Saturday, 3 November 2012

Visuals in Social Media Marketing, a 2012 perspective.

If in 2011 the online buzz was all centred around “checking in” and providing information on your whereabouts via social media then 2012 has seen the focus move towards the visual.

While preceding years saw an emphasis on copy whether through blogging, tweets or status updates the last  12 months has seen a major shift towards pictorial content. Two major success stories being Instragram and Pinterest, sites firmly focus around the sharing of pictures within online communities.

Facebook's timeline launch puts photos’ right at the centre of it's user experience brands can  make use of several new features that rely heavily on bold graphics and visual storytelling: the cover photo, the timeline itself, and larger images on wall posts.

A 2012 study by ROI Research indicates that when friends engage with each other over social media it's the pictures they enjoy most with 44% stating that they would be more likely to engage with brands who use photo's as their prime communications platform.


For brands in a time of information overload, with news feeds and updates containing streams of irrelevant information visuals act like trailers to users for what they represent, providing a snippet of easily digestible information to convey a message or invite a user to delve deeper into the brand

A key strength of the visual medium has been the ability to create a user led community around a product, with several key FMCG brands having strong successes through inviting users to send pictures of themselves using the product in return for prizes.
Dunkin Donuts going as far as to highlight their fan of the week on their display photo.

 The American rock group The Smashing Pumpkins took the concept of community building through visual representation one step further with a social media campaign titled “Imagine Oceania.” Fans were challenged to design artwork for the band's new album and promote the pieces through sharing across social networks, with selected fans having their work turned into limited edition posters .
The campaign showed an astute level of awareness in understanding that a large segment of their audience were tech savvy enough and sufficiently passionate about the group for the final content to be sufficiently high quality enough to produce print runs.

General Motors were quick to recognise the shifting site usage of its younger demographic and the need for restraint in marketing across across social platforms created an Instragram account that instead of showcasing glossy pictures of the latest car models embraced the nature of the platform. Presenting a series of arty industrial themed shots showcasing the company’s impressive production facilities and Detroit heritage.
To generate greater traffic, they created a competition offering the winner a free trip to the UK and to be the next “GE Instagrapher” shooting photos at a General Electric Jet Engine plant.

However brands choose to achieve it, what is clear is that visual identity creation is now vital to any profile. With search engines now basing ranking on conversations and sharing within social media in addition to website hits embracing visual content, clearly offers huge benefits through it's proven record of generating engagement.  The old maxim a picture is worth a thousand words never rung truer.

Sam Wolf , Digital Account Manager, Liveinsights


  1. Pictures are considered an integral part of the content of any website or online network. And content is considered as one of the factors that move social media marketing. Social media platforms always aim to provide new and fresh ideas that would gain user attention, and pictures are one way of engaging and attracting an audience. That is why making a business website more fun and personal with pictures can help win target market loyalty.

    @Staci Burruel

  2. I agree with Staci here. I think the world discovered what pictures are capable of doing after social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram became a worldwide hit. And now, businesses are using it to their advantage as part of their social media marketing strategies – using visual content in attracting people and achieving time customer retention.

    .Neil Linnen

  3. An efficient way to catch the interest of your customers is that you let them involve themselves with your activities. Think of something that will let them engage and interact with you even more. Set “The Smashing Pumpkins” as a great example. They used social media to ask their fans to make a design artwork for their new album and their fans loved it! In the end, not only did they come up with an awesome limited edition poster design, but they also drew their fans closer to them by letting them in the creative process that comes in the band’s making of one of their albums.

    Parker Murillo