KIM MORRISON: Why I Love Pictures (And You Should, Too!)

Social media columnist
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Walt Disney said: “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

And pictures and images have become the universal language of social media too so, if you’re not already using pictures in your social media marketing, it’s a language that you quickly need to learn.

New uses of words such as ‘meme’ have entered the dictionary. A meme is “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.” Or there are new words such as ‘infographic’ which is “a visual representation of information or data, e.g., as a chart or diagram”.

People want pictures in their social channels as, when done well, these pictures become visual stories. This is nothing new - people have always communicated visually from as far back as painting pictures on walls in caves.

Our brains process pictures 60,000 times faster than text. When you share a picture, your fans decide in a split second whether they want to see more. People upload about 250 million photographs to Facebook every day, and the changes to Facebook and Twitter I talked about in my last article are designed to display images, photos and video even more easily.

Why use images?

You’ve probably heard the expression “facts tell and stories sell” and pictures and images allow you to tell a story with few or no words at all. We are entering a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word. I’ve even heard it described as the “dawn of the Imagesphere.”

Images have become even more popular with the ability to take photos and video with the camera on a smartphone.

The growth of image-rich sites, like Pinterest, has been amazingly fast and apps such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat aren’t just for teenagers – savvy marketers are using them too. These channels help you tell stories that create engagement, build communities and ultimately help nurture brand loyalty and long-term relationships with customers.

Image options for marketers

You can use images in different ways in your marketing. You can make a short, snappy video; use images and graphics; slides or a SlideShare presentation; infographics and text-based images.

The following are the type of images that get the most shares and response on social media:

-- Tips

-- How-to

-- Quotes

-- Checklists

-- Infographics.

If you want your image to be shared a lot, then you have to make sure it’s valuable to your target audience.

A great place to start is with content that helps and inspires people. For a more shareable factor, make it timely content to coincide with breaking news, a celebration or an event.

Free (or almost free) tools to create Images

There are some great tools out there to help you create your own images. These are just a few of my favourites:

PicMonkey

Infogr.am

Piktochart

Wordle

Paint.net

Canva.

There are new additions all the time so go on and unleash the creative artist in you!

Breaking News!

Evernote, which is a great tool that lets you take notes, sync files across your devices, save webpages, and share ideas with friends and colleagues, has extended its partnership with LinkedIn. Last week they announced a new business card scanning service. This allows LinkedIn members to scan a business card using Evernote’s mobile app and then directly connect with this contact on LinkedIn to maintain the new relationship.

A great time saver!