Four ways companies can utilize images and video as a tactic to increase engagement with their audience and customers.
Nothing is more engaging than photos or videos when it comes to content online. The rise of Pinterest and the success of YouTube certainly point to how valuable this type of content can be. That being said, your strategy can't be completely made up of just pushing out videos and images; it has to be integrated into your marketing mix with the right balance.
I'm hard-pressed to find a business, large or small, that can't benefit from utilizing images and video as a tactic to increase engagement with their audience and customers. When you look at your news stream on Facebook, it's rare when the majority of what you are seeing being shared is photos or videos. People love to share what touches their hearts, souls, or minds and both images and videos do this in a very compelling way.
So how can a company even with limited resources integrate this tactic into their plan?
Don't be afraid to share. So many companies fear their images being "stolen." With social media and the Internet, inevitably, images are going to be passed around. Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, be wise about the images you are putting out for the public to consume.
Integrate your media with text content. Whether it's a press release, a blog post, or even just a PDF document, integrate your images and videos to make your plain text even more engaging. One of the biggest turnoffs to your audience is reading plain text that goes on and on.
Images and videos help pull your audience in to read through all of your content, rather than making them bored and clicking away. This type of media also is a signal to the viewer about what the content is generally about; if the images are engaging to them, they are going to stay on your content for a lot longer and will likely click through to see what else you have.
Create infographics and "how-to" content. Large amounts of data and content can be hard to consume, especially in today's fast-paced world. Most people like their information in easy to consume "chunks." That's why infographics and "how-to" videos have become very important pieces of content to create.
When people see graphics, charts, and graphs explaining what the data they read in a report means in a conceptual manner, they can point to it and explain it easily to others. When you decipher the data and put it into "layman's terms," you now become the go-to person about the subject. People relate you as an authority on the subject.
The same can be said for how-to videos as well. When you take the time to put something together to explain in visually engaging ways how to do a seemingly difficult task (and make it look easy), people will find you valuable and share your content with others in their network.
Make it easy to share. Make sure your content is easy to share on the social networks that are most valuable to you. Don't be tempted to use widgets that give your audience too many choices. Too many choices overwhelm people and they end up not sharing and clicking away. Pick the top three or four places to share and get those buttons on your content.
Look at your current website traffic and analyze where your biggest referrals are from social networks. If you aren't getting much from LinkedIn, you might not want to put a LinkedIn share button on your content; perhaps Pinterest is a better choice. Remember, you want to start where your audience is currently engaging the most and filter that content out to them and make it very easy for them to share it with their networks.
Keep in mind, while you see all these humorous "Your Ecards" and Lolcats photos being shared, just as many infographics, engaging images, and helpful videos get shared on social networks. Why not make sure that your valuable content gets shared too?
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Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.
Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.
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