Social Media in 2016: An End-of-Year Recap [Video]

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2016 brought change the marketing industry in many ways -- from powerful innovations to continuously evolving mediums.

But digital marketers know that change happens frequently in our industry, and adaptability is key to continue driving results in the face of burgeoning trends, growing social networks, and new, advanced technology.

Now that we've rung in the New Year here at HubSpot, we wanted to remember the biggest changes that happened in the world of social media marketing in 2016. That's why we made a short video -- sound not required, of course -- to review it all.

From all of us at HubSpot, Happy New Year! Thanks for sticking with us through all the change. Now let's keep the 2017 conversation going by sharing this video on social media.

What was your favorite social media moment of 2016? Share with us in the comments below.

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Facebook is incredibly thirsty for your eyeballs this New Year’s Eve

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App notifications—they're bad! But app notifications that are basically advertisements? Actually the worst!

Facebook doesn't care. It's urging users of Messenger, one of the social network's Snapchat clones, to open the app and enjoy a variety of "festive frames and stickers" this New Year's Eve.

The notification—which you might've received on your phone Thursday—is an open invite to explore Messenger's not-so-well-advertised snapping features. Open the app, and you'll see a circle at the bottom of your screen, emblazoned with "2017": Read more...

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Facebook Live wants users at any cost—even porn, piracy, and polling

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Facebook really, really, really wants you to love live video. 

Facebook has started nudging people to not only create live videos, but consume them too. An update automatically pushes more live video to your smartphone screen. A bunch of people have been seeing a message pop up on their mobile News Feed: "Feeling the winter vibes? Go Live and winter it up with friends," the company suggests.

But if you're going live, what type of content are joining?

For a snapshot of what's on Facebook Live, check out a map of public live videos, available on the desktop version of Facebook. Click on the glowing blue dots, and you can seemingly teleport yourself across the world. But instead of historic sights or live events, you're more likely to come across flashes of boobs and butts, replete with an audience suggesting what to reveal next, and maybe a pirated TV show or soccer game, too Read more...

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How to Build Self-Confidence After a Bad Month: 8 Helpful Tips

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When you've had a really bad day, the last thing you want to do is spend the night figuring out how to rebuild for the next.

Now, imagine if it were an entire month. Your energy is sapped. You might even feel defeated. And the last thing you feel is confident. Getting up and trying again seems like an ordeal -- one that requires a lot more effort than you feel like making. But you have to.

When we've experienced a prolonged period of negative events, one of the biggest challenges is regaining your personal morale to go back and give it another shot. That's true of dating, and it's true of negative fallbacks at work. We're here to discuss the latter -- and we've got some ideas for how you can get your professional groove back.

Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

So if you've had a tough month and you're not feeling so positive, chin up -- we've got a whole collection of tips to get you back on your feet.

8 Tips for Rebuilding Self-Confidence After a Bad Month

1) Talk to your manager.

We are a society that's afraid of looking weak, and it has a bad impact on our behavior. It makes 29% of us reluctant to ask for help at home, and 40% of us afraid to be nice at work -- because we fear that people will take advantage of us.

It makes sense, then, that many of us are afraid to ask for help at work for fear of looking foolish or ill-informed. Not only can that lead to making mistakes in the first place, but it can also leave you without the necessary information to avoid them in the future.

Let your boss know that you recognize where things have fallen short, and ask for specific feedback. Chances are, your manager will appreciate your proactive attitude about mistakes.

2) Ask what “bad” means to you, compared to reality.

"I'm my own worst critic." It's something that many of us say, since we expect perfection from ourselves, which starts at an alarmingly young age. In one study of children in Singapore, researchers found that 60% scored remarkably high on "self-criticalness," with 78% scoring high in "socially prescribed perfectionism." And more than half -- 59% -- were reported to have both.

Yikes. With such a perfectionism epidemic, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re perceiving your “bad” month to be worse than it actually was.

That’s another place where talking to someone else about it -- like your manager -- can help to put things into perspective. Personally, I have a tendency to assume the absolute worst about everything, especially when it comes to mistakes at work.

