They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Based on what’s happening in social media right now, I believe that that statement has never been truer, especially for small business looking for ways to rock their marketing strategies.
- The unprecedented rise in popularity of Pinterest, which is based on images and does double duty as both a bookmarking and social engagement platform
- The emphasis that Facebook places on images and video in its algorithm for what people see in their newsfeeds
- The new Facebook timelines which are very visual with a large cover image, larger images on the wall, the ability to highlight posts and make images the full page width, and the new albums which allow you to look at full size images
- The popularity of photo apps like Instagram that double as social media networks (and the fact that Facebook just purchased Instagram suggests that the emphasis on images is not changing any time soon)
- The migration of Google’s online photo editor Picnik over to Google+ to allow for easy editing and customization of images right on your Google+ profile (and if you’re heartbroken over that one, don’t fret – you can use PicMonkey instead.
What does this mean for your business?
Images are very easy for your fans to share, pin, tweet, embed, and print so they are a fantastic tool for spreading the word about your business.
Marketing after all is communication, and communicating a message with images has never been easier. We all have access to cameras capable of taking high quality images, free online software that allows us to easily edit & modify images or make graphics, and plenty of tutorials and tips for using both.
Even better, there are many mogul moms out there with their own photography & graphic design businesses; you can support a fellow mom in business even as you grow your own!
So, how can you include images as part of your marketing strategy?
The key is to include images that your fans will want to share. Your goal should be to delight them, engage with them, inspire them, teach them, or entertain them!
1. Excellent product photos
Study product photos (on Pinterest, in catalogues, or when shopping online) and make note of the types of photos you love, the ones that get liked or commented on and the ones that get pinned.
Look at your own product photos with a critical eye (as though you were a customer) and start replacing the ones that need it.
2. Fan contributed photos
Have an Instagram (or photo app) contest or challenge and start collecting fan photos. Fans love to be featured on blogs & Facebook pages!
Ask for images of your products in use, before and after photos from your service, photos that represent what your customers need help with or their dreams, photos from your town (if you are a local business), and photos that fit with your brand.
3. Inspirational graphics
If you don’t have product images, inspirational graphics are a great way to add a visual element to your business.
Take a ‘sound bite’ from a blog post, use an applicable quote or lyrics, write an inspirational/motivational message, create a manifesto, or just put your passion into words, and then use that text to make a graphic.
4. Funny, snarky or entertaining graphics
I bet as soon as you read that, an image popped up into your head! The images that entertain us are often the ones we love to share the most (just check your facebook newsfeed for proof!)
Create your own by adding text to a fun snap shot, using one of the ‘meme maker’ apps online, or commissioning an illustrator to draw you your own little comic.
Instead of writing a text based blog post, or posting the usual tips and instructions to your Facebook page, turn that information into an infographic.
For topic ideas, consider your most frequently asked questions, look back to a popular blog post, or pick a topic that you know your fans could use a little help with. Then, use this infographic creation tool.
How do you ensure your images ‘do the talking’ for your biz?
Be sure to include your branding directly on your images: watermark them with your logo or include your website on the border.
Next, you need to make them sharable. Post them on your Facebook page, pin them to Pinterest, include them in your blog and your newsletter, tweet those pins and links, or even hand out actual prints (MOO is a great spot to get post cards or mini-cards made up!)
The last thing to remember is to ASK people to share them.
Many people are worried about infringing on copyright or sharing images without permission, so not only should you give permission for people to share but make it easy for them!
Include pin it buttons or embed codes, post the links to downloadable or printable versions of your image, and upload them directly to Facebook albums so that people can easily click the share button.
If you don’t have great images as part of your marketing, your message might not make it onto people’s newsfeeds; your fans won’t have anything to pin to their Pinterest boards (or worse they will pin whatever mediocre image you do have and it will be forever associated with your brand) and you will be missing out on an opportunity for fans to spread the word about your business for you.
If an image is worth a thousand words, then it’s well worth your investment to have an image marketing strategy. How are you going to use images in your marketing strategy?