We are all hugely aware that this is highly visual world. In business we are told we must show up and be visible on social media, frequently, in order to be seen. There’s plenty that will tell you that we should be doing this daily. For many the idea of uploading a photo every day for 365 days is pretty mind blowing. Even if you just do Monday-Friday that’s still well over 200 images you need to find.
You could just snap away and take any old picture, throw up a caption and leave it at that. However that’s far more damaging than not showing up regularly online! Your images need to be relevant. Everything needs to have a purpose on social media. To you, to your existing customers and to the customers you are trying to attract.
So how do you manage this need?
Where to even start on this?
Let me take you through a few really simple tips that will help ease your mind on this and give you the ability to do this yourself. Keeping a few basic reminders in your head will help you create a more cohesive look to your social media and the message you are trying to portray.
The ‘quick’ solution is to head onto the internet, search on a photography Stock website for generic images relating to whatever it is you do, purchase and go. You could do that but rarely will you find anything with a true connection to your own business. There won’t be any aspects that are unique to you, or show the people behind the brand, the face to the voice that’s often heard through words. You’ll lack originality.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Ask yourself why you want to be visual on social media. If you are a business wanting to gain sales from a product or a service then keep this in mind. If you are a blogger looking to collaborate with Brands then keep this in mind. Your visual plan should be an extension of your overall business plan, not a separate slightly detached forgotten part that’s done last minute.
- If you are a brand with a specific range of products you make I’m going to assume you want to show those products.
- If you are a business or blogger that provides a service I’m going to assume you’d probably want to show clients how what you do can have an impact on their lives.
DON’T VISUALLY BLURT
Don’t be tempted to use any image unless it’s really relevant AND very clear and compliments what you are doing. If you are Window Cleaner then showing a picture of a pig is a bit confusing*. Likewise if your business is making Preserves and Jams then maybe a picture of a muddy car just might not stop the thumb scroll. A ballet dancer looking to gain a prestigious position probably wouldn’t release images of her the morning after a night out with mates. She’s be showing lots of images of her dancing, or her ballet shoes, her costumes and her daily routines. She’s keeping the content relevant to what she does.
I also find it’s really great to do some self regulating just as you are about to post. As you hover on the publish button as yourself this:
- ‘If I was a customer looking for a specific product or a service and I came came across this image on social media or a website would I stop to find out more’. If the answer is no, then ditch the image.
- Also ask yourself why you want to post and does this image fit with my overall business strategy? If the answer is no, then ditch the image.
However brilliant the caption is, you have to get that thumb to stop scrolling in the first place.
Storytelling through images works wonders and creates relationships too, relationships you can go on to nurture. If you manufacture a product then you can show aspects of how you plan a product. The jottings of the design stage, maybe parts from the the prototype. You can show it in production with Bob on the lathe it goes through, or the finished piece being packaged up to ship out by Sue. Shots of your product on the retail shelves somewhere. Beyond that you get it shown in context, so let’s say you make a great horse shampoo you photograph it being used to bath the horse and how amazing the horse looks afterwards, maybe winning a prize at horse show too. Obviously your captions should compliment the images along the way and story tell further.
By using your product and not just a generic picture of another similar product starts to build a relationship with your customer. They potentially see it from light bulb moment to it’s final use because you have humanised the process for them in a relevant way. They want to be the lady holding the horse that’s won it’s rosette and so they associate your shampoo with that rosette – suddenly your storytelling creates an emotional connection and this is so critical.
If you are the blogger that wants to work with the Brand that makes the brilliant horse shampoo then you create great, clear and concise photos of it being used. Show the world how easy it is to use and the difference it makes to you.
By taking the time to create and use relevant visual content you vastly increase the chance of giving your customers an emotional connection to your product and building a relationship with them that then leads on to sales.
Plan ahead, work out what you want to share and weave in the reasons behind some of your decisions. There’s lots of great scheduling tools for social media platforms that give you the ability to see how your images look together too. Use them and keep an overall eye on how things are looking.
If your photography skills are lacking then do a bit of research. Most camera phones these days are incredibly intelligent gadgets. Play with the settings and learn how to use things like light or compositional skills such as the Rule of Thirds or Negative Space. Have a read of this blog I created that contains some simple tips for doing your own business photography.
You could also have a read of this article on how to do effective content batching as this will save you time and money! It’s a really simple way to create a huge library of your own images. Original images that can only be relevant to you and your business.
If you don’t have time, or the inclination to improve your own photography skills, then investing in a professional photographer is the logical step. Don’t be tempted to just call the first one you find in a list, or one who is a friend of the family. Find a photographer who takes the time to get under the skin of your brand, your ethos or your vision. It could be that ultimately they are still a friend of the family, but finding one who ‘gets’ you will make the process way easier, so try and speak to a few.
*Remember the pig at start of this blog? Show the pig if you own that pig and that pig shows up in your feed regularly as part of ‘your’ story. Maybe the Window Cleaning company was named after the pig… That’s relevant storytelling…