The meteoric rise of image-based social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest has signaled something important to marketers: an image truly is worth a thousand words. Text-based platforms seem to be taking a backseat to image-driven ones primarily because images make more of an impact.
Most people consider themselves to be visual learners: they digest information easier by viewing an image, as opposed to reading text. In an age of information, where the amount of content online can be overwhelming, businesses need to provide content that will grab attention and provide immediate value to their target market.
There is an abundance of stock photography out there, so you may be thinking, “Well, I can just grab an image online to use.” We don’t agree. Instead, we recommend using original photography as much as possible.
There are two reasons why stock photography is less effective:
- People are more likely to ignore generic stock photos. Stock photos look like stock. If you are just sticking a stock photo into your content for visual appeal, your visitors are likely to skim right over it, because they know it’s generic. Custom photography that showcases your products or your business’s atmosphere will be more relevant to your customers. Sometimes, however, the use of stock photography is unavoidable. If you must use stock images, select something that applies to your subject in an unexpected way, to draw attention through the factor of surprise.
- Stock photography is accessible to everyone. It can be a little awkward to find that your competitor is using the same stock photo that you are. It can also look pretty weird if a company in a totally different industry uses the same image. Unless you buy exclusive rights (not the default option on stock photo websites), the photographer can continue to sell the image to other users. If you pay the high price for exclusive rights, you might as well pay for custom photography.
If you want to add more images to your online content but you’re not sure where to begin, here are some ideas for original imagery:
- Images of your product. High quality photos of your product are essential. Whether you sell a physical product or provide a service, having original images will elevate your business. (Ask yourself which will be more effective: a generic hamburger or your hamburger plate?; a generic auto mechanic (really a model) in someone else’s shop, or your star auto technician in your shop?)
- Behind-the-scenes. This is a great way to build rapport with customers. It gives them a “sneak-peek” into how your business operates, makes them feel like insiders, and makes your business feel more personal, not like some faceless corporation.
- User-generated content. Encourage consumers to take pictures of themselves using your product or service. Including consumers in your marketing is a great way to establish loyalty and build brand ambassadors.
- Memes. Adding text over an image makes it more likely to attract attention. It also helps text content get read on image-centric platforms. You can share a quote, a review, an ad, or a message to your customers using this format.
Consumers tend to make purchasing decisions based on emotions, and justify their decisions intellectually after the fact. People connect more emotionally to images than to text, making image-based marketing more effective. As you share content with customers, think about what you are trying to convey through imagery and where it can be shared.
To learn more about how to use imagery to boost your business’s online presence, contact The Light Digital.