Many professional services companies are just now starting to realize the benefits of social media, in terms of growing their brand - which, in turn, means growing their business. For example, social media can help drive traffic to your website and we've seen time and time again that website traffic correlates to revenue and growth.
So the question might then become 'how do you create effective social media?' One answer: images - the idea being to tell a story through the use of visuals. Simply put, visual content is more compelling than text-based communication alone.
Here are some tips on how to maximize your use of visuals in your content mix.
Tell a Story
Often it seems that B2C has got this element down - it's not hard to find examples of well-known consumer brands leveraging creative imagery in their social media campaigns. But what about small to medium-sized professional services firms? What's the best approach for businesses that are focused on service offerings? How does this type of firm promote its messaging through imagery? How does imagery showcase the brand's value?
Imagery provides a great opportunity to illustrate and promote your company's culture, values, and philosophy and to showcase important events. It's a great way to promote your firm without becoming too sales-y and shows another dimension to your brand to help set you apart from the competition. Business is still about people - the human connection. By telling your company story with images, you're relating to your clients as people, not just as a target audience.
Here's one example for how your firm might leverage social media and imagery:
Let's say your firm is research-driven and that's a big piece of your branding and messaging. You would want to create images that showcase your research, such as an infographic that details the highlights from your latest research report. You would then post that infographic to social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, with a link to download the full report, which of course enables you to capture new leads.
Provide Educational Value
Think about how images help your reader connect the dots with written content by offering more perspective and how, as a tool, they can help your audience recall key points of information, while still keeping it fun and interesting.
According to demandgenreport.com, 95% of B2B buyers like short content formats, which is why paying particular attention to the use of imagery is so important - and there are quite a few ways to incorporate images into your firm's content and social media strategies. Some examples include photos, infographics, graphic quotes, charts, graphs and video. And don't forget, your employees create some of the best content for you - they are your brand ambassadors. Your employees are in the thick of it and may have interesting front-line commentary or photos they've taken that your marketing team couldn't have dreamed up.
When thinking about developing your visual content, you want to keep in mind that it should always be informational - the value you are providing your audience should be focused on helping them learn something they might not have known before, it must have purpose. Think about what presentations you can use to create a SlideShare, or what research you have conducted that would inspire fresh new graphics.
Something to keep in mind - if you are linking back to content on your blog or website you should make sure you are optimizing your images for the web for a couple of reasons:
- The best user experience possible
If you don't optimize your images (making sure the images are in a web-friendly format), you run the risk of irritating your audience with long page load times, even to the point that the person will abandon your page. According to GTMetrix.com," Optimizing images for the web can reduce your total page load size by up to 80%."
But optimizing isn't just about file size for your image. It also impacts SEO. You want to consider using strong keywords when naming your images for better on-page SEO and to help your site rank highly. For more detailed information on this, go here.
As professional services firms embrace social media more and more as part of their marketing strategy, they'll discover that there is a ton of visual content that can be created and used to help promote their brand. The keys are to keep the imagery simple, short, and educational while making sure it relates to the written content it's tied to. You want to tell a story and give your audience information it can absorb quickly and recall easily. Using images will keep your content fresh, interesting and useful.
Main image via Shutterstock