Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

Linkedin ChocolatesWith each social media site comes its own set of advantages, characteristics, and user base. While some sites, like Instagram and Vine, may share similar demographics and video sharing capabilities, other sites are more unique to themselves. This is certainly the case with LinkedIn, a social media site designed with business in mind.

At its core, LinkedIn was created as a place for business professionals to network. It’s a place where businesses can form new partnerships, where employers can look for new employees and vice versa. LinkedIn users are, on average, better educated with higher paying jobs. All of these factors make for an excellent marketing opportunity for a business.

Creating a LinkedIn page for your business allows you to tap into that population, allowing you to target engagement with people who may be better connected within your community and also may have a little more to spend on your service or product. There are the obvious businesses that stand to profit from networking with the professionals on LinkedIn—a suit tailor, office supply store, or anything in the technology industry, for example—but just about any business can take advantage of the free marketing opportunity LinkedIn presents.

Find ways to advertise your business to the LinkedIn crowd. If you own a bar and grill, maybe push your happy hour. You can even offer special LinkedIn-only deals to your followers. Boutiques can push business professional-friendly attire. Salons can show off styles that would stand out in the workplace. The point is that though you may not view yourself or your business as something that would fit on the professional networking site, the people already using LinkedIn make for excellent potential customers.

Doing Business on Pinterest

Pretty PinterestAs anyone who has invested in Myspace knows, the social media game has no safe bets. A site you thought would’ve been around forever is already a ghost town while another you thought was doomed from the start slowly builds into a zeitgeist-grabbing juggernaut. When it comes to matters of social media, it’s best to not count anyone out too quickly. Except maybe Myspace. You can probably count them out. But, then again . . .

Pinterest, who has had its fair share of naysayers, detractors, and otherwise, has established itself as one of the main players of the social media game. If your business isn’t on Pinterest, it’s high time you set up an account. It’s an image-based site, one that allows a user to create a sort of online cork board where they pin their favorite pictures, easily accessed by their own personal network of friends and family. It’s built for sharing.

Being that Pinterest is an image-based site, so much of what you choose to share will have to be agreeable to the eyes—to put it lightly. You want the photos you share to look good. You want them to look so good that your followers will be inspired to repin (like retweet) your image for their followers to see. And then maybe one of their followers repins it, too. And so on and so forth: Your image just went viral.

Using photos to showcase your products is great, of course, but you’re going to want to keep your posts varied and diverse. For every photo you pin, you’re going to want to repin someone else’s photo. Not only does this engage other Pinterest users, it demonstrates that your business isn’t only on Pinterest to advertise. Users aren’t going to follow an account that is only bombarding them with advertisements. To be a part of someone’s community, you must commune.

Of course, posting photos of your products and services is an excellent way to drum up business. But don’t stop there. Post coupons available only to your Pinterest community. Post photos of your employees to show that you’re a team. Make things that are visually stimulating and inspiring. Follow influential accounts in your own industry to watch for product trends. Use Pinterest to learn more about your customers and what they’re interested in. Pinterest is excellent for engaging and interacting that community which you rely on. Also, it’s popular and, we think, here to stay.

The Art and Value of Repurposing Content

Now that the content industry seems to have come to the agreement that high-quality, regularly updated content is the best way to get traffic, webmasters are left with a dilemma. In a way, it’s a version of the same dilemma that has frustrated content creators (or as we used to call them, artists) since time immemorial: what to write? What to photograph? What to feature? How to create content, day in and day out, and keep it fresh and interesting?

Repurposing content can answer some of these questions. It takes the pressure off by limiting the amount of creativity your content creators need to deploy, and also allows you to subtly tweak content to better fit different formats. Repurposing content is the key to maximizing your efficiency and ensuring that you get the most bang for your content buck. Read on!

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Get maximum mileage out of each piece of content

Repurposing content helps you maximize the reach and efficacy of each piece of content you create. If you’ve researched a topic enough to write an article about it, get a designer to use that research to create an infographic, a slideshow, or even a video! The more you go over information, the more insights will become available to you, and in this way you’ll be able to add value to your content as you repurpose it.

Attract visitors from difference sources

When you repurpose content for a social media channel, you access a different category of your fans. It’s entirely possible that these fans only follow you on Twitter, and didn’t know you actually had long-form content. Repurposing content for all of the various channels of social media also maximizes your exposure to all the different people who are interested in your brand.

