Why visual content is vital

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!