Tag Archives: Visual Content

Say it With Pictures

4233301_s

How pictures excel in communicating what we want to say

All of us at some experience being at loss for words when expressing what we think or how we feel. When you lack the words to say something, post some pictures to put your message across. This method is very much effective as a picture can say a thousand or more words. This is because images are powerful vehicles of information that the brain can immediately process. In fact, the mind processes images faster than the written word. This is because with words, we first have to recognize the letters and read each word to discern the meaning of a statement. Pictures are the opposite. Everything you need to know is in the picture.

That’s why social media campaigns earn more success if you use pictures. As it is far more attractive to look at beautiful pictures than read even a short article, people engage more with businesses that post pictures on their brand pages. Let’s take the top 10 Facebook company pages, for example. According to M Booth, a global communications company, there’s more customer engagement on pages bedecked with pictures and videos (which are essentially moving images).

This demonstrates the influence of pictures on strengthening social engagement with your customers. Videos, especially those that are creatively made, attract more eyes, likes, comments and shares. Pictures are not to be outdone, beating text posts twice as much in the popularity contest. Here are some posts on Intrepid Travel to serve as examples:

This company page promotes travel as a way of life and allows people to see different sights that may inspire them. The pictures above are certainly stimulating and fascinating enough to make followers want to go these places and experience for themselves the wonder of beholding such creatures and places up close. This is the effect that images bring to viewers and visitors of Intrepid Travel’s social media page. Aren’t you enticed to go to these places as well?

There’s also Instagram on the rise, which brings back how Facebook achieved 100 million users, four years after its inception. But Instagram shows such a meteoric rise that threatens to break Facebook’s record. The rise of this picture-based mobile application is quickly gaining popularity with its 80 million subscribers…and counting.

Tumblr, a microblogging site which enables users to post text, images, videos, links and other forms of content, has been around since 2007. According to the Data Never Sleeps infograph, Tumblr blog owners publish an estimated number of 27,778 new posts per minute. This mind-boggling number translates to how much content this site is churning out every day. The data below show how images are so pervasive in the lives of Tumblr users. There are memes and GIFs or graphics interchange format that go viral because of its interactive quality that snags the attention of fans on this social network.

Here’s a sample post from Corgi Addict, one of the most popular Tumblr bloggers:

One reason this particular post garnered so many notes (combined number of likes, replies, and shares) is its format. Each picture in the collage is an animated GIF, which enable the images to move in rapid succession like a soundless one-minute movie on loop.

There’s also YouTube, where users are said to upload 48 hours’ worth of video every minute. Everyone (think 100 million users) can post a video on YouTube and show anything under the sun, below the ground or something beyond outer space. But only a small percent of videos become viral and generate more than 100 million views. There are music videos, as well as video clips about animals, baby antics, parodies, and more.

But when it comes to images, images, and more images, Pinterest is the reigning queen. Although its main market is women at around 80%, this percentage is slowly decreasing to accommodate the number of male users tweaking with the Pinterest interface and creating boards that illustrate their various interests.

Pinterest is a social network that shows off a dizzying variety of pictures numerous users share every day. Users can create boards where they can pin pictures that center around a theme. For example, you want a board that shows recipes of delicious vegetable dishes. All you have to do is name the board and pin images related to your chosen topic.

The picture power is illustrated on Pinterest, which became the leading social network in a short period of time. As a result, this site beat veteran social media networks like Twitter and StumbleUpon, and became number one for traffic referrals.

Pictures act like a flower with such an attractive scent that attracts thousands of bees. Many businesses use images to bring more traffic to their site and attract more potential customers. Therefore, use more well-taken pictures to make viewers pay attention, interact with your content, and generate more sales leads. Follow the example of businesses, which have successfully used pictures for their marketing campaigns. Check out Etsy and Whole Foods on Pinterest, and other ventures!

 

References:

Mashable.com

Social Media Examiner

Wikipedia.org

Ritholtz.com

YouTube.com

Photo Credits:

Intrepid Travel Facebook Page

Picture from Tumblr

Instagram Your Way to Social Media

11831166_s

How to Integrate Instagram on Your Social Media Campaigns

Internet users are quite fond of pictures. Show them images of a sleeping cat on a funny pose, as well as a glass building glinting with the soft light of the sunrise. Your pictures are sure to garner many likes within the hour. Businesses can take advantage of this obsession with pictures using Instagram. This mobile application has filters you can use to enhance the look and quality of your photos. Experiment with a few of your personal pictures to gain mastery in using the app. Once you got the hang of it, you can begin taking shots of your products and share them on the Instagram network.

