Thursday, July 10, 2014

Visual content is king. Tim weighs in on current social media trends

Love it or hate it, the social media movement is here to stay. It’s hard to imagine life before “friending” and “selfies” became common-speak. It was 10 years ago that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room. And now, fast-forward to 2014: Facebook has 1.15 billion active users. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that kind of growth, and even more, that kind of groundbreaking invention. Facebook—and the social media sites that have followed in its path—have become an everyday essential. Americans are posting, tagging, liking, and pinning—on average, we’re spending a whopping 3+ hours a day on social media sites. Whether or not you consider yourself among those average users, it’s undeniable that social media activity has become deeply ingrained in our everyday lives—and as marketers, we’re wise to identify ways in which to capitalize on that opportunity channel.

The most recent buzz surrounding social and online media is all about the pervasive power of
pictures: The incorporation of visual content is ranked among the top social media trends for 2014. In a recent article published by the Social Media Examiner, the value of visual content is summed up nicely: “images can significantly enhance a brand’s marketing objectives by generating more customer interest and prompting prospects to take desired actions.” In other words, the adage rings true that a picture is worth a thousand words: In today’s real-time world, we simply see it, like it, share it.

Clearly, there is power in the simplicity of sharing an image: Photo-based sites have enjoyed a recent
surge in popularity. Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram each gained more than 10 million visitors in 2012 alone. Data posted by Mediabistro shows that users spend more time on Pinterest (1:17 minutes) or Tumblr (1:38 minutes) than on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ combined.  Check out the statistics below (again, from Social Media Examiner)

It follows, then, that incorporating visual content into your social media strategy is a key driver to your marketing success. A few options that you might consider:
•    Add high-quality images to your blog posts
•    Share real-time photos on your company’s social media sites
•    Include infographics and memes in your social media posts
•    Link photos shared on social media sites back to your website
•    Video is important, too (YouTube is the second largest search engine and Vine is experiencing significant growth in 2014) so consider video posts on your social media sites, as part of email campaigns and on your website

Always, a brand-centric media strategy is important to ensure that no matter the content—visual or otherwise—your brand image is consistent across all channels for more powerful, influential marketing campaigns.

I’d be remiss not to remind you to follow Shamrock…

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