the key to social media success

It is now acknowledged by many marketers that images are at the heart of convergence of mobile (websites) and social media. Yet another fact that should be considered by businesses when thinking about the value of commercial photography for their brand and the ways it can be incorporated into their marketing strategies.

Over 250 million images are shared every day on Facebook alone. This is a consumer driven phenomenon, but businesses are increasingly sitting up and seeing how they can weave their way into this cultural behaviour shift, to better engage with their customers and sell their product. This is one of the key drivers of the forecast growth in the commercial photographic industry.

Telling instant stories

Social media is a fast moving place – people use their mobiles to manage their social media while they are on the go. Consumers are constantly dipping in and out of their preferred social media channels in many short bursts across the day. Images are a perfect match for this behaviour, because they have the power to tell an instant story, which is vital in our fast moving culture.

Within social media channels, images are proven to make marketing more effective in a number of ways, to the extent that they are now part of the best practice guidelines for many of them:

  • Twitter is more effective in terms of link open rates when tweets have images attached
  • Websites score better in their SEO when sites contain images
  • Blog posts are more engaging with images – your readers are more likely to stay on your site for longer when they are engaged
  • Social media sites that drive volume traffic to businesses, such as Facebook and Pinterest are based on uploading and sharing images
  • Google Business Photos – a relatively new initiative that encourages local businesses to commission professionally taken images to allow consumers a virtual look around their premises and facilities – aimed at improving customer experience and driving traffic and footfall (ie real people going into shops!).

Devouring content

Social marketing channels require vast amounts of content. We hear many stories of businesses that are maintaining their overall photography budgets, but are moving away from a few large commissions a year and instead commissioning a higher number of smaller projects, to enable them to keep adding fresh new content into their campaigns, because the wear-out in this area of marketing is much quicker.

The relative newness of this marketing genre means businesses need creative support to develop photographic strategies which work effectively in these channels. For example using images of an event to create some longevity beyond the actual event itself, or using techniques such as time-release to create content with the power to go viral.

Maintaining success

We mentioned the need for instant stories. Only a professional really has the creative talent and the depth of knowledge to achieve this in a single image. If any business decides to put images at the heart of their social media campaign, they need to be good quality images – or consumers won’t be convinced and the campaign won’t work to it’s best effect.

Many businesses consider photography as an easy area where they can make savings, and many have used cheap stock images or the services of amateur photographers to produce their images. In the short term this may well work for businesses, but to keep social media channels working well over the long term, new ideas and creative approaches are vital, and this is where the lower cost photography options start to fail. Experienced, commercial professionals have the talent and the ability to keep the creative standards consistently high, for long-term marketing success.

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