Visual social platforms create genuine brand stories with inspirational imagery. Here's what to consider before developing your visual content strategy.
In 2008, Steve Jobs took the stage at the Macworld Expo and shared what seemed like a startling statistic: "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year...People don't read anymore." Many are saying this statement could be seen as a foreshadowing of the explosive growth in visual content. But that wouldn't really be accurate. Direct marketers have long known this; creating compelling visual content has been at the center of their world for years.
People are compelled by strong visuals -- it's why we watch the movie without reading the book, why (prior to digital channels) we scrapbooked ideas for decorating our houses, and why "before and afters" make us buy stuff. Visuals matter. It's also why, nearly a decade ago, platforms like Smugmug, Flickr, and Photobucket were created -- to let people take their photo sharing online.
The biggest difference today is that the new players in the visual platform space -- Facebook, Pinterest, Instragram, and more -- have made it easy; it's easy to collect, easy to share, and, most importantly, easy for brands to get involved.
Yet with that ease of sharing comes important brand considerations. These new platforms are social at their core. So it's instantly about more than putting a few images on a page; it's opening a window into your brand. What companies share must strike a balance between bringing to life a genuine brand story and providing content that inspires and compels action. Furthermore, marketing strategies for how brands engage with consumers should reflect how and why consumers are using those channels.
Here are tips for navigating the waters of these new visual platforms using a combination of direct marketing best practices and our learned understanding of digital and social behavior.