If there is anything that accurately illustrates the ongoing trend of emphasizing visual elements online and in social media efforts, it is the recent purchase of Instagram by social media networking behemoth Facebook. While the buzz is largely around the purchase price of $1 Billion, it clearly demonstrates that Facebook is interested in your photos.
As we mentioned in our post on the curation trend a few weeks ago, there is a growing emphasis on publishing and promoting visual content. From Pinterest to Tumblr and (of course) Instagram, everywhere you look, design and content continues to favour visuals over text.
Facebook is a key part of that trend. If you read the March 29th edition of our newsletter (your are subscribed, aren’t you? If not you can rectify that here), you know that the new Timeline format for Profiles and Pages are a big step in the direction of putting photos at the core of Facebook activity. And with all of the new features and capabilities they will inherit from Instagram, photo integration goes deeper.
So, what does that mean for your social media efforts? A few things.
Count Your Inventory
First, you need to build capacity, if you haven’t already done so. In practical terms, you should be conducting an inventory of what you are able to produce. Do you have a quality camera? Someone who knows how to use it? What about a video camera? Are you able to edit the images when they are taken, using Photoshop or other editing software? Where will they be hosted? These are important questions to ask.
Second, you need to insure you can communicate your message visually, not just through the written word. That takes some preparation. When planning events, stunts, posts or other activities, it is important to determine the visual message you want to communicate to your audience. Sometimes, the visual representation of your core message is not apparent. It is critical when mapping out your strategy that you think in these terms.
Once you have your image library, make sure you are optimizing them for various social media channels. It may seem obvious, but certain images work better on Facebook than on Twitter (or Instagram for that matter). How will they relate to the rest of your content? When your community shares them, does the image speak for itself? Will it (or can it) prompt further action? Again, planning this out in advance is important.
Visual elements hold a great advantage as they can communicate emotion, ideas, concepts quickly and effectively. There is a reason why pictures are worth 1,000 words. As social becomes more visual, make sure your efforts are maximizing the potential of powerful imagery.