Boost your SEO Game

By reconfiguring and repurposing content, you maximize keyword coverage and density across multiple pieces of content, making sure that your relevance for that keyword is as high as possible. You can further increase your relevance by cross-linking the various pieces of content, however take care not to make your repurposing too blatant in this case.

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Make sure your they get the message

As any Facebook marketer knows, the organic reach of a Facebook page is limited. Facebook itself puts the number at 16%, meaning you’re likely to reach 16% of your page’s fans with a given post, but some people allege the numbers to be even lower than that.

Repurposing your content means increasing the instances of that 16% reach—ensuring that you reach a larger percentage of your fans than that maybe-16% without repeating yourself and possibly getting penalized for spamming.

Repurposing: 2nd/3rd/4th time’s a charm?

Repurposing content is great for maximising the efficacy of your content and giving your creators a much-needed break to recharge their creative energies. Plus, as we have shown, repurposing and repromoting is actually necessary just to ensure that your content is seen by as many of your fans as possible. Your content is there, you already paid for it. Why not get the most out of it?

About the Author

Hilary Smith is a guest author and online business journalist with a background in business telecommunications and media marketing. Her writing often covers content amplification, business globalization and technology as well. Follow her on Twitter to read more!

When to Use Twitter Ads for Business

Twitter Bird SketchFor all the great things social media has to offer small businesses, perhaps the greatest might be the simple fact that it’s free. All of these services allow you to reach thousands and thousands of potential customers without spending a dime.

Well, sort of.

While it’s true that sites like Instagram and Vine don’t charge users to start an account and begin posting to their ever-growing list of followers—i.e., potential customers—that doesn’t necessarily mean that a post is going to be seen, read, or clicked on. How do they offer their service for free? Advertisements.

So while you may be posting for free, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a post is as effective as it can be. In fact, this is sometimes by design. A site like Facebook actively makes it more difficult for posts to be seen these days, gently prodding its users to pay to “boost” their posts so that they experience a wider reach.

While Twitter doesn’t actively limit a tweet’s reach, its wide-open, anything-goes Twitter feed means that a tweet can be quickly buried and quietly forgotten. If a follower of yours only follows 50 users, than your tweet is more likely to be seen. But if they follow hundreds of users, than their twitter feed is more likely to be full of so many tweets that they’re bound to miss some—including yours.

To combat this, Twitter offers its own paid model for tweeting. Users can pay to have tweets appear at the top of their followers’ Twitter feed, which is the ideal location for being seen. Obviously you’re not going to want to pay for every single tweet but if you have a special offer, sale, or event coming up and you want to ensure that it’ll be seen by more of your followers, than paying for a boosted tweet is the right option for you.

Sharing for Engagement on Twitter

Cat Mandoo too

Content, as we say in the social media biz, is king. Well, that and cats. So cat content is king. But the rest of content is a very close second. It’s what drives the social media machine, garnering likes, gathering retweets, and being spread virally through shares. It’s articles, listicles, photographs, infographics, videos, and so much more. Content is the key to engagement.

No matter the format, be it Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, you’re going to want to share content that occupies that magical space where your own interests and your customers’ interests overlap. Of course, how you share that content is largely determined by which social media platform you’re using. The Vine app, for instance, only posts user-made videos. Instagram started off as a photo-only app, though it now offers video sharing, as well.

Be Concise

When it comes to Twitter, sharing content can be a tricky endeavor. The popular social media site’s 140-character limit per tweet doesn’t allow you to dive into a deep analysis of whatever it is that you’re sharing, like a Facebook or LinkedIn does. Instead, you want to deliver content with a concise but engaging headline with two goals in mind: Users clicking on your content and users retweeting your content.

Be Visual

One of the biggest things that can help is including an image with your Tweet. This used to be more of a hassle but Twitter has recently incorporated images directly into users’ Twitter feed. If you are tweeting a link to someone else’s article, find the author’s Twitter handle and include that in your subject line. This greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll be retweeted.

Be Relevant

You’re going to want your content to be relevant to your message, trustworthy, timely, topical, useful, informative, and personal. And take the time to see what your followers respond to. If you notice that one type of tweet is consistently retweeted more than other types of tweets, thoughtful analysis may reveal what your specific audience is interested in.

