The evolution of the social media has been a movement toward fewer words and a greater use of imagery. To stay competitive, marketing strategists need to pay attention to the trend and find ways to integrate imagery into social media campaigns.
The move toward imagery
The rise of visually-oriented social media has grown exponentially in the last year. In July, 29 million Americans were visiting Pinterest on a weekly basis. A year earlier, it was only 1.27 million, according to Experian. Other data shows Pinterest gets more visitors than Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn or Google+.
Instagram likewise has seen its weekly traffic grow from 56,360 last year to more than 12 million this summer.
Even Facebook has become more visual of late, with its move to the Timeline format.
Find iconic images
To be most effective, the images used in your social media campaign should be iconic. They should tell a story in a compelling and immediate way.
Begin by clarifying exactly what you want to communicate to your social media visitors. What do you want them to think of when your business is mentioned? And what kind of image will most effectively brings that to mind?
According to Dawn Pigoni, writing for SEO News:
“Every business can be expressed through images, you just have to do a little brainstorming to figure out what will work best.”
Build a bank of images
Build an archive of relevant, iconic images you can draw on when the need arises. There are many ways imagery can be acquired. The most costly, but perhaps the most effective, is to hire a professional photographer or graphics designer. Or perhaps somebody in the office is adept with a digital camera and image-enhancing software. Images can also be purchased from an online image gallery. Alternately, there are thousands of images available on sites like Flickr that are licensed for public use at no cost.
Enhance posts, attract attention
Today’s social media user has been trained to grasp things in little bytes. Their attention span can be very short, so you want to grab them with a compelling image. That will increase the amount of traffic that actually takes the time to read your post.
For instance, any time you update status on Facebook, think about what image would best enhance the subject matter. By including an image or a video, traffic will likely increase.
Keep track of likes, comments and shares to determine which images are most effective. That will help determine a direction for future images.
Get familiar with social media channel
Become an expert at whatever social media site you are utilizing. Not only does that ensure the most effective use of the platform, but it will also make sure you don’t come across as a novice or amateur.
Get your customers involved by encouraging them to share photos of their own. This keeps them interested, and adds to your library of images.
For instance, you could have a contest on Facebook, encouraging customers to upload pictures of themselves using your product. Further, encourage them to also put these images on their Pinterst board. Or ask followers to use your company’s unique hashtag when posting related pictures to InstaGram pages. Perhaps they can earn rewards by doing so.
The old saw says that pictures speak a thousands words seems increasingly relevant in a society that is learning to communicate in more and more visual ways. Let your social media campaigns embrace the trend, or you may be left behind.