do you have a visual marketing plan yet? (and why i think you should!)

chances are you are already using images for your biz in some way, but i am really urging every micro-biz owner to actually consider their visual marketing strategy. (and you can read my introduction to visual marketing here – lots of great info there to get you started!) 

more and more i am seeing evidence of how important it is to have a plan for the ways you are using images to communicate a message about your biz.

from open forum: 5 trends that will shape small businesses in 2013

Visual simplicity becomes the desired communication method. From a design standpoint you don’t need to look beyond sites and services such as Pinterest, Pinvolve and The Fancy to see that people want visual content.”

from fast company: the rise of visual social media 

“Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend for 2012. Search engines now rank content based on social conversations and sharing, not just websites alone. Brands can use visual content on their social media to increase engagement and inspire sharing and viral marketing. The rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and Facebook's multimillion-dollar acquisition of the latter, shows how visual content is becoming an increasingly important force for communication online. Brands that can rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.

from entrepreneur magazine: how photos can make or break your marketing campaign

“I'm trying to find a word other than revolution to describe what's going on with the use of images online these days. Marketing is all about communicating your value. Tapping into the visual zeitgeist is an excellent opportunity to create messaging for your business that is, well … nothing short of revolutionary.”

see? NOW is the time to be working on visual marketing plan for your biz!

but you may be thinking… but i already share images on facebook and pinterest! i already add images to blog posts. i already joined instagram!

here is what i want you to consider:

  • how much of your visual content is yours? are you creating original content to communicate about your business? 

  • how much variety do you have in your visual content? aside from product photos or stock photos, how are you using images for your biz?

  • do your images match your brand message? are they branded to link back to your biz and create brand recognition? do they serve a specific purpose?

from snap retail: the 70/20/10 facebook posting rule

there is a great infographic at that link that describes how you should be sharing content on facebook, and i believe we ought to apply it to visual content as well, and i think we can extend it to other platforms too!

  • 10% of your content should be promotional in nature (so for images this would be your product/service photos, any specials/sales/promos/packages etc.)
  • 20% of your content should be shared from other people’s pages/blogs/websites etc (so these would be all the fun/interesting/inspirational/informative/humorous images that you happen upon and share with your fans)

  • 70% of your content should provide value, be relevant, build brand recognition (so THIS is where your visual marketing strategy is needed. what images/graphics/photographs/videos can YOU create that will do these things for YOUR customers and YOUR business)

and a word of warning…

you CANNOT just upload other people’s photos to your facebook page or profile. this is copyright infringement. and this article from cas mccullough about the recent bootcamp put on by facebook Australia confirms this fact.

yes, you are allowed to share other people’s images on facebook (using the share button) but for the other 70% content you need to be creating your own images! you cannot just upload photos you find in a google image search, on pinterest, or elsewhere!

this is also true for your blog, newsletter, website, pinterest page, print materials or anywhere else for that matter – you cannot just use other people’s images. you MUST have permission. when you do, you must credit the author and provide a link back. and you can’t alter other people’s images for your own purposes (for instance to add an inspirational quote.) i have more details on this issue here.  

you cannot just go over to google image search or pinterest and grab whatever images you would like to communicate a message to your customers. YOU CANNOT. it is copyright infringement.

and you can't just share other people's visual content all of the time. well i suppose you could, but remember the 70% - you would be missing out on a chance to create brand recognition, add value for your customers, be relevant online.

so if you would like your biz to be part of the visual revolution, if you would like to make the most of the opportunities available to you to communicate about your biz and utilize our interest in all things visual, you need to start working on a visual marketing plan.

so what is the next step?

  • you can learn how to make some of your own images for your biz (lots of ideas for that here!) and you can hire others to help you with this

  • you can join us for the next round of the visual marketing DIY workshop which will be open again in January 2013 – read all the details about the workshop here and do add your email address  to be sure you do not miss when registration is open. 

  • you can make sure you are signed up for the toolbox – i share lots of tips & resources with my awesome toolbox subscribers.

  • and if you have any questions about visual marketing or using images for your biz please ask! you can help me plan future posts & workshops! i am thinking of doing a free workshop to answer your most pressing questions so do let me know if that would be helpful!