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Telling Your Story Visually on Social Media
November 30, 2015

Collection of graphics on climate change (Climate Action Campaign)
Credit: Climate Action Campaign

When you’re crafting a message on social media, creating a narrative is important to its success.

Tara McMahon is the digital creative director at Climate Action Campaign, where she focuses on telling the story of climate change and finding innovative ways to convey the detailed science of climate change.

“Given the nature of platforms like Facebook and Twitter,” said McMahon, “images and graphics offer an important opportunity to engage the reader in your story.”

We asked McMahon to offer the YALI Network her tips for incorporating compelling visuals into online campaigns.

1. Create a mini-campaign “brand” for a set of visuals.

Using consistent fonts, colors and design elements helps drive the overarching message visually.

2. Pick the best approach for telling your story.

Info graphics are helpful for distilling finds in reports, photos are best for highlighting real-life impacts, and quotes and graphics are good for elevating direct stories.

3. Use your resources!

The Internet is full of free and low-cost resources: templates for infographics, free fonts, color palette generations, Creative Commons photos and more.

4. Think of visuals as a companion to your messaging.

For example, visuals can help tell a story about real-world local impacts of a global problem like climate change. It’s important to start with a strong message you’re looking to convey. Then visuals help give more context so you can craft a story that will really resonate with the viewer.

5. Be creative!

Trying new things is the best way to determine what works with your audience. Test out using two different types of visuals that convey the same story and see which one engages people the most.