The Growing Importance of Visual Content in Social Media

A recent study by MDG advertising showed that content with images had 94% more total views than content without images. It’s probably no surprise that people prefer to look at images or videos over large chunks of text, but the popularity and accessibility of multimedia now is rapidly changing the way marketers try to engage consumers on social media platforms. The rise of sites such as Pinterest or Instagram, and the growing world of infographics have thrust visually rich content to the forefront. Combine this with the use of smart phones allowing consumers to interact and upload their own images and videos instantly at the touch of a button, and the possibilities for businesses to capitalise on are wide and varied.

On a cerebral level, pictures have been around for several millennia more than words (think cave man paintings), so the primal instincts in our brain draw us to images far more than chunks of text. So what are the best ways to capitalise on this? Clearly including multimedia elements is key, well placed and well designed images will attract a customer’s eye, and fresh videos help to humanise the brand and engage people on a personal level. In addition, this exciting, unique content will only help to boost your SEO ranking and break down the language barrier created by text.

Facebook’s recent updated newsfeed design creates more real estate for larger, richer posts in the newsfeed, and while they claim this is not to help advertisers, it certainly will not hinder them. 50% of all facebook stories now are photos, and this proportion will only go up with the redesign. Subject specific sub-feeds will help you target advertising to a more specific market, likely leading to an increase in engagement. Furthermore with cover photos also now appearing in newsfeeds when someone likes or tags your brand, it is crucial to ensure you have an up to date and eye catching image.

Videos offer an even bigger opportunity to sell your brand. YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world, highlighting the pull of video, and Twitter’s recent purchase of Vine (a company who allow users to post 6 second videos) has highlighted another creative path to engage a large audience base. Videos allow you to directly showcase your product or service, or build hype around an upcoming launch with teaser clips (Vine is perfect for this). Behind the scenes footage and brand stories will help build trust with users, something which is growing increasingly tough in this age of information. You can also turn consumers into your own brand ambassadors while interacting with them personally, by asking them to create their own videos while using your product.

While many businesses may already have some presence on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has quickly established itself as the third largest social network on the web now, and is growing fast. A recent three month period saw page views increase by 210%, further cementing the relevance of visual content. Creating a Pinterest account can help boost your companies standing in the industry as you can create a central hub of industry knowledge – not just links to your products and blogs. It is also important to contain a few boards which are considered fun and will attract new users, for example a behind the scenes collection of images or things from the web you find amusing.

Not all businesses or topics lend themselves so easily to image rich content, and sometimes it is still key to push messages which traditionally would have been conveyed with text. For example research results, and this is where infographics can help to convey results, trends, patterns or something a little more amusing, but still appeal to the primal side of our brain. The power of infographics is in the ability to turn text and data heavy subjects into visually attractive displays that still hold the core message, and if done well they are fabulous tools to attract the eye and then engage consumers.

To find out how Klood can increase your social media presence, or create the perfect infographics for you, call us on 01908 711925.

Image: Flickr by Giulia Forsythe

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