We all know the importance of images in both social media and content marketing. Visual content is king, and that’s not changing any time soon. Because of this, many businesses are utilizing infographics to distribute information and maintain engagement.
Infographics are one of the most effective ways you can share information in a way that users will respond to. Users can digest infographics quickly, and the strong visual appeal can capture their attention. It makes sense that infographics can get more shares on social media and blog posts on other domains, both of which directly benefit your business.
It’s not just common sense that tells us infographics are so effective; research proves it, too. Different studies have shown that:
- An infographic is 30x more likely to be read than an article made up of pure text
- Colorful visuals increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80%
- People will retain 65% of information that’s combined with a relevant image, as opposed to remembering only 10% when they only hear the information
- Content with relevant images get 94% more views than content without them
Infographics don’t have to rely only on statistics; there’s plenty of different infographic styles you can choose from. The style you choose will be dependent on your audience and the content you want to convert into an image. We’re going to look at 7 of the most popular types of infographic styles that get more shares and engagement, wherever you decide to use them.
1. Mind Maps
Mind maps are a fantastic tool that provide simplified organization as you follow topics and ideas down different branches or paths. They’re visually interesting without being too complicated, and can demonstrate multiple different facets of one main topic. Mind maps can also be used for storytelling purposes.
One great use of a mind map is Habitat for Humanity’s infographic all the way back from 2013. They have a Ven diagram turned mind map explaining why they do what they do. It tells their story and shows their impact, as well as the benefits they’ve had on their community. Their “1 million volunteers” section is particularly genius, letting users know that “experts,” “first timers” and “you” are all welcome to volunteer with the organization. It acts as a subtle but efficient call to action.
Habitat for Humanity’s true stroke of inspiration is making the infographic interactive on their site. If you go to their “Connecting the Dots” page and click on different sections, the infographic will unfold in front of you. This makes it dynamic and engaging.
If you want to create a mind map infographic, some best practices include:
- Don’t get too complex; the visual organization should be simple and easy to navigate
- Use different colors to separate branches of ideas and to make the image more visually interesting
- Focus on one very specific topic and the intricacies within it instead of trying to fit too many topics on one mind map. If something doesn’t fit, then you’ve got fuel for the next infographic ready to go!
As someone who loves checklists on their own, checklist infographics are a personal favorite. They’re informative, and their actionable content makes them extremely valuable. Would you rather see an infographic showing why you should create landing pages, or an infographic giving you a checklist of what makes a great landing page? The second is likely to offer more value.
Checklists can be used to teach your audience. A great example of this is the checklist on an infographic from Column Five that teaches viewers how to optimize their content for SEO. They even sort different tasks into different sections for easy organization and to keep the information from appearing overwhelming. The task descriptions are also described concisely. It’s actionable and informative, and I’d be surprised if some viewers didn’t save it for personal use.
To create a strong checklist infographic that is both actionable and engaging, some best practices to remember include:
- Make it clear that it’s a checklist; add empty boxes next to tasks or items that users could check off—mentally or literally
- If you have a lot of items on your checklist, break them down into different sections so it feels more manageable to your readers
- Try to incorporate pictorial illustrations somewhere on the page to make it more engaging than just text, even if they’re off to the side
3. Process & Road maps
Process and road map infographics, like timelines and checklists, are explanatory but extremely valuable. They combine visual and textual representation to show viewers how a given process works, often taking them step-by-step through it. Again, these are actionable, answering the question “how” more than “why,” “when,” or “where.”
The American Egg Board’s “Road Map to a Better Egg Package” is a great example of this type of infographic, showing the process of how farmers can package their eggs better for shipment. It takes users step by step through the process, with helpful tips in between each. At the end of the infographic, they arrive at a clear destination that’s demonstrated visually.
If you really want to go above and beyond, you can make your road map infographic interactive like the mind map example from Habitat for Humanity. Aberdeen Group added animation to their road map infographic, with a car driving to each step as viewers scroll down the page to new “Tollgate.” They even have animations showing the tollgate barriers lifting as you drive through.
Best practices for road maps and process infographics include:
- Focus on a step-by-step format that stays in a linear, chronological order; the whole point, after all, is showing the order of the process and how to get to an end result
- Have a clear and specific destination that will be valuable to your users; “get more engagement on Facebook” would be better than “do well on social media”
4. Comparison (something vs. something)
Comparison (or something vs. something) infographics are a great tool that can be used to explain the “why” and “what” questions. Why you should choose a certain product, follow a process, or vote for a certain party. It’s all about this vs. that, and small businesses can use these to sell and show why they (or their processes or cultures) are different. These infographics are also a great way for small businesses to demonstrate their knowledge and authority on a subject.
