The social media visuals you share online matter and in this post we share 5 reasons why visuals are so important for your marketing. Use these tips for brand visuals and you'll improve engagement, build trust and loyalty and make more of an impact on your ideal customer.
GUEST POST BY ANDREW & PETE | PUBLISHED 1 MARCH, 2023
Andrew and Pete are the founders of Atomic and Atomicon Conference, good friends of Donna's and a couple of the savviest marketers you'll ever meet! Who better to share their success with visuals with our readers. Take it away guys!
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Did you know that over 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day 🤯.
Social media is one of the best FREE ways to engage and communicate with your potential customers. But, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in a crowded marketplace without paying for ads.
Social media visuals and images are one of the ways that you can do this – but generic and bland aren’t going to cut it.
You know when you see an image on social and instantly know who it belongs to?
That’s the goal!
One thing that people tell us all the time is that they genuinely love our branding and visuals. It’s what makes them remember us (and that’s one of the reasons why images are so important).
But business owners still struggle with it. In fact, we surveyed over 1000 business owners/freelancers, and only 10.3% of them said they felt ‘known’ in their industry.
Of course, social media visuals aren’t the only thing that will make you known, but they really do have a huge impact on how memorable you are.
That’s why, in this article, we’re sharing why visuals are so important for social media success, along with some examples of how we’ve done this.
Five reasons why social media visuals are so important for social media marketing
So, there is no doubt that visuals have to be a key part of your social media strategy.
But let’s look at the main reasons why brand visuals are so important for your social media presence.
- Improve engagement
- Build trust and loyalty
- Convey your message faster
- Images make you memorable
- Seamlessly link between social and website
Let's break these down:
1. You get more engagement on your posts
Although viewed as a vanity metric by many, engagement is crucial for social media success
Simply put – because the big-wigs at Facebook and Twitter (or the algorithms behind them) say so.
Organic reach across all platforms is dropping, but Facebook uses “meaningful engagement” as a signal that a post should be prioritised. In short, the more engagement your post has, the more relevant people it is shown to, and the higher the overall organic reach.
Social media engagement can look like this:
- Shares or retweets
It might be tempting to just throw up a text-based post on social, and of course, the copy does matter. But research from Buzzsumo suggests that social posts with visual elements boost engagement by 2.3 times (on Facebook) and 1.5 times (on Twitter) compared to those without.
Of course, it has to be relevant.
Yes, a picture of a cute dog dressed as a pirate for Halloween might get you tonnes of engagement, and if you run a pet food store this might make sense.
Who doesn’t love a cute dog pic?
But if you provide professional liability insurance this might seem a little random – so it’s about finding and creating engaging images that make sense for your business to obtain relevant engagement.
Relevant and engaging social media visuals can help boost engagement, thus improving reach and ultimately the overall impact of your social.
2. Images of you and your team can build trust and loyalty
Authenticity might be the most overused word in the marketing world, but that’s because it’s essential for connecting with your audience in 2023 and beyond.
Back in the early days of the internet businesses went hard on stock photography – seemingly obsessed with posting images of logos and “professional” staged photos. You know the ones with a group of robotic-looking humans manically smiling at a whiteboard together😬.
And this trend has (regrettably) been carried over to brands' social platforms in an attempt to seem “professional and friendly”.
But do you know what…it’s boring!
While we LOVE to see faces, stock and staged photos are cold and emotionless, and that’s hopefully not representative of your brand.
Newsflash! Polished, corporate-looking imagery is out – and pictures of real humans and behind-the-scenes are in.
Share images of you and your team – to build trust and loyalty through authenticity.
Like this one from our time at Kickstart Dublin with our fellow Atomic members.
Not only do the smiling, happy faces capture your attention, but the image helps convey our brand – happy, fulfilled business owners supporting one another and having fun.
This leads us to our next point…
3. You can convey your message faster with an image
“A picture tells 1000 words!”
This is because images are the most natural way for our brains to process information and can convey information much faster and more easily.
Knowing just how much information is posted to social media every day, this becomes even more important. You get approximately 1.7 seconds to capture attention on social, and images help you do this.
One way we do this is by using GIFs in our social and blog posts, just like this one.
It helps break up the text, and convey what we are trying to say in a fun and engaging way.
4. Images make you memorable in a sea of boring!
As the saying goes: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”
And 94% of first impressions these days are guided entirely by the design of the content – so it better be good.
The human brain is ruled by something called the primacy effect, which means that it prioritises the first interaction we have with a brand. Our brains hold onto this initial impression and use it as a shortcut to make decisions going forward.
So, it’s crucial to ensure that our social media visuals are engaging AND relevant to our brand. That first impression will be enduring, so you better make sure it’s reflective of your brand.
Take this image we created for our Atomicon event – a zombie maze or a puppy petting station. We asked our audience what they’d prefer to see at our next event (newsflash, the pets won!)
It’s fun, engaging, and, most importantly, it gives you a taste of just how silly and eclectic our in-person events are – so you know what you’re getting yourself in for. There would be no mistaking our event for a boring, corporate – we’ll leave that to the stock images.
5. Social Media Visuals make the link between your social media and website seamless
Social media might be the first interaction a potential customer has with your business, but the aim is to get them onto your website to consume more content, download a lead magnet or buy something.
And what better way to create congruency between your social posts and platforms than through social media visuals?
Images are one of the best ways to create brand consistency across multiple touchpoints, including website and social media.
For example, the social graphic above for our in-person Atomicon event links seamlessly with our web graphics. Those interested immediately know from the visuals and brands that they are in the right place when they go to buy their ticket.
There’s no confusion!
Types of Social Media Visuals to Share
We've talked about a few types of visuals you can share, but here is a list of some of the social media visuals we've found to be powerful in our business for all of the above reasons:
- Images relevant to your industry
- Engagement Images
- Team photos and Behind-the Scenes Images
- Branded Images across Social & Website
The potential for social media visuals is endless – you can also try infographics, carousel posts, video, animations and more! Get creative with how you share content across your social media channels.
Stand out on Socials
Socials are a constant stream of content, and you are competing for attention against hundreds and thousands of other businesses.
You’ve got to find a way to stand out, and you’ve got a few precious seconds to capture attention and communicate your message.
Including engaging, relevant imagery in your posts is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Of course, social media visuals are not the only important thing – the copy and messaging are equally important. But the visuals can help you stand out and can be the difference between your business bopping or flopping.
So, the bottom line is…use visuals!