Monthly Archives: November 2014

Visual Storytelling: Tips

 

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This is the last of the series of blog posts discussing the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How To Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.  This features their smart tips for social media photography.

Social media photography tips:

  • Up your resolution to the highest resolution possible
  • Collages need to be of similar resolution
  • Divide your images into thirds either horizontally or vertically
  • Align your image slightly off center to make it more engaging
  • Variety matters, use a range of angles and setups
  • Take more pictures than you think you need
  • Frame your shot with less cluttered backgrounds
  • Use close-cropped images
  • Work the angles
  • Shine bright with lighting and filters
  • Show don’t sell
  • Celebrate occasions
  • Share great quotes
  • Include photos related to your company’s lifestyle
  • Inspire through the use of images by showcasing your company’s lifestyle, values, and opinions
  • Show how your products and services contribute to the greater good
  • Encourage emotion by featuring a sentimental side when appropriate
  • Propel action into a still image
  • Sprinkle in humor and have a little fun
  • Embrace creativity
  • Not all pictures have to have only one item
  • Go behind the scenes to make your customers feel like part of your brand

This is the conclusion to the blog series about the book The Power of Visual Storytelling.  I highly recommend this book.  I literally took twenty pages of handwritten notes from information in this book!  A special thank you to the authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of their book.  I am not being compensated for this review, I just really think this book is great any business looking to grow their online marketing.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Responses

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Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online.  Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual content solutions all around us.  Some strategies include:

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Shaping

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According to the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, companies need to shape their visual story.  Each piece of content needs to have a clear theme and point of view as well as a take away message for the reader.

Content needs to be aligned with who you are as a company: voice, personality, and values. Once woven together, these themes shape your story.  It is important to list your goals and determine how visual content can help achieve them.  Ask yourself, if your company were a person, what would it look like in real life?

Embrace social media’s more personable, human side.  Look for the most commonly discussed conversation themes from your online consumers.  Shape your story and identify major themes to craft your visual content mix.  Look at your goals, company voice, and customer feedback by social media platform.

Determine Your Visual Content Mix:

  • The magic is in the mix to keep storytelling fresh
  • It allows you to deliver more personalized content to target audiences across different platforms
  • Evaluate your desired frequency per platform for posts, tweets, pins, etc.
  • Have a formula and clear plan of what steps you will take
  • Frequency varies by company and by social media channel
  • Quality content always trumps quantity and volume
  • Content must be interesting, important, and relevant to your audience
  • The usual shelf life of a tweet is considered an hour at most
  • The shelf life of a Facebook post is around 24 hours
  • Prioritize by social media platform the most important content themes that go into crafting your visual story
  • The mix needs to balance what is important from an ongoing visual storytelling perspective with goals, current events, questions, and general conversation from your customers
  • Content goals will likely change each month depending upon how much news your company has or tweets your making in response to fan engagement
  • Content should aim to be mostly upbeat, fun, motivating, and engaging
  • Outlining content themes makes it easy to identify what messages will be best conveyed as photos, videos, infographics, presentations, etc.

Authors Walter and Gioglio remind us to be listening and responding to what is being said about our company as well as learning the most commonly asked questions.  When we know that, companies can better respond to their own target audience.  This means setting goals and developing a strategy.  Our content will adjust in response to real time as we get live social media feedback.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Google Plus

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The world’s biggest search engine, Google, started their own social media network called Google Plus in November of 2011.  This blog post is part of a series of blog posts discussing sections of the book, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.

Google Plus Statistics:

  • With an open interface and community features, there are 250 million Google Plus accounts and 150 million active users across the globe.
  • 42% of Google Plus users are young adults, mostly 18 to 24.  Thus, Google Plus has many young, tech-savvy users.
  • People in the United States, India, and Brazil are the most active on Google Plus.
  • There is a stronger male audience with traditionally male brands doing well.
  • Video is the second most posted content on Google Plus.

