Visual Content Marketing: Pictures Are Worth More Than Words

Visual Content Marketing: Pictures Are Worth More Than Words

Joshie the Giraffe lounging around at the Ritz-Carlton (Photo credit: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company)

Pictures are worth more than 1,000 words. Wouldn’t you rather see the sun setting over a tropical island beach more than reading a description about it? Or a video of an adorable kitten wiggling her ears while being bottle-fed? Seeing it so much better than hearing or reading about it. As research has proven, humans are visual creatures. Most of us process information based on what we see. And when it comes to social media, we want to see more images, less text. Whether it’s an idea, experience or joke, people want to see it take shape in the form of a picture or video.

Think about it –why are people really on social media anyway? To have fun while connecting with people and things they enjoy. So in order to spark the most engagement on your business page, take those factors into account. Your audience wants to see exciting, relevant and engaging visual content.

inBLOOM recently attended the Business Development Institute & PRNewswire Visual Content Marketing & Communications Summit on April 10. We learned some really valuable information on the importance of visual content from case studies and roundtables with companies such as Chobani, Alex & Ani, Curalate, Pandemic Labs and AVON. Here are a few things we came away with.

1. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT: 80/20 RULE

When marketing on social media, let the 80/20 Rule be your guide. It’s as simple as that. As we learned from Jessica Woodbury, Social Media Manager of Alex and Ani, 80% of the time you’re posting you should be sharing non-promotional content. The other 20% of time –let your brand/products shine.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to numbers and you want to get the most engagement you possibly can from your audience. If you keep shoving your brand in their faces with logos, products, etc. then you’re most likely to eventually get the boot. Even though you’ve already earned that “like” or “follow,” remember that your audience will have no problem getting you off their newsfeed if you’re too boring (or pushy). So give the people what they want! Know your audience and share what they really want to see.

2. USE IMAGERY TO TELL A STORY

Images are worth MUCH more than words on social media. Just take a look at your own personal Facebook page and newsfeed. What are you and your friends posting? Photos and videos to tell a story. We communicate visually, and we like the images to mean something. Bottom line is visuals make an impact, but visuals with stories make memories.

Matt Peters, Founder and Creative Director of Pandemic Labs presented a successful case of visual storytelling. Basically, a young boy lost his stuffed animal giraffe named Joshie at the Ritz-Carton, the Loss Prevention Team found it, took photos of Joshie doing various activities around the hotel and they were shared online. It got them a lot of attention because it was completely unexpected to see something like this happen at the Ritz, and also showcased their awesome customer service. If they told a story like this through words, it just wouldn’t have been the same. This is also a great example of how they promoted the brand without using the logo or paid advertisements.

3. BRAND DESIGN VS. BRAND CONTENT

As I said earlier, people don’t want your logo plastered all over their social media newsfeeds. Heavy branding just isn’t necessary and it really isn’t effective. As Jessica Lauria, Director of Brand Communications of Chobani said, brand design and brand content work together but are not one in the same. Your brand design is your logo, packaging, etc. but your brand content is the words, images, experiences and product. Be creative and brand your product by delivering it in your own way.

Elevate the brand beyond the branding and product by showing people things they don’t know about your product. Chobani likes to use beautiful, mouthwatering, amazing food photography with subtle branding to promote its yogurt. Jessica explained how this is especially effective on Pinterest and Instagram where subtle branding is the only way to go. So, rather than posting a boring photo of a container or bowl of yogurt, they post something that’s most likely to be shared –a meal that incorporates the product. Hmmm, but how will you know it’s Chobani if there’s no yogurt in the picture? The logo is on the spoon and the container of yogurt is subtly placed in the background. Now that’s some smart, effective and delicious advertising!

 4. THE IMPORTANCE OF USER GENERATED CONTENT

Not all your advertising has to be of the highest production value. You don’t need to go on a thousand dollar photo shoot for images to use when promoting, and if you’re a small business it might not even be an option. It’s definitely good to have those professional photos with just the right lighting to showcase your products or company, but it’s not always necessary. The truth is, your audience is doing you a big favor by taking photos and sharing them for you. So take advantage of it!

Monitor user-generated content (UGC) on social media and share what people are visually saying about you. If you aren’t already, look through your social media pages every day to see what others are posting about you and then share with your audience. You can even get in on the fun too! Take pictures while you’re at work or have your clients send you pictures of what goes on behind the scenes.

If you notice that you’re not getting people to share photos of your product as much as you’d like, make it easier for them by giving them a reason to do so. If you’re hosting an event, encourage people to take photos of their experiences and share them by using a relevant hashtag. You can also hold a contest where people have to submit photos in order to win a prize. This is also a great way to get more interaction and engagement on your page.

At inBLOOM we’re going to continue to concentrate on visual branding and creative campaigns (maybe even throw in selfie here and there!)

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Social Media Strategies Inspired by Reality TV Star Power

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Reality television has become a guilty pleasure for many people, whether they admit to it or not. In fact, our digital landscape is saturated with people who when they’re not watching the shows, they’re reviewing the recaps, reading the gossip, and following the social networks covering it all. And, fueling the frenzy, are the reality show personalities from housewives to food network stars harnessing the power of social media networking to keep their shows in the forefront of pop culture. 

