These days, the zeitgeist of social media curation is overwhelmingly clear: content is king. Here at Booje, we can’t stress this fact with our clients enough, and while the demands of social media consumption are in constant flux, the principle behind the importance of quality, relevant, timely content will never change. Your story is your brand, and your brand is your essence, so making sure that it’s translated properly across your social channels is pretty serious stuff.
With the massive success of Instagram and Twitter’s progressive emphasis on visual content, it’s safe to say that consumption is quickly shifting from copy primary to visual primary, with new forms of stimulation popping up exponentially (think gifs, memes, flipgrams, etc). While video is soon to be the star of the content arena, a picture is still– and will forever be– worth a thousand likes (actually, millions– but for the sake of nostalgia we’ll stick with that).
Here are a few basics to consider in order to ensure visual content does your story justice.
Quality Over Cringeworthy
Image quality is the pièce de résistance of visual strategy. While most people can appreciate how rad your hike up the Chief was this weekend, no one can really grasp the true glory of your legendary pilgrimage when your image looks like you need a trip to the optometrist.
Social Media users are a savvy bunch, and with many brands enlisting the help of professional photographers, users’ taste is progressively becoming more and more sophisticated.
Composition, Clarity, Consistency and…Cats (just kidding), are the 3 C’s to consider when deliberating on the aesthetic quality of your images. Publishing an image isn’t like a campaign where the one image is propagated over and over– it has a short life span on its own. Rather, each individual image is a vital piece to a larger puzzle, that puzzle being the overall thematics of your branding.
This is why consistency with sizing for respective social media platforms, and consistency with design elements– such as colors, fonts, filters and frames is crucial. With apps like VCSO, Afterlight, PicFX and hundreds more, filters are an excellent tool to catapult your images to the next level, as are user-friendly graphic design tools like Canva.
Having said that, a rule of thumb to remember is that while filters can take your picture from zero to instagrammy, the more you filter, the more pixelated (and less clear) your image becomes. Here are a few brands that are killing the Three C’s game.
Stock photos– the epitome of a can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em dynamic. Authenticity is Quality’s closest sibling when it comes to visual content, and nothing is more true to translating the story of a brand than content from that brand itself. We get it– not everyone can lug around a Nikon D750 at all times, but agencies (like ours) as well as freelance photographers live to do so, and for a small (but immensely worth it) fee, you can generate content that is original, authentic and radiates brand personality; not to mention, smartphone camera’s are getting better and better, so snapping a few quality shots of your product or lifestyle is all the more feasible.
But original content doesn’t just mean taking better in-house photos.
Take Sharpie, for example. Their branding is bolstered by a harmonious ratio of high quality product shots and creative, fan-produced drawings. This not only appeals to followers’ creativity, it directly engages with them in a way that provokes participation, urging users to send in their drawings to be featured. Sharpie’s Associate Manager of Social Media and PR speaks to the importance of originality, saying:
“Sharpie’s overall social media strategy is to showcase the work of our fans to inspire others to get creative with our products…teens’ biggest enemies are boredom and unoriginality. As a result, our approach on Instagram is to share original content we create in-house – content with a distinct POV that plays to the clever, more comical side of Sharpie’s brand equity.”
The gist of it is, original content has major ROI.
Switch it Up, Buttercup
Engagement is directly proportional to stimulation, and as we noted, visual sensory receptors crave, retain and remember at a faster rate than do other forms of cognitive processing (such as reading words– which is so passé).
Having said that, technology is developing exponentially, and new forms of media are being offered to keep the consumption of information fun, fast and furious (maybe not that last one).
There’s no doubt about the fact that video is the next big thing, with most major platforms having already optimized themselves for embracing video content.
Short, impactful videos cater to the culture of instant gratification that has come to define social media, while also increasing brand reach– and they allow for boundless creative possibilities; so really, as long as the messaging in a video is aligned with your branding, the world is your short-epic oyster.
Content carries major weight in the world of digital marketing (we’re talking Sumo weight), and with the consumption of Social Media changing on a daily basis, it’s important to make sure that you have a solid foundation from which to grow. Keeping these key elements in mind is a great start, and if all else fails, you can always post a high-quality, well-branded video of your cat (or better yet– call us!).