See and Be Seen: Is Visual Content Taking Over?

It seems like nobody wants to read anymore. The average web user spends just seconds on a webpage, reading only 20 percent of the text that they see. Fortunately, this provides savvy social media managers with a tremendous opportunity. By embracing visual content, companies can better connect with a more engaged customer base.

The Visual Revolution

Once upon a time, Twitter and Facebook were text-based networks. Those days are long gone. Today’s Facebook is set up to host content of any kind, from text to images to videos. In fact, nearly half of all Facebook users cite photos and videos as major reasons for logging on. Twitter, once derisively known as a collection of Facebook statuses, has also embraced diverse forms of media, enabling companies to advertise in a multifaceted manner.

Today’s Web is so visually oriented that it makes plain text look obsolete. Social networks like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine place a high priority on images and videos, with text being an afterthought. Additionally, leading sites such as Buzzfeed rely on GIFs and images as opposed to clever writing.

The Audience Factor

It’s not just that people don’t want to read, or that they prefer images to text. It’s that visual marketing results in a significantly higher level of engagement.

On Facebook, images are now the most popular type of content posted, eclipsing the second closest competitor (links) by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1. Far more importantly, people are more likely to interact with and share photos than any other medium, to the tune of an 87 percent interaction rate. The second highest interaction rate? 4 percent.

This isn’t a trend that’s exclusive to personal pictures. In terms of branded content, Facebook users are more likely to interact with an image than any other type of post, with video content not far behind.

User Generated Content

One of the best parts about social media is that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. With the right product and marketing, your customers will help spread the message on your behalf. Think about it like this– over half (51%) of Americans trust UGC more than content on a company website (16%), or news articles about the company (14%) when looking for information about a brand, product, or service

Customer storytelling is a great way to showcase the engagement level of your audience while simultaneously generating exposure. Brand engagement rises by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product video. Simply seeing others enjoying your product can send a message, even if it’s not intended to be a marketing tool. Best of all, your customer base can create this content for you.

It’s not hard to get customers to embrace storytelling via visual mediums, especially if they’re already engaged with your brand. A photo or video contest can result in a great deal of viral content; it can also seriously boost your company’s buzz. Going this route will create even deeper ties between your company and your customers, encouraging others to follow suit and begin supporting your brand.

If you’re interested in learning more, download our free eBook “The Ultimate Guide to Customer Storytelling”.