Five Ideas for Using Visuals to Increase Social Media Engagement
Visual content is shared more often than text-based content, prompting more engagement from your franchise’s followers and fans.
By Bernard Perrine
Using visuals to communicate is as old as painting pictures on the walls in caves. In today’s modern social media environment, pictures, and videos, showcase the human side of your brand, and help your franchise connect emotionally with customers, communicate your brand’s value more quickly, and break through the overwhelming volume of online content. Images have become more popular and even easier to capture with the wide availability of smartphone cameras and video technology.
There’s no doubt that visual content can make a strong impact on the positive attention your franchise attracts online and can aid in your social media efforts to gain new customers. Visual content is shared more often than text-based content, prompting more engagement from your franchise’s followers and fans:
- According to customer intelligence and web analytics firm Kissmetrics, images on Facebook receive 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more click-throughs.
- Research from Buffer, a social media management company, shows that using images on Twitter increases retweets by 150 percent and click-throughs by 18 percent.
- According to a blog post from 3 to 5 Marketing.com dated March 25, 2014, Tweets with images received 89 percent more favorites — indicating they’re more liked — than tweets without images.
No matter what social media platforms your franchise uses, photos and videos give customers and sales prospects multiple reasons to engage with your brand and can drive your business growth. Based on my experience as an entrepreneur and head of a Twitter-based marketing company, here are some ways your franchise can enhance its social media presence with compelling visual content.
Find a Visual Angle
All businesses, not just those that make a product, can share their unique perspective and vision in a clear and concise way with photos and videos. That said, if your company does make a product, give your customers a peek into how it’s done by taking a quick video of the process. You can also post pictures from a recent sales event, company anniversary or other newsworthy celebration. Include photos and videos leading up to and after company or industry events to get people excited about the event and then show how successful it was. The goal is to make images shareable and tell a great story.
Some examples: An online men’s shop showcases its expertise by creating a storyboard of several sequential images on Pinterest that explain something to readers, such as how to tie a scarf. A footwear company promotes its products by creating a personalized video for each shoe to help make customers more comfortable buying running shoes online. In addition to hosting the videos on their YouTube channel, the company promotes them on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The videos have been a hit, helping to increase traffic to the footwear company’s website by more than 150 percent.
To get more examples of companies that are using images in innovative ways, take a look at Small Business Trends July 17, 2014 summary of “30 Businesses that are Rocking Social Media.”
Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy
Using photos and videos can elevate your content marketing strategy, making it ideal for social posting. If your franchise has a blog, think of it as a magazine and include visual content. In fact, you can even occasionally make the posting a photo or other visual, potentially cutting down on the time you spend on your blog, but still having an impact. You can also use a photo or quick video as a tease, along with a call to action, to get people to click-through to your blog, Twitter account or Facebook page.
For example, a company that provides simple, quick and healthy food ideas with easy to purchase everyday ingredients uses video snapshots along with spoken step-by-step instructions for creating a healthy meal. These short videos drive traffic to the company’s website and ebook with a link in the description. There are several other examples of companies successfully using videos for social marketing in a February 11, 2015 Social Media Examiner article, “Six Ways to Use Short Video for Social Marketing.”
Capture Your Local Audience’s Attention
Though your franchise is part of a larger, national corporate entity, the challenge with your social media marketing is to create a presence locally. A nationally known coffee franchisee tapped into Twitter’s word-of-mouth marketing to grow its customer base in Phoenix. Its “Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee Campaign” achieved a 120 percent conversion rate in a little over seven months and connected with more than 2,000 coffee lovers, including more than a few die-hard brand fans.
Twitter, because of its open-forum platform, is a great way to solicit input outside a normal circle of friends and followers. This gives businesses a unique opportunity to turn tweets into customers. People who tweet about something they want or need are looking for businesses to provide information, options and discounts. In fact, businesses that actively search for and directly reply to those consumers have a higher probability of ringing up a sale.
Don’t Go it Alone
Social media is by its very nature … social! Capitalize on the interest of followers and fans in your brand by asking them to post their own photos or videos. One example is Ana White, a carpenter and mom blogger whose blog, Ana White Homemaker, and Facebook page feature content from people who post pictures of their own do-it-themselves furniture-making processes and the finished projects. They also share what they would do differently next time and what variations they made to White’s original designs, which she had shared in previous posts.
Showcase Your Brand’s Lighter Side
Sometimes the best way to engage with your audience is to not take your brand too seriously. Social media marketers have found that one of the best ways to resonate with their followers, many of which are millennials, is to be silly and give them a good laugh. Businesses can achieve this through pictures, videos or even corny jokes. Humor has boundaries; make sure that jokes are within good taste, tied to the business and relevant.
Orabrush tells customers about the need to replace their innovative tongue brushes with a “why all good things must come to an end” video on YouTube that features not one, but three people in tongue costumes. Oreo Cookie’s Twitter feed is about entertaining followers with cookie-related jokes and topical musings. In a Feb. 21, 2014 Fast Company article, you can find some other examples of how companies have used humor on social media to boost their brand.
Visual content can definitely make your franchise stand out from the online crowd. Adding a visual element to any post increases its visibility and will help you engage your customers more enthusiastically. Have fun with it and you’re sure to win a bigger share of business from your social media marketing.
Bernard Perrine is the CEO of Twitter marketing company SocialCentiv. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.