Telling your brand story in pictures

visual-content2The breakout trend of 2012 was visual marketing and this trend has continued to grow. People are realizing it is easier and more successful to post visual content. My last four blog posts have been all about how to use visual social media to build your brand.  Visual content is a way to increase engagement among users and encourage sharing across all online platforms. A successful marketing campaign will incorporate powerful images that will spark attention, eventually driving sales. If you’re not already convinced, here a four more reasons why visual content is on the rise:

  1. Businesses are able to show a product, rather than having to describe it. This helps to build trust in the brand and will put the product in the consumer’s mind.
  2. Visual content can aid in search engine optimization. Whenever someone is searching for a product, the captions and metadata will serve as a gateway to your company’s online platforms.
  3. Visual content helps with the globalization trend. Photos eliminate language barriers, therefore making your product appealing to a wide audience.
  4. Brand image may be enhanced by visual content. Using social media to post behind the scenes, employee and product photos will help to tell your brand story.

Visual Content on Facebook

In March 2013, Facebook redesigned their news feed to be more adaptable with the visual content trend.  “Photos on Facebook get 53% more likes and 104% more comments than a text post.  Posts that include a photo get 120% more engagement than the average post.” (Proactive Report)

There are 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook everyday and the website delivered 347 million ad impressions last quarter. Taking these statistics into account, it should be apparent that all marketers should incorporate Facebook into their visual marketing plan.

How can you build your brand using visual content on Facebook?

Customize your profile with a cover photo

A relevant cover photo will help to create a feel for your company as soon as a user arrives at your page.

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Using company logo as profile photo

Emphasizing your logo will inspire users to associate it with your brand, therefore building a strong brand image.

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Include a link with all photos

Including an inbound link to your website or other social media platforms will create more traffic to your site and allow you to steer your users exactly where you want them to go.
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Include visually appealing photos with posts

This may be one of the most important ways to inspire user engagement. Post photos that you would find interesting and appealing; entertaining content will keep users coming back for more. Many companies post employee, event, product or project idea photos; it all depends on the story you want to tell about your brand.

Share common content from other organizations

Facebook is a community and by sharing content of similar brands, you will strengthen this community. Collaboratively sharing other content will create a further reach of your own brand as well.

Inspire user collaboration through a call to action

Ask users to post photos with your product either through a contest or a status update. Through this, you will foster a better relationship with your users and gain a better understanding of your target audience.

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Although these are just a few ways that you can use visual content on Facebook, the possibilities are endless. The rise of websites and applications taking advantage of visual content is increasing, so it is important to incorporate these into your marketing plan. YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg, so I suggest getting out there and looking into the plethora of other visual social media platforms.

What are your favorite visual social media sites? Do you think this trend will continue? Let me know what you think by commenting below or email me at winterdanielle90@gmail.com

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Instagram your way to fame


“A picture is worth a thousand words”

We have all heard this saying, but in terms of the future of social media, sharing visual content will continue to dominate other content. A photo sharing application turned website that is gaining power as a social media marketing platform is Instagram.

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Instagram is a smart phone photo-sharing application created in October 2010. This platform allows users to take photos, apply filters and share these throughout their social media. A user can “follow” another user, and then “like” or comment on their pictures. With over 100 million users and recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram should be integrated into every marketing campaign.

The Basics of using Instagram

Building an Instagram profile with both an informative about me section and using brand logo as a profile picture, will build confidence with potential consumers.

Although most personal profiles feature pictures of food and self-portraits, businesses need a better strategy in order to engage followers.  Here are some guidelines for creating a successful Instagram strategy:

Focus on Brand

By focusing on your “brand”, a company’s mission and vision and the culture of the company can be conveyed through visual content. Deciding what kind of photos are going to be posted and how they will tell your “brand” story are both strategic decisions that need to be made before a profile is created. LuLu Lemon uses their Instagram to post photos of their flash mob yoga sessions and marathons they participate in, reinforcing their “Sweat Once a Day” slogan.

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Engaging Content

After deciding on the strategy you want to use, it is important to post photos that are visually pleasing. Photos that are interesting and engaging will encourage more followers. One way to give users a more human feel to your company is posting behind the scenes photos. Lulu Lemon posts pictures of their employees with gear on or participating in events (eg. LA Marathon). Another way to maintain engagement is vary the type of content posted, such as inspirational quotes, product photos and event photos.

