Images: 5 Ways to Feed the Content Beast

5 Cs of Social Media Image Content

Images especially photos, are white hot this year fueled by Pinterest’s explosive growth, Instagram’s sale and Facebook’s timeline.

Beyond these social media platforms, there are other places online where images attract an audience such as tumblr, blog posts, infographics and presentations.

5 Reasons marketers need images

As a marketer, if you’re not sold on making images an integral part of your social media content, here are five reasons to persuade you.

  1. Attract attention. People are visual beings. Further, on Facebook, using images takes up more physical space in a feed than a brief update.
  2. Provide currency for social media. Images convey information people seek on social media networks, especially when they include human beings because we want to feel important and to know what’s going on.
  3. Are easy-to-consume on-the-go. As bite size chunks of information, readers can grasp the meaning quickly without thinking about it.
  4. Encourage sharing. Images are easy to share across a variety of social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Of course, it’s useful to include the appropriate social sharing buttons to remind users to take action.
  5. Contain useful information. Provide information about location and other data that can be used by marketers.

5 Cs of social media image content

Marketers, you don’t need to create your entire image content yourself. To help you build your image content offering, here are five Cs to consider. [Hat tip to the Creation, Curation and Collection: Getting to Know Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr panel at BlogWorld Expo New York for inspiring this column and offering these examples.]

  1. Create images. Develop special content for your organization. Ensure that its presentation is consistent with your 360 degree branding. Understand that it doesn’t have to be photographs. It can be illustrations or text. For example, espnW created tiles of sharable quotes to get around not having the rights to use photographs.
  2. Commission special images. Create special visual content to share with your community. It can be an infographic or other visuals. For example, AOL Artists Tumblr commissions canvases from other artists (and pays them.) This allows them to be a part of community without being an overbearing corporate participant.
  3. Continue a campaign. Go beyond the after-thought outtake approach. When developing other forms of content and marketing communications, include additional images to minimize costs, especially when you’re using professional photographers and artists for other projects. For example, show the behind the scenes action. Build related or complimentary information. For example, Billboard plays on musicians’ interest in food and headphones on Pinterest.
  4. Curate images. You don’t have to create all of the images on your own. Further, depending on your market, there may be rights issues around being able to use the images. (When in doubt, consult your legal department!) For example AOL curates photographs that are submitted to ensure that they’re emotional and cool assets on their AOL #HousePorn Pinterest Board to allow followers to live in a real estate fantasy world. By contrast, Billboard used repinning to curate their Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) 2012: 20 Best Dressed on Pinterest.
  5. Convert old content.  These social media platforms don’t always need new content. Think about how you can convert your archival information into useful images. For example, the Library of Congress puts one piece of content out every day.

Now is the time to integrate images into your social media content. To this end, consider the combination of the five Cs of social media images to use to maximize your impact while maximizing the value of your resources.

What other suggestions do you have for integrating images into your social media content marketing?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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