In marketing, we’re often told – force-fed, rather – unique content is absolutely essential. Believe it or not, when they say content is king, it doesn’t exclusively refer to text-based content. Attractive, engaging and relatable images are also essential to a successful content marketing strategy. Visual content is even more important when you throw social networking into the mix.
Every day, visual content becomes more and more important in the world of marketing. According to a Citrix report, about two-thirds of social media updates include visual content. Taking that statistic a step further, about half of all internet users have reposted or shared photos or videos they found online.
We could sit here and share statistics all day, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to help you turn your visual content and social media imagery up a notch. How can you be sure your visual content is as strong – if not stronger than – as your basic text content? Follow these critical tips, and your visual content will be a definite success.
Heed the Rule of Thirds
Photographers know the Rule of Thirds well. In fact, most of them live by the rule and use it to produce beautiful, eye-catching imagery. The rule explains how and why we use our eyes to scan an image, and then judge its attractiveness based on that initial observance. This may not make complete sense yet, but bear with us.
To test an image or better understand the rule, you simply take an image and separate it into thirds horizontally and vertically. The resulting photo will then have a grid dividing it into nine squares. At a quick glance it resembles a tic-tac-toe board. The points of intersection are where most viewers are likely to place their eyes when scanning the picture.
If you heed the rule of thirds, it means you place your key elements or subjects right along those intersections. A common practice is to place subjects directly in the center of an image, but this should be avoided at all costs.
This rule applies for all images, not just those for social marketing campaigns. Take a look at the homepage for Cleveland Brothers and you’ll notice a pattern. None of the key elements are completely centered in their product images. The reason for that practice is quite simply the Rule of Thirds. It works. It’s important. Heed it.
Play to Their Emotions
Social media and marketing content that goes viral often does so because it invokes some kind of visceral or emotional reaction in viewers. Whenever possible, you should rely on the same strategy for your own visual content.
Use your image content to make your audience feel sad, happy or even angry – but not at your brand, of course! Humans are emotional beings, so it’s through them that we often relate to each other. It stands to reason if you make proper use of this strategy, your brand and message will be more relatable.
The most skilled marketers can tell an entire story through a single, well-chosen image. The Dollar Shave Club does this perfectly by targeting millions of men through humor and some rather unconventional storytelling. Dollar Shave Club Website.
Mind Your Resolution
Different image sizes are used across various platforms. For instance, the default viewable portion of an online Twitter image is 440 pixels wide by 220 tall. Facebook, on the other hand, includes a viewable portion of 358 X 268 for one of the sponsored story image formats. The important thing you need to take away from all this is any content outside of the aforementioned sizes will not be displayed to audiences. This means if you have an infographic, advert or image with text, it may not display entirely if the image is the wrong size.
Before putting together an image, make sure you know the default size and format of the platform on which you’re going to upload the content. The last thing you want is to spend loads of time and effort putting together the perfect image advert, only to find out it’s not being displayed in full.
Outsource Your Visual Content
Some of the best visual marketing campaigns call for submissions from customers or the community. Instead of generating your own content, you can call upon your customers – the ones actually using your products or services.
You can do this in many different ways, but one of the most popular involves asking customers to upload images or content under a relevant hashtag. You can then pull the unique content uploaded by your customers and use it for a visual campaign.
Tiffany and Co. did this brilliantly by hosting a campaign on Instagram called “True Love in Pictures.” First, they uploaded a bunch of romantic images taken of lovers in New York and Paris. Then, they asked Instagrammers to upload their own images they feel represent true love.
This type of campaign builds a deep, more personal connection with your audience, making them care a whole lot more about your brand and message.
If you follow the tips above, you should be golden. However, the most important part of any visual marketing strategy is entirely up to you, and you should never forget that. Remember to be original and unique when you’re creating media content. No, that does not necessarily mean you will be the only one with an idea – true originality is hard to find these days. Instead, it means to just follow your gut and create content you would enjoy seeing. By adding your own unique feel to every image, video or piece of content, you’ll find it likely to be intriguing to others as well.