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Find Revelant Followers

Doing research on competitor’s sites will help to find relevant potential followers. Research what type of photos they “like” and what hashtags they are using, therefore you can form your strategy, catering to your potential audience.

Power of Crowdsourcing

Instagram is similar to Twitter in the way that it uses the power of crowd sourcing for earned media. With Instagram, a user can “hashtag” any term or group of terms in the comment section of a photo. “Hashtags” are then grouped together and can be searched. These hashtags can be brand-specific, such as LuLu Lemon’s #thesweatlife, or generic, such as Patagonia’s #camping.

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A popular social media tactic is to host a photo contest on Instagram and promoting it throughout other online media. This is a great way to get exposure and gain a large amount of followers in a short time. National Geographic recently hosted a photo contest called “Untamed Americas”, where users could post a photo of the “Americas” with the hashtag #UntamedAmericas for the chance to win a Nikon digital SLR camera.

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 Share, Share, Share

The key to creating a successful integrated marketing campaign online is sharing content over all social media platforms. This goes for Instagram as well, there are options to share with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Email, Flickr, and foursquare. Hint: If you are going to connect your Facebook profile page, keep in mind that the hashtags have no significance.

Instagram is a promising new social media platform, but must have a planned strategy similar to any other. I believe that this may soon be the leader of visual content. Do you think that Instagram will continue to grow as rapidly? What are your favorite companies that have an Instagram? Leave me a comment or email me at winterdanielle90@gmail.com

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226014

http://www.internetmarketinginc.com/blog/exploring-the-visual-power-of-instagram/

http://www.seo-news.com/five-ways-brands-are-using-instagram-to-increase-engagement/

How Pinteresting

Pinterest is an invitation-only social bookmarking site, where users can share photos, as well as create themed image collections. It allows users to browse other collections, called “boards” for inspiration, “re-pin” images, and “like” images.  With the highest average amount of time spent compared to other social media sites and 12 million unique visitors per month, it is a powerful tool to be used by businesses. Pinterest accounts for 3.6 percent of referral traffic and has 10.4 million registered users, a majority of which are 25-34 year old women.Pinterest1

Pinterest is an effective marketing tool for businesses of every size. It can build strong relationships and loyalty among consumers, as well as bring new business. The nature of the “pins” allow for cross promotion and engagement between business and consumer. Now with all of these big words and amazing statistics, how would a business successfully implement a Pinterest strategy?

Let’s take it from the top:

In order to create an account, request an invitation from the main page or through a current member. Once given access to register, you may either use an email, Twitter, or Facebook to create an account. Now you’re ready to rock and roll!

From here, you will start pinning by either uploading your own photos or browsing other profiles for pictures to “re-pin”. The “boards” can be themed by activity, hobby, fashion, food, and a plethora of other categories.  A way that The North Face themes their “boards” is by sport and gender, such as men’s running or women’s yoga. These “pins” create a brand image for your company. I have listed a few guidelines to follow  to create a successful Pinterest presence. Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 10.19.18 AM

Create Visual Pinnable Content

-Post attractive, usable photos, text and videos. Varying the type of content will maintain engagement among followers and encourage loyalty.

-Use high quality images that are at least 800 pixels by 1000 pixels to bring attention to your other pinned content.

-Making content share-able, without the corporate marketing fluff attached is more attractive to consumers and builds trust.

Create Interesting “Boards”

“Boards” allow for companies to create feelings through the collection of pins. You can showcase the lifestyle behind your brand through names of boards, such as Whole Foods’ “Who wants dinner?!” board. This board has recipes with links to food blogs all over the Internet. Featuring original content will keep followers coming back to your board.

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 Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

Cross promoting is one of the secrets to creating a successful online integrated marketing campaign. Placing links on your website and blog will drive traffic to your Pinterest page.

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Encourage Participation

There are many ways that you can encourage participation on your Pinterest page, but the one of the most popular is creating a competition “board”, where guest pinners can post content they believe is relevant to the chosen topic. In turn, you can reward pinners with most “likes” or most “re-pins”; the possibilities are endless. The most important part of this step is just to communicate with other pinners by “re-pinning”, commenting on other “pins” and staying active on the site.

