Social media is changing, more and more, from relying on text to relying on visuals. Established sites are facilitating this change. You can now view photos and videos without leaving your Twitter feed, and the recent Facebook redesign made the new cover photo 170 percent bigger than the old profile picture.
Pinterest, the new site for bookmarking photos, reached 10 million unique visitors weekly faster than any site in history, and hit 11.7 million in January 2012. Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, went from 1 million accounts at the beginning of 2011 to 15 million at the end of the year, and has already doubled that figure, to more than 30 million, in the six months since.
This is obviously driven by consumer use: With the rise of smartphone use, people have quality cameras with them at all times, making it easy to take pictures, and with numerous apps and sites, it’s just as easy to upload it immediately to share those photos with friends. People use both their photos and ones they find online as a form of self-expression, so you can benefit by having those photos available to be used.
Businesses have found visuals to be an effective way to increase consumer engagement. On Facebook, adding:
- an album increases engagement 180 percent
- a single photo increases engagement 120 percent
- a video increases engagement 100 percent
Facebook continues to be the main social media portal for referrals, and Pinterest, which is nothing but visuals, is a better route for referrals than Twitter, Google+, YouTube, or LinkedIn.
How do you get some of that traffic?
- Invest in visuals. You don’t just need visuals, you need good visuals. Although your followers may be uploading smartphone snapshots, you should invest in professional-quality photos, videos, and infographics.
- Show personality. Use the opportunity to expand and enrich your brand message — think beyond product shots! Upload mood boards, staff favorites, usage tips: whatever serves to enrich and expand the image of your brand.
- Crowdsource. You not only increase engagement, you acquire great new content by letting your fans and followers participate in creating visuals. Contests encourage participants to become stronger brand advocates, and even those who don’t enter themselves enjoy looking at — and sharing — content created by their peers.
The online world moves faster and faster, and is more and more reliant on visuals. By making sure your brand is well represented at the appropriate sites, you can greatly increase your brand recognition and engagement.