Technology and contemporary marketing methods are duking it out to captivate consumer minds. Some of the most powerful tools in successful marketing strategies are the implementation of social and visual media.
Ario Wibisono (Photographer). 2010. Tenganan Village, Bali, National Geographic. (Photograph). January 21, 2016.
In today’s multimedia-fixated world, social media is one of the most practical and powerful methods for disseminating branding, marketing, and advertising content. Almost everyone is engaged in social media in some capacity, making it an optimal platform for consumer engagement, with a huge part involving the incorporation of visual media.
Visual media is the “eye-candy” that attracts and engages readers by delivering the message in a way that is easy to digest and understand.
Combined with social media messaging, they are a highly effective means to getting your audience to respond, and to act on that response.
Let’s talk about the human response to images. What happens neurologically when we see an image? How does this affect our outward response?
First, we identify the subject matter. Then, we get confused. Our brains work to process what our eyes are seeing. What is in the background? What color is it? Is that a cat? It happens quickly, but once we figure out the background, color, and the fact that – no, that is not a cat, it is a skunk – we get closure on the initial confusion. The closure triggers the pleasure centers of the brain, remedying the confusion.
Now that we have identified the image, we determine the meaning of the image by accessing and relating memories and emotions with what we see. There are three types of emotions that images awaken: emotional, mental, and social.
- Emotional: From anger to amusement to grief, the full range of emotions can be expressed and received through images. Images can create a connection between you and your audience that digs deeper than just a white piece of paper.
- Mental: Educating, informing, and challenging. Visual information is easier to absorb than text, so adding pictures makes people more inclined to believe what they see.
- Social: Social responses can be cultural across generations, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender; the world is one big limitless audience, and images have an enormous impact on how the content is perceived by communities
Tyler Hicks (Photographer). 2011. Famine and Conflict in East Africa, New York Times. (Photograph). January 21, 2016.
Social media posts with images get more responses, likes, comments, and shares because people are more likely to remember the content of a post when it is paired with an image that evokes something greater than mere lines of text.
To successfully leverage visual media – specifically images – you must first understand that the word “image” does not solely refer to photographs. Images can be drawings, infographics, charts, and even text when designed as an image, or within an image.
Steve Winter (Photographer). 1990. Port-au-Prince, National Geographic. (Photograph). January 21, 2016.
For example, using your logo or mirroring your website’s header for Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn establishes brand recognition. Another option might be to include branded hash tags, photos, graphics, or even an interesting quote that evokes the message you are trying to send. Images also take up additional space in social media feeds.
This larger visibility increases the odds of a post being noticed and subsequently shared.
Understanding your audience and what visuals they respond to will give you greater power over the application of images in your marketing efforts. Images can be easily shared, and easily link back to your website, blog or social media profile. With the millions of users on social sites, providing relevant content is not enough to be noticed. Pairing that content with a sharable image that engages your audience exponentially increases your visibility across social media outlets.
is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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