If content is king, images are the crown jewels

Image

It seems that every day there’s another groundbreaking social media tool to play with, but when it comes to selling a brand, pictures pack the punch.

According to a review of the top 10 Facebook brands by marketing analytics company Simply Measured, photos are liked 200 per cent more than text updates and videos are shared 1,200 per cent more than links and text posts combined.

Instagram, purchased by Facebook in September of 2012 for more than $700m, holds strong as the worlds fastest growing social media platform. The site has more than tripled in growth in the last 12 months alone, exploding from 30m to 100m active users.

The question is, do you want your page to engage?

Interacting with your market audience

The most important side of social media is participation and in the right hands, photo-centric tools are the best way to interact with an audience. The truth is, people love taking photos as much as they love looking at them!

By encouraging users to join in the fun with their own snapshots, you invite creativity and quirkiness into your brand while spreading your message at the same time.

So what’s the secret to saddling this superpower?

Number one, get creative. Nobody wants to see 15 photos of the same thing from the same angle with the same filter. It’s almost as bad as those girls posting pouty-face pucker shots; the only way to distinguish one frame from the next is the subtle shifting of her snaggletooth.

Second, use hashtags with every post! Tags give your brand a sense of reliability and promote community engagement, the bread and butter of social media success. Your consistency has a snow ball effect, as photo prowlers pounce on your dependable messages.

Last, use photos that are REAL. Authenticity is the true power behind online images and instead of chasing photos airbrushed to infinity, users will target your brand because it represents something believable…and therefore, achievable.

Online dating: Social media at its best…and worst

For proof of visual impact, one has only to look to online dating.

Tired of the game and keen for a new way to entertain myself, I decided to give it a shot. In addition to scoring some good stories, I learned that setting up a dating profile is not all that different from any good social media strategy.

Marketing your brand is all about constructing a positive image that stands out among the crowd and is faithful to who you are. Guys trolling through matches need a reason to click, just like any consumer reviewing a product.

I learned quickly that being redundant and cliche is critical to avoid. Are you using the same vanilla opening lines as every other guy? “So, I’ve never tried online dating before, but I guess I’ll give it a shot, here goes.” We don’t need to hear your inner monologue, cut to the chase.

The real shocker was, despite a general effort by most to appear humble and objective, the pictures people chose to represent themselves spoke 1000 fold louder than the rest of their profiles. And God help you if you had no photo at all.

Call me conceited, but when deciding whether to meet a guy, I certainly steered clear of shirtless-selfie guy and dribble-faced drunkard. And let’s not forget all the ways we can be cliche through photos, thanks Freddie Prince Jr.

After all, what photo you choose to market your brand says a lot more about you than just what you look like!

Prolonged engagement

Give those photos some mojo because in addition to the interactive originality visual media infuses into the social media matrix, they hold attention longer and stronger. The explosive development of Pinterest, a site that allows users to accumulate a cyber-collage of visual content, is shocking marketers with users averaging 97.8 minutes per use.

Studies have shown that posts on the site are generating far more traffic than social media giants Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn and Google+, making it one of the most influential social media platforms of all time.

Unlike with text, consumers are not simply skimming content, but actually slowing down and submerging themselves in a headspace that engineers long-term connections.With a more organic feel than text, visual media is dominating the communications frontier because seeing is believing.

The images shared time and time again are the ones that hit a nerve with people, evoking emotion and tapping into a sense of humanity. Maybe that’s humour or inspiration, sadness or a rush of adrenaline, but as I learned in my brief foray into internet dating, you get a lot more out of an image than just what you see.

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