Visual marketing impacts every aspect of social media. From the posts we read to the tweets we send, visual marketing sends a powerful message. It can share a vision, expand the life of a product, sell a service or boost a campaign. They're those super compelling, highly shareable graphics that have permeated every inch of our online space.
But adding visuals to a marketing mix and using them to brand your business can be a challenge. And yet, it's easier than you think. As Anita Campbell explains in “99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design,” it doesn't have to be difficult.
“Update a traditional element of your business with social media designs. Leveraging their popularity can make your business stand out, be memorable, and seem fresh and up-to-date.”
And that is the power of visual marketing in a nutshell. It allows your business to tell a more complete story, one that visually connects the brand to the consumer.
It incorporates your brand’s personality and draws from collateral such as brochures, newsletters, videos, postcards and any other content you’ve created in the past.
If utilized correctly, it can transform your social media posts, taking them from blah and boring to stand out, sensational!
Why create a visual brand identity?
Did you know that tweets that include an image receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets? (Source) Or that 86% of buyers said visual/interactive content increased their desire to buy? (Source)
No message—especially not in social media—exists in a vacuum. Each message must be told and conveyed in a way that makes your audience stand up and take notice. Visual marketing is that opportunity.
1. Define your voice
You may be wondering, what does defining your voice have to do with visual marketing? To that, I’d say—everything.
Your company voice is translated across all of your marketing collateral. Whether it’s offline or online, your voice must be instantly identifiable. If you can nail down your voice and brand persona, designing images that capture your essence is easy.
So, where do you begin? Know what makes you unique. What sets your business apart from the competition? Are you fun and energetic, or are you serious and intense? These qualities and traits will directly impact your brand look and feel.
After all, if you’re building a visual marketing campaign around “Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World,” pink might not be the most appropriate color.
4 Tips to connect your voice to visual marketing
- No matter the social network(s) you choose, you’ll need to get into the conversation. The more you converse, the easier it will be to find your voice, rhythm, and tone. Never forget that social media is all about being social.
- Align your online visuals with your offline brand. Weave who you are offline into everything you do online. Make it a direct representation of who you are and the company culture that’s already been established.
- Be consistent! If you don’t enjoy creating graphics, then give that task away to someone that does. Share your unique messaging with a Virtual Assistant or Graphic Designer that can translate that into on-brand visual marketing.
- Do your homework. Research your competition. Have they found their voice, and is their audience connecting with it? What sets them apart, and what can you learn from their mistakes? Always look for opportunity!
Target is an excellent example of what a defined voice paired with the right image can do. Just take a look at the presence they’ve built on Pinterest. Everything they pin is relevant to their audience but also to their brand. It’s seamless!
2. Tell your story
If you want your message to stick, tell a better story. Telling your story through visual marketing makes you memorable. It creates differentiation and acts as a visual identifier—connecting the dots between your mission, vision and core values.
Whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or online marketer, developing a compelling story is vital. If you don’t fancy yourself a great storyteller, start by answering a few questions.
- What is your biggest weakness and greatest strength?
- What sets you apart from the competition?
- Are you forward-thinking or conservative/traditional?
- Is technology your friend or would you rather never touch it?
- What are one or two of your biggest professional victories?
- Why did you start your company?
- What problems are you looking to solve for your target market?
Those are just a few questions to get you started. Your next step is to weave them into a story that’s relatable.
Lego tells a compelling story through visual marketing. They’ve even gone so far as to create a video that stays true to the brand while telling the founding story.
3. Build brand awareness
Whether you know it or not, people have made assumptions about your business. Your product, service, processes, systems, and online presence are all key factors in consumer perception.
With the speed at which social media moves, if you don’t control that perception and build brand awareness—someone else will do it for you. Engaging with your audience on top social sites is a great way to build a bridge between your business and fans eager to connect.
Take Instagram as an example. Many brands are sharing content in a unique, interesting and altogether spectacular way. Brands like Oreo, Audi and Sephora are three of my favorites to follow on Instagram.
As a three-time Audi owner (and raving fan of the brand), I love to see how they connect and engage with their audience. Beautiful and imaginative images with short, punchy posts equal a highly engaged Audi audience!
A photo posted by Audi (@audi) on Nov 19, 2015 at 10:30am PST
How to use this in your business
Take pictures of your office, staff, or products and share them with context that makes your audience care about what you’re sharing.To use Instagram for your business, you need to take a few steps first:
- Create a standout profile that’s complete and easy to identify. Keep your branding consistent and include all company contact information including your website or blog.
- Know your customers. What are they looking for when connecting with you on Instagram? Once you know the type of content they’re searching for, use relevant hashtags to get your content in front of them.
- Make your graphics pop! Design Instagram images that are on brand and with your target market in mind.
In our fast-paced social media world, standing out is critical. Visual marketing is key in expanding your brand in a creative, unique and entertaining way.
If you’re struggling to integrate visual marketing into your overall social media strategy, take each of the steps above and make them yours. Incorporate one visual aid at a time into your social media and track your results. I know you’ll like what you see!
Originally written by Rebekah Radice for Maximize Social.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.