In the last 10 years social media has grown quickly and steadily, becoming a permanent fixture in most if not all areas of our lives. The advancement of technology has especially heavily impacted how we do business, with manual processes like logistics management being transferred to digital processes, greater flexibility for working parents undertaking their work loads through working-from-home, and consumer decision-making behaviour shifting from in-store to online research and experiences. Social media in particular has become a major player in the business marketplace, creating a platform for greater brand-to-audience communication.
A greater number of consumers are turning to social media to connect with brands, using the different platforms for all stages of consumer behaviour processes, from product research to purchase. This can pose some disadvantages as consumers don’t have the physical experience of a product or service environment before purchasing it; therefore brands must be engaging with their audience effectively, communicating through social media who they are, what their values are, and the different benefits of their product or service.
While written posts are important and can be effective for audience engagement, visual content has proven to be the cornerstone of your online presence. According to Hubspot, it is shared up to 40 times more than other kinds of content, and with DreamGrow reporting that Instagram rates of engagement significantly higher than other social media platforms, it is vital for businesses to develop and post good visual content.
So as a brand, what is the most strategic content to post to develop maximum audience engagement and positive experience?
Lifestyle images are images which showcase how your brand fits into your audience’s world. They are excellent for cultivating a sense of desire in your audience. While you can post lifestyle images featuring your product or service provides your audience with the sensation of what it would be like to own your product or engage your services as they see your brand in action. Lifestyle images are also a simple way to provide your audience with educational information (more on that below).
Behind the Scene Posts
Connection is cultivated through inclusion- by behind-the-scenes photos such as shots of staff meetings, your office, factory or warehouse, perhaps even a snap of your creative corner, your audience can feel like they have been given a personal tour of your brand, becoming part of your brand’s team. They are now not only involved in the end product, but in its process as well. One brand who does ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ well is natural cosmetics brand Woohoo Body, posting regularly of their warehouse and employees.
Event Video by Vision Media Studio
These are images which are signature to your brand. They could be inspirational quotes, photos set up with the same composition, or images containing similar colours or tones. They should visually tell the story of your brand, weaving together your brand’s values and message through identifiable imagery. These posts will become recognisable as your brand, instantly drawing attention to your post as your audience scrolls through their social media feed. This consistency will develop connection with your audience as they begin to recognise, and even anticipate, the next message you are bringing. Brand images can be quote graphics sharing brand news, tips specific to your product or service, an inspirational quote or are fantastic to announce a link to your latest blog.
Videos are a valuable commodity for the online business as video content continues to rise rapidly in social media engagement. WordStream have found that 64% of consumers make a purchase due to watching a video from a brand, and 87% of marketers are using videos in their strategies as they recognise the importance of video for their business. Videos engage the viewer through image, sound and the written word, communicating a high amount of information in a short amount of time. Ensure your video is of high picture and sound quality when produced and uploaded, otherwise your audience may not continue watching or they may become confused or uncertain of the details of your product or service. Also be aware that a large number of videos are viewed without sound, so your message must be conveyed with and without sound.
User generated posts are a great way to cultivate already existing audience relationship, and are also a great to use as testimonials. This kind of content shows customers who are still in the decision-making stages of brand relationship how your brand has been experienced with other people like them. It also showcases your product or service, bringing positive feedback to your brand’s social media platform without your audience having to search for reviews. Using influencer images can be used effectively for click throughs as a user generated post, however the everyday images from everyday people will create a greater sense of connection- just ensure they compliment your feed!
Educational content provides both instructional information on your product or service, or research-backed information on your brand. It could be about your products or services specifically, or your industry at large. Don’t let the word ‘educational’ fool you- these don’t have to be boring! Educational content can be shared through instructional videos teaching your audience about your product, lifestyle images showing the different ways your product can be used, an infographic showing the benefits of your brand, or a quote graphic with a tip.
People like to see who the person is behind the brand. Especially for small businesses, this humanises your brand and allows your audience to connect on a human level. For larger businesses, this can avoid the brand becoming a faceless company. These are different to behind-the-scene posts as it goes beyond how the brand functions. Again, the message you want to convey could be through a lifestyle image of you using the product or service yourself, a video sharing an update on the business, or a behind-the-scene style shot of your daily activity.