Roses are red, Violets are blue, your content needs some color, that’s why we use images too. A short glance on the role played by visual content in your social media marketing strategy.
Communicate your message on each channel
When it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, you want to take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message.
Today, it’s easy for information to get lost or ignored if it’s not presented in a digestible format. And because each platform has its own features and limitations, finding a consistent medium that can grab the attention of your audience on all environments is also a must and a challenge.
To better understand the importances of images, read our previous article on social media marketing.
Why images matter?
Cliche or not, images deliver and are worth 1000 words. Visual content helps us tell our stories quickly with impact and emotion, basically enhancing our storytelling.
Integrating visual content can increase your audience’s chance to absorb and remember your brand’s message.
“Images often allow us to explain, simplify, or expand concepts in ways that are very difficult to do (if possible) with text – or even with spoken words.” Robert Lane, “Relational presentation: A Visually Interactive Approach”
Well-thought images can evoke certain reactions. An MIT research splits these reactions in three types: emotional, mental and social.
Emotional reactions – Images can draw forth a vast sphere of emotions, from joy to sadness to fascination. And to create a connection, these emotions do not have to be positive.
Mental reactions – An image has the potential to make an impression on the viewer by challenging, instructing or informing.
Social reactions – People who have a pop-culture awareness may respond to images that play on that awareness. Social responses can also be cultural: an image that speaks to a Finnish audience won’t necessarily resonate with Fijians.
Social media websites help us promote our content
During the past 2-3 years, Facebook and Twitter have focused their resources on delivering more visually rich content to their users. Why would you care about this? Because a post with an image attached to it would have 3 times the number of views and clicks then a regular one.
Twitter‘s 140 characters limit has always been seen as a downside to this social media platform. But why would you wanna say more, when you could show more?
In june 2012, Twitter introduced twitter cards, a feature that lets you attach rich photos, videos and media to tweets, which enhances users’ experience and helps drive traffic to your website. I was really sceptic of this feature, but soon I found out that just by adding the summary card, my tweets got an 25% reach boost (long live ROI). To learn more about how card meta tags and web crawlers work, check out the getting started guide.
The same approach was adopted by Pinterest, when it introduced rich pins. Rich pins are pins that include extra information right on the Pin itself. There are 6 types of rich pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product and place.
Facebook, with its Open Graph, gives website owners the possibility to customize the way their posts will be displayed on the social media platform. This works for the excerpt, the featured images, your website url address or your author name (the latter can be displayed next to the post). Too see more on what open graphs can offer, take a look here.
Data proves images work
If you are not convinced about the importance of investing in visual content, then lets talk numbers.
40% of people will respond better to visual information than to plain text (Source: Zabisco).
Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts (Source: SEOmoz).
46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab).
Research from Buffer shows that using images on Twitter increases retweets by 150% and click-throughs by 18%.
Adding images and video increases engagement and chances for social media sharing.
Images expand your audience up to 92% and a custom mix of photos, videos and multimedia content will increase it up to 552%. Why? They will make your story stand out among text-only press releases and turn your social media marketing strategy into a successful one.
PRNewswire found that images included in a press release expand the release’s audience up to 180%.
In one of his studies, Jacob Nielsen found that, on the average web page, users only have time to read maximum 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is actually more likely to be the norm.
To help with your implementation, I’ve added some other useful links on how images impact social media marketing strategies: