4 ways to incorporate visual content into your social strategy

People, we are living in a visual world.  A visible online world, at least. It’s hard to not find a headline about how visual content is winning the social network engagement battle. Go on – I dare you not to stumble upon one. We like what we like. And we like images and video.

Look around at some of the biggest social networks. Much of their latest news revolves around empowering visual content. Instagram has posted some of the highest engagement rates among all networks. LinkedIn launched Professional Photos, which allows photo sharing directly from mobile devices. Twitter incorporated image previews directly in newsfeeds last fall and then rolled out a redesign that featured new header photos. Images and video consistently rank highest among engagement rates on Facebook. And Snapchat has remained relevant for longer than anyone could have guessed and has given brands the power to connect with users via their Stories feature.

It’s no secret that a social strategy that lacks visual content is a strategy bound for failure. How can you incorporate more visual elements into your content? Here are a few easy places to start:

  • Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.31.55 PMShow off your culture. One of the easiest ways to incorporate visual content is to show off your workplace and culture. Your brand may be known for one thing or another – but what about the people behind it? Giving your fans/followers a glimpse into your culture is another way to allow them to feel more connected to the brand. Heck – showing off how awesome it is to work there can also help attract top talent to your company as well.
  • Empower Your Fans. Let’s face it, at the end of the day your fans (customers) are the reason you’re still up and running. Why not show them a little love? Include them in visual contests – ‘How do you use our product? Take a picture and show us!’ Or take a page out of Beyonce’s book: as part of her ‘Pretty Hurts’ video launch, she started an Instagram campaign around #WhatIsPretty that invited fans to submit pictures of what they think pretty is. From there, she created a web page with all the fan submissions.
  • Be Useful. When you look at brands that have social media success, a lot of times it’s because they incorporate elements that benefit their audience. They post things that are just plain useful – whether it’s something like a how-to or something a little lighter like Oreo’s Snack Hacks (admittedly, one of my favorite things I’ve seen a brand do on social). If people find something useful, they’ll be more inclined to share it with their friends and family.
  • Have a little fun. Don’t be afraid to let loose and get a little silly (while staying appropriate, of course). Check out your upcoming content calendar. Are there any holidays coming up? Any company milestones? Tap in to your creative team to see if they can throw together a quick graphic to celebrate. If you don’t have a creative team, check and see if any other staff members happen to have a hinkering for graphic design. Bottom line is, don’t be afraid to put your serious cap down and make your audience laugh. Skittles, for example, does a pretty good job.

At the end of the day, not all content will be best suited to be visual. (Our marketing VP Chris Penn has tackled that exact topic). However, it should absolutely be a part of your social strategy. Without visual content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to generate engagement.

Amanda Grinavich
Marketing Analyst

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Posted on May 9, 2014 in Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy

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About the Author

Amanda Grinavich is a Marketing Tech Account Manager at SHIFT Communications. Prior to joining the digital marketing team at SHIFT, Amanda worked on the PR side of the house where she served clients in the technology space. She graduated from Boston University with B.S. in Communications.

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