Tell Your Company Story through Your Blog: Here’s How

shutterstock_17480242157 percent of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog, according to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report. But those numbers skyrocket to 92 percent when companies post to the blog multiple times per day. You’ll be hard pressed to find a company who doesn’t agree that blogging can give business a boost. But not all blogs or content prove effective. Effective blogging strikes a balance between promotional, usefulness, fun and engagement. Take a look at a handful of companies with blogs that work.

Whole Foods Whole Story

Whole Foods has always been a leader in fresh foods, organic fare and healthy alternatives to ready-made-meals. But they also host a leading blog, Whole Story”, with advice, recipes, news and interviews. Instead of simply posting product info and enticing people to buy from their stores, they also host video discussions with doctors and scholars on topics ranging from conscious capitalism to creativity. Whole Story, with advice, recipes, news and interviews. Instead of simply posting product info and enticing people to buy from their stores, they also host video discussions with doctors and scholars on topics ranging from conscious capitalism to creative cooking.

While their range of topics might be varied, they’re not exactly random. Their public core values include quality standards, organic farming, sustainability, animal welfare standards and community care. People come back for engaging content exploring current events and issues and stick around to see what they should make for dinner.

Marriott on the Move

Unlike many blogs typed-out by the voice of various employees or an outside communications team, founder Bill Marriott pens Marriott on the Move. Although the blog covers aspects of hotel business, he also touches on his own experiences and insights like his rules for tipping and taking care of guests. Why do people connect with it? Bill Marriott gives the huge corporation a name, face and personal voice behind the brand. People may only have a passing interest in his posts about his summer reading list, but the invitation into his personal life and how his business runs is a refreshing change from most corporate blogs.

The Zappos Blog

Zappos is renown for its customer service like free shipping both days and a 365-day return policy. The Zappos blog captures that light and friendly voice their customer service team is known for and posts articles about their products, as well as company events. While their blog focuses more on product than other big company blogs, they execute it with style. Readers feel like they’re a part of the team and a friend of the company instead of glancing through their latest selection of new shirts and shoes.

The BikeBandit Community

Blogging is more than photos and content. In addition to proving images and text, you must foster a community and offer them generous tips. BikeBandit offers tips on group motorcycle riding, buying a used motorcycle and funny motorcycle terms you should know. The idea is to give customers a reason to participate. Always ask your readers to respond to a question in comment field to get the conversation started. By giving your customers a reason to engage, you’re also giving them the tools to spread your content and become your biggest cheerleaders.

American Express OPEN Forum

American Express OPEN Forum features a slick and corporate design resembling a digital magazine. The company smartly focuses on their customer base of businessmen and women looking for tools and guidance about running their business. Instead of just blogging about American Express products and services, their content is packed with actionable advice like selling online, reverse mentoring, and taking the pain out of conference calls.

Ice Cream Journal

Get the inside scoop on ice cream and Turkey Hill Dairy with the online Ice Cream Journal. The company lets their eye-catching products speak for themselves with photos and mouthwatering content. They also entice ongoing readership by running user-submitted ice cream recipe contests and giving away prizes. But it’s not just all about Turkey Hill. Recent posts included a story about policemen pulling over drivers and giving away ice cream for their excellent road skills, and soliciting feedback on ice cream filled donuts.

Best Business Uses for Instagram

Short break for a small craft project...

Short break for a small craft project… (Photo credit: sazbean)

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rapidity of this modern world, social media suggests that a photo might be worth much more than a thousand words. The right photo at the right time might be worth 10,000 words. Heck, a snap on a smart phone could carry the weight of War and Peace for your business, should everything work out right.

The popular image-sharing app Instagram is an oft-overlooked opportunity for businesses hoping to connect with customers. While sponsored posts that appear in every user’s feed are available (and expensive), the average small business is going to gain Instagram followers the same way they would on Twitter or Facebook: Start your own profile and build from scratch. The more people who opt to follow your feed, the more people you reach.

Show off your goods

With Instagram being an image-based platform, it presents a perfect opportunity to show off what it is that you’re selling.

While plenty of people use the service as a means to show off their products like they were in a catalog, it’s important to note that lots of people online appreciate subtlety in their social media marketing. People take ownership of their feeds and don’t necessarily want their friends’ photos to be interrupted by a commercial. Instead, it can be helpful to present the product in a thoughtful, creative manner.

