There is no more driving force in Internet marketing than visual content. The advent of social media has made this even truer in just the past few years. The simple fact of the matter is that words alone will not keep customers engaged. They are an important piece of the puzzle, but they are just one piece. What you show is as important – if not more important – than what you tell. If you want to keep people engaged and involved, you need to find the right balance between the two.
So how can your company or business capitalize on the most current trends in visual content marketing? Here are nine things that are being employed by some of the world’s major brands that you can start doing right now to increase the effectiveness of your visual content marketing strategy.
1. Give your customers ideas about how they can use your products
Never assume that people know what they want, because they almost never do. Quite often, they are looking for you to provide them with inspiration and ideas. A smart visual marketing strategy is in itself a powerful call to action. Show customers what they’re going to do with the product. Get them to visualize using the product, and you will get much closer to closing the sale with pictures.
2. Show, don’t tell
Keep words to a minimum. Be informative, but don’t distract from the visuals. Remember, you want customers to become immersed in images of themselves interacting with the product. You want to visually convey the benefits and reinforce the visuals with brief descriptions when necessary. Show the advantages of your product in a way that is unique and memorable to customers, and they will think of your brand the next time they think of the product.
3. Solicit user-generated content
Sites that encourage visual interaction from their visitors are among the most successful ones out there. People love talking about themselves, and they love to tell their stories. Real stories told in pictures from happy, satisfied customers will only net you more happy, satisfied customers and create a very enthusiastic momentum for your brand image.
4. Capitalize on the human element
People don’t like interacting with things. They like interacting with other people. The most compelling visual content is that which humanizes your brand. This gives people a reason to engage with it and creates points of relatability between your customers and your brand.
5. Be the customer’s helping hand
Checklists, tips, and how-to’s are very successful visual strategies on social media. This can include infographics and videos along with other visuals leading people to the actual content on your website or someplace else on the Web that you want them to see.
6. Revitalize the value of your written content and reach more people
Identify the pieces of written content that have gotten the most response from your customers and figure out ways to adapt the messages in those words into compelling visuals. There is no better way to draw new attention to existing content and popular messages. Even better, pictures are a fast, easy route to appealing on multiple levels to your customers. You can revisit a popular topic in a new way and use the visuals to revitalize and direct attention to existing content.
Don’t attempt to convey complex concepts in a picture, especially if you have the written content to back it up. Just a tease of the message you wish to convey should be enough to get people to engage and click through.
7. Don’t put stock in stock photos
Remember that if you want to raise awareness for your brand, your branding strategy must include original visual content. Stock photos will only get you so far. Yes, they can be effective, but they will only attract people’s attention to the product, not where they should get it. That is the difference between stock images and unique, branded visual content.
8. Encourage immediate sharing of user-generated content
Make it easy for your customers to share their experiences visually. Do not block this feature on social media (you’d be surprised how many brands do). In fact, sharing of user content should be openly encouraged. This is one principle that you can even take off the Internet and apply in the real world.
Let’s say your company is hosting an event someplace. Spring for free Wi-Fi and invest in signage that encourages not only taking lots of pictures but uploading them immediately with your company’s preferred #hashtag. Make your call to action clear and make it visible. You will not only wind up with a sea of unique, real visual content, but you have also corralled it in one place, maximizing your reach.
9. Listen to your customers and act on their feedback
If people tell you they like a specific piece of content or how you present the content, acknowledge their requests by producing more of the content they want to see. Use your metrics to determine what is popular and what isn’t. By identifying what people like, you have an open door to increase engagement and maintain excitement for your brand.
We hope we have inspired you to look more closely at your visual content marketing strategy and wish you great success as you put these simple principles into action.