Snap Me: What is your Business Saying in Pictures?

Walk down the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone with a camera and you will soon hear someone say “snap me.” The first time I heard it I wasn’t sure what they meant. It wasn’t until they started posing for me with a giant smile, that I realized they wanted me to take their picture. As you can see, these kids loved playing it up for my lens and now your viewing pleasure.

It is not only the people of Sierra Leone that love to get snapped, pictures are beginning to dominate our social media channels. From selfies to groupies, we have all started to express a thousand words using a picture. Ellen DeGeneres sparked the latest in image sharing trends when she tweeted a star-studded “selfie” from the Oscars. Ellen’s tweet immediately went viral and became the most retweeted post with over 1.9 million shares — and she shut down Twitter temporarily in the process. Now co-workers around the world are joining the fun, posing for #groupies at work, just like Ellen did!

Pictures invade social networks

Social media networks are changing to handle the flood of images and visual content, from Facebook to Twitter to Google+, they have recently been through major redesigns to enhance and show off visual content for users.

The big social media networks are not only updating their interfaces, they are also buying up the visual content networks at a fast pace. Facebook has been snapping up (bad pun) platforms that focus on visual communication. First it was Instagram and recently they bought the widely popular chat and photo sharing app WhatsApp, the platform agnostic BBM killer for a cool $18 billion. Twitter also purchased Vine, a video sharing network.

What’s driving this trend in visual marketing?

The explosion of mobile devices is changing user behaviour. As more people share content via smartphones, they prefer to share a picture or a video, instead of trying to type out an update on a tiny keyboard. People also seem to prefer looking at visual content as well.

  • – According to MDG Advertising, content that was paired with an image attracted 94% more views on average than content without visuals.

  • – Visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text.

  • – Visuals anchor our memory — when text is accompanied by an image, retention increases 40%.

Growth of Visual Marketing

Visual marketing around the world

Back in 2012 (seems like decades in the social media world), Fast Company was already talking about the rise of visual social media. Saying that when it comes to their products, businesses are learning to show, not tell, and visual content sites are fueling our desire for beautiful photography and sensational design.

Although business to consumer companies have figured out how to leverage social media sites such as Pinterest to increase sales, few business to business companies have a digital marketing strategy, much less developed a strategy to use pictures and visual content to share their story.

Any organization looking to get started in social media should spend more time on LinkedIn, it is the obvious choice for businesses and is growing faster than Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn says that 41 percent of traffic now comes from mobile devices and these users are looking for visual content.

SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn) is not a digital graveyard for presentations, the social network allows you to post different types of content including guides, papers and other visual content. They also have powerful lead generation tools built in.

How Can B2B Companies Use Images for Better Digital Marketing?

To grow your business in an increasingly visual world, you need to start thinking about your digital vision. Here are a few questions to help you get started thinking about how your business can start using pictures, images, videos, infographics and graphics too.

  • – What type of pictures or images would clients expect to see from your business? It is important to be true to your brand.

  • – Are there ways to leverage images or video from your existing customers?

  • – How can you weave photos, videos and other visual media together to tell a cohesive brand story? For example, how might you tie in a recent trade show, social channels and live interviews into a story that connects with your B2B buyers?

  • – When thinking about the purchasing journey for your target audience, is there a way to use images or pictures to address your audience’s informational needs as they move from awareness to consideration to purchase?

  • – Do your pictures or images help tell your story and help your customers make the connection to your brand?

B2B companies are also experimenting with other social media to share their story and drive leads. Here are some noteworthy examples:

Aurena Laboratories uses an infographic to demonstrate the evolution of spray technology.

  • – Aurena Laboratories is a pharmaceutical contract manufacturer of bag-on-valve products. Sounds like a dry topic, right? When they started to work us in 2013, we saw an opportunity to tell their story with visuals including SlideShare presentations to showcase their bag-on-valve services and medical devices products, an infographic to show the ‘evolution of spray’ and case studies featuring their products. These formats not only helped to make the content less boring, but also helped to increase engagement.

  • – Kinvey, backend as a service (BaaS) provider for mobile and web apps often use SlideShare to communicate with their audience. Kinvey simplifies their presentations with cartoonish characters, humor, to the point content and easy to understand language. I thought it only fitting to share Kinvey’s, The Role of Mobile in Hurricane Sandy which portrays the power of mobile technology, social media platforms and visual content even in times of natural destruction.

  • – Creating videos can be just as easy, Zendesk uses storytelling to cleverly portray a call centre ticket in there 2:19 minute video, Why Zendesk. As a customer service and ticket software provider Zendesk is definitely at the forefront of content sharing, using everything from webinars and infographics to whitepapers and SlideShare presentations.

  • – GE (General Electric) use both Pinterest and Instagram (among other social media sites) to influence and inspire by telling their story through stunning and educational visual content. With 34 boards and over 2,000 pins GE’s Pinterest account creatively showcases the company in all that they do. Whether showing a GE F-Class gas turbine Gif on their Brilliance in Motion board or support and inspirational quotes on their Cancer Pintherapy board, GE ensures their beautiful content is distinguishable across the web by adding their logo to every imagine. GE’s branding strategy has also shown useful on their Instagram account where you can find behind the scene videos, images, and most fascinating of all, 3-15 second videos of products in action!

Yes, the above companies have robust content strategies in place but these examples show amazing, effective content doesn’t have to be complicated and can be achieved with a little creativity. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a phone with camera and/or video capabilities, revealing your expertise, products and uniqueness doesn’t have to be innovative – why not start by sharing a company #groupie.

Some of the formats worth considering:

  • – Images and pictures

  • – Videos

  • – Slideshows

  • – Infographics

  • – Comics

  • – Memes

  • – Graphics and charts

  • – Webinars

This doesn’t need to be complicated… Most people have a phone with a camera and video capability in their pocket. So just use it and then figure out the way to share it!

For more ideas, check out this blog post about how to get started with visual content, or reach out to us for your free personalized web presence assessment.