Why visual content is vital

why visual content is vital instagram

The Reuters Institute for Journalism in Oxford predicts that by 2021 Instagram will overtake Twitter as a source for news, making visual content vital. It reflects the massive growth in using visuals. If you are not paying attention to good (really good) images, then you are going to lose out on social media.

Telling stories with impact

Once seen as a trivial platform filled with cute animals and weird stunts, Instagram has matured into the ‘platform of choice’ for a growing audience, especially the under 30s. It is trusted as a channel and growing numbers are relying on it for news and information. The reason, according to the Reuters Institute is that as a largely visual platform it can tell stories with impact: smartly and simply.

Is Twitter in decline?

So, what does this mean for business? Does it mean Twitter is in decline? Not at all. It’s the journalists’ favoured source and has dominated news and opinion for years, in fact, 25% of all verified Twitter accounts are held by journalists.  We can assume it is not going away, but we can conclude that it now has a serious rival with a new generation adopting its own platform.

Why visual content is now vital

For anyone looking to circulate news and information, the prediction is an alert that things have begun to change rapidly. Now, more than ever, images are vital. To reach audiences effectively good visuals are now essential…on these platforms, and beyond.

On Twitter, you are 3 times more likely to engage with a visual post. Instagram, which is totally image-based, has now ‘upped the ante’ and created the expectation of visual content, whatever the channel.

What does this mean for business stories?

Creating visuals is easy now. Phone cameras are seriously good. Captions can be added to turn these into stories and apps can easily create graphics. Surely this is all good news? Well, yes and no.

In this surge of visual communication, the bar has been raised higher. People now expect high quality visual stories and messages. Stand-out stories must be excellently told. They need to either BE visual or contain good visuals.

More than that, a story needs to be relevant to browsers’ lives. The human brain connects with images at lightning speed, but if an image does not connect with someone’s life it will go unread. Images need to resonate with your audience.

However, just as technology was levelling the playing field, expectations have risen. Audiences recognise badly created posts. Free apps cannot make a bad post good. So, cheaply produced content can be recognised in an instant and its authenticity discounted.

5 trends in this image dominated world

At Positively Media, we have identified trends in this new image dominated social media world:

  1. Photos need to tell a story. They are more than ‘illustrations’
  2. Micro-videos (not more than 8-10 seconds) will flourish
  3. Only well-taken storytelling photos and skilfully created infographics will dominate, even for SMEs
  4. The BIG SHOUT is out. Don’t tell. Engage. Stories that are not seen to be friendly and authentic will be ignored
  5. Untargeted campaigns will not succeed on crowded social channels. Be relevant to target specific audiences

The rise of Instagram is an opportunity. It is part of the ‘new normal’ business world everyone talks about So, whilst times are tough, especially for SMEs, it can’t be ignored.

We’re happy to talk

At Positively Media we have geared up to help our clients make the most of tight budgets and have invested more than ever in creating excellent content. So, if you want to make sense of it all, see how far your budget can go or find out ways of being smart with your marketing and PR, let’s meet online for a cuppa and a natter. Bring your own biscuits!

Unlocking your business communications 

keys to unlocking you business communications (square)

The Covid19 restrictions are lifting and, as a business owner, you now need to look at unlocking your business communications. Not easy as you are still evaluating what the new business environment looks like!

What you’ll need to be thinking about are the kinds of stories your business has to tell. What messages do you want to send to loyal and potentially new customers?

In short, you need a communication plan.

One which resonates with the realities of the situation you AND your customers face. So much has changed, much of it for good, that doing the same thing once again could be risky. The new world is all about relationships. Shouting is old world and is unlikely to succeed. Don’t get left behind.

A 5 Step plan to unlocking your business communications

Whether you are a small business implementing this yourself, or you want to get across the issues before briefing your agency, then this is for you.  We have made it practical and hope we have eliminated all unnecessary jargon. Ready? OK, read on to unlock your communication talents.

Step 1: Decide who matters to you in a post-lockdown world

The world has changed. Identify who your customers need to be in this ‘new world’. Ask ‘If we’re to be successful, who will our most important clients be?’ Create ‘personas’ of people you need to reach – describing who they. In marketing terms, you’re segmenting your market into different types of customer. In communications terms, you are identifying the types of people you need to reach.

Step 2: Understand your customers’ needs and pains

How? Pick up the phone for a ‘Just want to say hi’ chat. Listen to what customers are experiencing. Do existing customers need you more or less post COVID-19? If they don’t need you much now, will their need grow in future? These chats will tell you a lot about what you need to say, how you need to say it and when it will be best to communicate.