But as soon as I bring it up with a colleague or my boss, one of three things usually happen:

  1. It turns out to be a first-time mistake that everyone makes.
  2. It’s easy to fix.
  3. It’s really not that big of a deal.

When we’re so focused on being perfect, we tend to view mistakes as -- at worse -- fireable offenses. If that’s the assumption you make with every typo, missed deadline, or other mistake, your confidence is going to take a huge hit.

Instead, when a “crisis” occurs, try your best to step back and put it into perspective. How bad is it, really? Are you completely powerless to it, or is there something you can do to address it now? Once you’ve fully evaluated the problem -- which should only require about five minutes of deep breath and de-escalation from your panic -- gaining the confidence to tackle the issue might be easier than it first looked.

3) Don’t turn failure into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As we covered above, many of us allow our perfectionism to manifest as an overreaction to mistakes. If that’s how we constantly behave in the face of performance that doesn’t meet our own standards, could we start habitually expecting failure from ourselves?

Yes. That’s because 70% of us suffer from something called Imposter Syndrome -- the sense that, no matter how much we’ve achieved, we don’t belong in a leadership position or deserve the success of having gotten there. And according to recent research, going through life feeling like an imposter can cause us to bring less confidence (and therefore, less quality) to our work, turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s easy to discount our success as undeserving, and to easily dismiss our hard work. But if we keep sending those messages to ourselves, we’ll start to accept them as truth and it’ll reflect in our work.

However, the opposite is also true -- which psychologist Amy Cuddy touched on in her wildly popular TEDGlobal talk. Since then, she’s continued her research on the power of “faking it until you become it.” That’s when we send ourselves the opposite message of failure, instead reaffirming our power, success, and worth. That approach to work can achieve a reverse self-fulfilling process, in which we learn to believe in our success, instead of feeling like we’re imposters.

Check out this helpful visual guide that explains how body language can help beat Imposter Syndrome. Even by assuming a certain stance, we can instill confidence in ourselves.

4) Evaluate how engaged you are at work.

There’s a problem in the U.S. workplace. Many people don’t really want to be there, as evidenced by the fact that only 34.2% of people are actually engaged at work. In short, that means we just don’t care. And when we don’t care, our work suffers -- how can we bring quality to something for which we have so little passion?

If you feel that disengaged at work, you have a few options. First, you can speak with your manager -- again. Chances are, he or she has noticed your work is suffering, and if you’re able to honestly explain why, that might lead to a productive conversation about the direction of your career. From there, it all depends on how that discussion ends. If your manager isn’t receptive, then it might be time to consider a career change.

5) Formulate a plan for how you’ll avoid another bad month.

Sometimes, there are months in which you really did screw up. It’s okay -- we’ve all been there, which we’ll get to later.

The important thing is that you recognize what went wrong, and that you know how you’re going to prevent it from happening again. When I worked in event planning, we did that for every engagement. We kicked off every project by outlining every possible problem that could arise, but unexpected issues still came up. When they did, we documented all of them and, after the event, formulated a plan to avoid them in the future.

That strategy isn’t limited to events, and most workplace mistakes can be treated the same way. As soon as they’ve been resolved, record them and consider sharing them with your team -- that’s the best way to ensure that they don’t happen again.

6) Know that failure is not uncommon.

'Tis a lesson you should heed:

Try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try again.”

William Edward Hickson

Not too long ago, two researchers in Texas performed a study on the failure rate of new businesses. Between 1990 and 2011, they found that 92% of the 2.4 million retail businesses that opened during that period also closed during the same span of time. Among the businesses that closed, 25% did so after one year, and 50% closed after two. Roughly 75% of them were owned by first-time entrepreneurs, and 71% percent of the failed business owners didn’t bother trying again.

That last figure is a shame, since the same study also found that the 29% of business owners who decided to try again were more likely to be successful on subsequent tries.

