Social Marketing 2013: Capitalizing on the Visual Age

Pinterest became the third largest social Visual Content Marketing in 2013network, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion, and Tumblr is seeing nearly 61 million unique visitors a month…notice a trend?

2012 was the rise of visual content marketing and this trend will continue to grow in 2013. Even popular sites, such as Mashable and Airbnb, have made the move towards interfaces reflective of Pinterest. So what does this mean for your business and its social media strategy? What techniques can you use in order to turn visual engagement into conversions?

The Visual Appeal

One thing you will notice when browsing Pinterest is that most, if not all, of the shared photos are high quality photographs. After all, no one wants to share mediocre looking content! The sites simplicity, sharing capability, and endless scroll create a powerful platform with the potential to take a simple image and turn it into a worldwide phenomenon. A study found that articles with a relevant photograph pull in 94% more traffic than those without an image. This stat alone should inspire and alert any marketing department to push towards a visual content strategy.

How To:

In order to stay on top, businesses should adapt their marketing strategy by posting original visual content across various platforms. Borrowing images from stock sites and creative commons areas is an option…but why not push for truly original content? Try taking a course on DSLR’s or giving employees cameras for a day and have a contest to see who can take the most “stock” looking photo. If necessary, hiring a professional photographer to take photos of all your products, or the company culture, will create a visual content house to pull from for months.

Types of Successful Content

So what types of visual content produce high traffic and increased engagement?  When broken down, infographics, photographs, and video are the main types of content that businesses will be producing.  Infographics are highly shared, spread the brand message, and will often be revisited to utilize information within the graphic.

Original photographs also drive engagement with one study finding “60 percent of customers are more likely to consider or contact a business that has an image show up in search results.” Utilizing a video service such as YouTube to host content is also a great way to boost your social strategy.  With YouTube users watching more than 3 billion hours worth of video a month, ignoring the power of video could harm your bottom line.

How to:

Infographics are powerful and can feature any aspect of your business or statistics that only you have access to. Try creating graphics, which help demystify and provide solutions to your specific audience. Not visually tech savvy or need inspiration? Try an infographic building tool such as Visua.ly or check out three case studies of infographic success.

As mentioned earlier, creating original photographs can be a fun process. However, if you are on a time crunch, check out the creative commons area of Compfight in order to find legal images for your posts. Need ideas for a Youtube video? Create a how-to series regarding any aspect of your business, which customers find confusing or would like to know more about!

Proof in the Numbers

In the end, conversions and ROI are the goal of any marketing department. This is where Pinterest reigns king. One survey from SteelHouse found that Pinterest users are nearly twice as likely to purchase an item than Facebook users. Another study found that 67 percent of consumers find an images quality to be very important in selecting and purchasing a product. These numbers reveal the power of images and the importance of incorporating them in 2013.

The Bottom Line

Whether you decide to hire a photographer, bring on a content management strategist, or simply create a Pinterest account, now is the time to make the move towards a visual content strategy. With major websites making the same moves, success will be measured by image quality, shareability, and informational gain.

Do you have any tips on strengthening visual strategy? Creating visual content? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

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About the Author: @KyleGinthner is the creator of UndergradTech and content strategist at Huify. Feel free to connect with him on Linkedin or Twitter @KyleGinthner.

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