Take yourself back in time when you were first learning how to read. Your books contained no more than several lines of text per page and featured an illustration that you probably spent more time thinking about. As you grew older books that matched your reading level no longer had pictures. We have all shared this bittersweet transition growing up, yet our desire to be able to engage with images as we did back then is still present with social media feeds. Once again, we are compelled to give more attention to a post with an image than one without one. With all of this in mind for an independent brand’s online presence, it’s important to remember that social media is a visual culture. You can either stand out or get lost in the shuffle.
The following 4-step guide is tailored for the emerging entrepreneur who may very well have excellent ideas but needs to add a visual kick to their imagery to better engage their audience. In this you will learn why images are necessary, what kind of images to think about curating, and how to create meaningful engagement with your audience.
Give people a reason to not scroll away from your post.
Getting everyone’s attention can be difficult in a visually saturated jungle filled with cat and pizza GIFs and selfies with exotic, worldly backdrops. The standard of what society pays attention to online has raised dramatically in the past decade. The social media world is a scroll-happy environment, and to be quite frank, most of us don’t have the patience for text-only content. You can combat this by luring in your viewer with compelling pictures. Posts with imagery receive more attention. Period. When it comes to social media, users are interested more in what they can see than what they can read. By posting something without an image, your post will not drive the audience engagement you were hoping for. But simply having any run-of-the-mill image within a post is not always enough. This is where having a keen artistic eye comes in. Since all brands are essentially in competition with each other on who can post the most beautiful content, that leaves you with a couple of options.
- Hire a skilled designer or photographer – and sorry to say, buy you may not get the best results with an unpaid intern.
- Source your images through professional stock image sites like Unsplash or Shutterstock to avoid copyright infringement.
- Choose images that make a visual impact. Bright colors, romantic scenery, ethereal lighting, human connection, high contrast, energetic scenery, and nature are just a few components of photographs that tend to elicit an emotional response from viewers.
Share visually consistent imagery
Maintaining a consistent brand identity through your images, the color palette, and the messaging is what drives your loyal customers to you. A carefully curated identity will also instill more trust in your audience as they will get a sense for what you stand for. While there are a lot of pros to this, the only cons are limited to how often you can generate imagery that is specifically tailored to your brand. A way around this is to repost an old favorite a couple times a week at most. There is nothing wrong with throwbacks from the past, sometimes showing off a transformation creates a fun opportunity to write a narrative as well. You don’t need to get it right out of the gates either– test and iterate. Try a few different types of images at first and see which one gets the most likes, leads, sales or interest. Over time you can find the perfect formula for visually representing your brand.
Tell us a story through your content AND your copy
A Consistent series of photos on your social media eventually begin to fabricate an overarching motif to your brand’s voice. And when dealing with striking imagery on a singular level, the message that follows can also resonate at a deeper emotional level. As simple as this sounds, humans at their core thrive in environments rich with stories. For any startup venture, a sure fire way to make lasting connections is through sharing a piece of your world. By taking advantage of storytelling, your audience will be able to relate to your brand, and you’ll develop a sort of magnetic pull as others will join in and want to learn more.
“Storytelling is the game. It’s what we all do. It’s why Nike is Nike, it’s why Apple is Apple, it’s why Walt Disney built Disney World, and it’s why Vince McMahon makes a billion dollars.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk
Share intriguing data through a visualized medium
Infographic by Nicholas Felton
SEE MORE AT http://feltron.com/
Depending on the industry vertical your brand is venturing in, sharing intriguing data could be one of the most successful tactics at engaging your audience. This is the age of downloadable PDF reports and infographics. All audiences seek to interact with a brand that is informed and has taken the time to deliver data that is relevant to them through digestible and sharable visual content. However, before you get your hands dirty with the world of data viz, have your designer do some research on what already exists on the content you’re about to start creating. The last thing you want is to publish something that is awfully one-dimensional, monotonously following the fad which data viz has pigeonholed itself into. You also don’t want to patronize anyone so your data must make sense to a person with zero knowledge on the topic they are about to embark into.
The following blog post published by Fast Company summarizes the kind of thinking needed to create visual data that invites your audience to engage and feel entertained
Bear in mind that you won’t become a social media guru overnight with 10k more followers (unless you’re REALLY lucky and a celeb shares your work), but if you stick to these five steps as a habit, the results will begin to show over time. Happy posting!