Saturday, 28 December 2013

3 Ways to Become a More Visual Social Butterfly

More and more, it seems like people don’t use the internet to read. They use the internet to see. Whether they’re clicking through photos on their friend’s Facebook wall, pinning recipes they want to try, or watching cats do hilarious things on YouTube, users want visuals. And not just any visuals, they’re drawn to images that pop, images that make an emotional impact, images that are useful. It explains the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Instagram and apps like SnapChat. People just love sharing images.

But how do brands fit into this? According to Digital Insights, who compiled an impressive number of social media statistics for the year 2013, surprisingly well. According to a survey, 46% of web users turn to social media before making a purchase. While they’re on those networks, it is the visual information that stands out. Socially Sorted, who published an infographic on the subject of the increasingly visual social landscape, explains that users are more likely to engage with brands who post pictures more than any other type of media. In addition, photos on Facebook get 53% more likes than any other kind of content.

Okay, you’re convinced. Now how can your business become more visual? Keep reading for some great advice!

Less Words, More Images

Next time you’re about to post to your social media account, stop and think for a moment. Would this post be better-expressed or more successful with a beautiful image alongside it? The answer will be yes 99% of the time. Show, don’t tell.

But how do you come up with these images? If you don’t have a professional photographer or designer on board, try purchasing stock photos or using Creative Commons images. If those won’t do and you’re not a great photographer, slap a filter or some words over it and no one will be any the wiser!

Be the Source of Creative New Content

Did you know that 80% of all pins on Pinterest are re-pins? That means that 80% of the images on Pinterest are just re-shared images that somebody else pinned to the site originally! And although Facebook’s image sharing works in a different way, the number of content creators is still relatively small compared to the number of content sharers.

Take advantage of this by being the source of interesting content that people want to share. Quotes, memes, and videos share well on Facebook, and quotes, infographics, and tutorial-style images do well on Pinterest. Depending on where you want to grow your audience, keep in mind what does best on each platform. A highly-detailed image explaining pricing for web design might be extremely successful on Pinterest, where long and tall images have the advantage, but cropped and squeezed onto a Facebook feed it won’t do as well.

Crowdsource Visual Content

Some of the most successful social contests involve user-submitted images. In this type of contest, your fans and followers create an original image according to your guidelines and submit it to you. At the same time they share it with their own friends and followers. Their followers see it and may choose to participate as well, expanding the reach of your contest. Even after the contest is over and the prize has been awarded, you have a unique gallery of creative images that followers might enjoy.

To see an example of this, look no further than Colonel Meow’s “Cat Fro” photo album. Since he is one of the most widely-followed cats on Facebook, fans seeking their moment of fame were quick to stick their cat on top of their head, snap a photo, and start submitting images. Even though the collection is no longer being added to, the album is still full of cat afro photos to see and share.

Hopefully these three tips will help you become more visual on social media. Just remember, don’t tell when you can show, create instead of curating at least some of the time, and take advantage of crowdsourcing when possible.