Using Enhanced Images to Engage Your Followers

 Monday, August 01, 2011
 

How Will Images Help You Engage Your Followers?

Do you remember when you were a kid and all of your favorite books had pictures in them?  Someone else read to you and you looked at the pictures.  Magazines, catalogues, newspapers, and all other forms of written material were never attractive to you unless there were pictures.  I even remember always begging my mother to let me look at the pictures while I was being read to, but I always had to wait until the end of the page when she turned the book around to show me.

The concept is essentially the same.  Things are a lot more fun to read when you have something visual, tangible, to go along with it.  Think about it.  Even now, would you rather read some report that was long and tedious and had nothing but text or an equally long article with color and visuals popping out at you?  

Images are everywhere and can be used all over the place - on your website and social media pages (could you imagine those without pictures? Boring!), and even your blogs.  In an article I found online, Why Images are Vital to Modern Blogs,” by Adam Singer, he drives home the importance of including images in your blogs to keep your readers interested…is it working?


Enhancing Effects

Effects are a great way of getting your pictures to really pop.  People are more likely to look at a picture with pizzazz than one that they could take just as well.  There are all sorts of programs and apps available to you if you choose this route.  And for all you Mac users out there, you may find photography apps online.  And remember: be creative!

iPhoneography

We have all had those moments while we were out and about and in a situation where we said, “I wish I had my camera!”  Well, for those who have an iPhone, not only does it allow you to never miss that Kodak moment, but there are apps you can download to really jazz up your photos—on the go, anytime, anywhere.  Iphoneography has become quite the big deal, from amateur photographers to professionals.  In the articleExplore the Art of iPhoneography: A Three Step Guide to Get You Started,” photographer Stephanie C. Roberts tells us how to get the most out of our iPhones from a photographer’s stance, and what apps to use to really make your photos unique. Just as a writer might jot spontaneous thoughts in a journal or an artist might draw loose marks in a sketchbook, making images with your iPhone can help you craft compositions in a more organic way, hone your instincts to anticipate magic moments, loosen up your traditional approach to photography and illuminate a path toward defining your unique vision.”
 

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic is one of those amazing iPhone apps that can really help you add life to your photographs.  Stephanie Roberts uses it herself saying, “Hipstamatic mimics the unique style of vintage prints characterized by vignettes, blurring, textured edges and oversaturated colors created with the original analog plastic camera. Using a square-format viewfinder, the app lets you switch ‘lenses,’ ‘flash’ and ‘film’ with the swipe of a finger. I often shoot with Hipstamatic because I like composing images in the square-format viewfinder and I like the creative constraint of choosing the ‘film’ and ‘lens’ before I shoot.”

If you are looking for more details on Hipstamatic and how you can use it, Rick Brooks from Flyte talks about it, and other fun apps, in this informative video.

Lights, Camera, Action!

And why stop with just pictures?  Think bigger and more engaging, and throw some short films into the mix!  You can put them on your site, social media pages, and blogs.  They can be anything from testimonials to creative short ads shot by you, or even your customers.  Animoto is a great tool that helps you take you stills, clips and music and make a little movie out of them.

Creating That Experience

In the end, it is all about the user’s experience on your site/blog/page, and images can help enhance that experience.  But you really must be creative with the images you use, whether you find them or create them/have someone create them for you.  They need to be aesthetically pleasing to stick out in the user’s memory, and thus have your page stick out as well.  Think of some of your favorite photographs.  What about them appeals to you? What exactly about that picture makes it better than the others? 

Color, contrast, unique lines, and captivating subjects are just some components of memorable and engaging images.  Connie Malamed writes about research on processing fluency, which “influences a viewer’s affective response to a work.”  In her post, How to Improve the Appeal of Your Graphicsshe talks about how processing fluency affects aesthetic experiences, and lists four features that help to promote the fluency (thus creating a more positive reaction for the viewer): “Symmetry (vertical symmetry in particular), High figure-ground contrast, Visual clarity, Less information rather than more”.

