Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 19, 2014

Images in online media can tell a story

Goshen News

---- — Images are very important in digital media today. In both social media as well as on blogs and websites, visual imagery captures attention, communicates more, and inspires engagement.

A leading online software system for businesses, HubSpot, conducted research on images in digital media and among the results were a few key nuggets like the fact that photos on Facebook generate 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments than the average post. This is important data that any business on Facebook needs to be aware of because that interaction increases future views. Beyond Facebook, the fastest growing social media services such as Instagram and Pinterest are dominantly image based. Photos can tell a story in a quick glimpse so much richer and deeper than endless paragraphs on a web page. As such, it’s important for businesses to consider their use of images online, both on their sites and social networks, to convey their message and share about their products and services.

Let’s look at seven ways a company can use images creatively online.

Take them behind the scenes

Most of your customers only see the final product when they shop in your store or order online.

Companies can give visitors a peek behind the curtains with images that show elements of the work that goes into the products they sell and the services they provide. Any company can tell a story on its website or a social network by showing images of early designs, a view of the manufacturing plant floor, the team of final inspectors, or even their company pet.

Spark a conversation

Any time you can, look for ways to engage your visitors and community in a conversation. You can use an image with a question or captivating scene to catch their attention and encourage a response. Simply put, a image in the Facebook news feed with a simple question stands out much more than a text statement with the same message.

Offer a promotion

You can run a contest on your website or on Facebook (see TimelineContest.com) quite easily, so consider a great image with a special offer discount on it that one lucky person can win via a random drawing of those who enter. The image of the prize can be all it takes to generate interest, traffic, and online buzz about your company.

Spotlight your customers

Celebrating your customers builds a stronger connection, showcasing how business is still about people and relationships, and it markets your products and services at the same time. By outlining how your service solved a customer problem, and including images of them, it personalizes your company and helps visitor connect and identify with your brand. You can also tag your customers in your photos on social networks and thank them for stopping by.

Show yourself doing what you love

One of the things that makes small businesses unique is the owner/operator/team passion at work.

Show images of you in action doing what you love. Speaking at an event? Post photos. Use photos to show your passion and your team engaged whenever you can. This communicates so much more than a basic text outline on a web page alone can communicate.

Share some tips

You know your product inside and out. New customers don’t. Show them quick tips via images that link to full blog posts with “How to’s” that can be of value. You’d be surprised what can “blow the mind” of your customer; things you take for granted that they hadn’t thought of can really make a difference.

Showcase your team

Is your team performing well? Do they have special gifts you can showcase (they don’t even need to be related to your business!)? If Todd, your company designer, is a great classical guitarist, how about a image of Todd from his most recent coffee shop gig with a little story about how he keeps the creative juices within flowing? That’s a great human interest piece that helps people connect with your company and team.

If you’re a coffee shop, restaurant, bakery, or diner, using pictures to show off all of the great stuff coming out of your kitchen is a sure way to boost engagement. Need inspiration? Check out what Starbucks does on their Facebook page. They are good at it. Even if you’re not in the food industry, the idea here is to make sure to choose photos that showcase your products in use and in action.

Have you noticed a theme? It’s about connecting. Visually connecting. People do business with people. People and visual images that connect can really go a long way in educating and motivating would-be customers to come to your for their next purchase.

So be creative.

Mike Gingerich leads the Digital Marketing and Social Application divisions of web company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.