Two things about this study stand out to us:

  1. The commonality and high rate of failure.
  2. The success rate of people who try again.

To the first point, don’t feel isolated in your failure. And as long as you’re acknowledging that making mistakes -- and maybe even failing -- happen to almost everyone, don’t give up, either. As the numbers show, you likely have more to lose by not trying again.

7) Evaluate what you can control.

When things are going so well, it’s easy for us to stop taking care of ourselves. That could be why 39% of adults indulge in unhealthy food when they’re stressed.

While an occasional treat is fine, treating chronic stress with poor nutrition or a lack of exercise will only make matters worse. And here’s the thing -- those are parts of your life that you can control. It’s easy to feel like stressful work situations spiral beyond a solution that you can reach on your own. But self-care? You’ve got this.

Much of the time, constant business travel is blamed for an unhealthy lifestyle, but we’ve got some tips to keep that in check, too -- many of which can also be applied to a busy life at home. Plus, what you eat plays a vital role in your productivity. Check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s guidelines for eating to get more done.

8) Take a break.

Here’s a thought. Could you be making more mistakes than usual because you’re burned out?

In Germany, for example, 24% of employees report feeling burned out. When we’re feeling such a high level of stress from overworking, it achieves the opposite of getting more done -- it actually starts to negatively impact our cognitive function. We start to get forgetful, make mindless errors, and might even have stronger emotional responses to negative situations.

In other words, you need a break. Guilt can get in the way of that -- after all, 55% of us feel bad about leaving our desks just for a breather, and 47% of us are ashamed of taking time off. But the longer we let that trend continue, the closer we get to complete burnout, and the more likely our work is to suffer as a result.

Seriously -- take a break. And maybe even put that vacation time to use. When you come back, you’ll have a renewed perspective that can help you tackle your goals.

Starting to Rebuild

Feel better?

We certainly hope so. As you begin to regain your confidence after a bad month -- or making the effort to do so -- take your time. Evaluate your priorities, and see which of these tips best fits in with them. Don't try to tackle them all at once, or else you might end up feeling overwhelmed, which would defeat the purpose.

Here's to the new year ahead. Best of luck -- we know you've got this.

What do you do to rebuild confidence after a bad month? Let us know in the comments.

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Police point out robber’s major fail in humorous Facebook post

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Police officers in Georgia are annoyed with how easy one thief made it to solve a recent crime.

The Marietta, Georgia Police Department posted a brief note on Facebook Monday addressed to the "gentleman who shoplifted from one of our local pawn shops today."

"When you make it this easy it takes all the fun out of chasing bad guys!" they wrote in the sarcastic post.

Apparently the shoplifter gave the pawn shop clerk his driver's license and a finger print on the pawn ticket before stealing from the shop. The robbery was also caught on camera, so the police have a lot to work with. Read more...

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Forget Networking: Become a Connector

ThinkstockPhotos-532049662-483225-edited.jpgNo matter how far you advance your career, networking is likely never going to be something you enjoy. And for the introverted among us, it can feel like we’re being forced back into those endless icebreaker exercises we had to do at corporate retreats while we were coming up. So, let’s stop.

Wait, what?

You read that correctly. Let’s stop networking. Instead, let’s start connecting and helping. 

When you start looking at networking as a way to help people, it gets a lot easier. Remember what Jim Rohn once said: “If you help enough people get what they want, inevitably you get what you want.” Here’s how you do it.

Be Approachable

Networking and industry meet-and-greets are inherently uncomfortable, even for the extroverted out there. Thankfully, as someone who has already worked her way up the ladder, you are now the connection people hope to gain. This means that, while you are getting your bearings, you can let people come to you. This is far easier than trying to force yourself to start conversations before you’re ready to do so.

The Buddy System

You’re never too old or too high up the food chain to eschew the buddy system. In this instance, what you’re going to do is pair up with someone extroverted. The extroverts among us are fantastic at taking the leap to make introductions and striking up conversations in uncomfortable environments. As someone more introverted, your strength is keeping the conversation going by asking questions and paying close attention to how the person responds. It’s a symbiotic relationship and can help your extroverted “buddy” as much as it helps you.

