When it comes to social media marketing, the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true.
With the vast amount of content clutter on the web, marketers need to use arresting visuals and captivating images to grab your viewers’ attention, influence their buying decision, and get your message across.
According to a survey of 300 marketers by Venngage, 35.5% of marketers expected to spend more than a third of their entire budget on visual content in 2017. More than 60% felt that visual content was absolutely integral to their marketing strategy this year.
As opinion-shapers and trendsetters, social media influencers are especially adept at using visuals for their content. Innovative and individualistic, influencers employ polished visual content strategies and tactics which resonate with their online communities.
In this article, I will highlight the key visual tactics that three power influencers across different genres use in their social media strategy, and draw out 15 practical lessons for marketers like you.
Founder of extrapetite.com, Jean Wang blogs regularly about the latest clothing trends, styling ideas and hot deals in the fast moving world of fashion.
Like most fashion influencers, her Instagram is brimming with highly styled photos. They often show her in the midst of traveling to a fashion capital or just hanging out and living the high life. Occasionally, they include sponsored posts.
1) Theme your looks.
Just like how Wang themes her looks for different seasons and occasions, ranging from work to an exercise session to a romantic date, you should also theme your looks and styles according to the season or occasion.
2) Allow customers to shop the look.
Wang makes it easy for followers to shop her look – just click the “instashop” tab on her website. This is a great way to mix visual content with commerce.
3) Use video or boomerang.
Wang uses Boomerang videos sparingly and for effect, such as for showing off the ruffled sleeves of a blouse. This helps to accentuate how certain styles may look when in motion.
4) Align your visuals with your brand.
Wang’s photos and captions all converge to tell a story. It could be about how breathtaking a place is, or how she loves a particular restaurant or café.
Whatever it may be, she tries to be helpful to her followers and stay on-brand by inspiring her fans towards more beauty and style in their everyday lives.
5) Get up close and personal.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a shot that is solely focused on a product alone. The clothing and accessories are mostly modeled by Wang herself. This shows the importance of maintaining a personal touch.
Occasionally she even ropes in her partner or a family member for a shot together. This ups her authenticity factor and unveils to her loyal following snippets of her love life.
If you’re in the fashion business, do as Jean Wang does:
- Theme your looks according to the season
- Align your visuals to your brand
- Serve up helpful daily tips
- Get personal with your fans
- Make it easy for people to shop the look
Food influencers are known for their drool-inducing shots, and Sunday Suppers is no exception.
Its founder, Karen Mordechai, is a foodstagrammer who serves up pristine, largely white snapshots of healthy and deceptively simple food.
Here are some strategies we can learn from her.
6) Keep the look and feel consistent.
Almost all of Sunday Suppers’ photos sport a white background and border. This makes it pleasant and calming on the eyes. They also make the food the hero of the shot.
The lesson here is to stick to whatever image is befitting to your food or restaurant brand. Try to keep your image filters consistent or apply a vignette to add moodiness to all your shots.
7) Share simple visual recipes.
Most people are not looking for full recipes when they’re ogling food photos.
If you choose to share recipes, do keep them simple and easy to follow; point people to a full recipe on your blog or website if it is available.
8) Show the human touch – occasionally.
It’s always nice to see the human form in pictures. I especially like this one by Sunday Suppers as for once the focus isn’t just on the bread, but the person slicing it.
9) Show behind-the-scenes pictures.
Everyone knows that behind every successful business or Instagram account lies a great team of passionate folks. So don’t be afraid to show the world how you style your dishes or your food photography, like this moment captured below.
If you’re in the food business, remember to:
- Keep the dish the hero
- Serve up simple recipes
- Keep a consistent look and feel
- Showcase behind-the-scenes action on occasion
Olya Hill, the founder of Living Notes and a San Francisco-based mother of seven (yes seven!), knows what it’s like to balance her creative life with family. Her followers adore her because of how well she does both.
Here are some tips we can steal from this top family influencer.
10) Celebrate milestones.
Family influencers have lots to celebrate – baby birthdays, toddler’s first walk, grade schooler’s first band performance, and so on.
Even something as trivial as a first date-night after baby’s arrival can be a milestone to trumpet about. Yep, it doesn’t have to be big to be relatable.
When you’re in a celebratory mood, the world cheers along with you. So be sure to mark those firsts with your fans.
11) Keep it real (but stay positive).
Parenthood is fraught with struggles.
When Hill shares about her hormonal challenges and how she battled issues on the personal front, her fans do not see it as a weakness – rather they view her as being real and authentic.
As a brand, it may not be appropriate to share deep dark secrets about your company or internal politicking. However, it might be endearing to your followers to reveal some boo-boos or stressful moments while keeping your visual tone light and humorous. It’s a great way to connect with your followers.
12) Share great family ideas.
What’s an influencer if she’s not the leader when it comes to breaking trends, latest spots to check out, and cool family hacks?
As a marketer of a family or kiddy product, it pays to share helpful places and ideas with your target customers. They’ll come to perceive your brand as being relevant to their lifestyles.
13) Experiment with different photo angles.
Although it’s about a family, not every shot needs to have your kids smiling (or bawling), having breakfast, or changing diapers with your baby’s face being shown.
Sometimes feet (especially cute ones) make good photo subjects.
Thrill your audience by thinking out of the box, and experiment with different photography styles and ideas.
14) Address the concerns of your fans.
The best influencers know what the top concerns of their followers are. Often, they speak directly in answer to a concern and a question. Hill is no different.
To help your brand gain credibility and authority, you can think about having in-house experts on various family topics such as health and nutrition, or education. Field those experts and get some serious fan questions answered on your social channels.
15) Don’t worry about overloading on cuteness.
If you’ve got the cuties and pretties, go ahead and flaunt them.
Fans never seem to tire of cute and adorable kiddy pictures, so more power to you if you can procure such pictures for your brand’s social channels. If not, you can always sponsor the right influencers to do the modeling for you.
Or consider a fan photo contest. Posting real and tastefully taken photos of kids donning or using your wares only ups the desirability factor of your brand.
If you’re in a family-related business, remember to do as Hill does:
- Keep it real
- Celebrate milestones
- Build your authority by addressing concerns
- Engage fans through photo contests and boost your adorability factor
As marketers, we need to constantly be upping our game.
I hope you can take a leaf from these influencers’ visual content playbook, and come up with further kick-ass visual content ideas of your own.
Remember to stay authentic, develop your own brand voice and personality, and place your customers first. You can’t go wrong if you nail these basics first.
Walter Lim is a social media marketer, brand storyteller, digital geek, and trainer. Director of Cooler Insights, a boutique content marketing agency, he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, content marketing, social media, and PR. Follow his blog (http://coolerinsights.com) for the latest insights in content marketing, social media, and brand storytelling.
Latest posts by Walter Lim (see all)
- 15 Visual Content Tactics You Can Steal From Influencers - September 9, 2017