The most successful brands on social media are highly recognisable not just by their logo, but by the visual aesthetic they’ve carefully cultivated. You can tell immediately when a brand does this right - you know when looking at a new photo in your social stream exactly who posted it, even without seeing their name. A strong and consistent visual presence isn’t accidental; top social brands carefully consider their values and reflect them in the images they use across social media for everything from everyday updates to long-term campaigns.
How can your brand achieve the same sort of visual clarity?
Get started with these three tips!
1. Start with a single image
Centre everything around a single image, whether you’re creating imagery for everyday representation of your brand (think brand “stock” images you strive to make as interesting as possible), or a specific campaign. Aim to have this image reflect your brand values and speak to your audience; the best visual branding strikes an emotional chord with viewers, inspiring them to engage further with the content, and ultimately with your brand.
Building from an established single image can help make your overall visual brand more cohesive - more on that in a minute - and especially helps brands with limited resources. A strong base makes the rest of your visual marketing efforts much easier.
2. Tweak it for each platform
Simply reposting the same image on every social media channel isn’t the right way to engage in visual content marketing. The key to strong audience engagement is understanding the unique communication style and preferred presentation of content in each place and tailoring your messaging accordingly. Take the time to research what your specific audience responds to across social channels and how it varies from channel to channel. And while it's a good idea to build on industry best practices and expert advice, you'll need to take into account those reactions from your audience. Which of your content has worked well in the past and why? Look for trends and patterns and work those elements into your visual marketing in platform-specific ways.
For example: Tumblr tends to have a quirkier sense of humour than communities on other channels, while Instagram and Pinterest tend to be more inspirational. This knowledge is a good starting point to see if your fans and followers engage differently. Test funny image captions for Tumblr or a relevant inspirational quote for Instagram.
3. Review your visual presence for cohesiveness
When taken as a whole, your visual presence across channels should be recognisable and should clearly represent what your brand stands for. Find visual elements to tie your images together, whether that’s a colour-scheme, tone, consistently overlaid text, or something else that makes sense for your brand.
And don’t be afraid to test and move forward with what content gets the best response. Experiment, adjust your strategy and try again.
By Sarah A. Parker, Social Media Manager at Union Metrics.
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