Matt Handy leads the social-local-mobile practice at Brand Networks, a leading Facebook Preferred Developer and Ads API Vendor. Brand Networks engineers social, local and mobile experiences to amplify stories for the world’s most liked companies including AMEX, JetBlue, Diageo and Starbucks.
While Facebook marketing strategies shift with every new iteration and development from the network, one thing remains the same: The stories that jump out from our Timelines and News Feeds are told with photos.
If you doubt the relative importance of photos, take note of the only permanently anchored module on the new Timeline pages. This is clearly a strategic decision in light of our increasingly visually-oriented consumer culture. The role photos play in creating engaging content cannot be understated:
- Posts that include a photo album or a picture generate about 180% and 120% more engagement than the average post respectively, according to Facebook’s internal data.
- More than 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook each day.
- Pinterest, the virtual pinboard for photos, has seen exponential growth thanks largely to its deep integration with the Facebook Platform. This integration was one of the first and most important “design” decisions for the startup.
To ensure a brand is breaking through in this visual storytelling ecosystem, marketers need to look beyond attaching a generic image to a status update and think about specific business goals. Here are some ways brands can become better Facebook storytellers through attention-grabbing visuals.
Showcase Your Fans With Products
Verizon Wireless has pulled off a storytelling trifecta that combines photos, fans and product into a powerful brand story. The company featured fan-submitted images to adorn its cover photo, tagged with the fans’ profiles, and of course, the Verizon Wireless device used to capture it. The result is an authentic cover photo that gives fans a reward, all while showcasing products in a positive light.
Turn Real-World Interactions Into Shareable Visual Stories
Events, sponsorships and retail promotions are valuable opportunities to turn your customers into brand storytellers via photos. Brands such as Johnnie Walker, REI and JetBlue have utilized photo apps to turn their events into visual marketing extravaganzas. For example, when JetBlue wanted to promote its new route from Hollywood, CA to Hollywood, FL, the company took to its terminals with a socially-connected photo solution, converting hundreds of in-person connections into hundreds of thousands of stories created and shared in one day.
As Stories Become Ads, Images Are Big Business
Some of Facebook’s newest ad offerings — Sponsored Stories, Featured Stories and Reach Generator — all have one thing in common: They amplify stories. This blending of content, analytics and media planning is highly disruptive throughout the marketing services industry. The days of a content manager planning updates, creative folks tuning copy and images, and media planners buying ads are over. We’ve collapsed these roles into one: the story planner. And can you guess the most important weapons in his arsenal? Compelling visuals, images, graphics and photos, of course.
How do you use images to tell a compelling brand story on Facebook? Share your strategies in the comments.