With burgeoning volumes of content on social networks and websites, content has reached a point where less user friendly, empathetic, and compelling fare will see a precipitous drop-off. The fact is, media-full users simply do not have time in their days to consume everything presented to them. For that reason, discerning viewers have developed attitudes toward media that allow them to quickly determine what matters to them and what does not.
High on the list of “what matters” is visual media. The trend makes sense: in a world where time is media, quickly digested pictures and videos hold a special advantage over text in their ability to communicate meaning, emotion, and more without the “arduous” task of reading. So what does this mean for you? It means that video and photo is the “it” channel for conveying brand message, and any effort that can be made to accommodate this trend is well worth your time and energy.
What’s Behind the Trend?
When one considers the ubiquity of cellphone cameras in today’s society, it is not hard to understand why photos and videos rose to the top. With the availability of recording tools, more adults than ever are uploading original photos and videos. In addition, high-resolution screens and readily available wireless Internet access have made viewing online photos and videos a breeze.
The specific content of these items follow measurable trends. According to a Pew Research Center study, the top three types of video consumed include humor, educational, and instructional, with music at a close fourth. Video created primarily includes everyday activities, people doing humorous things, and pets. According to another study by the Pew Center, the demographics sharing and consuming this media include 18-29 year old, college-educated individuals.
What fuels the consumption of content, however, is not simply the format itself. The rise of social networking, including platforms designed specifically for video and photo sharing, have hasted the spread of visual formats. According to the Pew study above, 66% of online adults use Facebook, 12% use Pinterest, and 12% use Instagram. Specifically, as many as 20% of women use Pinterest and 27% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram. The ease and penetration of these platforms have made video and photo sharing an easy and engaging endeavor.
While all this data is well and good, you’re probably wondering how this affects your business (after all, it was in the title of the article). First and foremost, understand that if you are not using video in your marketing, you should be. According to a study by Reel SEO, 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns with 82% reporting positive results from doing so. In addition to the hard numbers, video presents a real opportunity to enrich and engage your customers.
As an institution of authority, tap into the how-to and educational crowd. Businesses would do well to introduce content that leans on their specific area of expertise and delivers valuable, informative content to viewers. Sites that sell shaving products can afford-ably create a web series about proper shaving technique. Cooking ware companies can release videos detailing basic cooking techniques that use their products. Identify what expertise you possess and use it to engage your customers in a way that focuses on delivering value.
Furthermore, avoid any pandering and know what your audience wants. Creating video for video sake is just as likely to appear desperate, as it is to help sales. Content should be genuine and enriching. Furthermore, know your audience, either through direct communication, polling, or surveys of comments on content, and base subsequent videos on the response.
Images pose another opportunity altogether. Simplifying the content experience, photos can be readily shared and consumed by peers in a way that builds online identity. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, images that possess characteristics with which viewers want to be identified are more likely to see shares on social networking and, in the process, build positive brand association.
Know your goal when developing images. Infographics, for example, provide the same opportunity to deliver value that videos do, but in a way that is more digestible and less time consuming. Non-branded images incorporating your company’s products have shown to improve overall brand perception. Branded content based on memes and humor is likely to see shares, currying positive feelings toward your organization. In either instance, identify what you want to accomplish, and tailor your content on that basis.
Regardless of the content you produce, do not ignore the need to share. Unless you’ve invented the next Google or Facebook, it is unlikely that your site alone will draw enough visitors to maximize your content’s potential. Use the obvious channels, Twitter and Facebook, and don’t be afraid to embrace newer channels with demonstrated user-bases like Instagram and Pinterest. Your goal should be for a “> 1″ return on social media views: focus on shares and spreading content. In doing so, you give your brand the opportunity to become a part of the cultural zeitgeist, and that’s marketing no money can buy.
With no signs of slowing down, video and photos have become a powerful component of any successful marketing strategy. Tap into your intellectual resources and share that asset with the community in videos. Base photography on brand goals and use social networking to its fullest potential.