Did I grab your attention with this image? That was the whole point! We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and images are 30 times more likely to be shared online. Small business owners then must use visuals effectively to catch the attention of their target audience.
I’ve written before about The Use of Images on the Internet, however, this post is about using images and graphics to their best advantage online. Visual marketing could also include video, but today we are going to concentrate on how to use static images online to increase sales and awareness for your small business.
#1 Quote Images
Whatever it is about quotes, people love them and they seem to get good engagement on Social Media. We always had quotes on desk calendars; perhaps quotes in Social Media newsfeeds is the new way of consuming these. It’s a great idea if you can gather up quotes about your sector so that these will resonate more with your audience. However, people will love any quote if they are presented in a visually pleasing way, whether they be inspirational, motivational or just plain funny.
Have a look below at how Murphy’s Guesthouse, Killarney recently used this quote on their Facebook page. The quote is ideal for the tourism sector, with the lovely backdrop of the Lakes of Killarney to further reinforce the message. Additionally, they branded the post and included a hashtag they are currently promoting. Very effective.
travel quote for the tourism sector
If you’re looking for great quotes to use, I recommend Pinterest. You can’t fail to find something appropriate there. Once you’ve found the quote, create your own graphic on a tool like Canva to share online. You will be able to share this online again and again (not too often though). For the image above, I’d say you’d be safe enough to use it once a year, as you’ll have new fans and anyway, people forget, or else they won’t have seen it first time around.
#2 Product Images
If you have an online shop, these will be critical for you. Even if you are just displaying your products online on a brochure site, without the ‘click to buy’ functionality, your images are still very important. Ensure that the lighting is very good and that you display your product from a variety of angles. Also, think about different versions of a product, such as in the case of shoes, the same shoe in blue, pink, red and black.
In the case below of Loominations Throw Blankets, the product is displayed first in a very ‘zoomed in’ mode to allow us to see the detail. We are also given a number of thumbnail images, which we can click on to get at real impression of what the blanket is like. We can help but want one!
Ring of Kerry throw close-up
Ring of Kerry throw – thumbnail images
Images of products on your social networks need not be as ‘professional’, though they can be. People understand that you’re taking the photo at a trade fair or as you take it out of the box just after delivery. They appreciate the fact that you’ve probably just snapped it on your smartphone to share it online. I would be reluctant however to use these types of shots on your website.
#3 Social Media Headers
Your Facebook covers and Twitter headers are one of the best pieces of real estate you have online. Imagine that you were buying a print ad in a magazine or newspaper in full colour for your business the size of the Facebook cover image. It would cost you a pretty penny. However, I visit Facebook pages and Twitter accounts every other week, who either have no cover image or one that’s way outdated. You have a massive opportunity here to give a strong visual message to your customers with either a simple photo, or a photo overlaid with text or a good graphic. There was a time when Facebook had restrictions on the amount of text you could have here; that is no longer the case.
Have a look at this Facebook cover where Koemba Parenting (Cork) uses this piece of ‘real estate’ effectively to promote their online parenting course, even giving the price. They cleverly show a Mum viewing the course relaxed on the couch in her own home, while reinforcing one of their key brand colours in the image.
Koemaba Facebook cover
#4 Graphs, Charts & Infographics
This method of communication is probably best suited to the B2B sector, but maybe you’ll find a way to use it also if you’re a B2C business. How about this infographic 7 Alternative, Easy Ways To Tie A Tie That You Need To Learn? A menswear shop could use this in their online marketing.
7 Alternative, Easy Ways To Tie A Tie That You Need To Learn – Infographic
Infographics are easy to produce now with the online design tools that are available to us. You do however need two things to be able to produce them: the information to put into them and the time to create them. You can however share infographics, charts and graphs produced by others in your own social media.
#5 Blog Images
Blog images are very important if you write content for yourThere’s a trend towards visual marketing online as all industries are shifting to a ‘visual first’ approach. But is your small business doing this effectively? business online, as these images are the ones that travel with your articles and represent them visually. They’re a big part of what will entice a reader to click to read your article.
Size matters with these, and more especially, aspect ratio. So, for example, this image was created to the dimensions that will suit pinning onto Pinterest, whereas the image at the top will suit Facebook and Twitter better.
I have found out that it’s best to create two visuals to go with every article I write, so that they will look well when shared across all social networks. I’ve set the ‘featured image’ as the one at the top, so this will appear when it’s shared on Facebook or Twitter. When it’s shared on Pinterest, pinners will be given a choice of images from the page which they can pin. Experienced pinners will know that this is the one to pin.
#6 Food & Drink
If your business is a restaurant, coffee shop, butchers or bakery, you’ll already know that how you present food offline will have a strong bearing on whether customers will buy or not. Any chef will tell you that the presentation of the food on the plate is critical, because we ‘eat with our eyes’. It’s no different online. excellent food poto on FacebookStrong images of food and drink will have your customers and prospects salivating on your Social networks, so much so, that they’ll pop in soon and pick up some of that product. One such restaurant that does an outstanding job on Facebook is Bread Street Kitchen in London. Just look at this! Their Facebook page is a delight to the senses; well worth a visit just to see their cover image. I like the way they include images of people with the food in some of their posts. It makes it feel more human. I’d love to give an Irish example here (preferably Cork or Kerry), so do let me know of any businesses that do this well in the comments below.
We all like to see a good sunset, evening light over the mountain or a stunning seascape. This type of imagery will be especially useful if you’re in the tourism sector. Use your smartphone to snap local beauty spots for sharing online. This counrty is dotted with heaps of opportunities for strong images you can use to tantilise your audience online. In the first example above, Murphy’s Guesthouse has used a combination if the local scenery and a travel quote, which is just perfect for their audience.
#8 Behind the scenes
People love to get a peek behind the scenes of your business and feel special if they have ‘inside knowledge’. Social Media posts that give people a glimpse of what they can’t see if they visit your place of business, might seem mundane to you but will be very interesting to your customers!
I recently posted this image on Facebook.professional certs I said that these certs had just arrived in my office and I complimented the PhotoShop in Kanturk for the great work they had done on framing and mounting them. The post got more engagement than any post on the page for weeks. In fact, the organic reach on it was seven times the size of the page! That’s because it was liked, commented on and shared so much.
#9 Social Media posts
Your Social Media post are what keep you in touch with your customers on a daily and weekly basis. It’s likely that even if you have a website, they have no need to go to it regularly. After all, they know about your business! Your Social Media posts therefore are really important to get right. Posting quality imagery will hopefully grab the attention of your customers in a very busy newsfeed. Brand all your posts going out as I’ve done above (you can set up a template on Canva), so that your posts become recognisable to your customers. This will have the added benefit of increasing brand awareness. If a post is liked or commented on, or even shared, it appears in the newsfeed of people outside your network, who will not see the profile image. Having your logo there will be of immense help. Keep the number of fonts to a minimum on your design and use your brand colours where possible.
There’s a real trend towards visual marketing online as all industries are shifting to a ‘visual first’ approach. Take time to review your visuals. Consider if you are producing nice clean graphics or are they cluttered and untidy? Are your visuals getting engagement in the newsfeed? Do you have high quality images on your website and other third party sites?
Please do feel free to get in touch if you feel your business could benefit from some help in this area.