While some content marketing tactics require more resources than others to deliver a significant return, visual content marketing is one of those areas that can be a cost-effective option for startups looking to get attention in the market. Plus, it’s one of the most engaging ways to have your audience notice you and tune in.
Having now used various types of visual marketing tactics, I’ve put together some best practices that have helped get an even higher return that can help others out there who are trying to do the same for their new businesses:
- Avoid stock photos like the plague. If you are looking for authentic, then the last thing you want is a bunch of photos of people posed in awkward positions when, in fact, everyone in your audience can tell they’re models. Instead, thanks to the clarity and incredible technology that goes into smartphone cameras, take your own candid snaps of your team and company and use these on your website and social media platforms to tell your story. We’ve had such positive responses from seeing the real people in the company and our customers. Depending on your culture or the message you want to transmit about your brand, you can use humor in your homemade visuals. Just make them natural rather than posed to show them what you are really about.
- Thread your brand image through your infographics. Since you are most likely working on your brand image, including colors, font and graphic representation, it’s good to carry this distinct look through your infographics that you plan on posting on your own sites as well as sharing on media sites. This link to your brand image will make it instantly recognizable among your audience, connecting the valuable visual content with your brand and its attributes. It’s a subconscious way of continuing to transmit these intangibles to your audience.
- Get GIF(fy) with it and don’t forget the memes. While these might first appear to be more appropriate for friends and family, humor is one of the best ways to engage with your customers and prospects as long as you keep it in line with your professional image and are respectful with your message. Most audience members won’t expect you to use these visual devices so you’ll instantly gain some street cred by being less “stuffy” or “corporate.”
- Plan your visual content, but don’t overthink it or spend too much time creating it. While it shouldn’t be a slapdash activity, visual content shouldn’t suck up all your time. Use available tools that help you get it designed and finished, especially if the visual arts aren’t on your skills list. While I can’t give you some set amount of time, focus on what can give you the most return, which would mean spending a few hours each week on it or outsourcing it to a visual freelancer who can turn it around quickly while still creating something compelling.
- Focus on consistency without being repetitive. The thing about visual content is that your audience wants to see something different every time they view it, and will get bored quickly if you use the same visuals. Yet, you are also trying to send a consistent message and use the visuals to get your brand embedded in their minds. While you can use a similar color palette and overall tone to your visual content to drive the consistency, you can hold your audience’s attention by changing out the type of visual content. Use statistics and research one time, for example, and feature customers telling their stories another time. This way, it’s consistent in theme and look but variable in visual content type.
- Recycle your visual content to get more bang for the budget. Even though you don’t want to be repetitive, it doesn’t mean you can’t recycle your content by featuring it on an array of channels or by taking it apart and using some of the visuals in different ways. For example, we’ve used our original photography on our website but then created a slideshow on Snapchat and Instagram to highlight a specific event, like our company’s one-year anniversary. We’ve also taken the live stream videos of customer testimonials and compiled them as success stories on our website. This way, the visual content is repackaged for additional value.
- Ensure your content and visual content strategies are on the same page. In returning to the idea of consistency, all of our visual and regular content campaigns are planned together so that the themes tie together and provide a way to illustrate our primary messaging for our audiences. When they see the message across all mediums, it sticks and resonates on a deeper level. It’s also an excellent way to build trust because they see you are not saying one thing on social media but another on your blog. Planning these two types of content together also saves time and maximizes our resources.
- Ask your fans and followers for their content. Not only has this request increased our engagement levels; it has provided “free” visuals that maximize what we are trying to accomplish with this type of content. Our audience loves it because they feel more involved, and we enjoy the creativity. Their visual content even inspires some of our campaigns, which they, in turn, recognize as our homage to them, further strengthening our bond.
Try out a few of the above-mentioned visual marketing tactics and you can see for yourself how your audience responds.