Referral Traffic

-Adding captions, categories, keywords, and hash tags will make your Pinterest page easy to find and navigate.

-Review your landing pages from your “pins” to ensure user will stay on your site.

Track Activity

Finally, keep track of the traffic to your site from Pinterest using analytics and track recent activity to your “boards”. Analyzing the activity on your site will allow you to tailor your content to the user and maintain engagement.

Pinterest is a powerful, engaging tool for a business’s online tool belt.  It is user-friendly and will allow you to remain in direct contact with your target market. Pinterest is essential to  bringing more traffic to your site and building a positive brand image.

Do you think Pinterest is just a fad or the next big thing? How do you use Pinterest in your business? Leave a comment or email me at winterdanielle90@gmail.com

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/news/wire/2012/12/19/ten-ways-to-use-pinterest-for-business.html

Red Bull’s YouTube Takeover

When talking about social media, most people think about Facebook and Twitter, maybe even Instagram, but forget about the powerful tool that is YouTube.

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According to a January 2013 study by CopyPress, video provides the second best ROI in comparison to other content marketing. YouTube has 800 million unique visitors per month and over 400 billion hours of video watched each month. It is spread across 53 countries and 61 languages, making it one of the most powerful tools on the Internet today.   YouTube is a video sharing website created in 2005, based on the idea of user generated content. The cost for YouTube is similar to other social media, but requires a higher level of digital knowledge. Users can comment on videos, subscribe to users, and share video on a multitude of other social media platforms. YouTube has grown to be a powerful tool for marketers because YouTube’s search algorithm offers users video suggestions based on their interests. This direct marketing basically tells people what to watch and seeks out potential customers. Many SEO experts have yet to penetrate the YouTube search market, but with YouTube being the third most visited site on the Internet, why wouldn’t businesses want to utilize video marketing?

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A company that has mastered the use of YouTube is RedBull. With over 516 million video views and 1.8 million subscribers,Red Bull is taking viral videos for actions sports by storm.

Red Bull is an Austrian energy drink company created in 1987, selling on average 4.6 billion cans per year, making it the most popular energy drink in the world. Since Red Bull’s inception it has gained a prominent role in the action and extreme sports world. By sponsoring athletes, hosting “Flugtag”, buying a Formula 1 race car, and putting on sports events worldwide; they have solidified their image as an extreme brand. Their widely known slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings” is used throughout their marketing activities and inspires many of their campaigns.

Red Bull joined YouTube in June of 2008, posting a video of professional BMX rider Kyle Strait demonstrating a BMX trick. Their how-to videos soon transformed into a personal vlog for athletes and videos of their sports events.  Throughout Red Bull’s YouTube history, you can trace their progression from solely summer sports to winter sports and beyond. Recently, Red Bull has expanded into rap battles, dance competitions, and art. Their YouTube channel does not show commercials for the drink, but implies that by drinking Red Bull anyone can achieve their goals. Red Bull is constantly trying to achieve greater things, break records and, overall be awesome! This brand culture is highly emphasized in their videos.

Throughout the years, Red Bull has had several international web series using YouTube as a platform. One named “Flugtag Roadies” gives a voice to the employees behind their flugtag event. Another series they have is named Red Bull Stash, which is a national scavenger hunt. Both of these videos are filmed both unprofessionally and professionally giving an authentic feel.

In early 2010, a man named Felix Baumgartner approached Red Bull with an idea to do the highest free-fall jump ever attempted. On October 14, 2012, Baumgartner and Red Bull put on a stratosphere dive over New Mexico, named Red Bull Stratos. During the process, Baumgartner broke the sound barrier and three world records along with it. The video of this sky dive was live streaming on YouTube and soon became viral. The video now has over 36 million views and 130,000 likes.

This led to a spike in sales of their product and buzz about the company. Red Bull’s YouTube marketing campaigns are creating engagement throughout the rest of their social media and other companies are taking note. It seems as though this stunt has fueled Red Bull to continue with their culture of go big or go home and I am excited to see where this company will go. One of the final statements they make in their most recent video is “the only limit is the one you set yourself”.

Do you think YouTube is the next gold mine of Internet marketing? What have you done to go beyond your limits? Tell me your opinions in the comments below or email me at winterdanielle90@gmail.com