infographicInfographics are a great way for you to drive traffic to your business website and increase social media marketing results. They can also establish credibility and authority in your particular area.

For those of you who are still out of the loop, an infographic is a visual representation of data, information, or knowledge. This “data viz”, (short for “data visualization”) is presented in a unique way where information is seen rather than read. People are much more likely to look at pictures to comprehend data than reading a long, boring article.

According to Graphs.net, research shows that the search volume for infographics has increased by an astounding 800% between 2010 and 2012. Companies large and small are using infographics to build their brands, educate their audience, and optimize their search engine ranking through link building.

Infographic design, however, is critical to getting your data off the ground.  Wanna have some infographic success?  Follow these tips:

1. Keep it short

Many infographics are far too long to handle. They take too long to read, and your readers may become frustrated and stop midway through. Try to edit your infographic down to its essential message. Jamming in a ton of information won’t do anything but lose the interest of your audience. It’s all about trying to take complex ideas and make them easy to understand, not the opposite!

In this situation (like some others in life), size does matter. If someone’s index finger gets tired from excessive scrolling on their mouse while viewing your infographic, try shortening it up.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Remember that adage “a picture is worth a thousand words?”. That applies here. It’s called an “infographic”, not an “infothousandwordessay”.

A successful infographic will use images to represent data rather than lengthy descriptions. This means you can’t just drop in an excel chart and call it a day. You’ve got to think outside the box.

Aesthetics play a part in infographics, so avoid any visuals that look like they belong in a high school math textbook.

With that being said, don’t forget about type all together. It does have its uses.  For example, if your infographic is on a boring topic, try to jazz it up with a fun and eye-catching font. Headers can also help break up your infographic, making the data easier to take in. Just make sure your typography doesn’t distract from the main objective: getting people to understand and give a darn about your information.

3. Make Your Infographic Easily Shareable

Did you know that according to MediaBistro.com, Twitter infographics are retweeted 832% more often than images or articles? That’s NUTS.

Pinterest is also blowing up with all kinds of infographics. Try to make sharing easy with social sharing buttons and create embed codes (Hubspot has a great tutorial on how to do this here. This will enable publishers to post your infographic to their website for more exposure.  Also make sure that you have a compelling social media-friendly thumbnail image to post, because many sites will crop your image in their feed.

4. Cite Your Sources

Credibility can make or break your infographic. Did you get your information from the Wall Street Journal or overhear it at a weekend soirée? By nature, infographics are based on data sets, facts, and numbers. No one wants to take the time to look at and share an infographic that lacks the proper citations. Make sure that all your info is legit, or people might start to question the legitimacy of your business.

5. Mind Your Visual Aesthetics

You can have a great set of data and cutesy little icons, but if they look like they’ve been regurgitated haphazardly on the screen, your infographic will #FAIL.  Your layout, color, spacing, sizing, and other design elements will help your infographic stand out in a crowd, and that’s the point when it comes to marketing.

Start by making a storyline so that your viewers have a path to follow. This will help the flow of your infographic. As far as colors go, try to avoid white as a background whenever possible. Infographics are often shared on websites and blogs that have white backgrounds, so it’s important to make sure viewers can tell when your infographic begins and ends. Also, try not to choose a color palette that completely overwhelms. You don’t want to scare away potential clients with an infographic that is too hard to read or burns their retinas.

While these are some important things to consider when designing an infographic, nothing is set in stone. The important thing is that your design must convey your message easily and in a way that appeals to your audience. Keep these tips handy and hopefully you’ll be able to integrate successful infographics into your marketing soon!