Step it Up a Notch

By now you know that networking is about more than the initial meeting. It is about following up on that meeting. The simplest way to do this is to follow each other on social media. The casual nature of social media allows you to keep up with each other without a ton of effort. The connection can grow at its own pace. Reply to their posts. Promote their posts. Inevitably you’ll see one of your connections need something. This is when you make your move. Suggest a solution, offer to help, offer to connect that person with someone you know who can help them, etc.

Build Credibility

This works so well because you’ve already built up trust with your connection. You feel like you know each other already, so helping them solve a problem won’t feel strange or awkward. And it increases the likelihood that your offer will be seen and, more importantly, taken seriously.

Now what you must do is follow through on your offers. The hard part is not promising more than you know you can deliver. One of the best parts of making progress in your career is having the means to lend a hand to those who are still working their way up. Mentoring and helping others advance can become almost an addiction. Therefore, you need to be objective. Apply your business know-how to your urge to help and remember: it is better to promise small and deliver big than to promise big and deliver small.

Grow, Baby, Grow

The nice thing about this approach is that it takes the awkwardness of networking and turns it into an introvert-friendly and organic connection process. Best of all, your initial success will build upon itself naturally over time. It will be the best automated process you’ve ever developed.

People who actually enjoy networking are the unicorns of the business world. Most of the people you meet will be just like you: forcing themselves to do something incredibly awkward that they hate because they know it will help grow their companies. Your urge to avoid it is understandable. Still, try using the method we’ve outlined here. It’s awkwardness reduction properties will make networking much easier to endure.

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2016: The year Facebook became the bad guy

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Facebook numbs us. 

It's supposed to: As an app and social network, it offers an unending feed of comforting memories, photos from friends and updates from trusted brands. ("Not enjoying pooping at work?" Let Charmin help.)

But we felt a little sting in 2016, when Facebook, despite its best efforts, became political — an institution with far more power than many of us once recognized. It was the bad guy in an era that felt like a dystopic movie.

It plotted to expand its internet service empire, giving us a glimpse into a future when the world's largest social network administers internet access to millions (or billions) rather than ceding control to other providers. It overreacted to reports of bias in its "Trending" news feature and terminated its staff of human editors. Important media was censored on the platform. And Facebook allowed disinformation and viral hoaxes to run amok in the News Feed during a pivotal presidential election.  Read more...

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iPhone 7 was a top holiday gift, but Apple Watch is fading

iPhone 7 More iPhone 7 devices were unwrapped over the 2016 holidays compared with Google Pixel smartphones, according to new data released by analytics service Mixpanel. Specifically, in the first few days after Christmas, the number of unique iPhone 7’s increased by 12.7 percent, compared with an 8.5 percent increase for Google’s newest flagship. And when comparing iOS to Android devices… Read More

After arriving at 100th railway station in India, Google’s WiFi is set to hit another 100 in 2017

Google Train Last September, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a fairly ambition plan to bring free WiFi to 400 railway stations across India, a goal that would cover 10 million passengers a day, by the company’s count, making a small but meaningful impact on the estimated one billion-plus people in the country who aren’t connected to the internet. In January, the roll out started, bringing… Read More

The Science Behind the Most Popular Infographics of 2016

Science of Infographics

What makes people want to share an infographic?

Is it a certain color scheme that catches the eye? Do certain formats work better than others? Or, in the end, is it all about the content? At Visme, we set out to answer these questions by performing a content analysis of the most shared infographics on social media.

Using BuzzSumo, we identified every infographic with more than 5,000 shares across some major social media platforms -- Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ -- and analyzed them for different characteristics. Those were things like word count, size, colors used, format, and topic. Save countless hours using these free, pre-made templates to design your  infographics.

Here's what we found after analyzing over 200 infographics -- and takeaways on how you can apply these insights to your own infographics, making them more shareable.

10 Factors Behind the Most Popular Infographics of 2016

1) Most Popular Industries

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Infographics were once used to simplify complex topics with the sole purpose of educating the viewer. Now, they're seen as a highly shareable content format, with the same viral potential as memes -- after all, visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media.