Google Plus Features:

  • Users can separate connections by industry or interest with tags
  • People can share new and updates with your specific relevant audience (versus all of your connections)
  • Google’s +1 feature gives users a way of showing agreement or interest in content
  • Information shared on Google Plus is prioritized in online searches
  • Google Hangouts are private live video chats with a select group of people
  • Recorded Hangouts are automatically posted to YouTube (an even wider audience)
  • Manage Google Calendars and keep updated with current events
  • Google Plus supports long posts which you can combine with shorter, snappier posts with photos and videos
  • Ripples show how a post interacted with other Google Plus users

Google Plus Strategies:

  • Huge potential for brands looking to engage and connect with their audience
  • Brands can engage very differently with colleagues and customers
  • Tell a story through the images you share
  • Follow people whose posts and images you can share to inspire others
  • Host Hangouts and share them on YouTube to get traffic between the two sites
  • Tell stories by sharing videos of behind the scenes activity at your company
  • Tell customer stories and have them share their own company testimonials
  • Add great captions to make the images stand out on their own
  • Regularly point back to your website to show customers where they can learn more
  • Share different content with different circles of people
  • Have an active profile to boost you up in Google’s search engine by keeping content fresh and posting regularly
  • Label circles meaningfully to specifically target each group
  • Use the Events feature to promote future launches, conferences, meetings, presentations, awards, and more
  • Send out invitations that then sync with Google Calendars
  • Use the Ripples feature to find out more about how your posts have been shared
  • Use relevant keywords and links to your About page to help drive search engine optimization
  • Since Google Plus has a powerful search facility, add the +1 feature to your company’s web pages

Knowing all this about Google Plus means that it is very smart for companies to have an active social media presence on Google Plus.  Google tends to favor content shared on their own social network.  Feel free to share what you like about Google Plus in the comments below as well as what kind of results your business is getting from your Google Plus efforts.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Vine

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Vine is an app that lets you post short, up to six-second long video footage loops. These clips can be embedded in Twitter and Facebook posts.  Nearly all mobile users. This launched the short-form video craze.

People can like, comment on, and share your footage with other image sharing networks.  Early adopters, millennials, teens, and hardcore content creators are taking advantage of this social media platform.  Videos are driven by influential people.

Founded in June of 2012, it was acquired by microblogging website Twitter in October of 2012, just prior to its official launch in January of 2013.

Vine Statistics:

A mass audience of 40 million people on Vine

Branded content accounts for 4% of the top 100 tracked Vines

Branded Vines are 4 times more likely to be shared than branded online videos

5 Vine tweets are sent every second

Most Vine activity occurs between 10 and 11 am EST

More Vine tweets occur during the weekend than all of the weekdays combined

Vine New Feature:

In July 2014, Vine updated their app with a new “loop count” meaning every time someone watches a vine, a number on top of the video will appear showing how many times it was viewed. The “loop count” also includes views from vines that are embedded on to other websites.

Vine Strategies:

Vine is perfect for creating a short product showcase ahead of launch

Only have 6 seconds to convey your brand message

Have fun with your ideas

Run a contest and ask users to post their own video responses with a specific hashtag (#)

Tag your clips to ensure they are found by people who aren’t following you directly

Keep it simple, not too detailed or overly complicated

Do not rush your footage just to fit the time frame

Eliminate background noise if possible

Vine is an effective social media channel that companies can use to encourage innovative, imaginative responses in 6-second constraints.  If your company is not currently using Vine, this may be a social media platform to consider adding to promote your business.

The practical information about Vine came from the recommended bestselling book by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio titled, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Tumblr

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We have been promoting the book The Power of Social Media: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. This particular blog post will give a sneak peak into the authors comments about Tumblr.

For those not familiar with it, Tumblr is a social media channel that allows users to quickly reblog posts (texts, images, links, quotes, music, or videos) by others. Recently, Yahoo! purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is for quick visual inspiration and consumer lust. Users can only add comments if they reblog your post.

Tumblr Statistics:

  • 50% of posts on Tumblr are photos
  • Total unique worldwide visitors are more than 117 million
  • 52% of Tumblr visitors are male
  • 46.5% of Tumblr visitors are 18-34 years old
  • 35.2% of Tumblr visitors have a household income of greater than $100,000 per year
  • The average users spends 1 hr. 38 min. of time each month on the website doing nothing, but consuming content
  • The average Tumbler visit lasts 34 minutes

Tumblr Strategies:

  • Follow other Tumblr users and reblog relevant content
  • Post, promote, and participate in the Tumblr community
  • Let pictures tell the story on your Tumblr account, with text being secondary
  • The best time to post is between 7-10 pm EST on Monday through Thursday and anytime on Sunday
  • Use relevant tags so that your images show up in searches
  • Reblog plenty of content from other users
  • Keep a focus on your goals and repost only what is relevant to your message
  • Have a strategy and calendar to keep a steady stream of quality content
  • Keep a good mix of product info, lifestyle posts, and other content to not appear overly commercial
  • Combine visual, text, quotes, audio, and video in your feed
  • Stay consistent with tags and use a handful of “official” tags
  • Keep content fresh and post often
  • View analytics to see what sort of posts drive the most traffic, but still post a variety
  • Spend some time getting to know that platform and the kinds of content that people post

