Visual content is informing and influencing a rising number of digital marketing strategies- videos have been shown to increase conversion rates by 80%, while Tweets with expanded images can generate up to 150% more shares. From 60 second videos to GIFs, images can have an immediate positive effect on a brand’s visibility and reach, as well as audience engagement levels.
We process images 60,000 times fast than text, and 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual, which goes some way to explaining why social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have enjoyed a spectacular surge in adoption in recent years. We’ve already discussed the importance of building your brand through strategic storytelling in order to increase conversions, and imagery is one of the most important methods you can use to achieve this.
According to a Forrester report, Instagram has the potential to deliver 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. If you’re a brand with an interest in maximizing your visibility and building awareness, it’s a social channel that you cannot ignore. Since its release in 2010, Instagram has expanded rapidly – in under 7 years, users have shared over four times more photos than there are human beings on earth, and they “like” 4.2 billion posts daily. As a result, more and more brands are relying on the platform to cultivate a consistent brand image and interact with customers in a more personal capacity. In recognition of its position as the most influential visual storytelling platform, Instagram attempt to update and innovate regularly. One recent update is a new format of posts that lets users share up to ten photos or videos that are displayed in a single, swipeable carousel.
The feature means that you “no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember” – a new icon will allow you to select multiple photos and videos when you’re uploading. These posts share a single caption and are enabling brands to facilitate deeper and more detailed storytelling and engagement. A number of brands are already putting the feature to good use and demonstrating how other organizations can easily follow suit:
Airbnb are keen to demonstrate that, as a brand, they’re providing their customers with more than just affordable travel accommodation – they’re providing unforgettable experiences. This is strongly reflected in their newest offering, which allows customers to purchase single or multi-day “Experiences” that have been curated by an Airbnb host in the city to which they’re travelling. You can choose from a variety of categories, including “Sports”, “Nature”, “Food” and “Arts and meet locals who can help you to explore the area and discover new interests.
This ethos of adventure is continued through their Instagram carousel post, which illustrates a family trip to a Hawaiian island, going beyond their rented apartment and showing the family’s swimming trip and the surrounding scenery.
Another content-driven brand, ASOS started as a simple e-commerce site that has expanded into magazine publishing and leverages the influence of cover stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. The purpose of the magazine has been to establish the British brand’s credibility and thought leadership in a highly competitive industry and penetrate the US market. The print edition of the magazine reaches over 450,000 people a month and garners views from 120,000 users online.
Keen to provide value to their target customers through insightful editorial content and coverage of the latest fashion trends, it’s also an opportunity to showcase their products. ASOS have used their Instagram image carousel to post a number of images of American actress Yara Shahidi, who they have profiled in the latest issue of the magazine. By using the caption to tag both Yara and other influential Instagram users featured in the issue, they are increasing the likelihood of the post being liked and shared.
Ben & Jerry’s have a well-developed brand identity that is driven by a strong sense of personality. Their ice cream flavours are inventively named (examples include “Cherry Garcia”, named after Jerry Garcia of the band Grateful Dead, and “The Tonight Dough starring Jimmy Fallon”) and often influenced by customer recommendations and suggestions. The brand’s marketing campaigns are simple, accessible and fun- a recent campaign, called “Capture Euphoria” encouraged social media users to use the hashtag #captureeuphoria to tag images the best demonstrated the joyful feeling that comes from eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Their use of the carousel image post embodies this light-hearted approach to connecting with customers and serves as a quirky step-by-step guide to making an ice cream sandwich using a Ben & Jerry’s product.
Frank Body is another ecommerce brand that depends on content to cultivate a distinct voice that differentiates it from its competitors in the beauty industry. The company, who sell a coffee based exfoliating skin scrub have ingeniously played on their name to create a character through whom their brand values are communicated- and he doesn’t hold back! Their content is written in the first-person, as “Frank” himself and uses what is now a characteristically sassy style to encourage its customers to be unapologetically comfortable and confident in their own skin- with Frank’s assistance!
Their Instagram post perfectly captures the brand’s tongue-in-cheek, authoritative attitude, piquing interest in the product in a humorous, engaging way.
WeWork is a company that provides collaborative workspaces and services to startups, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. WeWork recognize that well-designed workplaces are a very important part of promoting positive company culture. Because of this, they’re focused on giving their social media followers an insight into the inner workings of their own company, and what makes them unique. Their customer-centric approach is very visible on Instagram, where they share their customer’s success stories, along with inspirational lifestyle shots to create a sense of community centred upon a positive attitude.
In further attempts to humanize their brand, WeWork have used their Instagram image carousel post to let their followers take a look at their own workplace and company culture.
Cult fast food chain Shake Shack are impeccable at branding. They use their Instagram account to reflect both their food and brand values- fresh, simple and fun. Like WeWork, Shake Shack are cultivating a community spirit to show their customers that they care. They actively engage their followers on Instagram, posting a variety of User Generated Content, playful graphics and branding. The hashtag #shackfan has been promoted to collect what the company call “Shack-themed artistic goodness from the Shack fan community”
Their Instagram image carousel shows the story of the opening of a new Downtown Detroit restaurant, and features the limited-edition t-shirt designed in collaboration with leading menswear designer John Varvatos. Double the promotion, but in a format that makes their followers feel like they’ve been invited to enjoy the experience rather than simply purchase the products.
Through image content, you can communicate more with less, make a much stronger impact and guarantee a longer-lasting engagement with existing and potential customers.
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