Not even as long a decade ago, teams of marketing people would sit round a table, then a desk ,then light box to produce a powerful and enticing image to get you to consider their product as the one you NEED to have. Today, whilst marketing gurus with goatee beards and red pointed shoes still sit round the table and discuss concepts, slavishly following the same lengthy process, fleshy bites of promotion are thrown to the consumers in real time via social media. These mighty morsels that whet the appetites of potential customers, customers and competitors alike are becoming an important part of building up an audience for the upcoming promotions, so much so that they have taken on a whole persona of their own.
Being in ‘the now’ has never been so important. But just simply ‘being in the now’ is no longer enough to influence people. Social media used to be run by the over worked and underpaid office junior or acne ridden intern, who’s only goal was to ‘fill up the space’ and hit send, but this random attitude of quantity over quality now is detrimental to the marketing of a brand. Taking the time to choose the right post is the only way to find yourself at the top of the feed and multiplying rapidly. Picking the right post has never been so important.
Creating the perfect post that goes viral is the Nirvana all social media writers seek, but writing is not enough. Most viral posts start with a good quality, expressive image. If a picture paints a thousand words – make every one of them count. Choose a picture that is clear, well composed and has an alluring clue as to the content of the post. The image will always make the first impression, and in 99% of the cases, become the deciding factor of whether the content is read or passed over. There is a vast range of free photos available on the internet, you are literally spoiled for choice, but check copyright before you post them. Just because they are in the public arena does not mean they are a visual free for all.
As human creatures we are visual learners. Out of preference we will go for information with a picture on it rather than one with text. Don’t believe me? Think about road signs. How many times have you been lost in a new city by not paying attention to road signs, or text based map signs – as opposed to falling off a cliff or getting hit by a moose, which are all purely picture based signs? I rest my case.
One thing that has been a recent innovation all social media followers have taken to heart is the rise of the … infographic. Infographics are exactly what they say they are – information in a graphic form. Any one remotely interested in a desk top publishing platform is able to make one, but there are infographics already made on every subject. Hats, wars, doughnuts from the 1950’s – they all have at least two infographics on them, and on social media they spread like wild fire. People love to learn, and using a visual platform easily feeds that hunger. There is even a serious bonus, visual based information it easy to retain and recall. Why else do those men and women in goatees and pointy red shoes spend so much time and money on logos?
One adage you need to ALWAYS remember when working with any media – Content is King, and you need to be King Content of the Content people. Make your pictures interesting, pleasing, informative, but make your writing more engaging, entertaining and enriching than any visual image. No amount of professional photography will make up for boring content. Maybe it’s time to promote your intern to ‘coffee and donut runner’ and find someone to manage your media who can draw the people in, and get your name out. That’s what the medium does best.
So next time you’re looking at your web page, twitter feed or you’re stumbling upon, remember what you see is exactly what the world sees. Three pictures of yesterday’s coffee, a joke from the 1970’s and a grumpy cat is not really going to pull the hordes in flashing their money at you. A little time spent thinking about what to say and dressing it up ‘pretty’ may just mean it’s your turn to be King Content of the Content people. Next stop – red pointy shoes and a goatee…