Vibrant Visuals: Why Snap-Happy Marketers Save Time (and Money!)

It's official, we all have smartphones. Okay, even now that's an exaggeration, but the trend is undeniable. The latest stats say that almost 70% of the U.S. population subscribes to a smartphone service, which leaves only a small band of stragglers who actually want to be connected but haven't quite caught up. And at 1.76 billion (and rapidly rising) on a worldwide scale, access to a mobile device is clearly commonplace. What we're getting at here is that somewhere in your business, you almost certainly have access to a device . More importantly, you probably have someone on staff who knows exactly how to use it, and that could be key to your next marketing move. [caption id="attachment_3086" align="aligncenter" width="527"]NYC Times Square at night Are you capturing the stunning shots of daily life?[/caption]

The Importance of Vibrant Visuals to Your Business

We talked about the making the most of your social media marketing earlier this week, and one of the key areas to focus on is integrating stimulating images into everything you post. Following the cue of purely visual social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, more established platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have all increased the screen space for images. Clearly, the big brands in social media are urging us to try our hand at attention-grabbing graphics. If that seems daunting, remember that other marketing methods, like print and television, have always required some element of visual storytelling. Social media may ask for more of that, but the objective is still the same: communicate who you are and what you do in a visually striking way. Increasing engagement is the name of the game here, as the more your audience interacts with your content, the more they'll see in future. That's obviously important when the time comes to tell them about a new product, service, or special offer, where you'll you want to have laid the foundation for trust that will keep your customers interested. With a smartphone by you side, it's easier than ever to capture images that will elevate your content above your competitors. 

Take More Photos, Save More Money

And time. But time is money, so either way you're saving! That's because images are clearly important, but they can cost a lot to obtain if you're constantly coming back to stock photography sources or hiring a professional photographer. There may be times when both of these services fit your business needs, but it helps to have a home-grown alternative when your budget is tight or turnaround time limited. Consider the following tips to take more photos and make more of your marketing budget:

  • Define what sets your business or brand apart visually. If you've already done so as part of a wider branding exercise, translate what it means for your social media marketing.
  • Train yourself to spot interesting shots and don't be afraid to experiment. As a business owner or lead marketer, you're in prime position to show others exactly what a vibrant visual means for your marketing ends.
  • Encourage employees to take their own photos and submit them for social media inclusion. Be open to what they can submit. This should be about exploring the creativity of your business, not limiting it.
  • Take a look at the Facebook feeds and Instagram streams of employees, if they have their profiles public. You'll get a good feel for anyone whose visual style aligns with your own, and could even pick up some inspiring photo ideas as you browse.
  • Consider a monthly contest for the best photos you receive from employees to spur them on to bring you even better images.
  • If your audience allows for it, get customers involved as well. User-generated content is increasingly popular and a great way to encourage audience interaction. Just remember the legalities!

As you snap away and collect the images of others, your business will build up a valuable store of its own visual content. This can be rolled out immediately if it fits a current campaign, or held for inspiration when creative blocks curb your creativity. What's more, simple design sites like Canva and Share as Image make custom images all the easier to create. Effects are even available within some social media apps, or even on your smartphone operating system itself, meaning that anyone with just a little editing experience can clean up images and create something that your customers will respond to. Take some time to explore your own image creation and editing. In the long run, even a small business could save thousands in licensing fees and professional shoots, which can go to other affordable marketing tools. Happy snapping!

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