7 Ways to Build Your Brand and Boost Your Business With Images
Lately I’ve been starting my mornings with an hour of pleasure-filled quiet time. A cup of tea, breakfast and inspiration from Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs. Now, alongside the morning newspaper and magazines, we have the choice of 1000’s of digital magazines and blogs at our fingertips with one swipe of our tablet.
Like it or not, we’re always connected, so much so that in 2013 the Oxford Dictionary officially coined the phrase digital detox – “a period of time when a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers”. (Source: Nielsen)
With so much choice of digital content, and with people accessing it on-the-go, it’s a heated contest for customer attention. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and your customers want the information quickly – unsurprisingly, the growing trend is visual content.
In his keynote address at the Conversational Marketing Summit, Bob Lisbonne called it “the dawn of the imagesphere”. (Source: Luminate) He says that visual media is supplanting the written word.
Blogs that told a story in 500 words were followed by ‘micro-blogs’ on Facebook and Twitter’s 140 character-platform. Now multi-media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are allowing users to tell a story in pictures. The message is clear: show don’t tell.
And the numbers don’t lie:
- Images on Facebook generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average post: (Source: MikeGingerich)
- Just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content – images and videos – saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured)
- Almost 50% of Facebook users say they have shared a branded photo in the past month (Source: Global Web Index)
- Instagram boasts 200 million active monthly users and an average of 55 million images uploaded each day. (Source: Instagram and Mashable)
- Pinterest is now the fourth largest driver of traffic worldwide (Source: TechCrunch)
- Tweets with images get 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets than those without. (Source: Buffer)
It’s this level of engagement with visual content that has attracted the attention of big brands. One study showed that 1 in 5 of the Fortune 500 companies have an active Instagram account with Nike being the top player with 4.6 million followers.
And here’s the science bit… 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual.
Plus we can process images 60,000 times faster than plain text. (Source: Ernesto Olivares)
Not only are images quicker to digest – and save space in your social media feed – but they are powerful in creating an emotional connection.
On my bookshelf sits The Power of Glamour. In her book, Virginia Postrel describes how the glamour of an image is in the eye of the beholder. Not to be confused with style or beauty, glamour – she says – is something in our perception that creates a feeling of longing, that fosters hope and ambition.
A glamorous image allows us to “imaginatively inhabit the ideal and… to believe – at least for a moment – that we can achieve it in real life”. THIS is what makes images so powerful.
An image can very quickly tell a story and big brands are using this to their advantage.
It’s less about stiff product photography and more about sharing a snapshot of a lifestyle that the products make possible.
So what can we learn from how big brands are using images to engage their audiences?
Here are 7 Ways To Use Images to Build Your Brand:
1. Be True to Your Brand Use images to show your product off without the need for ‘pushy’ marketing. Nike, the most popular brand on Instagram, lets its celebrity ambassadors do the talking, with pictures of sports-stars wearing its range, alongside inspirational images of real people living their brand motto: just do it.
2. Share Experiences Benefit Cosmetics encouraged its customers to share their own experience of using the they’re real! mascara with its #Realsies campaign. Fans were encouraged to share a snap of their “beyond-belief lashes” on Instagram and 12,000 women from around the world took part, creating a true-to-life testimonial of the mascaras benefits.
3. Inspire Action Get your customers involved. Starbucks encouraged its customers to get creative in its #WhiteCupContest. Using the white cup as a blank canvas Starbucks fans were competing to have their unique design produced on a reusable tumbler. Crowd-source visual content by getting your fans engaged in sharing and commenting on images.
4. Know Your Audience Red Bull knows its customers. It rarely posts about its product on its Facebook page but instead knows its fans are looking for inspiration and motivation that will ‘vitalize body and mind’. Its feed is filled with high-energy, adrenalin-fuelled images and videos. What is the lifestyle that your customers want to be a part of? How can you use images to tell this story to them?
5. Harness Hashtag Power Using images and the hashtag can get you noticed. According to L2, 80% of brand posts include one hashtag and the average has three. It seems more hashtags encourage more interaction from fans and so brings more discoveries. Use hashtags relevant to your industry and encourage customers to use your brand hashtag themselves.
6. Share a Peek Behind the Scenes Images are really effective in building your brand personality and developing an emotional connection with fans. NARS Cosmetics has a real person fronting its Instagram feed – a self-proclaimed beauty addict “living her dream” working at NARS headquarters in New York, and Alice & Olivia’s designer Stacey Bendet shares a glimpse at her glamorous life behind the label on the fashion label’s feed.
7. Be Mysterious Four out of five smartphone and tablet users use their device to shop so images can be an effective way to engage and intrigue customers and lead them to your website. Instagram users can ‘shop the image’ when it’s tagged effectively and Pinterest drives sales directly from the website. Of people with Pinterest accounts, 21% have purchased an item after seeing it pinned. So, are you ready to use images for your business?
Plus, here is a quickstart guide from Canva to get you started:
Discovering compelling images will not only make your business more memorable, it will set you apart from everyone else in the cluttered marketplace. I’m currently developing a training on how to create and use compelling images to increase your sales.
Click the button below if you’d like to get on the wait list and be notified when the program is available. (You may even get an extremely exclusive invite to become one of our beta testers).