A good part of all social media content is visual. So, if you are on social media to promote your brand, you need to have a visual marketing strategy. Most people think that visual marketing is only making sure that the content looks pretty, but, other than aesthetics, you also have to strategize when to post the visuals, how much to post, what type of visual to use when, and what platforms to post on.
On social media, every post you make as a brand adds to its story; a good visual marketing strategy lets you control the narrative and add only those things that promote a positive brand image. Other than that, visual marketing also allows you to establish a relationship with your customers and helps you provide them with valuable and relatable content.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind while planning and implementing your visual marketing strategy to ensure that you are using social media in the best possible way.
- Understand Each Platform and the Differences in Their Anatomy
Every social media platform caters to different user cohorts, using algorithms that fit them the best. This is a fact that you should be aware of before engaging in visual marketing on any platform. This means that if you are an expert on Facebook visual marketing, you do not necessarily possess the skills and tricks that Twitter or Instagram’s visual marketing needs.
According to MOZ, all social media platforms can be organized into 3 categories based on how much control you have on them. The first category is owned properties like blogs, forums, websites, or homegrown social media platforms. You create these from scratch and hence have 100% control over them. Next are the rented properties that include big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. here, you’re renting a part of a third party’s platform, either for free or with charges, so you don’t have complete control over it or how and when it changes.
The last category — occupied properties — is the furthest removed from your control. On platforms like Reddit, you have zero ownership even if you have an official representative engaging with the community.
While making a visual marketing strategy, you need to understand each category and platform separately and decide which ones fit your business the best and how much of your resources you should invest in them. To figure this out, make a list of questions and answer them as you go through each potential platform. The questions can range from the platform’s preferred device, valid and recommended size formats and other design principles, the content type that works best on each platform, and demographics of the users.
- Choose Your Platforms Carefully
As seen above, every platform is different which means that the people using those platforms will be different as well. You have to make sure that your audience and the platform’s community align as much as possible. For example, if your target audience consists of professionals, focusing on LinkedIn will do you much better than focusing on Facebook, even if Facebook has more monthly active users.
To know exactly which platforms you should choose and be more active in, you need to know your and the platform’s audiences well. Research as much as you can; pull up past data, go through the platform’s feed, and use tools like Google Analytics.
- Have a Clear Purpose
One post can have many purposes. For example, when you tweet a visual, it can be to get people to visit your site, a particular page, or blog. On the other hand, you can post it to gain followers, add to your brand image, or increase engagement.
When making a visual marketing strategy, you need to know your purpose and make it your basic objective. In fact, you should be clear of the purpose behind each post. Ask yourself what you want from your audience and the platform’s community. Also, make sure to align your visual marketing objective with your core business objectives.
- Stay Close to Your Brand
Through visual marketing, you need to give your brand a personality, traits that your audience can relate your brand to. A/B Testing is fine. However, your brand’s personality should not sway so much, and so drastically, that it leaves your audience confused. If you already have a brand voice, all you have to do is use your visuals to add to it and solidify it.
Your visuals also need to add to your brand’s authenticity. GenZers and millennials are rapidly becoming the majority of every business’s target audience. Incidentally, the people from the 18 – 35 age group are also the ones who are taking up decision-making positions in businesses. Therefore, you need to cater and appeal to their need to have brands as a part of their lives and engage with them.
Use colours, themes, fonts, language, and mood that complements your brand image. Also, engage with your audience in a way that solidifies your brand’s personality and promotes it as an individual entity rather than just a business.
- Use High-quality Content
Your audience sees a lot more in your visuals than just the obvious information. They look for the message behind it, judge you by the aesthetic, and decide whether you are worth looking into based on your visuals. This is why it is so important that you give out only the best quality content.
When we say ‘quality’, we don’t mean just the images or the design; you also have to keep in mind the dimensions of the visuals. Each platform and every type of device works better with different dimensions. For example, Facebook’s UI is not built for vertical images so posting infographics on this platform will do you more harm than good. Similarly, avoid posting infographics or other vertical visuals on app-heavy platforms like Instagram or if you want to increase mobile traffic through any platform. This is simply because scrolling through a huge infographic on a phone will quickly put your audience off your brand.
On the design front, other than avoiding pixelated, blurry images or videos with bad audio or video quality, you should also stay away from gaudy, extremely bright colours (you want to attract people, not blind them). Cluttering your visual with too many elements makes it look messy which will make your brand look unprofessional. Speaking of looking professional, use basic fonts as far as possible; not only are they readable, but they look professional, which, as a B2B company, is the look you should go for. Another thing you should avoid doing is overloading your viewers with too much information. Be mindful that you have very little space on a visual, use it wisely.
- Do It Yourself, Professionally
When you are representing your brands through visuals, you need them to be of top-notch quality. A few years ago, this would equal to hiring professional designers and purchasing costly software. However, we live in the era of the internet, where the features of big equipment and the skills of professionals can be found on free websites and on smartphones. However, you should choose your go-to websites carefully. You have to make sure that it is easy to understand and that the end product is worth the resources you put into it.
That being said, these apps and websites cannot replace the skill of a professional (yet) so if you can afford it, always opt for hiring a professional.
- Take the Long Way Around
Yes, you started using social media to boost your brand, but you should know that the boost will not come overnight; it will take time, efforts, and patience. If the success does come in a quick burst, chances are that it will go away just as quickly. Rome was not built in a day, your brand will not either.
Also, remember to take breaks now and again. The algorithms if social media platforms are built to keep us on the platform for as long as possible, making us feel a fabricated need to stay connected forever. This ‘need’ is all the more intense when you are expected to show results.
Being on any social media platform for longer than necessary will lead to you getting overwhelmed with all the information coming your way (and the continuous ‘ding’ of notifications will not help). You may feel that if you’re not online, engaging with your audience all the time, they will lose interest in your brand. However, building a relationship never has and never will include ‘stalking’. In fact, if you’re constantly in your audience’s space, especially when they’re trying to chill out and connect with their family and friends, that will make them turn away from you.
So, occasionally, log off and get out.
- Test. Everything.
A/B testing should be a must in your visual marketing strategy. If you stick to one method, sure, it may work great but you may also be missing out on an opportunity to do better. The best way to find out what’s really working for you is to change up one element at a time. For example, in week one, you can change the title of a post that you’ve already published. Then try reblogging the post at different times. Also, try switching up the elements in the visual itself and test out different posting schedules.
Remember to take a not on the engagement rates, bounce rates, and other KPIs after each change and compare them to past data. This will help you pinpoint exactly how much different each element and combination makes.
These tests need to be done regularly. Even if one set of tests help you get the optimal strategy, for now, the continuously changing markets and new trends mean that there’s no guarantee that any particular strategy will work for a long time.
- Measure it Out
You can test out 10 different strategies, work with the best tools, and use top quality content but none of it will be of any use if you don’t know how well all of it is panning out. This is why measuring is so important; it tells you if your strategy is giving you the desired result and points out places where you can improve.
You aren’t perfect and neither are your strategies, and that’s fine! The point here isn’t to come up with the perfect, optimal strategy at the get go but to learn from your mistakes. Making continuous changes isn’t a sign on someone who is bad at what they do; in fact, it shows others (read: potential customers) that you’re a person who is not set in their ways and is willing to change them I efforts to improve and give the best results.
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