Dana Munson

Visual Marketing: The evolution of content marketing

The revitalized look of Facebook's News Feed

The revitalized look of Facebook's News Feed (Image courtesy of Flickr user Thomas Hawk)

In March, Facebook announced its new mobile-inspired news feed which has again sparked conversations surrounding the vital importance of visual elements in social media marketing. “Visual Marketing” was coined as a breakout trend of 2012 with the growing popularity of social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. With pictures being shared and liked more than text, links and videos it’s clear that more images equals more engagement. This is not surprising considering the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text alone, 83% of all learning is visual, and 93% of communication is non-verbal.

If you’re not yet convinced that visual marketing is here to stay, take it from the experts. Detavio Samulas (EVP & Director of Client services at GlobalHue) explains that pictures are similar to movie trailers for written content. They provide insight into what a piece of content is about so the user can quickly decide if they want to continue to engage or not. Additionally, Ekaterina Walter, Intel’s Social Media Strategist, also stated, “Brands that can rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.”

The fact is that content length has been steadily shrinking – with the online consumer moving from lengthy blogs to Facebook statuses to 140 character tweets. This is not to say that content does not have its place; content is an integral piece of the puzzle that should accompany engaging visual elements.  It is important to also consider that search engines now take social conversations and sharing into consideration when ranking sites – meaning that the boost visual marketing can give social campaigns will also help SEO rank.

Now that you know why images are a large driver of behavior it’s time to brainstorm how to utilize visual marketing in your own campaigns. Think about your industry – are you a travel company? Incorporate destination images into your marketing scheme and encourage customers to share their pictures with you by re-posting user-generated content. Are you a retail brand? Showcase your merchandise. Are you an interior designer? Show off your work and share what inspires you. Consider if user-generated content is right for your brand. For example, if you are marketing a local bar or restaurant encourage patrons to share their experiences via images with your social channels – and re-post to encourage further engagement.

Legendary journal maker Moleskin runs user-submitted image contest. (Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Legendary journal maker Moleskin runs user-submitted image contest. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A great example of utilizing user-generated content is the “What’s In Your Bag? campaign from designer paper/analog brand Moleskine. Users were encouraged to upload images of the contents of their bags into a Facebook album (which always included Moleskine notebooks).

Ultimately visual marketing has the potential to boost almost all aspects of a brand’s online presence, and when integrated into a content marketing campaign, can have killer results.

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