Everywhere you look, things are getting more visual.
At the start of this year, LinkedIn (which we all use, right?) added the ability to post photo updates to company pages. Even more recently, they tweaked your C.V. so that it could become a visual portfolio.
Just yesterday, Facebook started to roll out the ability for users to add ‘picture comments’, enabling users to say it with a photo, rather than use actual words.
Recently, we’ve been talking to many clients about Google Authorship and AuthorRank, a system which means that, amongst other things, the author’s picture appears in Google search results next to the content they produced.
What does this all mean?
Well, for a start, it isn’t that new. For a long time now, the social media world in particular has been switched on to the fact that pictures can have a big impact on your marketing. And we mean a big impact.
One report suggests that content with a picture achieves 94% more attention than content without. It’s part of the reason Facebook were willing to pay $1 billion for Instagram, the picture sharing and modification app, and why Twitter paid a reported $30 million for Vine, the short video-sharing app that hadn’t even launched at the time, and is now one of the most downloaded applications on any platform.
But really, what does it mean to me?
For professionals who might not necessarily need or want to be on networks like Facebook and Twitter (and we don’t encourage all of you to do), the relevancy of this might initially seem limited, but LinkedIn’s move to a more visual presentation should be the wake-up call that relays to many just how important visuals can be in the professional world as well as the social media one.
This isn’t just about sharing a picture of your pet cat. It’s about communicating visually with your audience, allowing them to understand what your brand stands for and how it conducts itself. It’s about using online platforms we’re all familiar with, like your website, and innovatively altering offline one’s we use all the time too, like your company brochure.
It’s about sharing information quickly and simply through visual mediums like infographics. Ever used a flow chart in the office? Ever mind-mapped? Ever drawn a spider diagram for your child’s homework assignment? Infographics are designed around the same principle: make information more visual and less daunting; highlight key points, in attractive layouts. Why aren’t you doing them again?
It’s also about capturing key concepts quickly and easily. You could spend 1,000 words, or more, explaining what financial planning is, but why would you, when you could do the same in a short animated video?
You could tell new customers that you’re a premium brand with a long history of servicing high net worth clients, but why not show them in the design of your website, probably the first thing a new client will see when they start to do their research on you, and then reinforce that message when you hand them your company brochure.
The use of visual marketing matters more than just how it’s used on social media. It’s already spread to LinkedIn, the most ‘professional’ of the social networks and it’s inevitably going to spread further; to you, your firm, your competitors; to the way you do business and communicate with your clients.