Forbes magazine calls the image-centric network one of the biggest social media trends to watch for in the coming year. What does that mean for the small business owner?
It means that pictures, infographics, and other visual content are going to become a more and more important part of your social media strategy. Facebook has already changed its platform so users see more pictures, both in terms of size and frequency. The popularity of image-driven social networks like Pinterest and Tumblr is expected to grow steadily.
The way we communicate with each other is changing. Culturally, we’re shifting toward shorter, more visual messaging. We like to consume information in the smallest bites possible: what can we understand about a product or service instantly?
The Power of Pictures
Pictures are faster than words could ever dream of being. One photograph could tell your brand’s story better than pages of text ever could. If you put the right images in front of your customer, they will understand who you are and why they should choose to do business with you.
The Challenge of the Image-Centric Network
Of course, this is easier said than done – and in social media, you don’t need just one great image, you need a continual stream of captivating images to keep your customers excited and engaged. Coca-Cola does an exceptional job of this on their Facebook page, presenting a mix of photos showing people enjoying Coke, Coke logos and brand imagery, and then images that don’t appear to have any connection with Coke whatsoever, but do tend to provoke a smile.
The small business owner who wanted to replicate this approach would need a mix of images to share via their social media platform:
Customers having fun:
In your store, with your products, enjoying the experience, etc.
Logos and brand imagery:
Don’t be afraid to share your logo from time to time on social media. Put your logo in the center of seasonal or holiday images – no copy required!
These are images used to trigger a specific emotional response in your customer, even if those images don’t appear to directly relate to your product. For example, a jeweler might run an image of a happy bride and groom getting into a limo. This image works like a prompt, nudging the viewer’s thoughts in the direction of engagement rings.
Creating and Collecting Images is an On-Going Task
As part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to identify what kind of images you’d like to use to promote your business on social media, and articulate where you’re going to get those images from.
Don’t skip this step! Answering with a vague “I’ll get them off the internet” is a recipe for failure! Make creating and collecting the images your company uses on social media a specific task, and make it someone in your organization’s responsibility. It takes time to find good images, especially on an on-going basis. At a minimum, expect to devote at least an hour per week to this task, more if you’re having custom seasonal graphics featuring your logo created.
Smart Social Media Management: Know Your Strengths, Weaknesses & What You Want To Do With Your Time
The move toward a more visual sales model on social media will be welcome news to some business owners and very stressful to others. If you’re not comfortable with your visual story telling skills, or you just know that your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to devote to this new time-intensive approach to marketing, give us a call. We’re here to help you grow your business!