And for those in the food and beverage industry, what a leg up you have. It’s like Instagram was invented just for you. How thoughtful of them! Half of a person’s Instagram feed is already full of pictures of their friends’ meals, treats, coffees, teas, and cocktails.

Remember: Creative. Thoughtful. Fun.

The photos and videos you can make showcasing your product or business are excellent opportunities for involving customers and potential customers alike in the process. In the world of craft everything—beer, cocktails, cupcakes—more and more people are wanting to feel a part of the processes of production and manufacturing. Instagram is your chance.

With photos and videos, you can take people directly into your woodshed and show them what goes on behind the scenes. Take them to the market with you and document your picking out fresh produce. Getting a little loopy after a long day in the kitchen? Start a dance-off with an employee. A sense of humor goes a long way in a medium like Instagram—anything to get someone to linger over your post for more than half a second.

Another idea is to create demonstrations of how your product works. Or even how your product can be enjoyed. People putting on the clothes you created. Someone enjoying that pie you labored over. Or sitting on that chair you built.

Contests always go over well on social media and Instagram is no different. Offer exclusives and first dibs to your followers.

Remember that on Instagram, just as it is in life, it’s not all business. Let your followers into your life as they do with theirs. Show off your dog, show off your cats. Take a picture of a new piece of art you bought or a beautiful late summer sunset.

Going the Extra Mile: How to Use Twitter to Boost Customer Satisfaction

Image Courtesy of Youssef Rahoui on Flickr.com

Image Courtesy of Youssef Rahoui on Flickr.com

Social media has completely changed the way brands communicate with their customers. Consumers are no longer trapped on their phones, either on hold or cycling through ridiculously long menus just hoping and praying a customer service rep would soon pick up the line. Instead, a customer can hop on his computer or pick up his smartphone to fire off a quick tweet voicing dissatisfaction with a company.

Twitter is a breeding ground for customer concerns, questions, complaints, and (sometimes) compliments. These customers expect to be given something of value in exchange for their loyalty, and they expect that something to happen soon. Above all, brands on Twitter need to be responsive.

The Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study found that, on Twitter, the average response time to a customer service question is eight hours and 37 minutes.

What do users think about this? Data from the 2012 4th-quarter The Social Habit research report showed that 32% of respondents expected a response from a brand within 30 minutes, while 24% still expected a reply within 30 minutes even if they made contact at night, on weekends, or during the business’ off-hours.

This evolution in consumer behavior is changing not only the way brands interact with their customers, but also how they do business at a base level. How can businesses keep up with their customers and better use Twitter as a platform for customer satisfaction?

Have the right people for the job

A properly trained customer service team is worth its weight in gold, as they are the first line of defense in dealing with an unhappy consumer. It’s vital to hire the right people and train them well, as they will be representing brands and interacting with customers on a daily basis. There’s no room for hotheads or Luddites on a brand’s social media team. Twitter customer service reps should be allowed to show their human sides and relate to customers. (For example, reps can sign their initials after their tweets, such as on VirginMobileUSA Care). Creating a sense of trust between customer service and the consumer will build brand loyalty.

Be online when customers are

A customer can tweet at any time of day, including outside of business hours. If they tweet at a corporate handle, they will expect a response and they will expect it now, even if it’s 3am and the social media manager is asleep. Businesses are expected to provide around the clock support, but this isn’t always practical for the businesses. Instead, a brand can clearly state the days and hours that someone from customer service will be answering tweets. It would also be prudent to give customers another way to get in touch, such as through email or phone.

Stay engaged

Don’t wait for a customer question or complaint to come in. Instead, be enterprising! Post tips, tricks and other useful resources that customers can use to solve their problems. With tweets like these a business might be able to reduce the number of customer complaints that come in each day.

Don’t delete

If a brand fails in a particular instance of customer service on social media, they may be tempted to delete the post. Don’t do this. People will remember what a brand said and they may have already screencapped the response, making it possible for the incident to make the rounds on other social sharing sites. Remember, nothing is ever truly deleted from the Internet. Instead of creating an atmosphere of perceived impropriety, own up to the mistake and correct it quickly. Users will appreciate the correction more than they will a perceived deception.

