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



How to Reach Your Audience When Consumers are Revolting Against Traditional Marketing

 Monday, March 28, 2011
 
We could all learn from the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign there President Barack Obama faced Hilary Clinton and knew he could not compete with Hillary Clinton financially. Instead of the traditional telemarketing and direct mail campaigns or TV and radio advertising, he made new rules. President Obama had a team to help with blogging and he created profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

Another smart thing he did was hire co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes to be his internet strategist. This is how he won the Democratic presidential nomination without spending as much money as his opponent. 

At the time of the election, President Obama had five million fans on Facebook, which was over four million more than Hillary Clinton. On Twitter, he had well over 100,000 followers with his opponent having had about 5,000. On MySpace, the numbers ranged around 800,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 200,000. 

While I am not trying to turn this blog into a political preference, but am saying that we could all learn in our own businesses how to become successful marketers through this successful campaign strategy. 

All this was done just by following the principles of inbound marketing. If you are marketing your business the old-fashioned way, you’re using Outbound Marketing strategies and techniques. Outbound Marketing is the method of throwing your business into the public arena and hoping the “right people” see it and listen to it. Inbound marketing on the other hand is creating a message that only the right target audience would be interested in, and then helping them stumble upon it. 

If you are having trouble seeing and relating to the difference, consider this: 

Outbound marketing - A great example is the 2012 Lexus LFA commercial during the Super Bowl. They probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise during the Super Bowl when only a tiny fraction of that audience would qualify financially for their vehicles. 

Inbound marketing – The 2012 Lexus LFA could help people who have the income and desire for their vehicles by blogging, posting a video on YouTube and direct to their website through lead generation channels for qualified future customers. 

Both Consumers and Existing Customers are Revolting against In-Your-Face Marketing. 

Did you wake up today and want to have someone just “drop in” your office while you are busy at work to sell to you? Many consumers are fed up with traditional marketing techniques and want to avoid so much interruption throughout the day. They have turned their collective backs on traditional advertising and are looking to friends and family members for advice instead. Consumers know any ad they see is just a sales pitch and probably don’t even need whatever is being advertised. 

However, when they do need a product and/or service, they know their friends and families can help provide them with unbiased testimonials about the products and/or services they like. Tapping into those conversations is one of the new rules of marketing for businesses today. 

With all the spam-blockers for emails, TiVo and Mute buttons, getting found doesn’t mean spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a prime-time commercial that many viewers will mute or fast forward to avoid. Just like putting on an online banner ad for a product that is targeted for an audience of 40+ will not work if put in front of a 21 year old. 

Getting found online means writing extensively how your solution to someone else’s problem will work for that target audience. Write to help people with a problem find your online documents. When moving from outbound to inbound marketing, you need to stop interrupting people within your target market and instead “get found” by them. 

Market in a Way that People Search for Information. 

Do your due diligence research and read and really listen to the way others are shopping for similar products. According to Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, authors of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, “To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your products learn about and shop for your products.” Interruption based marketing is coming to an end due to people becoming much more efficient at blocking out traditional methods of marketing and they are becoming equally efficient at finding trusted information online. 

You no longer need to spend a lot of money interrupting potential customers and instead you need to create remarkable content, optimize the content, publish the content, market that content, and measure what is working and what is not working. Becoming a savvy inbound marketer is half traditional marketer and half content creation marketer. 

According to Halligan and Shah, “On average, inbound marketing leads are 61 percent less expensive than Outbound Marketing leads.” So take a tip from the Democratic election campaign of Barack Obama and cut your marketing bill in half and start a conversation with your customers!




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