Among b2b marketers, there's a word for the ultimate infographic-sharing platform: Pinterest.
The photo-heavy social network lends itself to sharing and distributing infographics, and there are multiple boards devoted exclusively to b2b infographics. If a marketer is lucky, a good infographic on Pinterest will go viral and make its way through the social media ecosystem.
“Pineterest is huge for infographics right now,” said Dan Zarrella, HubSpot's social media scientist. Zarrella is an enthusiastic creator and distributor of infographics and said they are a good form of content marketing—providing you pay attention to their unique needs.
First, most infographics are initially published as part of a blog post and then pinned or posted; but it's important to be aware that any text you write that's not included within the infographic will be lost.
“It's got to be self-contained,” Zarrella said.
Good infographics also tell a complete story through a combination of visuals and text, said Belinda Ivey, CEO of KarBel Multimedia, a company that specializes in producing infographics for a number of customers.
“You want to show information and tell a story with visual elements,” Ivey said. “You want people to spend less time reading and instead understand the contents by simply looking at it.”
Infographics often replace text-only surveys and reports. A recent example is a study from Experian Marketing Services with statistics about connecting with customers across multiple digital channels. Among its miscellaneous insights: Pinterest is the third most visited U.S. social networking site, behind Facebook and Twitter; 91% of online adults use social media regularly; and 11% of smartphone users have scanned a 2-D barcode within the past 30 days.
Normally produced as text or simple charts, this information was rendered by Experian as a series of arrows, circles, icons, thought balloons and cartoon characters, with very little text.
One recent trend among popular infographics is to go long—some of Zarrella's more popular infographics are surprisingly long. Initially, like many bloggers, Zarrella was posting single graphs on the company blog, “but when I rolled it into one graphic, they did better. For some reason, people liked that better.”
Ivey pointed out that infographics frequently are long because of the limitations of most screens. The most popular style of infographic is a fixed-width file, like a jpeg or PDF, and many websites are designed at 960 pixels wide. Since a typical infographic can only be about 700 pixels wide, the only way to include lots of information and still make it legible is to make it longer.
When it comes to content, the sky is the limit for infographics, as long as it can be visually represented. Popular infographics pinned by Mashable include “U.S. Consumer Usage of Social Media to make Shopping Decisions” and “The Evolution of Batman.”
“There's a lot of data out there for data's sake,” Zarrella said. “But for a business person, it's not useful. I don't do any data that's not based on a success metric. It's got to be able to teach me something.”
Some of his recent infographics are appropriately goal-based: “How to Get More Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook,” and “How to Get More Clicks on Twitter.”
Infographics also need not be confined to static files, Ivey said. They can include Flash, or HTML5 animation and even video to make them interactive.
“Video is becoming more popular,” she said. “We're starting to use animated icons that tell a story through statistics.”