social media how toDo you give your customers the best information in the simplest way possible?

Are you connecting with your fans through visual content?

Pictures and video can inspire and amaze your audience in a way text just can’t.

In this article you’ll find five ways you can use images and video to connect with and add value for your audience.

Your Audience Craves Visual Content

Our brains love images. Did you know we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? That’s an important fact to keep in mind as you develop your social media marketing tactics.

If you have an important message you need to convey or just want to stand out from the crowd, visual content (whether it’s a picture or a video) is the way to go.

my kids' adventures collage

Stand out from the crowd by sharing images that convey your story.

Don’t worry if you aren’t artistic. Visual content is about making sure your conversation is interesting and engaging.

Here are five ways to use visual content to build a deeper relationship with your fans, followers and customers.

#1: Elicit Emotion With a Good Story

Using compelling visual content to tell or extend your story sparks emotion in your audience. It’s that emotion that inspires trust and loyalty.

Telling a story that connects with your audience could mean sharing a single captivating picture, an entire album or even a video. Whatever medium speaks to your audience is the one to use.

TOMS has used both visual content and emotion to tell the story of the company’s values and overall mission. Using their Facebook page, TOMS demonstrates how their products are really helping people all around the world and how their customers are a huge part of that.

toms image

TOMS uses pictures to reinforce their mission: For every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to a child living in poverty.

A study from ROI Research found that if content includes images, people are 44% more likely to engage with it. That’s an important distinction between visual content and straight text.

#2: Make an Impression With Quick Thinking

Is your team ready to jump on in-the-moment opportunities?

Oreo‘s ability react to events as they happen has become a hallmark of their social media interaction. Who can forget their response to the unexpected blackout during the Super Bowl in 2013?

oreo image

Oreo’s quick thinking and compelling picture caught everyone’s attention.

Part of what made their tweet so popular was the image they shared. Do you think many people would have retweeted a text-only tweet about dunking in the dark?

The picture made the whole thing work and Twitter users loved it. They retweeted it 15,000 times.

#3: Gain Trust With Useful Video Demos

Sometimes you just can’t convey how amazing your product is with a brochure, even if it has pictures. It’s a good start, but there are times when you need a little more, and that’s when video really helps you shine.

If you’re selling a fast car, a brochure can give your customer an idea of its beauty. It can tell you about the car’s features, the motor and what colors it comes in. But a video showing the car’s speed and agility in action has a much bigger impact.

Videos let you shine in other ways too. They’re the best tools for demonstrations and instructions.

It may not sound very exciting, but your customers and followers appreciate it when you use a clear video to explain how something works or how to do something.

For example, if you have a complicated piece of software that’s hard to install, a booklet of text-heavy instructions probably instills dread in your customers. Giving them a how-to video is much more palatable. It’s easier for them to see how the process works.

evernote video gallery

Watching a video tutorial is faster and easier for people to learn new things.

Evernote has an entire gallery of videos that show the most efficient ways to use their products. Their videos let viewers get in and out and are available on the go. That’s really useful to their users.

Give people what they need, when they need it, in a way that’s quick and easy and you’ll gain their trust.

#4: Inspire Action With Overlays and Quotes

If you don’t have an image that’s great on its own, you can punch it up with a text overlay to help convey the more compelling meaning you’re going for.

Text overlays don’t have to be complicated or dramatic. In the example below, General Electric’s background image wouldn’t have done much on its own.

By adding a subtle text overlay, the image is instantly interesting and shareable.

ge image

The right text overlay can make all the difference in how people interact with your visual content.

Text overlays are particularly well-received when paired with blog posts.

Before you publish your next blog article, find a captivating and relevant image and overlay it with an attention-grabbing statistic or quote from your post. These types of images are perfect for pinning on Pinterest and sharing on Facebook!

#5: Foster Community With Customer Sharing

The crux of social media is your relationship with your fans, followers and customers. Deepen that relationship by asking them to share their images to tell their stories and experiences with your products or services.

Instagram is an obvious platform for sharing those images. Ask your audience to upload pictures using a relevant hashtag and start a small visual campaign around their shared content. That really shows you care about their ideas and interests.

Tiffany & Co. hosted an Instagram campaign called “True Love in Pictures” that sent Instagrammers in Paris and New York out to snap images that represented true love.

tiffany instagram campaign

Encourage fans and followers to share their own visual stories.

They then encouraged fans to submit their own true love photos. Pictures instantly flooded in and the campaign was a huge success.

To create your own visual storytelling campaign, think about the different ways you can use visual content to capture the attention of your audience.

Wrapping It Up

Don’t worry about creating elaborate images and videos—they don’t have to be overly artistic or time-consuming. They just need to help you create a deeper connection with your fans and let you stand out from the crowd.

What do you think? Are you using visual content to get more attention? Does your audience interact with you more when you share pictures? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Excellent post. Concrete. I think that the visual elements are a must. A lot of research shows that people reacts better to visual communication. It is faster to assess wether the content is valuable or not (at least in some extend) by basing on the attractiveness of the content.

  • Mary Mallard

    I agree, this is a great list. But can we please stop talking about Oreo’s “Dunk in the dark”? Yes, it was timely, yes, it was clever. But how many of us are in war rooms with creative teams at the ready at all times? I’m definitely not. For those of us who are one man (or woman) shows, it’s just not feasible to accomplish something of that scale in the spur of the moment. If you work at a large agency or company with a good sized team, then go for it. But I just don’t think that’s really a good representation of an actionable idea.

  • Very true, image is worth a thousand words. It’s still valid. we just tend to forget about it, because it’s easier and faster to write words only. And adding visuals takes time.
    I’d just add one more point #6 Illustrate Your Text Content With Diagrams. It’s simple to create and helps the reader.

  • Kloecking Christoph

    first of all I agree with the thesis that visual content is the key to a successful social media strategy. I always wonder about the number 60,000 when arguing about the how much quicker images are in comparison to text.

    I read this number all the time but no one seems to be able to name the study that shows this number. If I calculate a value from what I know about visual perception (fixation points, etc.) I rather see the factor 60 as a much more realistic result than 60,000.

    PS: if the number refers to the famous 3M study – I’ve seen it, and the number isn’t in there.

    But even if the factor of speed is lower it does not change the general fact that visual content is vital for success in a Social Media Strategy

  • If only online retailers would take this advice to heart! Interacting with customers
    online has been so focused on transactions, page loads and clicks that
    e-commerce has largely ignored the need for stories and interaction in
    appealing to customers’ emotional needs. Videos and visuals do a great job of
    communicating stories, and creating community where customers can share their
    stories with each other. By going beyond transactional relationships to
    focusing on experiential commerce, online sales will improve by appealing to a
    broader range of a customer’s senses. In-person sales has always been able to
    do this, and it’s time for online to catch up. -Glenn Conradt, CoreMedia

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