“If I Could Tell the Story in Words, I Wouldn’t Need to Lug Around a Camera”

220px-lewis_hine_selfportraitThis quote by Lewis Hine, American sociologist and photographer who used his camera as a tool for social reform, highlights the importance of a good picture. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube make good use of this concept. Sometimes words aren’t powerful enough on their own, and businesses need a great visual image or video to capture their target audience’s attention.

Business needs to help their target audience fire up their imagination. This reminds me of Severus Snape’s (a character in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels) descriptions of potions. He said that potions bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I argue that a good image or video can do the same.

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Instagram

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  • What’s so special about Instagram?

Two words: Social Engagement.

In an article, A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results for Instagram’s Top Profiles, content crafter Ash Read says “Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent“. Those are some impressive numbers. Given that 93% of marketers turn to Facebook for their social engagement and only 36% turn to Instagram (source: SelfStartr), it appears that many businesses are making the mistake of underutilizing Instagram’s marketing appeal.

  • Why should businesses use Instagram?

Beyond the reason mentioned above, Instagram has over 300 million daily active users. In the article above, Read says that those who use Instagram do so in order to follow their favorite brands. Instagram users want to see interesting photos and videos. However, you can’t just start posting random pictures. It’s important to have a clear vision for the type of content you decide to display. For example, I follow a fitness clothing line called Emily Hsu Designs (their leggings are a little pricey but the BEST).

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Emily Hsu Designs focuses on sharing their customer’s “in action” photos. This creates a relationship with their customers (who doesn’t want to be featured in an Instagram post? Ok, fine, but you’re not normal). Customers send Instagram their pictures and then are tagged when featured. As you can see in the post above, in this instance the customers are a fitness studio so not only are Emily Hsu Designs advertised, but also the fitness studio. Then, those who follow one or the other account can see the picture and possibly gain more followers through the process (and more importantly a desire for those leggings).


Snapchat

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  • What’s so special about Snapchat?

Snapchat features temporary content. A picture is only available for an extremely limited time. A user takes a picture and sends it to another user. This picture is not stored anywhere (though the receiving user can save the picture onto their device if desired). While this may seem counterproductive for a business who is trying to sell a product, it can actually command more attention based on its immediacy.

  • Why should businesses use Snapchat?

Sarah Clark, president of Mitchell (a public relations firm), in an article entitled Why You Need to Add Snapchat to Your Marketing Arsenal says that “savvy companies are beginning to discover how messaging apps can be used as powerful marketing tools, and Snapchat has risen to the top of the heap, thanks to its unique features and sprawling reach across an audience of Millennials“. One unique feature that Snapchat uses is what is known as a “geofilter”.

Geofilters are special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend or adding it to your Story.

A geofilter allows viewers to creatively interact with your brand. Users take a portrait picture of themselves with your brand or logo on them. For example, here is a Snap of my husband using the geofilter for the new Lego Batman movie.

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Users are able to take pictures of themselves as Batman (which is totally cool). Obviously, they have to share it with their friends (who find it as cool as I did) and also take a picture of themselves as Batman and send it to their friends with a “We really need to see this movie!!” caption. Snapchat allows businesses to be creative in their marketing. Clark comments “Snapchat needs to be treated like the distinctive tool it is, so it’s important to avoid translating other prefabricated marketing campaigns to the service“.


YouTube

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  • What’s so special about YouTube?

Ask Bluleadz, an inbound marketing website, this question and they’ll simply point to many artists, celebrities, and comedians who have launched their careers through YouTube. In 7 Benefits Of Using YouTube To Market Your Business Online, Bluleadz says that nothing beats a creative YouTube video in captivating an audience. From YouTube’s own press website, YouTube boasts of “over a billion users (almost one third of all the people on the internet) and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views“. As I’ve mentioned in multiple blog posts and as Bluleadz reiterates, companies need to go where the people are…and the people are at YouTube.

  • Why should businesses use YouTube?

Bluleadz believes that businesses should consider YouTube in their social media campaign. Here are their seven reasons why:

  1. Captures Attention
  2. Has High Traffic Volumes
  3. Generates Viral Marketing (“Hey, Joe! You have to watch this funny Doritos YouTube commercial!!“)doritos
  4. Allows for Multiple Video Marketing Channels
  5. Has Great Search Engine Rankings (after all, Google owns YouTube)
  6. Integrates Well With Other Social Media Markets (statistic from DMR: 323 days worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every minute)
  7. Has World-Wide Accessability (statistic from Bluleadz:  YouTube is available in 61 languages and is being used in 75 countries)

So, as you can see, including YouTube in your social media marketing campaign can be a very lucrative and wise choice.


Conclusion

The power of an image, series of images, or video can’t be denied. Audiences appreciate a good story (i.e. Instagram and YouTube videos) and enjoy interacting with a brand (i.e. Snapchat filters and LiveStories–for more info about LiveStories see this article). Ash Read reminds us “social media has been proven to influence purchase decisions. And if you can find the right mix of content, your audience will soak it up – and even buy from you – without the need for a hard push or sales pitch. It’s the marketers dream“.

Let’s live the dream!

Questions, comments, and funny Snaps can be left below!

(original header image can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)
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