There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you?
With Facebook making their timeline feature permanent for business pages, and Pinterest and Instagram gaining traction in popularity and social influence, now is a good time to explore the ways in which social media is shifting toward a more visual experience and what businesses can – and should – do to take advantage of these new platforms and emerging trends. In fact, the news of Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion only puts an exclamation point on that statement. So what kind of strategy should businesses take to target and engage with consumers in this environment?
First of all, don’t waste time lamenting that your business isn’t image-friendly. Just because you can’t display dishes made with fresh ingredients like Trader Joe’s on Pinterest, or easily post large portions of a catalog like Macy’s, does not mean you can’t join social visual sites or take advantage of Facebook’s timeline. What your business must think about is how images can help enhance your brand or tell your brand’s story in an engaging way.
When we work with clients that are expanding their social presence, we don’t simply transition their existing visual assets into a new format. It’s important to strategize about the ways that consumers will interpret and interact with content, and how it will benefit the brand or enhance the consumer relationship.
There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you? As a couple of high-profile examples, it is worth checking out GE on Pinterest and Instagram, and Coca-Cola on Facebook, because each provides a pretty decent blueprint for telling a story with imagery and not just sharing pretty pictures.
Visual Social Media Examples
Coca-Cola is blessed with a strong brand association with consumers and a well-documented history, so it is no wonder they were able to compile a rich and compelling visual timeline on the official Coca-Cola facebook page. Coca-Cola puts pre-Facebook content on their page so that they can take you all the way from their founding to present day. By following the timeline, users see the branding and commercials with which they’re familiar supplemented by images they may not have seen before, such as an 1893 letter to Coca-Cola from a soda fountain manager lauding the drink’s popularity and ability to generate profits for his business. The user now knows that even before the 1900s consumers had a thirst for Coca-Cola, and they’re just a small part of that history.
General Electric has a similar approach on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GE) but with calls to action hidden throughout; one such call to action cropped a small portion of a jet engine image and teased users with the question “What do these parts make?” They then revealed the answer – and the full jet engine image – at 300 likes. On their Pinterest and Instagram pages, GE takes consumers through a visual journey of their business from historic photos and videos to current images of factory workers and the “Badass Machines” each generation of GE workers has produced.
Remember, you don’t need to attract users with your images; consumers have already chosen to come and visit. You need to connect with consumers through the visual medium to inform them about your brand in a fun, unique, and interesting way. By posting images that are relevant to your business and that engage the consumer, you can provide a glimpse into the everyday life of your company.Inviting consumers into the company’s life creates a greater sense of community among all consumers that interact with your site.