Let’s Get Visual: A Look at Some Popular Visual Social Tools

Colorful online icons - content marketing, visual content marketing, YouTubeThe old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been around for decades and for good reason—visual images get attention. Studies indicate that adding visual images to online communications boosts the odds that audiences will both notice and engage with that content. For instance, according to HubSpot, an inbound marketing software platform company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

  • Consumers only remember about 20 percent of what they read—as much as 80 percent of what they see
  • Most website visitors spend less than 15 seconds actively reading content on a page
  • Infographics are liked and shared three times more than other content
  • Videos increase the likelihood of visitors purchasing product or service by 64 percent
  • Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86 percent

Fortunately for marketers, there are a variety of options available for marketers to quickly and inexpensively convey information visually. Here’s a rundown on some of the most popular:

  • YouTube. YouTube was first to market to capitalize on the online renaissance. Launched in 2005, YouTube became a Google company in 2006, a clear indication that the site was quick to capture the attention of the masses. Today the company boasts more than one billion users—including both individual users and big brands represented. In fact, according to Pixability, a YouTube ad buying and video marketing platform with offices in Boston, New York, London, San Francisco and Chicago, YouTube is prevalent among the Top 100 Global Brands.
  • Pinterest emerged in 2010 as a platform for people to “pin,” or post, visual items to “boards” to share their images with others. Pinterest claims that users have saved over 50 billion pins to the site. Those users include everyone from hobbyists to the Fortune 100. While the site obviously appeals most to organizations, or products and services, with a clear visual appeal (clothing retailers, jewelry designers, etc.), even companies like American Family Insurance have found ways to leverage the use of visual images via Pinterest to engage an audience. Pinterest announced in 2015 that it was releasing an API for developers to allow them to build apps based on Pinterest user data. These apps, Pinterest indicates, could be used to do anything from ordering ingredients from a recipe found on the site to booking trips to exotic travel destinations.
  • Vine took YouTube to a smaller place. The microblogging site is comprised of short—very short—videos around six seconds in length. The company’s website says, “Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion.” Like YouTube, Vine was quickly purchased by another big player in the online space; founded in June 2012, it was purchased by Twitter in October 2012, shortly before its January 2013 launch. According to DMR, 12 million Vine videos are uploaded to Twitter daily.
  • Instagram is a popular tool that allows users to take and post pictures or videos, change how they look through various special effects, and easily share through other social media channels. The site had 300 million monthly active users at the end of 2014, according to DMRBetter Homes and Gardens is one example of a company that has made good use of Instagram to visually connect with its audiences.
  • Slideshare offers the opportunity for users to share presentations and professional content. Another acquisition by a big player, Slideshare was founded in 2006 and acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. On Slideshare, users upload and share their presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, webinars and more. It has more than 15 million uploads from individuals and organizations on a wide range of content. Basic SlideShares are simple PowerPoint presentations, but users can get more sophisticated, incorporating sound, moving text and images—like this SlideShare from Mashable. Video can also be incorporated into SlideShares.
  • Snapchat’s initial appeal was that the videos, photos, text or drawings posted and shared through the tool could only be viewed by a specific group of people—and only for a period of time determined by the sender (up to 10 seconds). It was a way, in theory, to avoid the embarrassment of having a former significant other share intimate photos with others. However, users quickly discovered the ability to use a screenshot, or another camera, to capture the images. Launched in 2011, Business Insider indicated the tool had achieved more than 60 million installs, and had 30 million active users in 2013. In January 2015, Snapchat announced Discover, “a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams.”

New tools are constantly emerging. What tools are you using or considering? How are you getting visual to engage with your target audiences? We invite you to share examples and best practices.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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