How many times have you browsed a blog or website only to see photos that barely match the site’s content? We’d wager quite a few times. The internet is full of dead-end visual content, or graphics and images that don’t fit any particular brand identity.
This visual marketing slip isn’t ideal for anyone, but it’s far too common with businesses — especially ones that favor stock photos over authentic visuals. And because these unrelated visuals just aren’t compelling to your target audience, readership and traffic dips. The key to grabbing a reader or potential customer’s attention (and keeping it on you, of course) is a good dose of compelling visual marketing.
But why is this so crucial? For one, visual content is much easier for us to decipher. In 2014, a team of MIT researchers discovered that it takes a mere 13 milliseconds for the human brain to decode an image. Just for reference, it takes around 300 to 400 milliseconds just to blink.
Our brains are also wired for sight. While a third of our brain is dedicated to processing visual information, hearing and touch take up 3 and 8 percent, respectively. The real kicker is that two-thirds of the human brain’s electrical activity is related to vision when our eyes are open.
Put simply, words might convey ideas in a clearer way, but your hard work means almost nothing without relevant visual content to accompany it. It’s truly a package deal. Here’s how to find and license the best photos for your visual marketing campaigns.
Think Big, but Start Small
If you’re starting your image search on sites such as Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, iStock or other stock photo websites, you might not be setting yourself up for success.
It’s understandable why so many marketers, companies, media outlets and brands use stock. It’s convenient, seemingly professional and seems to suit their content. This is where stock falls short.
Since stock photos and graphics are one-size fits all and are meant to cater to many different clients, they fail to add to a brand’s identity. That’s why so many businesses commit the faux pas of using the same stock photo as a competitor, which can call for a little damage control.
Avoiding this is as easy as publishing photos from social media, which are celebrated for their originality. There’s bound to be something you can use in the billions of image and video uploads on social media per day.
You might be wondering about quality, though. As it turns out, people care more about engaging content from people that they can relate to. 70% of people trust images taken from “people like them” over visuals created by brands. Your visual content doesn’t necessarily have to be taken with a pricey DSLR. In fact, a good old iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or any other recent smartphone is equipped to snap some brilliant photos, and this subreddit has a few great examples.
To find and license social media photos for your visual marketing, you’ll need a Scopio‘s search engine and visual marketing tool. We’ll help you curate and license the world’s most authentic photos so that you can increase sales and engagement, all from a custom dashboard.
Keep It Legal
We have to get to the dry part sometime, right? Of the marketers not utilizing UGC, many of them are avoiding it due to potential legal issues. It can be tricky to deal with legal agreements. UGC has risen in popularity over the last few years, and social media photographers generally aren’t used to licensing their work to companies.
Luckily, Scopio’s platform automatically generates a custom legal agreement for each photo you request. Don’t worry about presenting each social media photographer with stacks of legal paperwork just to get engaging content. Your custom Scopio platform does the hard work for you.
Each licensing agreement is forwarded to the photographer’s email after they confirm, and viewable to you anytime in case the photographer has questions in the future. You deserve to breathe easy.
Play with Guidelines, but Not by the Rules
Art doesn’t have rules, but there are some guidelines that you should master first. The same goes for your visual marketing content.
According to a study conducted by Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs, photos with faces have a substantial impact on social engagement. “This effect is substantial,” they write, and it increases the chances of receiving likes by 38% and comments by 32%. Including real faces in your visual marketing content is a great way to increase engagement across the board.
Be sure to select user-generated photos that look professional, but don’t sacrifice their authenticity, originality or uniqueness. This is key to UGC. In a Scopio survey, 89% of respondents thought websites using UGC instead of stock photos appeared more relevant to their posts, and 34% of these respondents actually favored Scopio’s authorized photos. Beyond that, up to 84% of people think a UGC photo is more trustworthy than content created by brands.
Other studies back these numbers up. According to CrowdTap, millennials trust UGC 50% more — they even find it 35% more memorable than traditional media. And by 2020, these tech-savvy, trailblazing folks will make up a third of the adult population. It’d be pretty daring not to market your brand or company according to their preferences.
Even if you’re hanging on to in-house images and videos, make sure to sprinkle some UGC into the mix. Your customers will thank you for the authenticity, and your coworkers will thank you for the engagement.
Scopio is the industry’s premier search and licensing platform for images and videos on social media. We help companies find and use the photos and videos that matter to their audience, from capturing content to evaluating the performance of their new campaigns. Wondering about what we can do for your visual marketing strategy? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We’d love to field your questions. Featured photo by marcellotaglialatela/Instagram.
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