The Perks of Visual Storytelling

Friday, December 12, 2014
Jessica Larkin
Director of Communications
Schooner Strategies

It’s no secret that people today like to save time. Fortunately, marketing is adapting to this need through the use of visual storytelling. Visual storytelling and its content encompasses a variety of tools, including infographics, videos, images and image-based social networking sites like Pinterest.

Each of these strategies has their own advantages, but generally speaking, visual content will increase a business’s reach. According to SearchEngineJournal.com, images on social media get up to 120-180% more engagement than text-only posts. This is because people put a greater emphasis on photos—they’re easier, faster and more fun to read than lengthy content. Visuals also help people more easily digest large amounts of data, says SweetIQ. They can provide an unexpected benefit for search engine optimization, as well: optimizing descriptions, captions and alt tags can improve a website’s listing in search engines.

OCG PR further elaborates that people process visual information faster than text—600,000 times faster, to be exact. Videos can incorporate 1.8 million words in one minute of video. UP There, Everywhere succinctly explains the perks of visual storytelling: images appeal to emotions, transcend cultures and language barriers, make the point quickly and are more favorable than text—after all, social media prioritizes posts with images or videos. Essentially: visual content is more engaging, gets more clicks and is more memorable than standard marketing efforts.

Consider these statistics from UP There, Everywhere: photos make up 87% of shared content on Facebook, while photos boost retweets on Twitter by 35%. Images also get 53% more likes and an 84% higher click-through rate than text posts do. Webpages with images are shared 94% more than those without; generally speaking, sharing increases 30-40% if a page adds images. Infographics also grow traffic by 12%, UP There, Everywhere says.

This kind of content is important because, as OCG PR notes, people are consuming visual information the most: 87% of people watch TV, 69% use computers, 56% use smartphones and 29% use tablets. Interestingly, SearchEngineJournal.com also found that video content (including YouTube ads) will account for 69% of web traffic by 2017. Why YouTube? Placing ads on the video site is cheap and effective, as long as the ad is targeted to the proper audience. In general, though, companies should also consider creating their own videos—whether for training purposes or for audiences, videos are a great way to get any audience familiar with a product or service.

UP There, Everywhere has some great tips for incorporating visual storytelling into a company’s everyday marketing strategy:

  • Stay on brand and be consistent when creating visual content. In other words, stick to a visual standard so readers will recognize that the work is from the same company.
  • Consider Pinterest as a marketing tool. Although it may seem like a website better suited to finding recipes than products, many companies have utilized the site to sell their services. If nothing else, Pinterest is able to drive traffic from their site to the company website, leading to more sales.
  • Add value by repurposing images from other marketing materials like old webinars, ebooks or tradeshow posters. If they can be used again successfully, why not save the trouble of creating unique images? Similarly, give away these useful and informative materials for free. By establishing the company as a thought leader, the brand will undoubtedly build a following.
  • Entertain readers with the visual material. It’s important to remember not to be offensive or degrading, but a company that can make fun of itself (or pop culture) is always appreciated.
  • Customize content for every platform; remember that not all networks are the same. For example, YouTube is for videos, infographics would work well on Pinterest, gifs and videos are best suited for Tumblr, and so on.
  • Share company presentations, like sales and how to slides, with audiences who may want the content. Not only will this strategy lead to higher traffic on the company website, but it may also generate leads for the sales team.
  • Interact with the audience by offering contests with prizes, letting readers submit their own photos and videos, or by acknowledging and responding to feedback about company products. Including fan videos about company services or products will also show readers that the company appreciates their loyalty.

All these tips combined can create a successful visual marketing strategy. Although undertaking a new strategy may seem overwhelming, the data is clear: people want and love visuals. Success can only follow.

Sources

Bradley, S. (2014, April 11). Visual Marketing: What’s Out There and How it Benefits Business Owners. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/visual-marketing-whats-benefits-business-owners/97425/

LinkLater, J. (2014, January 31). Visual Content Marketing: What It Is And How To Make It Work For You. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://blog.sweetiq.com/2014/01/visual-content-marketing-what-it-is-and-how-to-make-it-work-for-you/#axzz3H5QQkGHI

Monnes, S. (2014, October 1). Eight reasons your brand needs to use visual storytelling. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.upthereeverywhere.com/reasons-brand-visual-storytelling/

Monnes, S. (2014, October 2). Tips and ideas for visual storytelling. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.upthereeverywhere.com/art-visual-storytelling-part-ii/

Ray, A. (2014, August 5). Five Reasons to Focus on Visual Storytelling. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://ocgpr.com/blog/five-reasons-to-focus-on-visual-storytelling/