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Are You Prepared for Visual Social Media Marketing?

  |  February 12, 2013   |  Comments

Images are the key to breaking through the clutter of social media. Here are three main opportunities for marketers to take advantage of this trend.

I recently released my third book, "Visual Social Media Marketing," after I noticed a trend in social media content, as well as the implications for businesses. Looking at the trends across social networks and web content, one thing is undeniable - in order for content to be shared online it must be visual.

Consider these statistics:

  • The most shared and clicked-on links on Twitter are images.
  • Images on Facebook generate more reach, views, and interactions.
  • Blog posts with images generate more traffic.
  • Recruiters judge your LinkedIn profile more by the photo than the content.

In addition, the quickest growing social networks and applications are visual. Flipboard, a visual news app, was the number one application when the iPad launched. Pinterest and Instagram are the two quickest growing social networks, and both focus on visual communications.

The trends are clear - images are the key to breaking through the clutter of social media. With 88 percent of businesses now on social networks, it is more important than ever to build a strategy that involves the content that your audience actually wants. Increasingly, that content is visual.

Why Does Visual Content Break Through?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is true. We can communicate more information faster with images vs. text. Since we are sifting through lots of information online, our brains are naturally drawn to the content that gets the message across quickly. Images break through the clutter and immediately and quickly communicate messages.

Why Does It Matter?

The reality is that images are leading social content for sharing. Meaning that images are highly viewed, engaged with, shared, and clicked on in social networks. If you want your website content shared across visual social networks, you need to have a strong image strategy. Many websites, like MarthaStewart.com, report that visual social marketing is the number one source of traffic to their website.

I realized this a few months ago when I researched how content from my company was shared on Pinterest. I immediately noticed that a picture of me had been pinned. As I investigated I realized that the pinner was sharing a link to our Google+ report. The web page with the report included the entire report, however, it didn't have an image of the report - it only had a few random logos and a picture of me in the sidebar.

The lack of images on our website made it difficult for fans to share the report, and having an irrelevant image was limiting the amount of traffic that we were generating from Pinterest and other social networks. We added an image to represent the report, and found that traffic to the report page from social media sites increased because there was a relevant image to support the page.

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How Can You Take Advantage of This Trend?

There are three main opportunities for marketers to take advantage of this trend.

    1. Include highly relevant images on all of the pages on your website. This will ensure that your site is highly sharable on the visual web and can drive more traffic, leads, and sales to your site. All pages, especially product pages and blog posts, should include highly relevant photos. Try pinning your pages on Pinterest to see what images show up for each page.
    2. Optimize your social content to break through the clutter with images. Most leading businesses are making use of images in their content on all social networks. Your Facebook, Twitter, blog, and even LinkedIn strategies should include images.
    3. Join some of the fastest growing image social networks. Pinterest and Instagram are two of the quickest growing social networks, and brands have seen tremendous success in brand building as well as generating traffic, leads, and sales from these networks. Take a look at these sites and build a strategy for how your business can get results.

Don't delay any longer - images are dominating content that travels online - take advantage of these sites before your competitors do.

Visual Social Media image on home page via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krista Neher

Krista Neher is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide, an international speaker, and currently CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which is a leading provider of social media marketing training and consulting solutions. Krista is a social media pioneer, creating one of the first successful corporate Twitter strategies and corporate blogs - long before "social media" was even a recognized term. After spending nearly six years at Procter and Gamble working on some of the biggest and most successful product launches, Krista went on to become the vice president of marketing at an Internet start-up.

Krista started Boot Camp Digital in 2008 and has created training programs for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing departments and small and medium business owners in social media marketing. Krista also works with a variety of educational institutions on their social media programs and is currently working on a textbook on social media marketing.

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