Step 3: Get the basics right

If you have not cleaned up your existing databases during the quiet time, get it done now. Try to make your database as SMART as possible. Make sure the persona or segmented groups of customers you have identified in Step 1 are together. Remember to have lists for the other stakeholders such as suppliers, strategic partners, investors and ‘supporters’ or network contacts. Upload them to an email distribution app like MailChimp so you are ready to launch a campaign. At the same time think about what are the best communication channels to reach your targets: Social media (and which platforms)? Personal Email? E-newsletter? Phone call? Traditional media? Can you afford to do a paid promotion? Is editorial content a better route?

Step 4: Prepare your messages

Now you know who your business needs to reach AND you understand your customers’ situation,. The next thing is to create the messages which connect with your targets, telling them about you at the same time. Resist at all costs talking exclusively about your business. Engage people by showing you understand their needs, concerns and interests. Make your stories and messages open, positive and solution-oriented.

Be aware that we’ve all had different experiences during the Covid 19 lockdown. Not all bad!

Step 5: Create a campaign

If you are turning your hand to communications for the first time, don’t be intimidated. This plan really is common sense. Decide how often you are going to communicate with each of your target groups and stakeholders. Don’t fall into the trap of over-communicating. It annoys people. It’s better to make friends than to become the communicator people avoid or ignore. Decide which channels you are going to use. What will be most effective for you? (email, press story, phone, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, even leaflet or mailshot). Note what tone and type of content you’re going to need to connect with each target audience.

But here’s a warning: only plan to do what you know can be achieved with the resources you have available. Now you are ready – and it is time for action.

Good luck. Remember, if it is not working, review and tweak your plan until it does.  If you want to find out more, email us or call and we’ll arrange a chat about ways in which you can go about unlocking your business communications.

A Royal boost for coral reef global campaign

Prince Charles coral reef IYOR

As we now know, the world’s Coral Reefs are gravely endangered by ocean warming and climate change.

The need for action was highlighted by the  International Year of the Reef.

An important IYOR event was a gathering of the world’s top coral reef experts at an event hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales Sustainability Office. The profile of the whole campaign gained significant momentum with an address by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The media relations for IYOR at the gathering in London were provided by Positively Media. Within minutes, the major digital and print channels had distributed our images, with the key messages.

If you’ve got a story to tell, let’s talk!

Google goes underwater in the coral triangle

google seaview coral triangle

Google is immersing itself in ocean change. You can now ‘dive’ with a survey team in a virtual reality experience. Why not explore underwater locations in the Coral Triangle? Check out the content in Google Maps. It is all possible following a partnership with Positively Media clients The Ocean Agency and XL Catlin (now AXAXL).

The more people know about our oceans, the better. With Google, you can discover a  hidden world with stunning images exactly as if you were there yourself. See this amazing underwater world on your screen is helping to overcome the biggest problem for ocean change communicators: if it is out of sight, it is out of mind.

Twitter Lists

phone screen for managing twitter lists

Whether you are a list lover or loather there is no doubt that Twitter Lists can be really useful. 

Looking for the right accounts to follow?

A great way to quickly identify accounts that could be of interest is to find a relevant list. This is a great way to kick-start a new Twitter account, or identify new customers or influencers. The best place to start is thinking about who may have similar interests to you. That could be an individual or an organisation. Open up the full profile of the twitter account and look to see if they have lists. If they are any good, it is like finding gold dust.

Subscribe to other peoples’ lists!

If you’ve found a list that looks useful, then subscribe! There is no need to create a list yourself, just follow one that someone else has assembled. There’s every chance that a topic you would find useful, for example media providers, specialist food producers or creative designers, then someone else will have a list already. If they’ve been generous enough to make that list public, then all you need to do is subscribe!

Spending too much time scrolling through your timeline and not finding posts you want to read?

Create your own lists as way of coping with volumes of posts, and for sifting out the posts that you are most likely to be interested in. Work out some categories for the accounts you follow and place your favourites into lists. When you check your twitter feed by looking at the list, you will have filtered posts, seeing only those of relevance to you.

Storytelling at the speed of a shutter click

XL-Catlin-Seaview-Survey-American-Samoa-5-1

Research reveals that we only remember about 10% of what we hear and 20% of what we read. Our superpower is our eyesight: we retain a massive 80 percent of what we see. Our brain is great at visual processing, making the value of images very powerful. They attract, explain, inspire and teach us in ways that are memorable. Today, we’re bombarded by information and it is a problem separating what is important from the clutter. Fortunately, our brains ability to interpret an image at 13 milliseconds is lightening fast, making the value of great visuals even greater. You have 13 milliseconds to create interest.

Photos give depth to a story and at Positively we use them in our storytelling. We took audiences into the ocean to understand the impacts of global warming. The images immediately engage people with the drama captured by the dive teams in remote places.