Using Instagram is a potential gold mine for many businesses looking to make marketing success with photos. Since July 2012, there have been 80 million users on Instagram alone. Tapping into the demographics will allow you to reach an Instagram population that is 53% female and 47% male, ages 18-34 years old. If your target audience is within this age range, then Instagram is a good online avenue to start your marketing campaign.

But if you use Instagram, how exactly do you reach your intended users? What do you do to get their attention and engage them with your content?

According to Jason Howie, social marketing can be executed on Instagram if you adhere to the following tips:

1. Partner Instagram campaign with other social networks.

Social media is a bigger world out there. Although Instagram has more than 80 million users, it has a relatively young audience. Consider reaching out to a variety of other age groups on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social networking sites. This will make your products available to a wider audience and help you engage with other users who want to check out your merchandise online.

Integrating Instagram with your existing social media campaigns will also liven up your marketing strategy. Using pictures are known to fetch more engagement from followers, due to the visual appeal that photos generate.

2. Engage your followers.

Communicating with your followers is the number one rule when it comes to social marketing. Explore your followers’ accounts and make sure to like and comment on posts you’re interested in. Do this, especially for followers who often check out your content. This will make them appreciate you more and urge them to follow back more enthusiastically. Answering customer inquiries is also advisable, as many customers prefer to reach out online because it is more convenient than calling the hotline. Make sure to check your account from time to time to see queries you need to immediately respond to.

Launching contests and promotions using Instagram is also useful in exposing your pictures to more users. Arrange online events and offer enticing rewards like discounts and freebies to make users more interested in following your account.

3. Make behind-the-scenes shots accessible.

Showing your followers how you create or manage the products you sell boost user interest. Engage your customers with fun posts about your staff as they get ready for a full day’s work in your store. Pictures like these make followers feel closer to your business as a whole, and enable customers to know you better. Starbucks, the most popular coffee shops worldwide, engages its fans and customers with photos of events and other behind-the-scene activities.

4. Encourage staff involvement.

Involving your employees on your Instagram campaign can make them feel motivated as they have a part in your marketing campaign. Be sure to discuss guidelines on what’s appropriate to post so there will be no misunderstandings. Allowing them to post their pictures about the business will make followers take notice and see how you run your venture. This will spur more engagement, as followers feel closer to a business which shows transparency on how it runs its day-to-day operations, events and other processes.

5. Create your own hashtags.

When tagging your own photos, utilize hashtags specific to your own brand. Using popular hashtags will not be suitable, as this will show general results, rather than your brand. For example, you’re in the coffee shop business. Don’t apply the hashtag ‘#coffee,’ as this will point followers to results like these:

See, there’s more than 1 million photos for the #coffee hashtag. Your followers will have difficulty scrolling through the results. Apply your shop’s name to your campaigns to get more precise results. You can utilize the name of your store to tag your photos. This will have the added benefit of promoting your brand.

As Facebook and Instagram is merged, your pictures get additional exposure. Once a follower clicks ‘Like,’ your picture will appear on their friends’ news feed. When they click on your photo, they’ll see all the likes and comments, which encourage them to look at your photo more closely. This can make them share your photo and cause a viral effect. Other than the mentioned effects, creating your own hashtags will also help you measure the generated ROI. This will help you determine if your audience responds well to your Instagram campaign.

6. Use Instagram’s geo-tagging feature.

Use Instagram’s geo-tagging attribute to make followers more aware of your location. This feature can also help a lot in contests that will make participants look for something using Foursquare and other interactive maps. To connect Foursquare when sharing your Instagram photos, turn on the ‘Add to your Photo Map’ feature and name the location, then click ‘foursquare’ on the share options.

7. Pay attention to your analytics.

Studying your analytics data can yield information on what pictures work best for your campaigns. This will also help you learn who your most engaged followers are, and allow you to concentrate on those who can be your staunchest brand advocates. The statistics will also help you learn which social networks work better for your Instagram strategy. The best times to post your photos can also be mined from the data to ensure that you display your pictures during heavy online traffic.