The American Health Value’s infographic depicting the differences between HSAs and MSAs is a fantastic example of how a comparison infographic can give viewers extremely valuable information very quickly in an easy-to-digest format. They break down the specifics into sections that clearly labeled. This quickly highlights that there are general insurance differences, and then goes into more detail. The information is thorough, but is much more easily processed in this format than it would be in a blog post.
To create a strong comparison infographic that will get more shares, you should:
- Use formatting to your advantage; bold a brief description of a comparison, and explain in smaller text underneath if necessary
- Facts are your friend with this one, so rely on data, evidence, and stats when possible
- Group like comparison points together; show the differences directly next to each other (this sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised)
Timeline infographics are exactly what they sound like; they show a chronological progression of events in a linear format. They’re best used to answer questions like “what,” “where,” and “when.”
They have a number of great uses, including telling the story of your business with actual dates. The infographic below from Dustn.tv portrays the evolution of social media in a linear way that’s still aesthetically interesting and very detailed. They use actual dates, which grounds the reader in time.
Timelines can also show the progression your customers or audience go through when taking an action or having an experience; in the example below, a rehab center has a timeline infographic showcasing the different stages of withdrawal and how long they last. It’s simple, but it’s effective, and the simple visual gives readers everything they need to know if just a few seconds.
Best practices for timeline infographics include:
- Add more visual and graphic elements where you can; pictures and illustrations are a plus and can capture user attention
- Remember that the timeline format you choose will be subconsciously analyzed by viewers; if you put lots of ups and downs, they many interpret them as significant; the peak in the infographic above, for example, represents the peak of withdrawal symptoms
- Keep the design simple and clean so users are able to follow it more clearly
- Utilize white space to make the image more visually appealing
6. Multiple Sections & Educational
While some infographics are simple, others contain a lot of information. When that’s the case, you can utilize educational infographics broken down into multiple sections. This allows for longer infographics and more information that’s broken down into manageable chunks. These infographics can answer any questions that you want, including “how,” “what,” and “why.”
This infographic from SAS breaks down information into several distinct sections. They have a “general knowledge” section of earthquake severity and frequency knowledge, and then have individual sections about earthquake statistics and history in California, Chile, Japan, and Indonesia. These sections are distinct, and each has a map showing where the worst of the earthquakes it. This is much more effective than comparing the statistics combined and comparing them all grouped together; the separate sections make the information easier to digest.
Best practices for this type of infographic include:
- Each section should be unique, with a self-contained topic; try to prevent overlap amongst sections
- Have very clear visual distinctions separating sections
- You can include multiple types of information in different sections, but keep styling consistent throughout; group like information together
7. Do’s & Don’ts
The last infographic on our list—the do’s and don’ts infographic—is exceptionally popular. It’s a simple concept, and it can be both actionable and educational at the same time. This makes them valuable.
Depending on how you create it, this type of infographic can answer both “how” and “why” types of questions. This type of infographic is easy to apply to any business and any industry, and small businesses can establish knowledge and expertise with this one.
Web Design Relief’s “Online Publishing Do’s and Don’ts for Writers” is a great example to follow. They give brief but valuable actions that all writers should (or should not) take when publishing online. Underneath some are additional text, which either gives extra tips or additional explantion why the action should be taken, increasing the value of the infographic.
There are a few things you should always keep in mind to create a strong do’s and don’ts infographic. These include:
- Don’t just repeat yourself in the negative; if you’re do is “Do use lots of color,” your don’t shouldn’t be “Don’t forget color;” it needs to feel more different if you’re going with a repetitive idea, with unique explanations
- Keep the tips as actionable as possible; if you can explain why your readers should take these actions, your infographic becomes informative, too
- Keep do’s and don’ts in larger font, and use smaller font add explanations underneath
Infographics are a great way to turn great content visual. The visual image can leave a greater impact on readers, even if they’d be reading the exact same thing in a post. Since images are better retained in our memories than just text, this can help your business to promote brand recognition, brand authority, and the ever-elusive shares.
With multiple infographic styles to choose from, you can create a number of diverse visuals to keep things interesting. If you’d like to create an infographic using Snappa, click here to get started.