Harnessing the Power of Imagery on Social Media

Harnessing the power of social media

Imagery has always been an essential part of traditional marketing. The right image can relay a powerful message, enforce brand identity, and remain with the viewer long after being seen. It can be the difference between a hugely successful campaign, and one which has very little impact. Well, the same rings true of online content – particularly when it comes to social media.

People remember 80% of what they see or do, versus 20% of what they read. –  Jeff Bullas, Content Marketing Expert

Take Facebook, for example: Facebook users upload over 350 million photos every day, and posts which include photos can get 84% more click-throughs and 53% more likes than those which are purely text based. That’s a lot of visual content to be competing with as a brand, which makes choosing the right imagery for your posts and campaigns all the more important.

An example of how street style photography can be used to create engaging, editorial-style content in your Styla magazine

An example of how street style photography can be used to create engaging, editorial-style content in your Styla magazine

Bringing Storytelling & Imagery Together

The Styla content team recently composed a case study based on their ongoing collaboration with high-end women’s e-tailer Graziashop, and the findings reveal that utilising storytelling on Facebook can drive 108x more traffic to your website. But, to tell a captivating story which converts readers to customers, imagery is key. It’s not enough to simply share links to products, or descriptions of sale items on Facebook. With fast paced, trend-oriented content becoming the norm, brands now need access to a pool of images that appeal to their target audience and help to establish a clear brand identity on social media.

The problem is, these images aren’t always readily available. A lack of resources, the huge grey area that is copyright infringement and image rights, as well as the high price of most image packages on offer, tends to turn the whole process into a bit of a nightmare. If this sounds familiar, it’s best to simplify your options in order to find the best approach for you.

How to Source Images for Your Brand

There are three main routes you can go down when choosing and sourcing images for your Facebook posts:

  1. Stock images,
  2. User generated content (UGC), and
  3. Street style imagery.

Stock Images

Those who have used stock images in the past will know all too well how hit and miss the available selection is. Stock images are appealing because they are free, but don’t fall into the trap of convincing yourself that any old image will work. Of course, there are stock images which will actually fit your brand and illustrate the story you want to tell, but if you’re posting on social media regularly (which you should be), you’ll find you exhaust the selection of suitable images pretty quickly! That said, Shutterstock, EyeEm and Pixabay are all good examples of stock image sites which provide higher-quality photos that you can use free of charge.

A selection of carefully sourced stock imagery for the Braun Hamburg Facebook page. Posts translated from German.

A selection of carefully sourced stock imagery for the Braun Hamburg Facebook page.
Posts translated from German.

The images in the above Facebook posts were carefully curated by Styla’s content team for a key client, Braun Hamburg: one of Germany’s most well-established and prestigious men’s fashion retailers. Using only stock images, Styla was challenged to source high quality photography which reflected the classic and refined style of the client.

UGC

UGC is a popular choice for many brands active on Facebook and other social media channels these days, and it’s easy to see the appeal. By harnessing the support and engagement of followers, brands can create a community around their products. These fans are real people sharing honest experiences, so it follows that the content they produce is emotive, authentic and reliable. With this, they have the power to influence others to become fans, and later consumers, of the brand in question.

A selection of UGC from the Valmano Instagram

A selection of UGC from the Valmano Instagram

However, when you’re relying on the goodwill of your followers and customers to provide you with images, how demanding can you be? Maybe you’re just starting out and are limited in what you can offer in return, which makes establishing an online community of contributors more of a challenge than expected. If you’re a well-established brand, you’ll want to consider whether the images users are producing are in line with your branding and overall strategy – an issue which shouldn’t, and can’t, be ignored.

Street Style Images

Street style imagery, which is essentially photography capturing fashionable people out and about, manages to be both relatable and aspirational. Relatable because it conveys trends, styles and products in a real-life context, and aspirational because it looks professional and is editorial-friendly.  Although street style imagery may not have the same ‘gravitas’ of UGC, it maintains a sense of authenticity and relatability – after all, those featured in the photographs aren’t brand ambassadors or salespeople, they just know how to dress well! This is why street style imagery is a popular choice for successful e-commerce platforms such as asos, boohoo and Graziashop.

A selection of carefully curated street style posts for the Valmano Facebook page. Posts translated from German.

A selection of carefully curated street style posts for the Valmano Facebook page.
Posts translated from German.

It’s also worth considering that using street style instead of product focused images will render a greater return on click-throughs on social media. Thanks to a collaboration with fashion-forward photographers Stunning Streetstyle, Styla was able to source the perfect street style images for its client: jewellery and accessories e-tailer, Valmano. This resulted in a dramatic increase in click throughs on Facebook, highlighting just how important selecting the right images can be.

If you’re interested in building up your image library to enrich your online content, one option you could consider are the image packages offered by Styla. Styla has access to a large number of high quality street style and celebrity images that can be used both in your online magazine and on social media, allowing your content to reach its full potential in engaging users and driving traffic to your website.

Ultimately, the imagery you choose to represent your brand shouldn’t be an afterthought, whichever route you decide to go down. Choosing images which inspire and resonate with your audience is an essential part of a successful content strategy. So, what are you waiting for?

Written By

Caitlin Hughes ist Content-Strategin und Autorin bei Styla. Ihr Fokus liegt auf dem Entwickeln von Strategien, um User-Engagement durch Content zu verbessern und Social Media als Tool zu benutzen, um Webseiten Traffic und Brand Awareness zu verbessern.