Original content drives engagement

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This emerging media blog is one of many thousands on the internet all dedicated to keeping up with the latest digital trends.  Many tech writers have already established a significant online following and write quite masterfully on the subject. With … Continue reading

Focusing on social media video content

watch purple
Visual content is a magnetic force in social media marketing, driving high levels of consumer engagement.  In a previous post the positive social media impact of using inspiring still photography and sensational images was discussed.

But what about the power of moving pictures?  On Facebook, videos are shared 12 times more than text and link posts combined. Throughout the internet, more than 4 billion hours of video are now being viewed each month.  In fact, YouTube has become the second most used search engine, right behind Google. It’s no wonder you probably felt compelled to click the big purple play button in the header of this post.

Paul Shepherd, CEO, of Coup Media advises:

“Video will only work for you if it’s useful, funny, extraordinary or otherwise emotionally engaging. If you know your objectives, know your audience and deliver video content that resonates then video can be super effective especially as mobile screens become the normal way to consume content.”

An acknowledged leader in video engagement through social media is luxury brand, Christian Dior.  As of the date of posting, the 198 videos uploaded to the Dior YouTube channel have garnered almost 79 million views.  In addition to aspirational footage of fashion shows, product previews, behind-the-scenes documentary footage, celebrity interviews and stunning commercials with gorgeous cinematic production values, the company posts useful content for the dedicated fashionista.  This instructional video provides Dior fans with a practical step-by-step guide to the secrets of creating a smoky eye using Dior cosmetics:

It’s always helpful to gain creative inspiration from companies that are social media superstars, but most marketing teams aren’t staffed to produce the depth of video content with the sleek production values that Dior consistently delivers.

The good news is that videos can be much more straightforward and still be effective in engaging the consumer on social media.  Home Depot is currently registering almost 30 million YouTube views with much more down-to-earth content. “How to fix a leaky toilet” may be mundane, but it is remarkably useful content and provides value to the DIY-inspired consumer:

Consumers are not necessarily looking for the highest quality visual content.  What they want are stories, told in a visual way, that educate, encourage, engage or entertain. Fortunately, this type of video content is now within reach of most real-life marketing budgets.

Big budget or modest budget, it can be the best video in the world, and yet it will be a total dud if no-one watches it.  Promoting your new video is the key to getting it out to as wide an audience as possible.  Tag it with the right keywords, make a text version of the script available, blog about it and promote it across multiple social media channels. Make sure it’s embeddable and thus more easily shared.  Add a Facebook “Like” button, giving viewers the option to share it with their friends, and a Tweet button for Twitter sharing too, you can even pin a video to a Pinterest board.

Of course, if you’re looking for more information on video content creation you can always go to YouTube and look up how to make engaging videos for social media – you’ll undoubtedly find plenty of advice and inspiration.

Power of pictures: The eyes have it

Infinity pool greece
Stop you in your tracks photographs
– you know the ones: the infinity pool perched on the edge of a cliff in Greece; the romantic plantation-style inn with rocking chairs waiting on the porch; or the signature golf hole with greens as smooth as velvet.

These are the pictures you used to tear out of a magazine and save in a Places to Visit file. Now, chances are, you pin to a wish-list board on Pinterest, loaded with your personal vacation fantasies. Although some photo destinations may remain out of reach, no doubt others will influence actual bookings for trips.  A survey by eMarketer indicates that 32% of customers have made a purchase after seeing an image on a social image-sharing website, and 26% were able to click through from the image to make their purchases.

Images, particularly quality photographs, are a magnetic force in content marketing, and drive social media activity. It is vital for businesses to show, not tell, as visual content sites are fueling demand for inspiring photography and sensational images. A marketer’s overriding mantra that “content is king” has met its match with the new maxim “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

A study conducted in 2012 by ROI Research found that users engaged on social media sites enjoy pictures the most and 42% of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures.

Images are a form of shorthand for communicating with consumers. Online audiences feel increasingly overwhelmed by the volume of information on social media these days, so it helps that photos are visually processed almost instantly, even faster than reading a post or a tweet.

Make sure you develop a tailored image strategy within your content marketing plan. Yes, stock images are useful and tweeting Instagram pictures can be part of your strategy – there is a legitimate place for behind-the-scenes updates communicated with the immediacy of this visual communication channel – but these sources will only take you so far. Part of your plan should include a realistic budget for professional photo shoots. Top quality professional photography adds authority and legitimacy to a brand. Studies have shown that over 45% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company, and much of the strength of web design hinges on populating a site with strong image content.

Based on experience, I would urge you to match the skill set of the photographer with the subject of the shoot. Some professionals excel at managing the demands of architectural photography, and can magically transform a dull, concrete facade into a building that exudes warmth and elegance. These guys know every angle and can add visual square footage to interior spaces, bouncing light off every surface to make a room positively glow. Other photographers are experts at shooting lifestyle images with models, making intangible emotions tangible and validating the aspirational nature of a brand.  Certain photographers even specialize within a very narrow subject niche, such as golf course panoramas or food photography.

Don’t just hire a great photographer, hire the right photographer. Make sure to allocate your marketing budget accordingly, and be confident that quality photography is an excellent investment in social media success.