Is Image Everything?
It’s that time of year when all we want to do is get warm, cosy and comfortable. Staying in is the new going out, good TV and comfort food is the norm and girls secretly stop shaving their legs! For some people image is everything, for others, not so much. However, with day light dwindling, temperatures dropping and cold germs spreading, how we feel can become more important than how we look. It’s also the time of year for fireworks and there’s no denying we love how they look and make us feel.
In the world of social media marketing, how content looks plays a vital role in how a consumer feels about a company, business or brand. Good content needs to be engaged before it can be appreciated. The use of images within content may seem obvious but it’s essential. Just like fireworks Images need be bold, bright, and loud, grabbing your attention. We live in an age of visual learners which means we digest information more easily by viewing an image instead of reading text.
Back in the day traditional offline and online marketing didn’t need to place such an emphasis on the visual factor. Readers’ attention could be held for much longer periods of time without the fear of them becoming distracted by an unrelated yet engaging image of something seemingly far more interesting. With our phones constantly bleeping, tablets flashing and social media feeds delivering more post than Royal Mail – the ability to remain captivated by something is getting harder and harder. Most people have a limited attention span. Information overload means data can quickly become overwhelming and people have to pick and choose among countless content options, all begging for their attention. This has resulted in people ignoring and skimming through content to find what they are looking for.
Understanding the value of Images and using them properly can help a small business optimize their social media marketing campaign and give them an edge over competitors who publish text heavy content.
Unless it’s a black and white photo of paint drying an Image will grab your attention. When there’s a long winded post with nothing but text it can put a lot of visitors off because they simply don’t have the time to read through it. A good head line or call to action will get the reader’s attention but an affective image is the perfect motivating force to encourage people to stick around and explore content in greater detail. Quality written text can be persuasive, informative and emotive but some well-placed images enhance the content and take it one step further. You have to remember that as humans we connect emotionally to images more than video, audio or text. People make decisions and take action quicker when prompted by images, rather than by reading a lot of text.
Breaking up the text with relevant images gives people time to stop and think about the concepts and points being raised. This is particularly important when attempting to explain how a product works, what it does, an app, step by step directions etc. The end result should be helping readers achieve a thorough understanding. Images make things clearer, simple and easier to understand. They speed things up when time is precious. The only thing shorter than a Tweet or a post is a picture.
As well as speed things up the right pictures can brighten up a boring post. Line after line of text quickly becomes dull but images make content more vibrant and visually stimulating. As well as adding a bit of spice to your posts, pictures with the relevant alt and meta tags will provide an SEO boost, vital to getting the post seen in the first place. This includes the image file name, as well as the Title, Alt and description tags. Properly labelling these tags will help Google index your content and figure out how relevant and useful it is.
To appreciate the power of Images you only have to look at the two social media sites where image is everything:
Pinterest mainly revolves around the exchange of ideas via visual content. It’s users are limited to ‘repins’ ‘likes’ and brief comments unlike the other major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that allow a lot of varied interaction. A large part of Pinterest’s success is due to its simplicity and aesthetic appeal. Instead of relying on an abundance of text it focuses on an easy on the eye background with pins that feature images and videos. Interestingly, roughly 70 per cent of Pinterest users are female. This makes Pinterest perfect for businesses in niches like fashion, fitness, home décor and arts and crafts.
Instagram allows a more personal interaction between companies and consumers. The concept is creative and fun and the sole use of images and videos allows an insight into the user’s world that you might not get with Twitter or Facebook.
This is particularly handy for building rapport and gaining the trust of consumers by giving them a first-hand look into a company and its employees. Endless pictures of a product can become boring and lifeless but pictures of the employees hard at work or out socialising can help a business come across more personable and not just some faceless commercial entity. Small businesses on a tight budget can also encourage consumers to take pictures of themselves using a product or a service. Satisfied customers will happily spread the word and including them in a marketing campaign is a great way to establish loyalty and build brand awareness. Branding on a budget is achievable when everyone has a camera phone.
The blazing, beautiful, brilliance of a fireworks display lights up the dark night sky and warms our hearts. Whether it’s a loud bang that scare’s the fur off your pet, or a silent explosion of colours in the distance, there’s nothing quite like fireworks. Just like Images they evoke emotions and grab our attention. In social media marketing you can communicate purely with images. Sometimes words aren’t even necessary. A good photo can leave you speechless, get people talking or make them listen. Image isn’t everything but it’s a good place to start.