The fact that large companies and sites have large budgets to pay for trending content and viral campaigns doesn't help. When you are one of the smaller businesses, or just starting out, how in the world are you going to be seen?
Your best bet is incorporating visual content into your overall social strategy. Not only is it effective, but it is quick and easy. Unlike other campaign methods that take time to see results, and require a lot of thought and monitoring to succeed. Using photos will take planning and preparation for some of it, but most is as easy as finding and sharing what others have posted.
Here are some tips to help you out.
Know How To Take a Photo
First thing is first: do you know how to take a photo? What's more, do you know how to take a photo for social media? No? Then you need to learn. Composition, angle, lighting, subject matter, zoom, enhancements and edits...these are all very relevant. Especially if you are on a site like Pinterest that has a very specific type of photo that reaches viral status.
Daniel Lemin wrote a great post on Convince and Convert about how to set up the perfect shot for social media campaigns. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the differences between those that do and don't get shared on networks before you begin.
Show Off Your Product
[Southern Swim Lookbook campaign on Pinterest]
This doesn't really work so much for blogs, but if you have an actual product or service, show it off. From portfolio shows to tangible goods, one of the quickest ways to spread the word through direct marketing is by giving your viewers a look into what you have to offer.
A great example of this is Southern Swim. The small business targeting their demographic by creating lookbooks with their products. These glamor style and action shots generated so much interest that they had more than 140,000 impressions within a couple of weeks of launching the campaign from Pinterest alone. They have continued to build boards full of beautiful images that constantly generate new interest.
Show Off Your Team
[From IMN Facebook page]
Pinterest pins do better without people in the shots (or at least visible faces). But on other networks, pictures showing off the people who work for you is a great way to add a personal touch to your brand. Of course, this is harder if you are a website and your people work remotely. Though you can always incorporate images on an individual basis if that is the case.
This can also be done by showing members of your team (or yourself) hard at work. Or even playing around if you want a sillier side to show through.
Know What Your Audience Likes
Do your followers enjoy practical photos that show off how to do something, such as in a tutorial? Infographics? Comics? Pictures of puppies cuddling with baby bunnies? Having an idea of what your audience is interest in is a simple way to maximize your chances of getting a reshare or favorite, and even gaining a larger follower list.
Using an analytics tool such as the one on your business page, or something more dedicated like Moz, start tracking the posts that include pictures, and do better. You might find that your followers aren't interested in photos at all, but in other forms of visual graphics. In which case, don't panic, just change your strategy.
Give a Shout Out To Users
If you ask followers to show off their own photos, you will get a major response. Want proof? Look at what happened with Samsung #selfie campaign. The web responded by posting thousands of selfies with the hashtag. It wasn't a fluke, it was a carefully constructed media event that included celebrities in the music video like Snoop Dog.
Your own campaign might not quite generate that level of interest. But asking your users to offer their photos doing something relevant to your brand is a good way to inject some activity into your account, and spread your visibility to their friends and followers.
Be sure to pin, retweet, favorite, like, or share these responses.
Get Funny With It
Humorous images are some of the most likely to reach viral status. Everyone likes to laugh, especially through their work day when they are sneaking in some social time. The best part about it is that you don't have to rely entirely on your own content to achieve this. Plenty of people are sharing funny images, and a reshare can bring in quite a bit of attention for those who haven't seen it.
That is the nature of social media. The same content gets passed around to reach a wider and wider audience. That can increase the influence of everyone who is sharing it. Just think of the last time that you saw something funny and shared it out. You were a part of that spread of content, a ripple in the pond getting wider and wider.
Photos Are Your Friends
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to begin using photos in your social media strategy. Which means you can get started immediately, boosting your visibility (and shareability) almost immediately. How cool is that? Who knows, maybe you will find yourself considering a new career in photography by the end of it.
Do you have any ideas for using photos and other digital content as part of a social media campaign? We would love to hear your ideas. Let us know in the comments!