(And we’re not talking bland or corny visuals in your marketing)
They say “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” and when it comes to social media marketing, this is one adage to adopt. The use of visuals on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs are generating more activity than word-only posts. Businesses with social media campaigns need to utilize photographs and videos to demonstrate their brand image, to show customers appreciation, to highlight community contribution, and to tell their story.
Here are 5 reasons that visuals should be used in social media marketing:
You’ve got 3 seconds.
Images are powerful. When consumers are searching and scrolling through the clutter on the web, generally their attention span lasts no more than about 3 seconds per item. That is all they time you have to capture your audience with content. A visual that they can connect with will grab their attention much more effectively than words they may not take time to read.
Visuals are the best form of communication.
More than 90% of communication is nonverbal. Visuals can quickly enhance a written message. Images actually increase the understanding of those on the receiving end of the message. When we hear a piece of information, studies show three days later we remember 10% of it. Add a picture and we remember 65%. It is no wonder that the very first written languages consisted of pictorial representations!
You connect on an emotional level.
Marketers don’t have to share the most professionally edited pictures and videos, but if they can share photos and videos of real humans laughing, caring, loving, and expressing gratitude, or share heart-warming, funny, or inspiring photos, viewers will engage on an emotional level, thus making them connect more with the business relaying those images. Look for images that create a feeling.
You’ll increase your following.
Businesses who use visuals have much higher numbers of subscribers, followers, reposts, and likes than those who use words only in their social media campaigns. Whether because they are able to “pin” an image, or because they enjoy sharing an engaging video with their network, people are more likely to follow, respond to, and repost images than words.
You’ll focus your market.
A business that knows what their target market appreciates should share images and videos that reflect what their target market values. By “following” consumers back and even reposting or responding to the visual messages they are sharing, businesses can develop ideas for what their target market values and they can quickly find visual content – content that is already of interest to their target market – to re-share with their audience.
Reagan Sowa received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University. After working in various marketing positions for a few years, and helping her husband start and grow his business, she received a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and now teaches Business and Marketing. She loves connecting with people, as well as skiing, running, writing, and reading, but her favorite thing in life is raising her two amazing children.
Instagram is rapidly growing in social media popularity – perhaps even soon to pass Twitter in “user-ship.” Increasingly, businesses are finding success in attracting new customers by utilizing Instagram as a marketing tool. But how can you use Instagram for your business?
Here are 8 tips for increasing traffic to your business through the use of Instagram:
Get Real: Show the world the REAL you on Instagram
Often, businesses fret over the quality of images they post on Instagram. However, most Instagram users appreciate the fun and creative pictures that utilize the filters already provided on Instagram. Avoid the time, worry, and cost associated with professional photos, which may come across as sterile to the average Instagrammer. Rather, post pictures on Instagram that people will relate to. Take fun, funny, or inspiring photos and enjoy the editing options already provided by Instagram. Let people take a peek behind the corporate curtain and see your business on a regular workday.
Tell a Story with Photos on Instagram
People love stories. Use Instagram’s 15-second videos to show production processes, teach something, hear from an appreciative customers, or to make a fun stop animation show and tell for your business. Here’s a great one from Home Depot wishing their fans a happy Friday or the one from Starbucks showing how simple you can make the videos…nothing over-produced.
Use #Hashtags on All of Your Instagram Posts
You can build your brand’s Instagram community by following your followers and looking at which hashtags your customers tend to use. Instagram users search for specific images through hashtags (think of it as a tagging system to find content). Using hashtags offers a quick way for new consumers to find you when searching for images of products or services you are already offering. Keep a list of popular hashtags that are used in your industry and by your customers. If you have this list in a Word document or an Evernote file, you can easily copy and paste each time you post a new photo or video.
Talk Back to People on Your Instagram Page
People love it when you acknowledge their comments and respond to them. Any time customers comment about your product, or post a picture with your product, either repost it or respond to them. They’re more likely to repost your comments and get even more people interested in your business when they know you are truly interested.
Make it Fun!
Offering contests and incentives make it fun for users to follow you on Instagram. Encourage customers to post “selfies” on Instagram (including #TheNameOfYourBusiness) with your product in various places in exchange for a prize for the most exotic or fun location. Encourage people to like your posts in exchange for free products or services. You can also ask customers to vote on a particular new product or service that you have provided or may provide. Then post a picture of the free products and services offered to the winner (making sure to tag them with @WhoeverWon) and link it to Twitter and Facebook.
Make it a goal to post images a few times per week. The more consistent you are in posting pictures, the more likely you are to develop a steady, reliable fan base. Like any social media platform, posting once a month is just not going to show people that you are active and interested there. Talk to your entire team (every single department or person can SHOW and TELL about their role) and have people contribute photos that could be used.
