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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Danielle Thibault
Danielle uses her background in public relations, event coordination and fundraising to gain exposure for inBLOOM’s clients by establishing connections with the media and target audiences. She is most passionate about writing and networking. You’ll never find Danielle without her morning cup of coffee. She is a firm believer that a little caffeine goes a long way!

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