Monkey See, Monkey Do. The Future of Social Media is Visual

katieschrank    July 10, 2013

The posting and reposting of images online is more popular than ever and keeps gaining popularity. Over 80% of pins on Pinterest are repins. Engagement from Instagram users is as much as 10 times greater than other platforms. Facebook posts with images are 50% more likely to be liked than regular text posts. Tweets with images are more likely to be retweeted. 3.4 billion photos have been uploaded to Google+ since it began. Recruiters spend more time checking out a candidate’s photo on LinkedIn than their actual profile (note to self: update LinkedIn photo).

We are highly visual creatures; the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. To interact with fans online, many companies have added sharing photos, cartoons and memes into their social media strategy in a big way. If you look at the Starbucks or Red Bull Facebook pages, you can see this in action. Almost every post is accompanied by a photo on both pages. Some are accompanied by longer messages and some let the picture be the focus. In the future, I see the text parts of those posts getting even shorter and images doing all the talking.

Adding photo posts to a company’s social media campaign isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just any photo won’t do. Low quality images won’t entice people to share or comment on them (at least not in a positive way). The picture needs to be relevant and visually appealing. It has to convey the message you want to get across in as simple a way as possible and that is easily understood by the masses. The more people retweet, like or share, the more eyeballs on your content. The more people see your content, the more people are aware of your brand and your products and that makes the pool of people who may buy your product larger. And that is really the point of marketing, right? Getting more people interested in your product so they will buy it is the whole point.

Socially Sorted shared six tips on their infographic on the shift to visual social media and how company’s can keep up. They are as follows:

  1. Don’t tell if you can show.
  2. Create original visual content.
  3. Crowdsource visual content.
  4. Showcase your story.
  5. Add back the words.
  6. Mix it up.

They are simple, but good rules to follow when jumping into the visual marketplace of social media. Check out the link to get a little more detail on each step and to see the infographic they created.

Soon, everything a company posts will be an image or a video. The days of long Facebook posts telling customers about a new product are gone. People no longer want to read more than 140 characters to get their news. Photos and videos will do all the talking and the brands that are the most successful in integrating this technology will be the ones that come out on top.

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Submitted by: Katie Schrank – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo
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