The Importance of Visual Content Marketing

By jrosen | September 9th, 2012

Social Media

Smartphones have changed a lot of things – it’s undeniable. What’s remarkable, to me, is how much they’ve changed something as simple as waiting around.  Think about it.  What do we do while we’re waiting for a table to open up at our favorite restaurant, or for a movie to start, or while the barista finishes making our Starbucks coffee?  We sit on our smartphones and we check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – the list goes on and on.

The fact is, more and more people are engaging with social media via the convenient device they carry around in their pocket, their smart phone, and it’s not just changing the way we wait for things, it’s also radically changing the way companies and brands market themselves.

Our “on the go” has created a trend toward the visual, in which users habits are highly affected by what they see.  Users are much more likely to like or comment on a picture or video than they are on simple text.  Why?  Probably because visual media is far more eye-grabbing and interesting, not to mention less tiresome to view on the small, but high resolution, screen of one’s smartphone.

This trend in mind, marketers must evolve with the times or risk losing the attention of their audience.  It’s true that this is not an entirely new concept.  Remember the old maxim, “A picture’s worth a thousand words?”  The fact of the matter is 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text (See the rest of HubSpot’s 19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing Data).  It seems pretty reasonable, then, that if you’re scrolling through your Facebook stream, a picture’s going to catch your eye quicker than a simple status update.

Even Facebook has made some recent changing in order to keep up with the visual needs of their users.  Seen some people complaining about their profiles being taken over by the new Timeline design?  Yeah, Facebook’s actually not just trying to drive those people crazy.  They’re aware that their users are influenced more and more by visual stimuli, so they’ve updated personal profiles to reflect what people want, or in some cases, should want.

Pinterest has been one of the fastest growing social media platforms to capitalize on this trend, and we couldn’t recommend it more.  Pinterest just went completely mobile in August, so they now have an app available in GooglePlay as well as an iPhone app.  Something else to do while you’re waiting!

Hair dressers, designers, food bloggers, and magazines have made excellent use of Pinterest, but many people think that this social media platform is of no use to B2B organizations.  The people at HubSpot, however believe that statement couldn’t be more wrong.  They pin all sorts of marketing related material, including infographics, as well as what they call “out-of-the-box” visual content: cool things that are related to their brand i.e. the color orange and, well, spots.  They have a list of other B2B organizations that have master Pinterest as well.

In a recent Fast Company article, Detavio Samuals, EVP and Director of Client Services at GlobalHue, one of the nation’s top market advertising agencies, explained that pictures function like movie trailers for written content.  They can be used to give the viewer an idea of what they’ll be reading if they do in fact click on a link.

So what does that mean?  It means we should be using them all the time.  Posting a Facebook status for your company?  If there’s a picture attached to it, members of your audience will be more likely to like it, comment on it, and read the link if there is one.  Posting a new article to your blog?  Every blog should at least one picture, preferably more.  If you can break up the text with pictures, the reader will be more likely to carry on to the end of the article.  In summation, do everything you can to keep it visual!

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