infographics

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Social networking sites have been setting the internet ablaze for many years now. Back in 2012, active Facebook users surpassed one billion and generated over $4 billion in advertising revenue. With these kinds of figures, it is difficult to ignore the heat emanating from this socially driven fire.

Infographics are also picking up steam and beginning to explode online. Using familiar icons and images along with a small amount of text, this powerful tool helps to convey a complex concept or explain a detailed relationship. Not only are they visually appealing, they are designed and formatted in such a way that makes them more easily digestible for the reader.

Infographics can serve as a visually engaging way to not only gain more followers, but inform them as well. How can we ensure our infographic catches fire and continues to sizzle online?

Let’s get started building a bonfire!

Getting Ready – You can’t start a fire without kindling

Before you begin, plan what your infographic is meant to accomplish. Picking a topic should be simply enough, but you’ll want to craft your images and content in a way that allows you to best communicate your message.

Consider whether you want to establish yourself as an information source or bring more traffic to your site. Is your goal to collect email addresses for leads or attract more followers on your social networks? While you might want to accomplish all of these objectives, be sure to only focus on the most important ones.

Gathering Data – Now you’re ready to start getting some wood, sticks, and twigs

Although infographics are used as the visualization of data, numbers are still at their foundation. Whether you are using census data or statistics, look for figures that are not only relevant but also seem unusual or surprising in some  way. Also, check to see what is “trending” to gauge where public interest lies. Check to see what is hot, and what is not.

Planning

You don’t just throw a match onto a pile of wood. Using  paper first, then adding kindling and finally your firewood.

The most effective infographic needs to initially grab attention and then continue to engage your readers’ interest, similar to the way a fire burns. Plan the best way in which your data will lead your audience through the actual presentation of your infographic. Examine other infographics that have a good flow, are interesting  and that you find enjoyable to read fully.

Building

Most people agree that stacking your wood in a pyramid shape is the most effective way to build a roaring fire.

Take the time to examine some infographics that appeal to you and seem to have a popular audience. There are many options available online for the actual construction of your  infographic. Many will allow you to build it for free but will charge a small fee to download the image. Others offer an “upgrade” to access their services for around $20 per month, which is still affordable. Choose what will work best for you according to what they have to offer that appeals to your situation and meets your particular needs.

Preview

Before you put a match to your blaze, you’ll want to be sure that your bonfire will be easily spotted by everyone.

When people share images on social media sites, those platforms don’t always display the image properly. For example, Twitter reduces the size of infographic and only shows a portion of the entire image. Although they are attempting to decide which section is the most interesting, you will likely disagree with their choice. Make that decision yourself and reduce your infographic in the way you want it to be seen. Then link it back to your site where the full size version is available for viewing and sharing.

Sharing

Now that you have a roaring fire, invite everyone over to roast marshmallows.

Consider different ways of reaching an audience outside of simply posting your infographic on all the popular social media sites. Developing a relationship with a blogger who writes about your topic can be mutually beneficial. Popular bloggers get lots of pitches so make sure you do your homework. Make it obvious that you are not simply sending them a form letter, be polite and make their decision as easy as possible.

Find creative ways to gain followers who will want to come enjoy the warmth of your fire and share the information from your hot infographic with their friends.

By David Landry: An online journalist and personal finance advisor living in Southern California. In addition to researching about the impact of visual content, his writing also covers business globalization, communication technology and social media marketing.

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