This article was posted on Tnooz in May 2012

importance of imagery in 2012_300pixSo far this year in social media, imagery – photos and videos – have become one of the most important ways in which brands, in any industry, can communicate with their audiences.

In this article, we’ll look at how some of the most popular social channels have recently made significant changes to reflect this, and we’ll give you some ideas on how you can capitalise on this to maximise your online exposure.

Twitter

Late 2011, Twitter made changes to their brand pages to include better customisation options such as larger header images, better display of logo and tagline, and the option to keep a particular tweet at the top of your time line (this top tweet also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Flickr, YouTube or other sources, without requiring the user to take action).

Facebook

More recently, Facebook introduced the new Timeline format for brand pages again focussing on the use of imagery with the introduction of the cover photo to give brands the opportunity to carefully present themselves with an image, and the highlighting feature – the small star icon in the corner of each post that allows you to expand the post (including any images or videos attached) to its full width.

Facebook cover

The cover photo gives brands the opportunity to carefully present themselves with an image

Facebook highlighting feaure

The highlighting feature allows you to expand a post (including any images or videos attached) to the full width of the wall.

Pinterest

Some might argue the ultimate proof that visual content is king was the launch and incredible growth of Pinterest – a platform that is solely based on using imagery to create colourful ‘Pinboards’ of your favourite links.  Check out our recent handy guide to Pinterest for more information on this new channel.

Google Plus

Let’s not forget Google Plus. One of the greatest success stories from the travel industry in this space is LateRooms – the late reservations site – who just recently reached 500,000 followers. In a recent interview, LateRooms’ Social Media Manager Rich Kemp confirmed one of the key benefits of the Google Plus platform was its ability to display images in a visually pleasing way and also the simple fact that it has more space for photographs in the stream than Facebook’s newsfeed.

And Google certainly know that this is how they have the upper hand on Facebook. Just this week they held a conference in San Francisco specifically aimed at photographers (surely a sign that Google see the great value of imagery) where Vice President of Product for Google Plus, Bradley Horowitz said:  “I feel photos are the lifeblood of our service…They are the way we can most immediately and viscerally connect as human beings.” Venturebeat go as far as stating that Google Plus is set to become ‘your new Flickr’.

LateRooms Google Plus

Google Plus profiles display images in a visually pleasing way

Here at Digital Visitor, we have known for years that imagery (particularly user generated photos and videos), is one of the most engaging forms of marketing and over the past six months, we’ve seen how the major social channels have made significant changes to favour visual content. What does this mean for your brand? Quite simply, you need to gather visual content to display on your social channels, and one of the best ways to do this is to capture your own content.

In regards to capturing your own content, one of the easiest ways to do this is to enable review functionality on your very own website – however the main focus should be capture photos and videos (not just text). Our award-winning solution has been developed with this in mind, so users are able to quickly and easily upload photos and videos. Another key feature of our solution is that this content is then automatically shared to the user’s individual social channels, exposing your brand to new audiences.

You should also consider capturing photos and videos via your social channels.  For example, on Facebook, you could run a competition whereby the entry mechanism entails that they upload a photo. Take this opportunity to specify what content you want for example e.g. best wildlife photo or best beach photo.  Alternatively, you could also offer an incentive for people to upload content  e.g. a discount voucher.

No matter which social platform your business is using, you can’t afford to underestimate the power of imagery – they can convey thoughts, ideas, events and experiences far better than words alone.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your company to maximise your social media marketing with social applications and campaigns. Call 0117 905 5195 or email info@digitalvisitor.com

Do you agree that imagery, particularly user generated photos and videos, is one of the most engaging forms of marketing?