That could explain why we found that most of the past year's top-shared infographics were in categories like entertainment, sports, health, psychology, lifestyle, and food. And from the evolution of Justin Bieber’s music, to a visual of Kobe Bryant’s career highlights, the most shared infographics of 2016 also had celebrities as their central focus.

Many of the most popular infographics were also focused on topics personally relevant to readers’ lives, like health and lifestyle tips -- which contrasts from content on politics, global causes, or news.

Takeaways for Marketers

Focus on creating infographics that directly appeal to readers’ personal needs and goals. Creating a buyer persona can help, as it helps you to understand what those goals are.

2) Most Popular Industries by Social Network

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Certain topics perform better on different social networks. As the site with the most users, for example, Facebook seems to be the place to post content related to entertainment, sports, health, psychology, and education. Meanwhile, infographics with career-related content do best on LinkedIn, where you’re also most likely to find infographics on finance and business topics.

On Pinterest, content related to health, psychology, food and lifestyle perform best. Roughly 31% of online adults use this social network -- compared to 72% for Facebook -- with the majority of users being women.

Twitter, conversely, appears to be the place to post content related to jobs, entertainment, sports, and education. With 23% of online adults using it, it's comparatively lagging among other social networks.

Takeaways for Marketers

When you're developing your buyer personas, figure out where they "live" online. Combined with their interests and goals, that will help you determine where they're most likely to discover your visual content.

3) Most Popular Infographics by Type

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Not all infographics are created equal. From timelines, to maps, to charts, to the occasional article that's converted into an infographic -- No one of these visuals is identical to another.

And while some might argue that the last format -- the article-as-an-infographic -- isn't really an infographic since it contains no numbers, we found it to be the most popular one. They don't actually include any statistics, charts, or visualizations. Rather, they contain existing informational content enhanced by colors, icons, and other illustrations.

The second-most popular type in this sample was the how-to infographic, which guides readers through steps to achieve a certain outcome. Within this category are “cheat sheets” -- the infographics that compile all the information readers need to complete a particular task, within a single graphic. Think: keyboard shortcuts for Mac, or baking and cooking substitutions.

For the sake of comparison, here are some additional formats that were included in our sample:

  • Mixed charts: Uses a variety of charts and graphs
  • Single charts: Displays one chart or graph
  • Visualized numbers: Uses icons, colors, and other graphical elements to visualize stats and figures
  • Anatomical: Visualizes the parts of a whole
  • Timeline: Visualizes a chronological sequence of events
  • Location: Visualizes a geographical location through a map
  • Comparison: Compares more than one thing or idea, side-by-side
  • Process: Uses a flowchart or decision tree

Takeaways for Marketers

For the most part -- and to our surprise -- infographics with the least amount of statistics and numbers performed best on social media. The one exception to that rule is a visual cheat sheet, which serves as a quick and handy guide. So when you include data in your infographics, choose wisely and keep it limited.

4) Most Popular Types of Infographics by Social Network

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To further analyze the performance of different infographic formats, we also examined how each type of infographic performed best on different social networks.

We found that informational and single charts, for example, performed best across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Single charts were particularly popular on Twitter, as the nature of the platform favors micro-content.

Cheat sheets and how-to infographics, meanwhile, worked best on Pinterest, which aligned with the topics we found to be most popular on that particular network -- the greatest number of visuals were related to food, cooking, lifestyle, and hobbies.

Takeaways for Marketers

When you create your visual content strategy, plan for a diverse portfolio of infographic formats. That way, you'll have a broad selection of content that you can share across different social networks, depending on where it's shown to perform best.

5) Median Word Count per Number of Shares

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A main purpose of infographics is to present complex information in a visual, easy-to-digest way. As expected, the most popular infographics also had some of the shortest word counts.

In order to account for one outlier in the sample -- an infographic with a whopping 10,500 words -- we calculated the median word count for each of five quintiles within the distribution of this sample, according to shares. Those were ranked from lowest to highest.

From there, we saw that the trend roughly followed this pattern: The more words an infographic contained, the less it was shared.