8. Experiment with your pictures.

Instagram provides many free filters to improve your pictures’ visual appeal. There are also more available options for the paid membership. If you have enough budget, try checking out the choices to help you learn which filters work in making your photos look their best. This will help you promote your business and engage more followers.

 

References:

Social Media Today

Quora.com

Mashable.com

Branddnainc.com

SimplyMeasured.com

Jezebel.com

Photo Credits:

HubSpot Blog

Web.Stagram.com

Instagram Help

The Old Spice Effect: Business Videos with a Heart

6594282_s

Make customers stop and pay attention with a story about your business.

We have loved reading stories ever since we were children. We even make up our own as we strive to make the people around us wonder and imagine. Storytelling never fails to stir us, even in the form of unfounded news or hearsays. Marketing is no stranger to stories, as well. They use storylines to generate interest on the products and services they promote. This ability is evident through the commercials we see whenever we turn on the television.

There are the Mentos commercials, which feature the “Freshmaker,” and show how your breath can be made fresh with just one candy. Look back on an Old Spice ad that presented a half-naked, towel-clad Isaiah Mustafa telling viewers to “Smell like a man, man.”This commercial told a story that fans of the Old Spice Facebook page clicked. They then typedtheir comments, liked the posts, and shared the page.

This aptly demonstrates the power of storytelling in an ad. Old Spice, the company, contracted Mustafa, a former football star player, to help spread the message that the Old Spice scent can make a man smell more masculine. The reactions above showed how effective the campaign is, making it achieve 14,393 likes and 7,864 comments. This commercial was released last 2010, and it still got comments up until three months ago.

How do you create stories that will imitate the Old Spice effect and make customers pay attention to your content? How do you make them interested with your products? Here are a few ways:

1. Create introductory videos.

Make a video that introduces your business well. Show footages of your store and merchandise, along with your office and employees. If you have a production area, show that in the video, too. Let the CEO make an appearance and explain how your business can be of service to the general community’s needs. You can show this video on your website’s home page, which gives visitors a bird’s eye view of your business processes. This video can also be featured on your social networking pages to engage your followers.

Doggytopia, a dog day care center based in Kelowna, Canada, uses this technique well to tell customers how they will take care of your pets while you are at work. Brenda McBurnie, the owner of the establishment, showed the place where dogs can play and be taken care of. This video serves as a good marketing tactic to attract more customers to visit and entrust their pet dogs to Ms. McBurnie.

2. Product Videos

You know how great your product is, and how useful it can be to perform a certain function or purpose. Customers don’t automatically know that, so make a video that will show them how special your merchandise is. They key is not to tell them, but to demonstrate how. General Electric effectively used this type of video to feature a machine that detects the presence of cancer cells in a patient. This video showed GE employees telling viewers how fulfilled they felt when they helped create something profound like their cancer health care equipment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJCiZ7J4Al4&feature=player_embedded

 

Here are some examples of the reactions to the ad

3. ‘Competitive’ Videos

Provide a video detailing the reasons your business is unique. Think of special qualities that sets you apart. It can be about your many years of experience, longevity in the industry or the value of your products. Discuss how you started your business and made it grow. Impart some stories about how your family or friends helped you set up your venture and make it through the lean times. This can help customers know you more and make them feel you have something in common with them.

One video under this category is Kathleen King’s story of how she entered into another venture. This was after being booted out of her first bakery, which she established and managed for twenty years. She illustrated how she maintained her strength and determination to carry on and become successful again. These characteristics made her stand out against other bakeries near her locality.

http://www.inc.com/chris-beier-and-daniel-wolfman/how-tates-bake-shop-founder-kathleen-king-lost-it-all-and-bounced-back.html

4. Statement Videos

Shoot a short video that showcases your business commitment or mission. This allows customers to know your goals and what principles you stand for. This can help them decide that they’ll support you to attain yourobjectives. For example, you manage a hospital and commit yourself to ensuring your health care staff provides the highest quality of care available. Illustrate how you fulfill your commitment statement with a video.

Blackboard, a company that fosters online and mobile learning, declares its commitment to be ‘accessible’ to students with a high-speed Internet connection. This allows them to reach students and impart the education they need. Rajeev Arora, former Vice President of the Marketing Department at Blackboard, reiterates the company’s commitment on the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiG67InGZ4Y

5. Corporate Personality Videos

How does your company define your business? What are you passionate about your corporate culture? Illustrate how you love your enterprise with a video. Answering this question makes it necessary to go back to the time when you first decided to set up your business.  Why did you choose to establish a restaurant, for example? Is it because you like to feed and make people happy through food? Or you love to cook and create dishes that make people satisfied with the taste?

