It’s a known fact that visual stimuli has a strong effect on humans, also compared to other kinds of stimuli such as reading or listening. Now, more than ever before, technology has made it easier to take part in visual storytelling with online communities. Much indicate that 2012 is the year where visual communication in social media will get its boom for real – Facebook’s Timeline is focused heavily on photos and visual storytelling, Instagram keeps making it easier to take, design and share photos and Pinterest has experienced an explosion in popularity thanks to its ability to find, bookmark and share images. The integration between the three platforms makes it even more clear that visual content is here to stay. People do not only expect that you tell a story – they also want to see it.
The benefits of using visual communication are many. Here are three key reasons why brands should put more effort into producing and distributing visual content as a part of their social media marketing tactics.
Convey your message quickly
Things move fast in social media. People’s Facebook News Feeds are crowded with friends’ status updates, events, comments and Page posts. Not only do people react more to visual content, posts with visual content have a greater potential of being ranked higher in News Feeds among the Top Stories. Facebook’s ranking system EdgeRank evaluates posts that include images higher as it gains more Likes and comments.
“A picture says more than a thousand words”. Catch your audience’s attention and save them from reading a lot of words by using images to convey your message quickly.
Strengthen your brand identity
Adding visual content increases the impact of your message and strengthens your brand identity. Use images to convey your tone of voice. People like to feel close to the brand and many brands have seen the advantage of sharing behind-the-sciences images and pictures of everyday-life situations that the consumer can relate to and where the brand is introduced in a informal setting.
Create involvement easier
Techniques have made it easy to take and share photos from anywhere at any time. The world is being well documented all over and people share images like never before. This opens up for possibilities such as collaborative storytelling, which means that you involve people in order to let them show how they perceive your brand and their connection to your community. The Fiestagram campaign is a great example of how a brand can involve people through visual content.
Sharing user-generated content, such as photos that fans have posted on your wall, shows brand authenticity and appreciation of your fans. People tend to not trust retouched photos, they want to see the “true” picture. Using fan-taken images also works as a peer-to-peer recommendation.
In order to create spread of your visual content, leave room for interactive elements. Share images that people can re-share with their friends. The more people share your content on Facebook, the better Edgerank will you achieve.