Ready, Set, Action!
When you post pictures or videos, ask your customers to respond. (And don’t forget to respond to them!) Ask them to tell you and the rest of the world what they think of your product, how they do something similar, where they go for inspiration, what they appreciate, etc. If you are sharing an example or something going on at an event, tag people in the post by putting @TheirName (don’t be annoying and spammy by tagging people for no reason).
Kill 2 Tweets with One Stone
Lastly, you can link your Instagram posts with your other social media accounts for greater reach. Linking your photos to your Twitter or Facebook accounts automatically and quickly increases your exposure, as well as traffic to your business. Because Twitter may post your Instagram post as a link, you can use a site like IFTTT.com (If This Then That) to create a formula, or recipe, to post your Instagram photos as a native Twitter post each time. In this case, you would want to remove the auto-post connection between Twitter and Instagram, otherwise it will double post.
We’d love to hear from you. What ideas do you have for using Instagram in your business mix? How are you currently using Instagram in your marketing mix?
Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the social marketing activities? We would be thrilled to chat with you on ways we can help. Just contact us today!
By Reagan Sowa
Reagan Sowa received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University. After working in various marketing positions for a few years, and helping her husband start and grow his business, she received a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and now teaches Business and Marketing. She loves connecting with people, as well as skiing, running, writing, and reading, but her favorite thing in life is raising her
two amazing children.
Last week Twitter announced a big update coming to iOS (iPhones/iPad) Twitter apps and that it would soon roll out to Android as well. Perhaps it’s the pressure to keep those Instagram-loving teens hanging out in Twitter Town a little more, or just to stay out front of the visual social trend, but through its mobile apps we can load up to FOUR photos in a single tweet. This will be great for sharing more than a single photo from events or better yet it will be great to keep everyone from posting 4 tweets in a row, each with photos. I can see this being a wonderful feature for realtors wanting to share photos from four different homes or four different rooms in a house and asking for a vote of which is a favorite, A-B-C or D. This would also work well for a business sharing product photos. I guess the possibilities are endless…just look at Instagram!
Twitter also announced that we will have the ability to tag people in a photo without taking up all the space in the tweet typing their username. This is HUGE! How many times did you want to add a photo AND tag someone but just couldn’t fit it all into your message without removing every vowel leaving it looking like a Wheel of Fortune puzzle?
Remember these will only work when loading content from the Twitter app from your mobile device. If you are not seeing these features available you may need to go into your apps and upgrade the Twitter app. Android lovers, like myself, will have to wait a little longer for it to come our way, and perhaps they will add it to the website loader soon as well.
How will you use these new features, or will you at all? Tell us in the comments below.
As a team of community managers here at SocialKNX, we are presented with loads of new tools and apps to enhance the social media role in marketing for our customers. We each learn of something new and pass it along to the team. Always eager to improve productivity, quality, and deliverables, I test the waters.
This is a brilliant “read it later” tool (and it used to be called “Read It Later”). How many times do you see an article you know you’ll want to read, or a video you want to watch, but don’t have the time at the moment? Simply install the Pocket extension, and with a click, it’s organized in one tidy place. I also use the app on my iPad and smartphone. Browsing Twitter and see a link you want to save? Copy the link, open the app and it instantly asks if you want to add the link. Simply click “add” and it’s saved. So quick and easy! During your weekly content curation time, this hand-selected-by-you information is in one place at your fingertips.
Aside from loads of stunning travel destinations, gorgeous home decor, and endless birthday party ideas, Pinterest is a treasure for social media managers.
My favorite uses for clients:
Create a general private-to-you board. Any time I see any tips, photos, etc. for a client, I pin it here. Add notes in the description area to remind myself if there is something in the article I need to click or if it is client specific.
Create a private board and share with my client – I will see quotes or ideas and pin to my shared client board, with a note to my client in the description area (i.e. use with quote from your book Chapter 5 on Time Management). Some clients may wish to comment back, i.e. “excellent tip – let’s use for XYZ promotion”. Your clients will also be able to pin things they see here as well if they are so inclined.
Create a collaborative board with your internal team. Here at SocialKNX, we share a board and pin quotes and other content that could be used on a variety of accounts.
Increase your brand awareness by adding a watermark to your photos. Choose your website or company name. When your posts are shared, not only is your content spread, but your company name or website is visible to all who see the post. Consider it the cherry on top of your shared content sundae.
What tools do you find most useful for managing your daily social media activities? Please do share in the comments – we are always learning!