It seems pictures are taking over the online world. For evidence, you only have to look at the current trends in social media. For instance, Pinterest and Instagram, two of the newest social media players, are both photo-centric and experiencing unprecedented growth. Not wanting to be left behind, Facebook has changed its layout to better highlight images (large cover art, bigger wall pictures, full-size photo albums, etc.), and even Google has moved its online photo editor (previously Picnik) over to Google+ for better social integration.
How Images Benefit Your Brand?
If the examples of the social media giants alone don’t provide enough convincing that you need to incorporate more graphics in your blogs, sites, and social accounts, here are some specific ways images can increase awareness of your brand:
Target the Pinterest Audience
Pinterest is considered the third most popular social networking site and is growing all the time. Part of its appeal is it is both a bookmarking and social service, and through the “repin” feature, every picture is up for grabs (no matter whose board it is on). This means if users enjoy your image it has the potential to spread like wildfire as people pin and repin it on their various boards.
The really helpful part is every picture has a link back to the original source, so if people are “pinning” pics from your blog or website (currently can’t pin images from Facebook), this creates a huge opportunity for inbound traffic.
Generates More Likes, Comments, and Shares
You may have already noticed your Facebook and Google+ updates receive much more feedback when accompanied by a picture. Images evoke quick emotions in people and motivate them to want to share their findings and express their feelings/opinions with others. And, of course, likes, comments, and shares all equal more exposure for your brand.
Some social users follow hundreds or thousands of other people and businesses, which can make it very easy for your updates to get lost in the mix. However, an eye-catching photo can help you stand out from the crowd and ensure your messages are noticed and clicked on.
They are Memorable
Perhaps it’s the emotions they arouse or simply their visual nature, but for whatever reason, pictures are hard to forget. So, even if a web surfer never bothers to read your site content, your pictures can give them an impression of your brand.
If you are able to entice them to read your posting, you can connect with them on both a visual and verbal level and form an even deeper impact.
How to Use Images?
Unfortunately, just including any old photo is not enough; your pictures should be entertaining, informative, enjoyable, and inspire engagement. How can you do this? Here are some ideas?
“Pinnable” Product Photos
For the most part, run-of-the-mill product photos aren’t getting attention on Pinterest or other locations. If you take notice of the most shared or re-pinned product pictures, they tend to have an artistic quality or represent an image which makes people say, “I want that.”
When photographing your products, try to make the picture tell a story or give the impression it will somehow improve the life of the viewer — make people wish they could “pop” into your photo.
Ask for Fan Participation
Coming up with stellar photos and images on a regular basis can be challenging, especially if you’re lacking in photography skills or don’t have a decent camera. You can give yourself a break by asking your fans to contribute photos, and then showcasing the best ones on your blog or social site.
Ask them for pictures of your product in use, before and after pics (after using your service), or anything else that relates to your brand.
There are a lot of talented amateur photographers out there, and people love seeing their work appreciated. You can also spark interest by turning it into a contest.
Infographics and Cartoons
The next time you want to offer instructions, tips, data, or a funny story, think about how you can turn it into a cartoon or infographic. They are a fun way to keep things interesting on your site and are great at sharing information quickly.
You likely already have a great source of ideas; just look through your old blog posts or frequently asked questions, find popular or confusing topics, and turn them into a graphic.
Create an Inspiring Graphic
If your business isn’t product based, don’t worry, you can still provide graphics to consumers. One way to do this is by adding an inspiring quote or message onto a relevant image.
You can find poignant quotes in song lyrics, from famous people, in videos, and even on your own blog or website. Just look for words representative of your passion and attach them to a related picture.
Be Funny or Entertaining
Funny and entertaining images often have the greatest “viral” potential, since everyone wants to share the joke. These graphics are all over Facebook, Pinterest, and other social sites, so you probably already have a good idea of what they look like.
If you or someone on your team is witty, then you can easily make these on your own by just adding funny text on an amusing picture. Or if you have clever text, but are lacking an image, you can go to an online meme maker for a stock of humorous pics, and simply add your message to the most appropriate or ironic image.
Make Your Brand Obvious
Finally, to get the most out of your images, you should:
- Always include a link back to your site
- Consider watermarking your graphics with your name or logo
- Make them easy to share by providing obvious social buttons (like, share, pin-it, +1, etc.).
The bottom line is — people love pictures — and if you don’t include images into your marketing campaign you will miss the opportunity to be shared, tweeted, pinned, embedded, or even printed. You’ll likely get overlooked in the bombardment of other media, and will pass up the chance for essentially free advertisement from your fans.