Power of Images in Social Media: Embracing Visual Thinking– Shift ‘Text’ to ‘Image’, ‘Video’, ‘Photo’…

Compelling social media is all about– visuals, images, photos, videos… human history is a history of images… The act of visualizing the world by adding shape and color to its essence and structure, is a fundamental part of human nature…

According to Dr. Lynell Burmark;… unless words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by short-term memory where you can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus 2). Images on other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched… Furthermore this effect increases over time:

A study found that after 3-days users retained only 10-20% of written or spoken information, but almost 65% of visual information… All this suggests that humans process visuals more efficiently than text…

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Visuals cause a faster and stronger reaction than text… visuals help users engage with content and, as such, emotional reactions influence information retention… 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and it’s processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text… A study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, they enjoy photos the most, photos generate 53% more ‘likes’ than the average post… The same goes for consumer engagement with brands; 44% of respondents are more likely to connect with brands if they post visuals  than any other media…

Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos and 85% more likely to buy/react after watching a video… content with images get 94% more ‘views/shares’ than those without… content with photos (or other visuals) are ‘bookmarked’ much more often than those without

In the article Age of Visual Culture by Jeff Bulla writes: We live in the age of the ‘camera in everyone’s pocket‘ and with more than 2.5 billion camera phones we are in a dynamic era of image creation and content, which can be broken into three phases as we enter the age of a visual culture and language. Three phases: (1) Massive increase in photo creation… (2) Rise of image-centric social media networks… (3) Images becoming interactive… If you have an online store, or issue press releases, or Facebook business ‘page’, then here are 6 reasons to publish images and photos as part of your business tactics:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views…
  • Photo and video in a press release increases views by over 45%…
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results…
  • 67% of consumers say the quality of product’s ‘image’ is very important in selecting and buying decision…
  • Customers think that the quality of a products ‘image’ is more important than product-specific information (63%), long description (54%), ratings/reviews (53%)…
  • Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)…

In the article Rise Of Visual Social Media by Ekaterina Walter writes: Social media has ushered in ‘visuals’ as the breakout trend… When it comes to selling, business is learning– to show, not tell– and visual content sites fuel people’s desire for beautiful photography and sensational design… the maxim– ‘content is king’ is now supersede by the maxim– ‘image is worth a thousand words’… This trend toward visuals is shifting people’s habits– as they engage with social media via smartphones… they discover that taking a photo ‘on the go’ using a smartphone is much less tedious than typing out a status update on a two-inch keyboard…

A study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most… 44% of respondents are more likely to engage with brands when they post pictures than any other media. Pictures is the default mode of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day…

According to Detavio Samuals; pictures are a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly… The need for most business people to get to the point quickly and not lose their audience’s attention is a picture, it’s the only thing shorter than– words, tweets, posts…

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In the article Harnessing Power of Images by Rebecca Swift writes: Choosing images to represent a brand is just as important as word messages or mission statement… According to Jerome Butler; a study shows that people only remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, and around 80% of what they see and do… Hence, business must take note of the power of images and position visuals at the forefront messaging… and it’s crucial that the target audience remains central to image selection and the imagery used conjures an instant picture of the brand and its core values…

Most important, images should be kept simple, clear, uncluttered… when a website or blog is too cluttered with visuals, it becomes counter-productive and difficult for viewers to understand the fundamental business offering… Images should be used for at-a-glance comprehension and never misused or end-up diluting the company’s key messaging… To ensure the audience instantly absorb the key points– whether in text, image, video format– imagery should be a focal point on the page. This may all seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many websites are difficult to navigate because designers have cram too much information on the page…

In the article Harnessing Power of Images in Social Media by Benny Coen writes: The power of social media comes not through great written tweets, but through an image which truly sums-up everything in a thousand words… According to a survey, 87% of the most shared post on Facebook are photos… and even a good chunk of the other 13% are videos, albums, visual content to attract fans… people are more likely to engage and share when there are images or video… people on average spend 100% more time on a web page which has videos or images that attract their interest…

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but other times a picture is just a bizarre, jumbled mess which confuses followers about a business… too many confusing visuals can hurt a business…

So while images are very important, the combination of images being re-enforced with words improves the overall effectiveness of brand messaging… Also, an inspiring quote, business slogan, or other simple pithy words can emphasize the business message and inspire more followers… According to Shona Marsh; its human nature to communicate visually and connect emotionally with images, videos… It’s not hard to see the value of images on social media when you look at the statistics:

  • 80% of online visitors watch videos while only 20% take the time to read content…
  • Between 65% and 85% of people describe themselves as ‘visual learners’ meaning that they organize thoughts and generate meanings based on visual stimulus…
  • 93% of the most engaging posts on social media are photos…

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In the article Compelling Power of Visuals in Social Media by cpcmmunications writes: Images are attention grabbing pieces of ‘snackable’ content which users can understand and engage with easier… Images used in social media are more likely to evoke emotional reactions in viewers and can portray information more efficiently than text

As people are becoming overwhelmed with content, business must change their social media strategy to engage with users in a more inventive, exciting way… Using images allows users to inspect the product/service/cause… and that helps them decide (better than text) whether to buy it or not… But it’s important to be original and make content as interesting, brief, relevant, focus on the target audience…

Humans are visual thinkers… Tapping into this innate ability is essential, especially in a society where people are bombarded by information they don’t have time to read… Hence add personality to content, people are more likely to engage with business that feels like a friend, particularly on social media…

Images tell a better business story… share the message, show-off products, show-off workplace culture, show-off fans, show-off events. Don’t just stop at one image– create series of images, put images into content calendar… post high quality interesting images… Better yet, use videos when appropriate– videos are great for unique storytelling opportunities…

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Power of images: you see them everywhere; billboards, magazines, bus placards… they come by mail, newspapers, magazines… in stadiums, entertainment venues… Many are compelling to watch, some are seductive, others are entertaining… they revolutionize social media content … According to Sarah Lawrence; brands that use visuals have greater and more intimate engagement… visuals tell stories quicker with greater emotions and connection…

According to James Balm; images grab attention, images explain  difficult concepts, and inspires… Powerful visuals, whether they are– images, photos, videos… is all about telling stories, creating a closer connection to audiences… making it easier and more effective to  embrace cultural relevance… Visuals is a storytelling tool; powerful visuals that elicit emotional reaction delivery deep personal and intimate engagement…