When we looked back at our most popular blog posts for 2012, we knew imagery played an important role in engagement. But when we discovered that photo-based Facebook posts yield 15 times more shares than text-based posts, we realized that this visual social media thing is here to stay. But generating a constant stream of high-quality visual content isn’t easy. Here are some of the more creative ways we’ve seen brands incorporate imagery into social content.
Welcome user-generated content
The Chicago Tribune hosts regular themed Instagram contests to show the city through the eyes of followers. The administrator offers a theme and asks users to share their interpretations of said theme with the hashtag #trib2013. A few days later the Tribune selects a few lucky winners to be featured in their feed, superimposing that image with the user’s handle. This strategy not only adds a steady stream of user-generated content, it brings in new users with the allure of living out 15 minutes of Instagram fame.
Tell an untold story
Is your image adding any value to their day, or is it just a humdrum product shot? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and tell a story that they will actually want to hear. The Next Web’s Home Screens board on Pinterest shares an intimate look at famous founders’ iPhone home screens. The approach is creative and something that followers otherwise would never have the chance to see. The Home Screens board currently has well over 8,000 followers.
Invest in custom graphics
Graphics and illustrations are well-liked by audiences and offer the opportunity to send a custom-built message. But since a shoddily constructed Microsoft Paint illustration isn’t going to cut it, you’ll need to dust off those old Photoshop skills, pull in your team’s graphic designer, or hire a freelancer if you want to do it right. Grey Poupon clearly has a design staff behind its aesthetically uniform Facebook page. The result? A cohesive visual package that visitors can’t help but notice.
What strategies are you using to add to the pipeline of visual social media?