at this, where they will take the base image of a meme making the rounds, add their own message, and either tweet it solo, or add it to a chain of never-ending versions that have come before it. This is a classic example of meme culture, and it’s highly encouraged, not to mention a lot of fun. There are plenty of meme-generator sites out there that will make creating memes quick and easy, so find one you like and you’re good to go! Again, very limited design skills are needed to get started with meme-jacking. Many companies have honed this into an art form and have grown huge audiences simply by meme-jacking other popular tweets.
8. Punny memes
IRL, puns can feel pretty obnoxious; nobody likes a show off, right? Well, on Twitter, that’s not always the case. Apple’s top of the line computer, the Mac Pro, has been affectionately nicknamed by its fans as the ‘cheese grater’, due to the design of its casing. When Apple recently announced the newest iteration of the cheese grater, many companies took to Twitter to get in on the joke, pulling wisecracks about the design. This example from Denny’s, who are known universally for their wisecracks, is an incredible example of using a recent announcement by an entirely unrelated company (in this case Apple), in an entirely unrelated industry (technology), to promote itself and stay relevant in the minds of its customers. They even went one further with their killer response to a customer’s follow-up tweet. With a little knowledge of current affairs, and some fairly low-key design skills, you too can be creating puns for next to no budget whatsoever.
9. Static infographic
Another form of visual post that is used often on Twitter is the infographic. These do take more design know-how than memes, but infographics make for visually appealing content that can inform, delight, and educate your customers. If you’re not familiar with infographics, they’ve become popular on social media as a quick and clear way of disseminating information, especially on platforms such as Twitter, where the character count of a tweet is extremely limited. The static infographic is the simplest form, and can be created in various styles; anything from a rudimentary sketch or line drawing to a fully branded graphic. Again, branding isn’t the main concern here, it’s more to do with getting your message across in a meaningful and engaging way. However some outlets do use their own branding to create familiar families of infographics.
10. Animated infographic
Finally, the animated infographic is a more involved version that uses animation and transitions to create deeper, richer meaning. Bearing in mind this is Twitter, where messages need to be succinct and to the point, the beauty of the animated infographic is that you can cover a lot of ground without the viewer feeling like they have to put in a lot of effort. Best for companies that need to share lots of data, relational awareness, or flows of information from one place to another, infographics are incredible tools for showcasing expertise and relevancy.
So, there we have it — 10 great ways to introduce visuals into your Twitter game. Given its ephemeral nature, the beauty of Twitter is that you don’t need to be a world-class designer to create most of our examples yourself. In fact, in most cases, the more homemade your designs appear, the better they’ll be received.
Quick to make, cheap to produce, and enjoyable to create, Twitter visuals are a fantastic addition to any marketing strategy.
Get more social media design tips in these articles:
- How to Make Swipe-Up Instagram Stories
- The Guide to DIY Video Ads for Facebook and Instagram
- Facebook Posts for When You’re Running Out of Ideas
- The Secret to Non-Blurry Facebook Images
Cover image via Natty_Blissful