Always be monitoring

Stay ahead of the game. Brands should use monitoring tools and alerts to be notified when customers are talking about their products on Twitter. Users expect companies to find them rather than the other way around. Companies should also consider sentiment analysis along with their monitoring. Are customer comments positive or negative? Set up these alerts to track brand name as well as related keywords and hashtags. A timely, appropriate response will be greatly appreciated by consumers.

Keep it simple

With only 140 characters to utilize, it can be difficult to answer more complex or personal questions on Twitter. Businesses should know when to move the customer to another mode of communication like email or a phone call. Take the time to identify what types of complaints or questions should be elevated to the next level of customer service and outline a response for your Twitter team to use to notify the customer. Twitter is best used for short and simple responses to straightforward inquiries.

Get personal

Treat customers as individuals. Nothing irritates the Twitter audience more than a generic response. Rather than replying to tweets with the same canned message, personalize each response. The tone of each reply should be appropriate for both the message received as well as the customer herself. The response will not exist in a vacuum – others will be able to see it and the tweet may be shared with others.

Consider starting a separate customer account

Rather than crowding a brand’s Twitter timeline with customer service responses, consider creating an entirely separate support account and pointing customers in that direction. For example, Nike operates a separate @NikeSupport account to address customer concerns and complaints. The account is incredibly responsive, having sent over 312,000 tweets while the branded @Nike account has sent just over 15,000 tweets. A separate customer service account also better allows brands to use social media management tools to monitor and organize the customer support account. Team members can filter with keywords and hashtags, and better study the analytics.

Twitter can be a great tool for providing exceptional customer care as well as cultivating customer loyalty. The social media analytics company Simply Measured found that, as of March 2013, 99% of brands are on Twitter and 30% of these have an account devoted to customer service.

The numbers don’t lie – it’s critical for brands to solve customer problems on Twitter.

About the Author

Dave Landry is an online business journalist, personal finance manager, and debt relief counselor in Southern California. When he’s not writing about debt management, he enjoys researching and sharing his knowledge about social media techniques, business communications, and globalization.

How and Why to Get Started with Video Advertising

shutterstock_206087227Print ads, online display and text ads, video ads. My how advertising has progressed. If you are still depending on the written word and photographs to drive your marketing campaigns, you really need to keep reading. This article can change the face of your business. It can help you get more customers and attract better customers.

You do want more and better customers, right?

Why has video advertising boomed?

There was a time when magazines were widely read — cover to cover. That is NOT the norm today. Sales of magazines have plummeted in recent years, notes a study by the Pew Research Center. Television is suffering, too. Once the top of the crop pick for getting your brand and products known, television advertising yielded ground to Internet advertising, filling your computer screen with flash videos and obnoxious pay-per-click banners that got in the way of your online journey.

Google heard your moans and built an empire catering to those who want to find something on the Internet. They determined where the line marking your limit of advertising tolerance was, then began backing off, toning down the advertising frenzy and working hard to return search engine results that would match the intent of your query and not drive you away (to Bing or Yahoo).

Along came apps (applications) and a mass exodus to mobile technology. Seeing an opening, app developers began planting deceptive ads in their products. Once again, Google struck back, warning developers to stop and applying new policies to the situation, notes Julian Evans.

For those wondering how to navigate the treacherous waters without becoming irrelevant, getting lost, or getting penalized along the way, one form of advertising is booming right now, and you absolutely must check it out.

It is becoming impossible to ignore video advertising.

The Second Most Active Search Engine on the Planet

Let’s look at just one platform for video advertising: YouTube. Plunking down a mere $1.65 billion, Google added YouTube to its ever-expanding empire in 2006, reported NBC.

Savvy advertisers know that A) Google IS search, B) YouTube is part of the Google network, and C) Today’s consumers love brief, impactful videos. Take a look at Adweek’s list of The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2013 to see why.

Here is a quick-start, three-step action plan to get your video ads up and going. Don’t question it, just do it. Begin with YouTube, then consider other options for placement, if you wish — but why not start at the top?

Plan your campaign: In this regard, video campaigns are no different from any other marketing endeavor. You want to consider questions like these:

  • Who is my intended audience?
  • What do I want them to think or do?
  • What is my call to action (CTA)?
  • How will I follow up with those who respond?
  • How many videos will I release, and when will they be released?

