The hottest new trend in social marketing is really based on a human trait that is as old as time. It’s just accelerated now due to better technology and the rapid pace that data is being thrown at us these days. It’s our deep-seeded need and want for visual cues and shortcuts to understanding. Humans have always found visual representations of ideas, actions or things far more able to transcend language than the written word. Because visuals are more quickly interpreted and comprehended – dating back to caveman days.
If you go all the way back to social media’s beginnings, it was largely a text-based medium.
Message boards, Twitter, texting, LinkedIn, Foursquare, even Facebook was originally dominated by text-based status updates.
But that has drastically changed, especially in the last year.
Now, everything is moving into the realm of visual-based messaging. The hottest new social networks are photo-based Pinterest and Instagram. And all of the older social media networks have added photo elements. So, if you’re a social media marketer, what does that mean for you?
Well, for one thing, just adding photos can greatly increase engagement with your community. In my office, we tried an experiment with one of our social media clients. Their community is made up of emergency first responders and air medical personnel. We found an inspiring quote that we thought would connect with this community and posted it on their Facebook page. It saw a decent amount of response. Then, two days later, we put the exact same quote onto a beautiful picture of one of our emergency helicopters in flight and posted it. All our numbers (likes, shares, comments) increased by 500%. And that’s for something we’d already posted a few days earlier.
You can see the impact that visual marketing can have on community response. Adding relevant photos to all your social marketing efforts is sure to increase the attention your post is paid. But it’s impact goes beyond that. Visuals often create better understanding. That’s why infographics have become so popular. When done right, they not only help your target understand your message better, they make your content many times more shareable.
The key is trying to find relevant ways to tell your story visually. How can you add visuals to your social marketing that will help you achieve your marketing goals?
- If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, perhaps a visual peek at the kind of great info you’ll find there, with a teaser to entice them to click through for more.
- If your goal is to show your expertise at something, a well planned and executed infographic can do the trick.
- If your goal is to get them to download a coupon, make sure there is a great picture or video of how the end product will enhance their lives built into the coupon offer.
But don’t just throw in visuals because you read this or heard somewhere else that visuals are needed. If every Facebook status update has a photo attached and they are not all compelling or relevant to the reason for the update, you’ll just end up polluting your fan’s stream and ticking them off. Make sure your visual marketing enhances your message because if it detracts from it, you’ll be creating the opposite response from the one you’re looking for.
If you want to read more about the visual marketing trend, ClickZ did a really nice article on visual marketing that you might want to check out. So, how have you used visual marketing in your social networks? What has worked and not worked for you? I’d love to hear about it.
Photo Credit: Drew Stephens