Tips and ideas for better visual storytelling

If you read my first post on Eight reasons your brand needs to use visual storytelling, you may be wondering if I have any advice about how to make visual storytelling work for you?

I do. Here are some tips and ideas for putting visual storytelling to work in B2B.

Stay on brand.

You’ll get two times the level of engagement with visuals on Facebook. But they need to be relevant and recognizable. Create a visual standard so people know it’s your image (this could mean using a certain camera angle, type of cropping, logo treatment, color filter, etc).

Use images with text overlays. (Memes).

Creating a graphic out of an elegant saying or useful bit of advice to your customers may resonate with them. Pick a saying or tip that they’ll want to share and remember. Then make it share-worthy by turning it into a graphic. (Like the example below).

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Be consistent.

Your visuals need to tell an overall story. Make them original, but also follow a standard format for timing, style, message and objectives.

Create infographics.

Publishers who use infographs grow traffic an average of 12%. Select some interesting quotes or statistics, facts or tips to create something visual to spread your brand story further.

Infographic for Gemalto Netsize

Use Pinterest.

Pinterest drives traffic (for B2B too). For example, 25% of retail traffic from Sephora comes from Pinterest and the brand found that Pinterest followers spend 15% on their products more than Facebook followers. Pinterest is not just for consumer brands. Even medical device brands (like Thermo Fisher Scientific) have found that their product and user graphics on Pinterest have generated thousands of followers. Find the content that appeals to your audience and post it.

Add value.

Pull images and graphics from your other marketing materials such as ebooks, webinars, presentations or tradeshow posters. Give useful ideas and information away for free. It will build your brand following.

Entertain.

Don’t be afraid to show a humorous side. Even in straight-laced business areas such as life science and healthcare, content with an entertainment value is appreciated. The key here is to know your audience – well. What will they find entertaining? Never be off color or offensive, but poking fun at yourself (or your market area) can be appreciated.

Customize for every platform.

Every network is different. Don’t use the same images across all media. For example Tumblr is very .gif focused (Animation). Pinterest is great for infographics. Post video links on Facebook.

Use video effectively.

Video is a highly consumable format, and is a very underutilized tool. Video doesn’t always have to be film, but can be created as animations from stills as well. Use animation in a creative way. Tell a story using words and pictures.

Consider a video response (or parody).

Video “responses” to the viral sensation for Gangam Style grabbed attention and even brands were able to get in on the buzz. News clips or popular ads in your area can be inspiration. Consider this video response created by IKEA parodying the Apple ads.

Share your presentations.

Slideshare is a go-to network for business info and education. Be creative and to do your best to give audiences what they are looking for. The value of this channel is lead generation, because it can so effectively drive traffic to your website. Post not only sales and company presentations, but also useful “how to” and “step by step” slides.

Use cartoons.

You can boost your newsletter open rates with cartoons. Walter says that Intel’s newsletter open rates went up to 45% (from 5%) when they started using cartoons. Just ask Hugh MacLeod (Gaping Void) or Stu Heinecke. (Literally, ask them, they offer customized and syndicated cartoons).

Hugh MacLeod Gaping Void cartoons
Gaping Void by Hugh MacLeod offers customized cartoons.

 

Activate your passionate advocates.

Create a way to let them get involved, share their comments or stories. Ideas: have a Fan of week contest, let customers submit photos, or have them post their video tips and messages about using your product.

Be inspiring.

Don’t just create marketing campaigns. Build tribes. Inspire movements. Visual content inspires audiences.

Images stand out

Keep in mind, every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, according to Eric Schmidt (as reported by TechCrunch). Visual storytelling is the way to stand out from noise.

 

Have any more ideas? Leave a comment below.

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Eight reasons to your brand needs to use visual storytelling

At INBOUND14, Ekaterina Walter, an innovator who has led companies like Intel and Accenture to success with social media, discussed why visual storytelling should be an essential element to any brand story, and certainly any story that hopes to make an impact on social media.

Why? Because, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And when you have only 140 characters (such as on Twitter) to make your point, then linking to a photo is a better use of space trying to squeeze in 1,000 words.

And that’s just one reason. Here are seven more.

1. Images get shared.

Using images to help tell a story not only does it more effectively, but also with more viral impact. It’sproven.

People are much more likely to share posts with images (photos or videos) than without. And in social media, sharing is the name of the game.

Content is King- Visual Storytelling

Overall, on Facebook, for example, photos make up 87% of all shared posts, according to eMarketer.

Photos can also boost retweets by 35% (according a report by Media Blog).

social media facebook posts

2. Images catch attention.

According to KISSMetrics, photos get 53% more likes than and 84% more click-throughs than posts without images. When you’re scanning your social feeds or a web page, what do you stop to look at?

 

3. Images appeal to emotions.

Videos and images are also more likely to appeal to emotions…and as any good marketer will tell you, the key to engagement and action in marketing is getting to the emotion.

 

4. Images transcend cultures and boundaries.

You can tell a story with a single picture. Images make subtle connections that can be lost in translation. If you have a international audience, images (pictographs and drawings) can be useful and easily understood. Consider the universal sign for the men and women’s room.

Male Female universal pictograph restroom

 

5. Images make the point quickly.

A single image (or an infographic) can make a point much more quickly that a long post. On social media where attention spans are measured in fractions of a second, quick is good!

(Image Source: Charity Water)

 

6. Images get priority space.

On Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and many website home pages, images are given more physical space than similar text messages. This may seem counter-intuitive to the part about “getting the point across more quickly” but the fact is that social media sites (and other websites) allocate premium space to images. If you want to stand out in a crowded space, you need an image.

Tweets on Twitter

Tweets on Twitter images get more space

 

7. Pictures are memorable.

It’s easy to forget facts you’ve read, even when you’re interested in a topic. But visual images stay with you for a long time.

 

Not just babies and kittens

It’s important to realize that visual storytelling isn’t just about about cute pictures of kids and animals. It’s about telling B2B stories as well.

To use Intel as an example, one of the most shared images Intel ever experienced, was a post that internal marketing managers initially thought was a bad move. Turned out it wasn’t. The post was an image of a messy desk, showing an actual behind-the-scenes look at what happens at an Intel development center. The caption was “Inside Intel”. It received more views and shares that any single post they’d ever place on Twitter up until that point (according to eKaterina Walter).

More facts

Here are some other interesting facts about images (from INBOUND14):

  • Pages with images get 94% more total views than those without
  • Sharing goes up 30-40% on pages with images
  • Press releases are viewed 50 percent more often with image or video attached
  • Viewers spend 100% more time on webs pages with videos
  • Publishers using infographics grow their traffic 12%

 

Visual storytelling is the way to stand out from the noise.