Film your videos: Great videos start with exceptional copywriting. The camera and characters tell the story, but you need a writer to write the story. Don’t skimp here. You want maximum effect: the right people getting the right message. Check out this YouTube lesson: How to Make a Short Film. What makes a good short film? “It’s short!” Keep it simple, relevant, and attention-grabbing. How do you do that? It all begins with writing. For the technical aspects of filming, all you really need to get started is a camera (even your cell phone camera) and someone to operate it. Brush up on the basics of lighting, make sure your sound is clear and has enough volume, choose the setting, and let the camera roll. Gather a professional crew, if you wish, but amateur videos can make a big splash on YouTube. Remember: Your job is to get your message across, not win an Oscar.

Upload to YouTube: This part is crucial. Not the upload process, that is easy. The critical factor is making sure you have your YouTube account set up properly to receive and broadcast it. Consider these tips:

  • Keywords: Determine which words and phrases your target audience would use to find your product or service. These are your “keywords.” Don’t repeat them endlessly, but definitely use them appropriately. Make sure they appear in your filename, title, description, and tags.
  • Metrics: Your YouTube dashboard provides everything you need to get started. You can track the number of views, sources of traffic, minutes watched, engagement, and more. Why is it important to monitor performance and engagement? Metrics allow you to know the TRUTH of the situation. Step out of your own preferences and view the interaction actually taking place with your audience. Metrics are invaluable.
  • CHEAT: Visit the YouTube channels of those already experiencing success with video marketing. Examine their practices ruthlessly, and don’t feel like you are cheating by copying their best practices. After all, we all learn from one another. Take a look at the LifeLock channel, for instance. The company markets identity theft and fraud protection products. See how its copywriter makes the message all about YOU? Note how it uses prime keywords effectively on the About page, how it links to social media channels and website, and how its titles key on its brand. Take advantage of the second most active search engine in the world to look at channels in your niche. Watch to learn.

Your video marketing efforts can easily start and end at YouTube. The possibilities are huge. LifeLock, for instance, has amassed almost 6.5 million views. Would that many eyeballs and ears being exposed to your message be of any value?

Get to work. Your customers are waiting.

Data Visualization: the Way of the Future, or Just a Trend?

datavizWith so much data being created in today’s world, it can be a tremendous task to organize and understand it.

Despite being considered “boring” by many people, data has its place in the business world. Research from Statista found that the top three leading benefits for using big data in business were greater insights into the customer experience that could be worked into new strategies, the ability to analyze consumer feedbackto determine what products customers want, and better understanding customers’ opinions on current products and services.

Data visualizations are especially useful on the web, because they both catch the reader’s eye and allow the reader to more quickly consume important information.

In 2012 Column Five Media and business intelligence company DOMO worked together on an infographic that illustrates the rate at which data is created in one minute online. For example, every minute Google receives over two million search queries, the mobile web receives 217 new users, and Instagram users share 3,600 new photos. The numbers have only grown over the past few years, which raises the question: How can this data be understood and be made actionable?

At its core, data visualization better allows end users to “see” and digest data, which results in a greater understanding of the numbers. It is a broad term that applies to any attempt at helping audiences understand data by putting it in a visual model. With data visualizations, people can more readily spot trends and patterns within data, which helps them communicate their thoughts and ideas faster. In business, this enhanced speed of thought can be good news for the bottomline.

The upside of data visualization is that it makes data more easily accessible to more people. The downside is that these visualizations can become complicated or confusing. Creators of data visualizations could also potentially embellish or misrepresent data with their visual interpretations, whether intentionally or not. It is therefore important that content creators strictly adhere to codes of ethics (such as that created by the Society of Professional Journalists) and remain mindful of their audience.

Researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology examined what makes data visualizations memorable for the average viewer. They found faces and “human-centric scenes” are generally easy for people to remember while images of landscapes are not. The research also showed that certain things in particular made a visualization more memorable, for example colorful or dense visualizations. Surprisingly, the researchers found that unusual chart types such as tree diagrams are more memorable than more common place one like bar graphs and pie charts.

The researchers from Harvard and MIT also raised an excellent point in their findings: being memorable isn’t the most important part of a visualization. Rather visualizations need to be easy to understand, context appropriate, and accurate.

Today’s data visualizations are certainly more sophisticated than ever before in the past, but the most important point remains the same: a data visualization needs to factually represent and summarize the data while allowing the viewer to make conclusions based on that data.

About the Author

Nick Rojas is a journalist and business consultant based in Los Angeles, CA. and Chicago, IL. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.