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.

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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.