With social media becoming an increasingly visual medium, marketers should be aware of how are using images.
It's a Visual, Visual World
According to the Pics to Clicks: Understanding Social Media’s Visual Revolution presentation from Marketing Prof’s Digital Marketing World Conference, not only are social sites like Google+, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook becoming more visual, but updates happen more quickly. For example, within a 60 second time span, there are more than 600 new videos uploaded to YouTube, over 510,040 Facebook comments, more than 98,000 new tweets sent and more than 6,600 photos uploaded to Flickr accounts.
Images and photographs have always been used in marketing and advertising campaigns; from billboards and newspaper advertisements to mailed-out coupons. The image is a proven way attract a customer’s attention, improve conversion rates and draw in revenue, as people tend to be more attracted to something that is visually stimulating. According to the presentation, 44 percent of users are more likely to engage with a brand that posts photos over other media.
Therefore marketers should not only use images to engage customers, but make sure that the content provides an immediate impact or it could be lost in the content shuffle, no matter what they're promoting.
An Image is Worth a 1000 words ... or more
In digital marketing, it’s not enough to merely post a photo of a product or image that says “like our page,” since as there are thousands of new content posts shared every minute. Therefore, marketers have to come up with creative images that will resonate with their intended audience.
Using Twitter as an example, Nike launched a campaign showing an everyday person reaching their own fitness goals and presented the photo through the micro blogging site with the #findgreatness hashtag. Since Nike used a photo of a real person, instead of celebrity or professional athlete, it helped improve how effective the campaign could be, by telling a person you just have to be yourself, not someone else.
While there were other types of content using the same hashtag if someone was to search #findgreatness, they would still see Nike’s initial post and depending on its popularity and the amount of retweets or posted comments, the campaign will likely have high returns.
As consumers, people think a lot about what they see, so if it’s something that's popular or they feel they can relate to it in some way, then engagement is more likely.
Images for Education
Knowing how a product works, how to assemble it or how it will look can help a business sell products and services. Sites like Facebook now offer users the chance to upload more than one photo at a time to a status update or post, while Instagram allows users to combine photos into one post. In having these tools, consumers will be able to see exactly how the item or service would work in real life by having an instructional image or series of images.
The Marketing Profs' presentation used a bridal gown page on Pinterest as an example. Users were able to see backstage content, clothing details and how the gowns and accessories fit on the people modelling them, instead of how it appears in an airbrushed print advertisement. At the time the screenshot was taken, the page had 31,441 followers and 382 pins.
Not only do customers learn intimate and finer details about the item they are interested in, but they will also share the content and follow the company or business, which can improve conversion rates.
Images to Promote, Share, Sell
Sometimes photos are merely selling and promotional tools. With Facebook and even Google+ and Twitter, companies can use images to improve engagement through contests, giveaways or coupons. For example a company could say that the 100th person to "like" it will receive a free gift or it could offer 50 percent off an item if the coupon is printed out and brought into its store.
While a text-based promotion can garner the same response, images allow marketers to make the post more eye-catching so more followers will see it and participate. Also, in doing this, marketers not only make the image a priority marketing tool, but show consumers that it appreciates their business and wants to give them something in return.
The Moving Image
While the photograph is a mainstay in the marketing tool set, it’s not the only type of image that can improve a business’ marketing attempts; video, or a series of moving images is also important when engaging through social media.
With the rise of video marketing, such as with Linkedin’s Video Ads and Google’s Adwords for Video, videos can help marketers do what images can do, in a longer format.
Videos can show interested customer how a product can be used or act as instructional video, while viral videos, like those mentioned by Mike Molinari, can act as a promotional tool and draw businesses to an official website or product page, in addition to being shared across social platforms.
Overall, whether it’s moving or stationary, the combination of social media and images can prove to be a positive decision for any business, as long as they have the right approach.