Use compelling visuals to tell your story
As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. When looking at a photograph, painting or graphic, people interpret an image in a variety of ways. Some people take a literal view and see the image for what it is. Other people looking at the same photo may have an emotional response, relating to the image in some way. Photographer Alfred Stieglitz said, “Every photograph has an equivalent idea or emotion attached to it.”
Graphics and images obviously are an important part of your brand story. As Stieglitz said, they evoke emotion. They create connection. However, visuals are just part of the picture. On the flip side, words alone won’t tell the full story. Pairing compelling visuals with messaging will help tell the full story of your brand in ways that inform and engage your target audience.
The “sin” of omitting appealing images and videos
We are continuing our series on the 7 “deadly sins” of social media and focusing on the fourth “sin” – omitting appealing images and videos. So far, we’ve covered planning, selecting the right social media platforms to reach your audience, and focusing your content on the needs of your audience.
Photos, icons, graphics, infographics and videos support the words to create captivating content for your marketing and communications initiatives, including social media. If they were ever just a “nice to have,” visuals now are a must have, core component of your social media strategy. Some platforms dictate the type of content you post. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow both written and visual content, others are visual-only platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Visuals drive engagement. Content with visuals generate more engagement than text-only content. BuzzSumo found that posts with images receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
In addition to creating content that engages your audience, using eye-catching visual elements with your written content heightens the chance that your message will be remembered. According to John Medina, a molecular biologist, our ability to remember images is our greatest strength. He said, “If you hear information delivered verbally, you are likely to remember about 10% of that information three days later. Add a picture, however, and your recall rate will soar to 65%.”
Creating compelling visual content
It’s important to note that visuals for social media do not have to be Hollywood production quality. Smartphone cameras can take high-quality photos and videos. Add colors and other brand elements to your photos to create more visual interest.
Alex Hall, Transcend’s design lead, considers three factors for captivating visuals when he’s creating graphic elements for social media.
Make a connection
Pictures and video conjure emotion. Use the visual elements of your social media posts to create a connection with your audience. Creating connection requires you to know your audience to appeal to their interests, experiences and challenges. The primary target audience for our clients in the senior care and home-based care sectors is the family caregiver. Most often, we’re targeting women age 50+ who are caring for an aging loved one. Think about what would resonate most with that audience and apply it to the visual strategy for your brand.
Set yourself apart
What differentiates your brand from your competitors? Beyond a name, logo and color palette, what are other aspects of the brand you want to infuse in your social media? As you’re developing a comprehensive visual approach for your brand, it’s helpful to identify human characteristics you’d use to describe your brand. Would you use words like empathetic, compassionate or resourceful to describe your organization? Take these human characteristics and translate them into the ways you communicate your brand visually.
Add your brand colors and aspects of your logomark to photos and graphics. For the photos and graphics we use in posts for Transcend’s social media accounts, we add orange, one of our brand colors, and squares, a brand element. In addition to literal squares, we also search for photos that include squares as a focal point, such as doors, windows or buildings, or crop photos to the shape of a square.
Once you have a visual approach identified for your brand, make sure it is applied consistently in all your marketing efforts, including social media. Regularly using your brand colors and brand elements will help your target audience know your organization. According to Katie Lundlin, a customer service expert, “After enough consistent exposure to a brand, customers often begin to feel as though they know it personally and the relationship begins to grow.”
She says it takes time and seeing messages repeatedly for a brand to sink into the consumer consciousness. Make sure you represent your brand consistently in all channels – social media, mass media, marketing materials and your website.
To increase engagement with your social media content, it’s a must to include compelling visuals. Incorporate a variety of graphic elements in your social media content – photos, graphics, icons, infographics and videos. Regardless of the type of visual, be sure to make a connection, set yourself apart and be consistent. Let’s discuss ways to elevate your social media approach through compelling visuals.