Takeaways for Marketers

Simply put, keep your infographics short and sweet. In general, they should contain no more than a page’s worth of written content, and even that's a bit on the long side.

6) Median Word Count per Network

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We were also curious to find out if longer infographics performed better on certain social networks. After calculating the median word count of the top 50 most-shared infographics on each network, we found that the shortest infographics performed best on Facebook and Twitter. Conversely, the longest were shared most on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Takeaways for Marketers

Here's where your diverse portfolio of visual content again enters the picture. Aim for Facebook and Twitter with infographics that are mostly comprised of visuals and minimal text. With longer, more in-depth infographics, go for LinkedIn and Pinterest.

7) Colors Used in Popular Infographics

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Color palettes play a huge role in the way an infographic is perceived by viewers. Visuals with color increase a person's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%, but it has to be used correctly.

We found that blue is, by far, the most widely-used color among popular infographics, followed by red and green. Secondary and composite colors that appeared in the sample included brown, yellow, orange, purple, and pink.

But despite the popularity of monochromatic color schemes, there were relatively few infographics that applied variations of a single hue. Instead, most applied between three and four different colors, including such neutral colors as white, black, and grey.

Takeaways for Marketers

Be mindful of your palette when you're creating content. Regardless of social network, it seems, primary colors like blue, red, and green are safe bets -- and perform well across a variety of topics and industries.

8) Median Size of Popular Infographics

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Here's another category where we had a bit of an outlier -- one extremely long infographic that weighed in at 1,024 by 46,515 pixels. To keep it from skewing our results, we calculated the median size of the best performing infographics on social media.

We found that the median of this sample was 800 by 2619 pixels. That roughly translates to an infographic with a length that's slightly more than three times its width.

Takeaways for Marketers

When it comes to infographics, keep things vertical. That said, keep a healthy perspective on the dimensions -- The best-performing infographics are three-to-four times longer than they are wide.

9) Average Number of Shares by Alexa Rating

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Curious as to how site rankings compare to the number of shares received, we also sorted the sample according to ratings from Alexa -- a site that measures traffic -- for the sites on which they were originally published.

We started with the sites that had highest rankings -- and, therefore, the greatest amount of traffic -- and ordered them in descending order to those with the lowest rankings. We then divided the population into five quintiles, as we did in measuring the median word count per number of shares.

The results were a bit counterintuitive. We found that the sites at both the top 20% and bottom 20% of the Alexa rating distribution actually had the least amount of shares. Those that fell in the middle, however, received the greatest amount of shares.

While more data would be required to fully explain those results, it could have something to do with the fact that many mainstream media outlets -- which are at the higher end of the traffic spectrum -- tend not to publish infographics that are particularly shareable, according to the factors we considered in this study. Instead, they tend to publish visuals like single charts that are mostly educational in nature.

Takeaways for Marketers

Evaluate your priorities. Do you care more about shareability, or traffic? Infographics appearing on sites with low Alexa ratings still managed to garner over 20,000 shares. We're big advocates for focusing on creating good content -- if it's shareable, it will attract views. From there, you don't have as much control over where it's shared, regardless of traffic, but no one can accuse you of creating sub-par content.

10) Average Number of Shares by Social Network

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Last, but certainly not least, we found that Facebook and Pinterest were overall the best places to share infographics. The remaining social media platforms exhibited significantly smaller averages of total shares.

Takeaways for Marketers

If virality is your primary goal, look to Facebook and Pinterest first. After you see success there, you can experiment with posting your infographic on LinkedIn and Twitter, and evaluate how it performs there.

Make It Visual

When it comes to the importance of visuals in marketing, the numbers speak for themselves -- 71% of online marketers use them in their social media strategies. But with so much visual content out there, especially infographics, it's important to stand out.

As you begin to plan your content for the coming year, keep these tips in mind. Carving out a name for yourself in the world of viral infographics is a good thing -- but maintain the momentum with a diverse portfolio of images.

What factors have made your infographics shareable? Let us know in the comments.

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