The Internet marketing landscape clearly shows that great content is searchable, consumable and shareable. Leading inbound marketing and sales platform Hubspot explains why visual content can help marketers achieve their online marketing goals better:
- Visuals processed 60,000X faster than plain text in brain
- 40% of people respond to visual content better than plain text
- Posts incorporated with videos drive three times more inbound links than posts with plain text
- Facebook saw an increase of 65% in engagement within one month post the introduction of timeline for photos and videos
- People are 85% more likely to buy a product once they watch a product video
These statistics clearly show that visual content marketing is indeed a powerful tool to improve online visibility, brand reputation and returns. In April, the Business Development Institute and PR Newswire co-hosted the ‘Visual Content Marketing and Communications Summit’ where discussions and talks were conducted on how organizations can harness the potential of various mediums such as images, videos and platforms to produce content that can build, engage and leverage audiences. Here are some of the best practices that industry experts recommend for effective visual content marketing.
Identify the Right Mix of Options
Identifying the right mix of content and distribution channels is very important to ensure that your messages are sent to the right audience and a clear path is offered to them to reach your brand. For example, if you are running a hotel business, a mix of photos and videos distributed through social media channels focused on visual content such as Pinterest, Facebook, would work better than an informative infographic. You should also make sure that the content is not overwhelmed with information as the audience would tend to find that uninteresting.
Create Visual Content to Represent Your Brand and Woo Your Audience
You can improve visibility and engagement only if you generate a content which represents your brand and at the same time, attracts your audience. It is not that difficult to create attractive images and videos if your business is about tangible products or services (for example, clothes, smartphones, shoes). But, if you are not selling such items, you may find difficult to create visual content that directly represents your offerings. Industry experts opine that you should think about your business goals, your audience, and their interests in such cases and then push yourself to create visual content that delights your audience. A good example is the science experiment video ‘what happens when you combine milk, food coloring and dish soap’ published by General Electric.
There were overwhelming responses to this post as people retweeted and reposted it using the#6secondscience hashtag multiple times. General Electric could start a full-blown social campaign based on this post, which created and curated user-generated Vine videos capturing the miracles of science. Here, the company targeted an audience with similar interests and evoked an element of surprise among them with the video which spread like wildfire and drove brand visibility and engagement.
Monitor Social Media Interactions to Utilize SEO Opportunities
It is very important to understand how consumers respond to your visual content. This critical information will help brands to create effective marketing campaigns for their audience and drive SEO benefits. The social networking channels are the best resource to study customer responses. Trending hashtags and content tagging with platforms like Pinterest and Instagram can indicate how consumers are searching for products and categorizing similar products. You can compare the most popular images with those that are not popular and take note of what audiences are more likely to appreciate
Avoid Heavy Branding
Simply plastering your logo all over social newsfeeds is not what consumers want. Such heavy branding does not work as it tends to overpower your message and make it less shareable. Instead of engaging in overt branding, show your consumers what they don’t know about your products or services. For example, for a food product like cheese, posting mouthwatering pictures of a dish that includes cheese and its recipe would work. The brand can be mentioned in the recipe or its logo subtly placed on the picture. Here is an example of how Chobani, an American brand of strained yogurt, posted pictures of good dishes on Facebook and drove its audiences to its recipe page.
Encourage Visual Storytelling
Visuals with stories are an effective way to promote your brand without using your logo or paid advertisements. You can create videos that tell the story of how your product became useful in a particular scenario. The Google Glass explorer stories page is an example of such videos. If you canâ€™t create that kind of high profile video, you can tell a memorable story using attractive images and make your audience share them similar to how Ritz Calton took the pictures of a strayed stuffed animal giraffe using Instagram and told a story of its vacation, which really helped to popularize the cordiality of its Loss Prevention Team.
Focus on User Generated Content
Leveraging user generated content is a cost-effective way to market your products or services directly by engaging your audiences. If you are conducting an event, you can ask your audiences to take pictures of their experiences and share them with a relevant hashtag, which is an effective way to promote both your event and brand. You can also conduct a contest for your audience in which they can submit photos and win prizes. This will improve customer interaction and engagement.
Though these are effective strategies, businesses could do with expert help to find out which strategy would work best for them. Partnering with a professional SEO company can go a long way when it comes effective visual content marketing.