When you think of visual marketing, what comes to mind?
More than likely, it’s the vibrant, eye-catching images that filter through your social feeds.
They’re the ones that capture attention and drive action.
But what about the flip side? Those dark and blurry images devoid of any real meaning.
You know the ones. They clutter up your feed and leave you shaking your head.
If you’ve ever wondered what the secret is to creating visuals that promote a positive brand image, read on.
Because the reality is this.
With 63% of all social media content including an image, it’s time to increase your odds of winning the moment.
It’s that split second moment when you grab audience attention or lose the opportunity forever.
Below are 7 creative (and actionable) ways to establish a strong visual brand from my recent presentation at the Visual Social Media Conference.
Learn how visual marketing can redefine how you share content. But more importantly, learn how (and why) your audience interacts with it.
Dive in and don’t forget – grab a copy of the full presentation at the end of the post.
7 Creative Ways to Visually Brand Your Business on Social Media
Did you know that:
- 50% of users have re-posted a video or photo they came across online?
- Content with an image receives over 94% more views (which equates to nearly double the views) than content without images?
- Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without images?
- 60% of consumers are more likely to interact with a company whose images appear on local searches?
Those statistics tell you everything you need to know.
Visual marketing is a powerful way to connect and interact with your audience.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Visual marketing has evolved, and with it, so must your online strategies.
The good news? There’s no need to go it alone.
There are many examples of businesses and brands using visual marketing right.
What They Have in Common
Each one has created massive appeal through strong visual content.
From Instagram to Facebook, Pinterest, and Vine, companies with a strong visual presence are dominating.
And it’s no surprise that this type of content has struck a chord and found an audience.
In an online world where content moves at a lightning pace, visuals captivate, entrance and create an instant connection.
In fact, images are the single most important tool when it comes to your social media content optimization.
According to the Adobe 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization survey, more than 80% of respondents point to images as either “very important” or “important” in relation to their marketing optimization on social media.
But how can you use them to optimize your social media content and audience experience?
Understand the Types of Visual Content
- Data (infographics, etc)
- Longform (ebooks)
- Behind the Scenes
- Tips and How-To’s
For me, combining each suggestion above works best. It keeps my content fresh and fun, never stagnant.
But what works best for me, may not be the case for you. For example, Chobani makes a delicious Greek yogurt. It’s one of my favorite morning treats and a great addition to any meal.
The bottom line? Determine what type of visual content feels like the right fit for your business and then identify how you will use it.
Step 2: Once You Know the What, Now Figure Out the How
Now it’s time to dig into how visual marketing will support your business. Like anything else, knowing what you’re looking to achieve before you get started eliminates the “throw it at the wall and hope it sticks” strategy.
- How does this support your overall goals?
- How will it create conversions?
- Who will you make your audience care about it?
- How will it make your audience feel?
Step 3: Know the 3 Keys to STRONG Visual Content
Key #1 – Consistent Color Range
Color impression accounts for 60% of the acceptance or rejection your product or service.That’s huge!
While there are many factors that affect how and why consumers buy, a recent Kissmetrics study shows that color plays a major role in the decision-making process.
Understanding the psychology behind each color will help you get inside the head of your consumer.
- Black conveys a message of power and authority. It speaks to a stylish and timeless message, imparting a sleek, formal, luxurious or classic experience.
- Yellow is seen as fun, joyous and optimistic. Brands like Nikon, Subway and Best Buy bear the brand of a bold, deep yellow.
- Orange is my brand color and one that embraces every aspect of my business. It’s cheerful, inviting, encouraging, friendly and confident. Orange makes me happy!
- Red is a color that is emotionally intense. When we see red we think of “strength, adventure, energy and love.” It is extreme, exciting and vivacious with Coca Cola, Virgin and Pinterest embracing this vibrant hue.
- Blue makes us think of tranquility. It promotes a feeling of calm, and can symbolize loyalty. When we think about blue, we think of the words “unique, trust, reliable or clear.” Brands prominently displaying blue within their logo are Facebook, Dell, HP and Oreo.
- Green causes people to think about nature. It’s calming and refreshing. Green symbolizes balance, growth, and freshness and can also speak to financial stability as green is the color of money.
Choose a Color That…
- Best represents your company social media promotional strategy
- The feelings you want to impart, and
- The action you want them to take
Key #2 – Choose a Font that Matches Your Message
Fonts play a critical role in telling your brand story.
HubSpot found that using 3 font styles makes it easier to read content. I would increase that to 4 and find those that feel like you.
When determining font, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my company fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
- Is my content fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
Your essence is wrapped up into your branding. The fonts you choose play a big role in helping align who you are with the perception people receive.
Key #3 – Create Harmony in Every Design
Harmony is what happens when every aspect of your design is synergistic.
Nothing should stand alone or contradict the key takeaway of your design.
It’s finding the perfect balance and harmony within every element. Make them work together, complementing one another, rather than competing or detracting.
Step 4: Create Visual Content Your Audience Will LOVE
Now that you know why visuals are so important, your next step is to make images your audience loves to share.
Create branded cover photos that are consistent with your website, blog and offline marketing. Peg Fitzpatrick is an excellent example of streamlining all online properties into one consistent look and feel.
Create Images That Speak Your Audience’s Language
Now be that solution through visual marketing just as one of my favorite food bloggers, Pinch of Yum does in all of her designs.
Repurpose Your Content
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel for your social media visual content. Look to your evergreen content and determine what can be repurposed into new media.
- Livestream (Blab/Periscope)
Build Thought Leadership
Use visuals to establish thought leadership and build credibility within your industry or niche.
Take quotes from your past articles, videos or presentations and create quotable social media graphics.
How to Use Quotes in Your Business
- Ensure that your color palette, font and graphics match your company look and feel.
- Know the goal of every quote you post. Is it for entertainment, elevating thought leadership or driving followers into your latest op-in offer?
- Find a style that works for your brand and each social network. What’s receiving the most traction and interaction? Now duplicate that over and over.
- Create an easy to use template in Canva. that allows you or anyone on your team to drop in text without the need to reinvent the wheel each time.
- Look to companies with an established visual presence for inspiration. Rob Russo with Bold Brand Fast is one to check out for a consistent brand image and message. You can see his latest tweet or Instagram post and instantly recognize the brand.
Step 5: Tackle Each Social Network Visually
Every social network is unique. Your visual content should be too. Design your graphics with each social network image size in mind.
Step 6: Use the Right Tools
As a business owner or entrepreneur, it’s not enough to create captivating visuals. You need to find an easy way to design them without spending a ton of time.
The five tools below are designed to ignite and inspire your visual design efforts allowing you to increase awareness, engagement and visibility…in less time.
Step 7: Promote, Promote, Promote
Can you believe that 56% of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants without any content plan in place?
No plan, no matter the industry, always equals imminent failure.
Get strategic and create a promotional strategy.
How to Create a Promotional Strategy
- Share across ALL social channels
- Get Branded (partner and co-brand)
- Build mutually beneficial relationships
- Boost your posts
- Join blogger and outreach websites/groups
The key to building a solid visual brand is to keep it fresh, relevant and exciting.
Consistently take stock of your visual marketing and your message.
Identify the needs of your audience and determine whether your visual content is still hitting the mark.
Bottom line: if you want to create differentiation through visual marketing, it’s going to take a commitment.
Analyze, assess and tweak. Have fun testing what works, striking what doesn’t, and creating a visual brand that stands out online.