Not all brands are “photogenic,” but people like pictures. In fact, 44% say they are more likely to respond to social media posts from brands they like or follow that include a photo. As we’re exposed to huge volumes of content on a daily basis, visuals help us filter more quickly and are literally a snapshot that can help us decide in an instant if we want to read or view more.
That’s why it can benefit brands to develop a social media strategy for bringing their brand to life with photos, videos and other graphics, even if it seems like a stretch at first thought. There are many “nonvisual,” “unsexy” businesses using visual social platforms — companies that sell software and consulting services, machinery parts, accounting services or research reports. The key thing to remember when developing a strategy for visual social media is that you’re not selling your product; you’re selling your brand.
A word of caution: don’t begin the process by deciding you “need” to be on Pinterest or Instagram. As with any content strategy, first determine what content your audience would find interesting, useful and relevant. Then figure out how to make it visual. Lastly, determine the best way to deliver it via visual social channels. Go where your audiences are.
5 ways to make your brand visual
- Make data visual. Provide statistics of interest to your audiences in a visual format, with infographics, graphs, charts and more. This can be information you’ve created or interesting data you’ve curated from other sources. A good mix of the two will help you convey your company’s expertise. An example of a company that does this well is IRIS Exchequer, an accounting software solution company that provides a slew of interesting infographics on their Pinterest boards.
- Convey your brand culture. What topics support your brand mission and culture? A good example of this is General Electric’s tumblr feed that regularly showcases interesting science- and engineering-related snippets. Healthcare provider Baylor Health Care System has robust Pinterest boards illustrating the organization’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
- Highlight your employees as an extension of your brand. Salesforce does a good job of this with pictures of employees on Pinterest boards like “Around the office” and “I love working at Salesforce.” MailChimp also does this in a more lighthearted way on Instagram.
- Offer DIY solutions for free. Don’t assume that by “giving it away,” you’re going to lose potential business. On the contrary, one of two beneficial outcomes is more likely. First, if someone views a great instructional video you’ve produced, they may use it to do “it” themselves. They will be grateful and perhaps tell others about the video and your company. Or second, they’ll watch your video and decide they can’t do “it,” that your company is the expert, and contact you to find out more, perhaps leading to new business. A good example of this tactic is this auto repair instructional YouTube series from A1auto.com.
- Make text graphic. Relevant stats, resonant quotes or useful tips can be designed to be visual. Although Red Bull does have lots of visual material to work with, they also do a great job at curating inspirational quotes that resonate with their audiences in a visual way. Also, marketing company OrganikSEO curates a Pinterest board that makes social media-related jokes visual.
Beyond likes and follows, effective content actually engages people and encourages them to take an action — from reading more information about your company to converting to a prospect or customer. Visuals are just as much content as words and it’s important to seriously consider visuals when developing your content strategy.