A Tumblr blog can be incorporated directly into a corporate website, which is great for search engine ranking. Businesses can use Tumblr as an overview of what is on their website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Instagram

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Instagram is a mobile-based app owned by Facebook. This is an app for the click-and-share generation.  The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Video, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio provide useful statistics and suggest helpful strategies for companies to make the most of using Instagram.

Instagram Statistics:

  • 130 million active users every month
  • 70% of which are female
  • Users post 40 million photos per day
  • 8,500 likes per second
  • In 2012, Instagram users liked 78 million photos
  • 1,000 comments per second
  • More than 5 million photos uploaded to Instagram every day
  • Recording time is 15 seconds vs. competitor Vine’s 6 second clips
  • 67% of the top brands are now using Instagram
  • Luxury brands have the highest number of followers

Instagram Strategies:

  • Since Instagram has great photo filtering capacity, use filters creatively
  • Build a community by putting your official hashtag (#) in your banner heading so fans know how to tag you
  • Show behind-the-scenes photos
  • Use Instagram’s built-in statistics
  • Brands should be original, artistic, and community building
  • Post regularly about current events, holidays, and seasons
  • Use specific hashtags (#) for promotions or campaigns
  • Pick hashtags (#) that don’t have double meanings or could be read differently
  • Don’t use too many hashtags, need a central focus to your brand’s message
  • Join in the discussion if people are posting comments
  • Ask customers to upload their own photos and videos
  • Since 70% of users are female and women are responsible for the majority of household spending, companies can use this knowledge to share what attracts most female buyers

Using Instagram is a great way for businesses to let their target market(s) get to know what they are all about. It is essential that companies identify their brand’s central message in order to make the most out of knowing what photos and videos to share as well as which hashtags (including customized ones) to add to the posts. Smart businesses join in the conversation in response to when people post comments.  Instagram is a great social media platform for companies to use in order to promote their products and services.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Psychology

Visual Storytelling: Twitter

visual-storytelling-Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How To Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina) and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Facebook

Product DetailsWe have been taking an in-depth look at the incredibly informative book called, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand. The Power of Visual Storytelling is written by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. They devote a whole section of their book to informing the reader about Facebook statistics and giving profitable strategies for businesses using Facebook.

With over 1 billion active users, Facebook allowed brands and organizations to set up public pages in 2007.  Text, image, and video posts can all be seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly design.  Businesses can encourage comments, likes, and shares from their followers.

Facebook Statistics:

  • Half of Facebook fans prefer the brand pages to company websites
  • Posts between 100-250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments, & shares
  • Post at least one to two times per week to stay top-of-mind and relevant
  • Pictures receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than text-based posts.
  • 200 million photos get uploaded to Facebook on an average day
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages
  • Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online
  • Facebook accounts for 3 of every 4 minutes on social networking websites
  • U.S. desktop users spend an average of about six hours every month on Facebook
  • U.S. mobile users spend an average of eleven hours every month on Facebook
  • 2.5 billion content shares a day on Facebook
  • 2.7 billion likes a day on Facebook
  • 15 million brand pages on Facebook

Facebook Strategies:

  • Create photos specifically to generate conversations
  • Ask fans to upload their own videos
  • Create campaigns specifically for Facebook fans
  • Photos and videos work really well
  • Great creative with your header photo by choosing something eye-catching and inspiring
  • Change the header photo now and then to keep it fresh
  • Offer creative visual contests to engage your fans in a sustainable way
  • Ask questions to spark engagement
  • Improve customer service by talking to fans, encouraging feedback, and sharing images
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Followers relate more to brands
  • Fans feel like they are an active part of the product experience than a passive consumer

The authors recommend that businesses use Facebook in order to attract fans, build brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty.  The key is engaging in conversations with fans, sharing useful content, and posting pictures and videos (from the brand itself as well as from the fans). Facebook is a valuable social media platform with which businesses can tell their story and interact with their fans.

Visual storytelling can take place on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare, and Google Plus.  We will look at more social media platforms as the Visual Storytelling series continues.

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