Kristy Greenwood, the owner of Victory Love+Cookies, explains her passion for baking cookies as a way to “get them out into the world, spreading love and light, sugar and flavor, by whatever means necessary.”According to Ms. Greenwood, her zeal for life and making other people feel good is represented by her cookies – light, sweet, and delicious.

http://vimeo.com/32883545

Bottom Line

Using videos to tell stories is a great way to engage your visitors. Almost nobody can resist a feel-good story, which inspires them to do better. Use this to connect to your target audience. Maybe you’ll reach them the way Old Spice did. 😉

 

References:

MarketingProfs.com

Forbes.com

Adweek.com

Inc.com

Swipely Works Blog

No2Pen.com Blog

VictoryLoveandCookies.com

Photo Credits:

Old Spice Facebook Page

Want to Attract More Customers? Do it with Pictures

If you’re given a choice between reading a long article and viewing a beautiful picture with a short text, what would you choose? It would be the picture, of course. Did you know that*:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visual are processed 60,000 times faster than text;
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text;
  • Photos perform best for likes, comments and shares;
  • The 25-35 age group watches the most number of online videos, with males spending 40% more time viewing; and,
  • Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.

When people are reading something, they first decode the squiggles they see on the paper or screen. Are those an E and a T? Meaning has to be deciphered as the eyes move from one sentence to another. Although this process runs half a second or so, depending upon the proficiency of the reader, the mind still has to analyze what it sees.

With pictures, it’s different. The mind is quickly presented with an image. There’s no need to think much, as we usually know what a picture is trying to tell us, unless it’s an abstract work. Once viewers see photos of people and things they especially love, instant like is immediately experienced. This works for online businesses that showcase their products in a good light. For example, you’re a shoe retailer. You set the scene in which a particular pair of shoes is best suited and then you snap a picture that emphasizes the beauty of the shoes. Some hours after you posted the picture, you will see that it has already garnered likes, comments, and shares.

Effective, isn’t it?

Businesses should spend more time taking good pictures of their merchandise. Arrange your products in visually appealing ways and you’ll make them more marketable. Take a look at these goods:

Aren’t they more appealing to the eyes when artfully presented? These pictures certainly catch more interest than if they have been photographed on stalls or mannequins. Why not try them on your own products? You can either look for someone good-looking or ordinary (depending on your marketing strategy) to model your products. Or you can arrange them in a way that will make their good qualities stand out like the bags photographed above. The pinks, greens, oranges, and blues stood out against the whiteness of the picket fence.

This points out that pictures can be more effective in selling your goods. Attach well-taken pictures with your marketing copy and your products will stand out more. Long articles, on the other hand, explain in longer detail a complicated idea or two, which pictures cannot easily do. Take a look at these examples:

If you notice, the picture of the lake is just that—only an image of a beautiful natural scene. When a paragraph on the right is combined, the photo gives a different meaning. This makes it effective for photos to have a caption. Without a caption, a picture can mean anything.

Lengthy articles without any pictures are not necessarily bad and hard to read. It would be better, though, if you sometimes put some pictures between paragraphs to allow the mind to stop a bit and enjoy the view, so to speak. This will help the mind to focus on what you’re trying to say in your article.

Soften the formality of a long article with pictures. Try putting some pictures on your own blog posts and see whether your articles get more hits than they did before they had photos. You’ll soon realize that articles with pictures look better than the unrelieved black-and-white text staring back at you from the paper or screen.

 

Reference:

*Hubspot Blog

Images Taken From:

RMIT.edu.au

LetsGoMobile.com

BP Blogspot 1

BP Blogspot 2

Pinterest.com

More than Publicity: Promoting NGOs in Social Media

How Other Companies can Benefit from Successful NGO Campaigns

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charity groups may be different from businesses in their core level, but the two groups are the same when it comes to social media. Their social media goals are no different from each other. Both of them seek to connect with their target audience through social networking pages in Facebook and Twitter.

It is more important, though, for NGOs to engage more with their followers. This is because they have limited resources which could not be touched often to finance publicity campaigns like other profitable groups do. They can use the viral potential of social media to accelerate sharing of information and reduce the costs of participation. NGOs also need to function as ‘social businesses’ as well, which emphasizes the need to engage their followers in a socially intimate manner.