Now you know how to engage your followers with your images, how to use them, how to play with them, and how to make them more aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.  So I challenge you to take these tips and implement them. Also, let me know what you think.  Questions, comments, anything, just let me know!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



6 Strategies for Developing Your Social Media Tactical Plan

 Monday, September 27, 2010
 
People are chatting online about YOUR brand in social media channels and you should have a strategy to engage in these conversations. Ignoring the conversations – or delving in without a plan – is a missed opportunity.  You should engage in conversations and add value in conversations. I would also recommend creating and sharing your company’s social media policy publicly. Learn how to use social media to shift brand perceptions and increase online sales. Consider these strategies as you develop you own social media strategy. 

1.   Listen Before You Speak
Listening in social media channels and researching your market are well-known prerequisites to entering into social media marketing channels. However, you should keep your ears open.   Listening, more than you speak is a great way to hear what is really being said about your brand or product.

2.   Don’t Be Intrusive 
Knowing when to refrain from joining in on a conversation is just as important as knowing when to add input in a conversation.  When dealing with one-on-one conversations (a conversation between two people) - such as on Facebook- is not necessarily a good place to add your company’s point of view. Doing so would be intrusive and could upset the consumers chatting online. Places such as public forums and blog posts are much more appropriate to add your comments.   

Avoid pitching promotions in social media at random because barging in on conversations with offers does not fit with a strategy of listening and adding value and can be perceived as pushy and hard selling.

3.   When Joining in on Conversations – Add Value
Look for opportunities to add your input to relevant conversations online. It is relevant to discuss related topics to your brand, especially when participating in group discussions. When you find a group of people online discussing a related topic, add your point of view and share a link to your online resources.  People often compare products in blogs and forums, or discuss in social channels which product they should buy. In these cases, respond with third-party reviews and sample videos or photos about your products. The key is to provide information to help the consumer decide – not to barge in and offer a discount. 

If you hear complaints about your brand, respond with a link to potential solutions. For example, if you hear a person complaining about your product, try sending a link to the manual of that product along with customer service contact information.  Some of the most powerful words you can say in social media are “How can I answer your questions?”  or “How can I help you?”

When you hear misinformation being discussed online about your company brand or product, be quick to dispel myths. When you find this misinformation, respond as quickly as possible. Using tools such as Google alerts, Twitter alerts and many others available help you monitor real-time conversations for a quick response. 

4.   Put Real People Behind Your Brand 
Strike a balance between having social media participants speak about your brand and having them show their personality.  Establishing and showing real people behind your brand is important since no one really wants to talk to a logo icon. They want to speak with a real person.  Also, if someone is angry, they’re more likely to tone down their language when dealing with a real person versus an online presence. 

5.   Treat Business Customers and Consumers Differently 
Have a different message that goes out to your business customers that is different than the generic message that goes out to consumers. Interact differently with business customers. Strive to raise awareness and establish thought leadership by creating relevant content, such as blog posts, frequently asked questions or whitepapers that contribute to relevant conversations online.  Refer commentators to educational content, as it provides a deeper engagement in terms of the types of information you share.  Remember, it is not about a generic Facebook wall post that speaks to everyone in your community.

6.  Transparency is Paramount 
When engaging in social media; make it easy for others to identify who is speaking. This transparency establishes trust for people to know and like you on line.  Try creating a formal social media policy for all employees to follow if you have them speak on behalf of your company.  This takes transparency a step further by publicly releasing a social media tips book which contains your social media policy. Some of your guidelines may include  (1) uphold your company’s values;(2) be transparent and be yourself; (3) protect confidential information; (4) avoid unsubstantiated product claims; (5) be aware that linking to another site may imply endorsement of its content.  Publishing this information shows consumers that you have nothing to hide in the social media space. 

EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




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