5 Ways Businesses Are Using Visual Storytelling on Facebook : Social Media Examiner

social media how toAre you looking for creative ways to use visual storytelling in your social media marketing?

Do you have a great story to tell, but you’re not sure how to share it?

Every company has a story to tell.

It could be anything from brand history to internal innovation to fun customer feedback. Unfortunately, few businesses share their stories effectively on Facebook.

In this article I’ll show you five imaginative ways brands are using pictures to tell compelling stories that generate engagement on Facebook.

Why Tell a Visual Story?

A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s a cliché for a reason. When you’re scrolling through the news feed, what catches your eye? Most updates are text, but Facebook users like pictures.

Posting images can help increase engagement and shares on Facebook. Photo posts account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. They can get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts!

Are you using pictures to your advantage? Below are five examples of companies that are wowing their fans with visual stories.

#1: Use Clever Photo Collections

The American Express Facebook page strives to give a strong visual representation of the brand. That can be a tall order for a service-based company. American Express rose to the challenge by taking photographs of related items, then sharing them with short updates that ask a question or evoke a certain feeling.

Recently, the freezing weather in the US has everyone talking. American Express shared this simple but hugely descriptive picture on their Facebook timeline.

american express christmas facebook image

American Express connects with fans through a simple image.

Not only does the picture convey winter and snow days, it also subtly includes an American Express card. To me, that picture said, “You’re probably having a snow day, but all you need is your American Express card in case you need to order pizza, download a movie or do some online shopping without braving the weather.”

The company used the same technique on December 23:

american express facebook image

Interesting pictures and fun questions encourage Facebook engagement.

The post asked, “Guess whose holiday essentials these are?” It was a clever alternative to the in-your-face holiday posts that had been doing the rounds, and invited plenty of discussion and good-natured responses. Hey, doesn’t everyone need a credit card? Those reindeer vet bills sure do add up.

Tip: Photograph your product with everyday objects or in a live setting to tell a fun story or spark an emotional connection with your community. Take advantage of trends that are relevant to your audience to show how a customer could use your product.

#2: Create Stand-Alone Visual Campaigns

Sometimes a company’s marketing gimmick can take on a life of its own. Several years ago, UK-based insurance comparison site Compare The Market created a campaign around the idea that market sounds just a little bit like meerkat.

They introduced Aleksandr Orlov, a meerkat with a Russian accent and an aristocratic heritage. The campaign was a huge hit. Even though Compare The Market isn’t actually on Facebook, Aleksandr has his own page, with more than 800,000 likes!

The story of Aleksandr, his friends and his family (including the new baby, Oleg) is played out on this fun, interactive page, which drives traffic back to the company website with its clever use of storytelling and merchandising (a free meerkat toy with every purchase through the site).

comparethemarket facebook image

Compare The Market uses Aleksandr Orlov, a meerkat, to share stories with its audience.

Tip: If you don’t have a mascot, why not tell the story behind your logo, choice of location or something else that makes your company unique? Marketing is not about B2B or B2C anymore, it’s about P2P (people to people).

Your fans want a human connection with your brand and your people. They want to peek behind the scenes and explore your culture, understand your mission and find out what inspires your innovation.

#3: Develop Community Around a Charity

Many businesses make a point of giving back to their community, but TOMS shoes goes much further. The company was founded on the charitable concept that for every pair of shoes they sold, they would donate a pair to children in poverty around the globe.

TOMS makes an impact on their fans by sharing pictures of those they’ve helped. It’s one thing to know a company has a strong charitable background, but seeing it helps fans appreciate the effect they’re having on the world.

toms facebook image

TOMS gives their fans a connection to the people they (both the company and its fans) are helping all over the world.

Tip: Share your company’s passion with your fans. Every brand has a story about the inspiration behind the innovation or employees’ passion for company product(s). Use pictures to convey your brand’s core values.

#4: Incorporate Fan-Generated Content

The Starbucks’ Facebook page celebrates the most important people to the company: their customers. Starbucks posts Instagram photos from their fans to give a customer’s-eye view of the brand.

Not only is this a fun way to show customer appreciation, it’s a really clever way of generating fresh, relevant content that brings business and customers closer together.

starbucks facebook image

Starbucks uses fan-generated content to show customers its appreciation.

When Starbucks shared the customer photo above, it generated a massive response with over 78,000 likes, 460 comments and 1,500 shares.

Using customers’ own photos to tell a brand’s story is an inclusive strategy and clearly resonates well with other fans. This authentic word-of-mouth is priceless.

Tip: Your customers are your greatest asset; make them feel like a valued part of your story by sharing their images. Ask fans to use a specific hashtag when they share photos of your brand so you can find them easily.

#5: Share Your History

Positive nostalgia fosters true emotional connection. Reflecting on your brand’s history brings a whole new dimension to your marketing.

IBM has an illustrious history of innovation and the company capitalizes on that by sharing pictures from their archives on their Facebook page. Some of the company’s most liked and commented-on posts are those that show how much technology has changed and how IBM led those changes.

starbucks facebook image

Fans love to see how things have changed over the years.

Showing how your brand started, the challenges you have overcome and celebrating some of your best achievements can make your followers proud to be associated with you and all the great work you have done over the years.

Tip: Don’t bury photos from your past in offline archives. Use them to show how far you’ve come and the moments you’re most proud of. Celebrate those moments with your community and ask them to share their own memories.

Share your stories.

Your brand has some great stories, so why not tell them? Don’t settle for long text updates that get glossed over in the news feed. Tell your story with pictures and rich media so your fans connect with you. Customers who feel more connected to a brand display greater loyalty and are more likely to advocate for your brand.

What do you think? How have you used pictures to share your company’s story? Do your fans respond more enthusiastically when you post pictures? Share your comments below.

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