How to Create Infographics for Visual Social Marketing

By Krista Neher

Creating an infographic for visual social marketing is a process — it isn’t as simple as designing a pretty chart that’s derived from statistics. A solid infographic must be built on an interesting idea that meets your marketing or business objectives.

Infographics must contain interesting information that tells a story in a logical way. It should be brought to life in a visually entertaining way that’s easy for readers to consume. Finally, it must be promoted, or else no one will ever see it.

The example referenced for this article is the first infographic that Boot Camp Digital created, Cincinnati is Social.

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How to brainstorm and define the topic for the visual social marketing infographic

The first step in creating an infographic is deciding what the infographic intends to convey. The creative concept is the foundation of the infographic, and it can make or break its success.

The topic of the infographic should be original and interesting. Regurgitating industry data that’s broadly known won’t cut it. You need a new angle, an interesting take, some fresh data, or a noteworthy concept to “break through the noise.”

The brainstorming process should include these key components:

  • Marketing objectives: Start with your marketing objectives clearly outlined upfront so that you can determine whether your infographic meets these goals. Also decide upfront how the infographic will be used: For example, Is it for marketing purposes, or will it be used for a specific communications purpose?

  • Brainstorm topics: Brainstorm ideas or topics about interesting subject areas that relate to your business and marketing objectives. Get creative. In this stage, there are no bad ideas. Evaluate everything, no matter how strange. (Stranger topics are often more interesting.)

    If you’re having trouble, link your infographic to popular culture or a seasonal element. Or imagine an outrageous or interesting claim that you can make. Spent time on this stage and invite people from inside and outside your organization into the process (if possible). During the brainstorming phase, do research and look online for inspiration.

    Also, looking at popular content in your industry and other industries can provide insights into the kind of content that people are interested in. Pay attention to the kind of content that’s trending on YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, humor sites, and other social media sites.

  • Evaluate the ideas: When you have come up with some ideas, evaluate them and choose the best one. Evaluate ideas based on the marketing objectives that you set upfront. Also, assess how likely people are to share or write about your infographic based on how interesting, entertaining, and unique it is.

    Be sure that your idea matches the identity and feel of your brand or business. Determine whether sufficient data is available to support the idea you have for the infographic.

When Boot Camp Digital created Cincinnati is Social, they started with business objectives: raising awareness within our local market (Cincinnati) and reaching social media marketers who could recommend training to their clients.

The topic for the infographic should also match, and deliver on, your marketing objectives.

How to research and find data points for the visual social marketing infographic

After the idea for an infographic is clear, the next step is to research and find the data and information that will be a part of the infographic. Depending on the topic, the process may be relatively easy or involve a lot of work.

Start by looking for studies or research in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Even seasoned researchers can’t find everything — ask your contacts whether they know of any data or studies that can support your idea.

You may also choose to conduct your own research. More and more organizations are taking their own surveys and doing their own research to support the necessary data for infographics.

For the Cincinnati is Social infographic, Boot Camp Digital had a difficult time finding data. It found one study about how businesses in Cincinnati are using social media, but didn’t have enough data to create a story. Rather than include only statistics from a study, Boot Camp Digital included items such as a quote from an executive at Procter & Gamble (a Fortune 500 company that’s headquartered in Cincinnati).

Finding data might be difficult — be prepared to get creative about your data, and don’t be afraid to include nontraditional sources. Think “outside the box” to find data that can be reinterpreted.

How to build the infographic story

After you know the general premise of the infographic and you’ve done your research, the next step is to build the data into a story. Your infographic should have a logical flow to it that leads to a natural conclusion.

Start by looking at all the data you’ve collected, and determine how it can be grouped. An infographic doesn’t simply place data on the page — it is about sharing information with visual content.

Building the story combines the idea for the infographic with data to tell the story. If you don’t already have the data to support the story you want to tell, you may need to loop back and conduct additional research.