More and more people are now going online and joining social networks. This creates an impending need for NGOs to drive more interest to their noble causes. In fact, the top 200 in Forbes’ non-profit companies are utilizing social media campaigns faster than Fortune 500 companies do. For NGOs, social networking is a low-cost alternative that provides various opportunities for conversations and complementary methods to messages shared through other channels.

How do NGOs catch the attention of the online world and get support for their causes? Here are five methods that successful not-for-profit groups in social media use:

1. Post more photos and videos.There are many types of content that circulates around the web: status videos, photos, videos and links. The likeliest content to be liked, commented upon and shared is photos. NGOs share more photos and videos than they do status updates. This is because people engage more with images rather than text splashed across the text. When we see heart-rending images, we don’t have to think; we immediately react. Text needs to be read, then processed by the brain to be understood. Videos, on the other hand, can disinterest viewers, especially if they run more than 3 minutes. Short attention span is the enemy of long videos.

This impresses upon the need for NGOs to post more photos and videos, as both get the highest engagement rates. They need to be artfully presented to catch attention and make viewers more interested in spreading the message of the organization. Photos need to be taken by professionals who know how to frame shots that would make viewers stop, stare and share.

2. Fitting Captions

A caption defines and emphasizes the message you want to people to hear when they see a picture. Without captions, a picture will be understood in a thousand different ways. Take for example, this picture:

What do you think when you first saw this? You may have thought that this is (1) a wildlife photo taken by Animal Planet, (2) maybe a picture circulated around by PETA or (3) an image from a forest conservation group.

Without a caption, this picture can even be turned into a meme. Imagine the elasticity of the image? That’s why a picture should have a caption, especially when you post it on the social media page of your not-for-profit environmentalist group. Here’s the same picture with a caption:

Captions should not just be a short passage that explains an image. It should be striking enough to cut to the heart of your message. This would resonate more to your readers and stick in their minds, which would encourage them to share your post.

Play with words to make a catchy caption. You can use idiomatic expressions, puns, alliterative phrases and other figures of speech to convey your message. Surfrider Foundation, a water conservation organization makes use of puns and popular sayings to motivate support for their ocean protection campaign:

See how effective a caption can be? That, and the quality of the photo, caught the interest of more than a thousand viewers. Put your message across with a well-captioned, first-rate image and you’ll take hold the crowd’s attention.

3. Post varied content at the right time.

Posting a batch of NGO content can overwhelm followers. Make sure to post one piece at a time, instead of many articles, photos and videos at once. This would increase your opportunity to engage with your readers. Communicate with your fans and reply to their messages and comments. This would boost and strengthen your relationship with them, which will make them more receptive to your messages.

Make sure to post content during the time and days when most of your followers are online. Weekdays are slow days when it comes to content. People are more active web browsers on the weekend, so schedule your posts on those days. Friday afternoon up to Sunday night are peak days, so make time to post during those days, rather than on Mondays to Wednesdays.

4. Make use of links.

Links are a good way to boost website traffic. Most NGO social media posts come from their own website. Too much of it though can be harmful. Take a leaf out of the book of top-performing NGO groups. Use links coming from your own website sparingly. Link instead to other NGO websites who can provide other resources for your chosen topic. Paste links of news articles, blog posts and other articles about your causes. This will increase back-links and pull up your search rankings.

5. Emulate the example of your betters.

If you’re having difficulties setting up your NGO page or encouraging follower engagement, study the strategy of NGOs that have succeeded in social media. Adopting their strategy to your own organization might help you attract more likes on your page. Pay close attention to how they created their page and framed their content. This would help you learn what works for your NGO page.

What Businesses can Learn from NGOs

NGOs generally post more engaging content than their counterparts in the corporate world. Not-for-profit organizations are more in touch with the concerns of the community, while companies can be a bit more concerned with profit. Entrepreneurs can learn to pay more attention to the needs of their customers instead of driving more marketing campaigns that promote their merchandise. Customer relations should be upheld more than advertising products and services. This would make your clients more amenable to read your copy instead of ignoring your messages.

Analyze and study whether NGO social media techniques will fit your marketing campaigns better. Try them out for your business. They might just get more customers for you.

 

References:

Mobilisation Lab

Capulet.com

Strategy Works

Earthjustice Facebook Page

UN.org