March 27, 2014

The Power of Pictures

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Published: 27 March 2014 

In an increasingly cluttered digital world, images and visual content are emerging as valuable marketing tools for any business. While images have always been important for public relations activity, advertising, marketing collateral, websites and other above the line marketing techniques, blogs and social media are the new ‘black’ for businesses of all sizes.

Just look at the evolution of the Facebook news feed - back in 2008, the majority of posts from your friends were just sentences, occasionally some happy snaps from a holiday. Today photo posts from your friends and business pages generate 40% more engagement than text posts, and images from link posts are have recently been made much bigger - making it even more important to have striking imagery attached to your blog or web pages that you want to link out to.

Twitter too - once a hangout for writers and journalists who accepted the challenge of a 140 character limit - is now filled with images and videos. The most retweeted tweet of all time is an image, a selfie no less, which contained only a ten word descriptor. Sure, it’s full of celebrities with enormous followings and had a highly searchable hashtag on it… but it’s value lay in the image. Not the words.

selfie3f-1-web

Ellen recently topped Obama for the most re-tweeted tweet of all time

What’s that old chestnut, a picture paints a thousand words? The human brain is wired to interpret images and pictures faster than they can read, comprehend and respond to words. The rise of channels such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and even blog networking activities like Wordless Wednesday all rely on strong images to grab attention, and draw a potential customer in.

Here’s some simple ways for making the most of image-based marketing:

Make your online images Pin-able

Pinterest

Social network Pinterest is a goldmine for the retail, travel and food industries. Embedding the Pinterest ‘pin it’ tag/button onto all of your visual content not only allows people to share an image, it is also linked back to your website. Any descriptive content you allocate to the image is pulled through to Pinterest, and customers can also add their own hashtags and comments to remind them why the image appealed to them. It’s the easiest form of viral content - and you don’t have to do a thing!

Infographics

If you have some awesome statistics and data, instead of publishing it as a report have someone with some design skills format it into an infographic. When it looks awesome and you’ve incorporated some photos or diagrams into it to illustrate your points, pop it up on Visual.ly, or even submit it to infographicsmania.com and let the rest of the world know what great data you have.

Tutorials

Instructions are great, tutorials are better. How-to type information is super popular across all kinds of search terms. Instead of blogging about how to do something, or make something - take a few photos of the process and create a visual guide for your customers. Websites like Wiki-How and Instructables are set up for sharing this type of information too, which can be directed back to your blog or website for people who want to know more about you or your product.

Website galleries

The best way to showcase a variety of your work is via a gallery on your website. For tradespeople, retailers, and industries where your physical output is your work images are the fastest way for a potential customer to figure out if you offer the right kind of product / service for them. The images don’t have to be magazine quality - but it’s much easier to look at the before and after photo of a bathroom renovation than describe the work you did in words.

Thump screenshot

So, how can you better use images to promote your company? Leave some more suggestions in the comments!

Ben Maden

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