See the bottom of this article for a special offer to help you refine your social media visual strategy.
Like it or not, social media has become an important part of business, marketing, and connecting with your customers. This is not a new fact.
Whether you are a large or small business, or are running/creating a personal brand as an athlete, artist or guru, the role social media plays has become more and more crucial to engaging with your current customers and attracting new ones. In this age, followers count.
Take Instagram as an example. Since its founding in 2010, Instagram has grown to more than 800 million users in eight years. According to 2017 statistics from Pew Research Center, 59 per cent of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram, and 33 per cent of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use the social media platform.
A 2017 survey in Canada showed that 49 per cent of Canadians check Instagram daily and 74 per cent check at least once per week.
So what do these stats actually mean for your business or brand? There is a lot of potential to deliver your marketing and brand right to peoples' phones and have it seen daily.
By generating content for social media and engaging with your followers you are creating brand awareness and relationships with potential customers both locally and around the world for a relatively low cost to your time and wallet.
But posting anything all willy-nilly for the sake of posting is not the right move. Your social media accounts are often people's first point of contact with your brand. Do you want your brand to be viewed as cheap and unprofessional by first time visitors? Or, is your brand professional and refined?
We've all walked into grocery stores where the shelves are cluttered and disorganized, the produce looks like it has been picked through and is past its best. If that is our first impression of that store will we want to come back, or go to the store down the street that is organized and the produce is fresh?
The quality of your visual content matters, a lot.
So, how do you ensure your content is of high quality and gives your followers the impression you want? The answers to this will be unique to your business and your goals.
If your business is a restaurant you may want to post photos of your food looking fresh and delicious, and people enjoying the food on your gorgeous patio. Is your chef amazing? Of course they are! Create a great portrait or video showcasing who they are so your followers get to know your business beyond what they pay for.
If your business is a bicycle store, create great content of people riding your bikes, new bikes being built, and showcase your mechanics. Getting customers to know and trust your mechanics is crucial in the bike business. CRUCIAL.
Whatever your business or the type of content you ultimately need, you should strive for it to be the best quality. Maybe you are comfortable creating this content yourself with a phone and a traditional camera. If that is the case, fantastic! Make sure you have a strategy in mind and consider creating a visual style or brand that looks cohesive (i.e. don't shoot a series of images that are super dark and moody and then some super light and happy images, keep it consistent and relevant to your brand. And remember that rules are meant to be broken.)
If you're not comfortable creating it yourself, or you don't have the equipment to do it, you may want to consider hiring a professional visual content creator. This can come in the form of a digital agency or an individual photographer and video producer. While this option might cost more than doing it yourself, it saves you time so you can focus on running your business. The person you hire will also be able to bring a lot of experience and equipment you may not have, like how to make that burger look extra tasty in photos by using a few simple lighting techniques and some cooking spray.
Hopefully you found some of this interesting and it can help you on your journey to refining your brand's visual identity on social media. I'll be posting more in-depth articles on photography and video in the future so please check back regularly and follow me on social media for updates.
Now for the personal plug: I am going through a big re-brand and redirection of my business. You'll notice my website is currently under construction to update all of the content. One of my new directions will be to help brands establish a visual strategy/style for their social media.
To test out a few of my ideas and the viability of this service I'd like to partner with two to three local, small and independent brands (preferably startups or personal brands like bloggers) in the Lower Mainland. I will help you to create some great social content at a heavily, HEAVILY, discounted rate. If you are interested in collaborating please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.