Social Media Marketing and Eye Candy
Social media marketing is evolving every day to capture the fancy of audiences. This post examines why the latest storm of visual social media appeals to target audiences.
It’s no surprise that we are all by nature wired to be drawn towards visual representations rather than verbal representations of a notion or an idea. In fact, according to psychologist James Bruner from the New York University, only 10% of what is heard is retained compared to 20% of what is read and a mammoth 80% of what is seen. Researchers from the Wharton School of Business add that when compared, presentations of a solely visual nature are much more persuasive than presentations of a solely verbal nature. However, combinations of visual and textual elements are considered most compelling.
Capitalizing on this knowledge, social media developers have gone all out this year to capture audience fancy by providing emphasis to the visual element in social networking. According to an infographic by global communications company M Booth and media measurement and analytics company Simply Measured, in early 2012, it was found that close to 700 YouTube videos were being shared per minute on Twitter. In March 2012, social networking giant Facebook rolled out their new Timeline layout which featured a cover photo and displayed images in more prominent dimensions. Instagram launched their android app the following month which resulted in an amazing user base growth by 10 million in a matter of 10 days. In June 2012, it was observed that Pinterest provided a greater following for brands rather than Facebook or Twitter.
Wondering how visual social media caught on like wild fire? For one, it was a natural progression in social media marketing, going from blogging to micro-blogging to using to no words at all. Content alone might not be king any more. The change also came about because of the radical shift in content consumption patterns by consumers. Gone are the days when people would sit at their personal computers and tap away at the keyboard. Thanks to the explosion of smartphones around the globe, it’s all about snap-share-socialize.
A study by ROI Research indicated that people experience much better engagement with brands that have visual elements incorporated in their posts rather than just text. This is brought about by the fact that as far as the human brain is concerned, visual representation of a concept is much easier to process and sift through than a wall of text. Considering that search engine big-wigs like Google are calculating page rank based on social conversations and sharing, it’s become crucial for businesses to understand and act on this development.
Once you’ve decided that it’s worth investing effort in the visual social media marketing arena, start with getting the basic stuff right. Like all other processes, visual social media marketing also requires careful strategizing with inputs from your artists and designers. This strategy, however, cannot be standalone and must be capable of integration with your traditional marketing strategy. Elements like logos, typography and iconography are quintessential to any visual representation, so ensure that you’ve got those spot on. What is important is that your visuals tell a story. Visual storytelling which is anchored to a central strategy is much more likely to be effective than seemingly random updates. Visual content creation needn’t always require high spends. Smartphones are a blessing in this respect since they take reasonably good pictures and can facilitate quick uploads and sharing.
Visual social media marketing campaigns are simple enough to run and a great way in indulge in some eyeball grabbing for your company. For instance, Moleskin ran a ‘What’s in your bag’ campaign which encouraged followers to post pictures of their bags contents along with Moleskin notebooks. The band Smashing Pumpkins engaged their existing (and possibly dormant) fan base by inviting visual interpretations of their upcoming album Oceania. Sound campaigns can effortlessly drive engagement and provide free promotions such as Word-of-Mouth which a brand can greatly benefit from.
Whether you choose Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, going visual in social media marketing is easy, fun and a great way to connect to your target audience!