So, how can you learn to effectively promote your brand by watching reality stars market to and communicate with fans on social media?

Let’s start with Twitter. This powerful platform presents reality stars with the opportunity to tweet at any minute of the day to millions of people around the world. They use Twitter to live tweet during episodes and promote products. For example, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile retweets and responds to fans, frequently promoting her cookbooks and dessert line Dolci Della Dea. On Pi Day, Wakile tweeted out a photo of her cookbook Indulge with the caption “It’s Pi Day! Did you know my cookbook #Indulge will have a variety of different #mini pie recipes?” The reality star harnessed a holiday, a few hashtags and enticing pics of sweets to market her cookbook. 

Then there’s Facebook, which gives you the opportunity to write more than 140 characters about your business. Although new data shows less words are more when it comes to engaging fans. Andy Cohen’s show Watch What Happens Live uses Facebook to share photos, special guest news and sell merchandise. The show engages fans by asking them to post their questions for  guests and sharing memes.

Here are a few tips for rocking social networking like a reality star:

  • Link people to your company’s website frequently. Like Kathy Wakile, if you have a particular product that can relate to a national holiday, news or event, post about it so your followers will share it.
  • Have one-on-one conversations with the people who follow your account. If someone asks you a question, respond to them directly by clicking the “reply” button. Offer up questions to start conversations and get to know your followers.
  • Be consistent and relevant. The more you post and tweet, the more opportunity you have for connecting with people and growing your number of followers. If you’re engaging people, you’ll want to be pretty active on your accounts throughout the day.
  • Always be on trend. You’ll see reality stars tweeting and sharing news, fashion and food that has gone viral. Check out hashtags.org for news of trending hashtags and use them in your content, but use no more than three in your post or tweet or you’ll look desperate.
  • Be courteous. While there is always tons of drama happening on reality tv, the stars always give shout outs to fans and wish them a great morning and good night. Thank them also for sharing and retweeting your content and offer small rewards like discounts or branded merchandise to thank them for acts of social sharing kindness.
  • Invest in your brand. If one of your posts or tweets is receiving a lot of attention, promote it to reach an even bigger audience. Like any marketing campaign, you should allocate a budget to support your activity on social media. Events and product launches will need that extra push. Let’s face it, once you engage your circle of friends, existing customers and colleagues, you’ll want to consider tools like TwitterCounter and Twitter for Business to boost your number and attract newbies. Just be weary of spam followers because having bigger numbers is not necessarily better, unless people are engaged.

Instagram takes on a different approach to connecting with fans through photography. The popular app may seem more personal than marketable; however, reality star Snooki uses Instagram to promote her television appearances, her book Baby Bumps and her sunglasses line. Taking photos of your products being used and displayed creatively goes a long way. When posting photos of your products on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic like Snookie:

  • Post a caption that tells your followers what the product is, how it can be used and post a link to buy it. If the product is not available online, mention the alternative method for customers to get the product.
  • Just like Twitter, use hashtags to tag the name of the product and your company’s name. Instagram users will be able to find your photo just by searching your company’s name.
  • Engage by following others and liking their photos. If you push out content without participating, you’ll find little success marketing on Instagram.
  • Run a contest. For example, post a photo of one of your new products and ask your followers “Whoever can name this product first, wins it for free!” Followers get excited about engaging in a competition and other competitors may want to buy the product if they don’t end up winning it. Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff?

The more social media accounts you use, the more successful you will be at marketing to different users and communities. Reality stars are always consistent about sharing their news, pics and products on many accounts because just like anything else, people prefer different ways of communicating and getting their news.

Now that you know the dos, there are don’ts when it comes to using social media like a reality tv star. Here’s a few don’ts, which I’m sure publicists and agents share with their stars:

  • Never ignore your audience. Not interacting with your followers or failing to actively post will turn them off and you’ll lose them.
  • Think before you post. Make sure your content is free of profanity and negativity. If someone writes to you with something you might disagree with, be sure to respond professionally.
  • Don’t stray from content people have become accustomed to reading and sharing on your accounts. Your works may not come across as genuine. For example, Kim Kardashian was blasted on social media recently for taking a break from her usual selfies, belfies and pictures of North West to pass comment on the ethically controversial Syrian civil war. Her backing of #SaveKessab has received a mixed reaction from her followers, but her passive involvement has also been praised by the Syrian National Coalition.
  • Nobody likes a thief. Be sure to be creative and original. Stealing images or content is illegal and not a great way to start communicating your brand to people.
  • Don’t be repetitive. Many reality stars excel at reinventing themselves and staying on the social media ball with new pics and news related to their lives and brands. Spamming your audience constantly with the same information can be boring. And watch out for automated sharing tools on your social sites. They can come across as robotic.

If you’re a fan of reality tv or not, you can learn from how pop culture social media giants communicate and market their brands. Whether you’re following Nicole Polizzi “Snooki” with 6.94 million followers or the international advertising, marketing and public relations agency of Ogilvy & Mather with 94.3K followers, you’ll learn a thing or two about self-promotion.

 

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