Visual Social Media The importance of imagery within your social marketing
Many non-visual businesses underestimate the importance of imagery within their social media feeds. Just because you don't have a visual product to display, doesn't mean you shouldn't be using images in your Twitter feed or not have an Instagram account. Sometimes you simply have to find a different way of approaching your subject or service. Even if you do have a visual business, a novel approach to your content will help you stand out from the crowd.
A beautiful feed to draw your crowd
A ballet barre company having a feed full of their product would quickly become boring. By focusing on the dancer you draw in your target audience more.
A different approach from your peers
An audio company with a feed of "listen to this track on spotify" would quickly become a noise on Twitter. Instead focus on "today in the studio" with a snappy anecdote.
Move focus elsewhere
A chemical engineering company would struggle to find imagery of what they do for security or intellectual property reasons. Instead, they could focus on macro photography of equipment or the problem their products are helping to solve.
By changing how we look at our businesses in this manner, it can also open up new possibilities. For example, if you find you gain a new audience of your end users, could you offer your product directly to them rather than going through stores? You could provide better customer service to your end user by giving them a social point of contact.
How do we improve our use of imagery?
Start by making a list of images you already use in your marketing. Are these relevant to your social "voice"? Look at your peers content - are they doing something different to you, and do you find it interesting? Do you have projects that you usually don't publish as the images are too small?
Stand out from the crowd with confidence, not blend in just to fit in - this is how you inspire your followers and help them get behind you and your business.
Once you have this list, start thinking about how you can do something differently. You want your content to be popular both in terms of "likes" and "shares". This could be because the images are aesthetically pleasing (as in the case of the dancers above), they have a different viewpoint or are relevant only to you. Aim for "viral" qualities - would you share this post on your personal feed, is it getting great feedback, does it make you laugh?
Don't be afraid to shock
Shock doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing. By creating surprising and innovative content, you will not only stand out from your contemporaries but also influence your customers. Whether it's outrageously funny or a surprising fact that is sure to be a talking point - chances are it will start a conversation - and that's what you are aiming for on social media!
Never be a bore
Avoid repetition - you will at least becoming boring, but at worst you will appear to be shouting. This is frowned upon in social media. Make your images as bold as possible, and never repeat content from others unless it is relevant to your business.
Consider more than your feed
The best social media feed can be undermined by a poorly constructed bio or "wallpaper". My pet hate is tiling on the old style Twitter - how to send your readers eyes ga-ga. Especially if you run your logo at a small scale the entire way down your page (yes I have seen several offenders). For Twitter I'd recommend a great photo of you - not your logo. People want to know who they are tweeting with and accounts with photos are more popular than those with logos. Strangely, the opposite is true with Instagram - logo'd accounts seem to work better to promote businesses.
There's more to social media than what you are posting - consider both your profile and any links you use for professionalism, branding and accessibility.
You should also consider accessibility for your disabled followers - are your images easily read at a small scale, is the contrast significant enough but not too great for those who are visually impaired. Does your post include a link to more content with alt tags for your images within your posts.
This article has been written by Natalie Ballard who is Director of Kissed Off Creations Ltd. Her business not only offers traditional graphic design services, but also focuses on the expanding digital media options for both her business and that of her clients.