Visual marketing is becoming increasingly popular, to the point at which it’ll soon just be called “marketing”. The good news is that it’s not just popular for the sake of it. Marketers are turning to visual content marketing because it works, and because it delivers the kind of results that they could previously only dream of. Simply including an image in a social media update is enough to make it stand out in users’ timelines, reaching more people and increasing engagement.
Let’s take a look at some visual marketing statistics. 81% of people only skim the content that they read online, while posts that include images receive 650% higher engagement than those without. On top of that, people form first impressions within 50 milliseconds, and the average person gets distracted in eight seconds.
But what is visual content marketing?
Well, as the name suggests, it’s any form of content marketing that relies on visual content. In the same way that blog posts are written content, videos, images and infographics are all visual. So are GIFs, while social media updates can be written, visual or both.
10 Visual Marketing Tips to Improve Engagement
1. Get the dimensions right
Different social networking sites use different dimensions for the images that they display in their news feeds. Don’t make the mistake of creating one all-purpose image that you use across every social network. Visual social media marketing needs to be more bespoke, meaning you need to create different images for each different social network to make sure that it looks great in the dimensions that it’s displayed in.
2. Use a visual call-to-action
Calls-to-action are all-important when it comes to marketing, because they tell people what action to take next. Most marketers are used to using calls-to-action in blog posts and social media updates, but we have a tendency to overlook them when it comes to our images. Visual calls-to-action can be even more effective than usual, so be sure to experiment and to see whether they work for you.
3. Use a consistent style
Using a consistent style is important so that people can instantly recognize your updates just from the way that they look. Perhaps you add frames to each of your images or you use the same filter each time on Instagram. Do whatever it takes to create a consistent visual style so that you’re branding yourself through your visuals.
4. Use multiple formats
From GIFs and memes to videos and infographics, there’s no shortage of different formats available to marketing departments. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that visual marketing is just about posting pretty pictures. Be willing to embrace all sorts of different formats if they’re relevant to your target audience and able to get your message across.
5. Go live
Creating videos is one thing, but creating live videos is something else entirely. The good news is that not too many people are taking advantage of the opportunities that live video has to offer, which makes it a great way to cut through the noise and to make your brand stand out. Feel free to experiment with 360-degree video and other formats, too.
6. Use UGC
User-generated content (UGC) can be a great way to make your brand appear more human and to establish a sense of social proof. We believe what other people say about brands more than we believe brands themselves, and visual UGC is one of the best ways there is to show your products in their natural habitat.
7. Empower employees
People prefer to look at the faces of the people that they’re working with than to look at a company logo. That’s why it’s a good idea to empower your employees to take photos of what’s going on behind the scenes and to share them from your corporate social media accounts. This shows people that you’re honest and open, encouraging trust and transparency.
8. Support the written copy
It doesn’t have to always be about the visuals. In fact, sometimes the best use of visual marketing is to support written copy instead of to replace it. When that’s the case, your visuals should include imagery that reflects what you’re trying to say and the image itself should serve as a way to attract people’s eyes and to direct them to the written copy in the caption.
9. Use colors that “pop”
Building on from the last point and the idea of using an image to catch people’s eyes as they browse through their news feed, consider using bright colors which “pop” out of the page. At the same time, you also need to consider cultural nuances and your overall brand. You should also avoid overdoing it, using it as a tactic for occasional images rather than for every single post.
They say that practice makes perfect. On top of that, marketing is all about testing everything you can think of to see whether it works or not. In the spirit of continual learning, be sure to try new things and above all else to have fun. If you’re playful and experimental, you’ll quickly start to learn what works and what doesn’t. Measure the results and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
As 2018 makes way for 2019, visual content marketing trends show it is only going to increase in popularity. Still, we’re nowhere near the point at which the marketplace is fully saturated, which means there’s plenty of potential for you and your business to tap into visual marketing no matter what industry you’re in.
Remember that while visual marketing works well as a rule, it’s not necessarily for everyone. As always, be sure to keep an eye on the results and to adjust your strategy as needed. There’s no point trying to force it if it’s costing you money and not delivering a return on investment.
The good news is that visual content marketing works almost universally, in part because we’re such visual creatures as human beings. So if you haven’t tried creating visual content yet, it’s time to make a change. It’s never too late to get started. Good luck.