We live in a predominately visual, predominately online, predominately social-sharing society — and therein lies a roadmap for your social media strategy. Communicate visually on social sites that support photos, videos and more. Because, when it comes to social media, the character counts may be limited but the potential for visual communication is infinite.
Between Pinterest, Instagram and many other up-and-coming social media sites, there exists a new world of social sharing — one based around visuals.
Photography and video used to be “nice to have.” Now they’re a MUST. To compete in today’s marketing world you need visual assets — lots of them. When customers interact with your brand online, it should be through a mix of rich imagery, integrated video and interactive experiences that they want to share with others.
Here’s how to do it:
Host all of your videos on YouTube and create links to facilitate compelling email campaigns and social media promotions.
Use Pinterest to promote your brand through product imagery, as well as visuals related to the lifestyle and values your brand promotes. A great tutorial video on Pinterest is available here.
Finally, are you IG-ing—posting on Instagram? This site allows you to share photos to a vast audience and, with its connection to Facebook, helps spread your brand’s visual message faster.
Ready to take your social marketing visual? Throughout the year, be vigilant about mining your events, promotions and appearances for opportunities to expand your visual assets. By capturing assets now, you can use them for more effective marketing later.
Social media can be a valuable tool within your overarching brand marketing, so be sure to integrate your social presence into other marketing assets as well. Consider these quick tips for integration:
1. Hashtag It — A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the # symbol that ties together conversations across various social media platforms. If you haven’t already, create a hashtag that reflects your brand’s promise and use it profusely. Print it on your ads, use it on your website, include it in your email campaigns, put it on your brochures, etc. Consider it a part of your brand identity. You can also create hashtags that relate to a current campaign, a charity involvement or other company initiative and use it for the duration of the campaign. Or follow what hashtags are trending online and find a way to relate your brand to them.
2. Let Others Spread Your Message — Attending or sponsoring an event? Hosting a launch party? Consider every event as an opportunity for your message to go viral. Create branded signage that attendees can take pictures in front of, and ask people to post them online using your hashtag. Organize social media contests asking people to post something with your hashtag to win, host virtual treasure hunts, design JibJab-style animations or create a pop-up store. No matter what you do, make sure it’s easy for your customers to talk about it by suggesting a hashtag to use.
3. Follow the Trends — How are people spending their time online? What are they talking about? What’s captivated their interests? Notice what’s trending in social media and jump on board so your brand is part of the conversation, much like Bergdorf Goodman did with its recent campaign to help people pack for SXSW. Another recent example is the proliferation of online personality quizzes that reveal everything from what city you should live in to what 80s TV personality you resemble. When you see something like this trending, figure out how your brand can be a part of it.
Of course, not everything you post online is going to go viral, so be sure to ask yourself, “If I saw this on my feed, would I be compelled to like it or share it?” If not, no one else will either. Go back to the drawing board and get creative — REALLY creative.