Capture your audience with visually engaging content
Today’s consumers tend to have short attention spans. Coupled with the content saturation of our online platforms, tire dealers must find ways to quickly engage their audiences – and keep them wriggling on the hook.
Creating original, topical and visually engaging content is a proven way of doing this. Let’s break down the hype and explore some cool tools that can quickly and expertly grow your visual marketing impact.
The case for visual content
With 75 million daily Instagram users, over 6 billion hours of video watched on YouTube each month, and a running total of more than 30 billion Pinterest ‘Pins’, there is undeniable demand for visual content.
Research shows images used in social media are far more effective than words alone. Visual posts generate more responses and create better engagement (likes, comments and shares) than text and links alone. According to research by Socialbakers, photos are the most engaging content type on Facebook, achieving a staggering 87% interaction rate. Similar research identified the automotive industry as the third most successful on Instagram, ranked for the engagement rates of its posts.
From a practical perspective, photos and videos take up more space in viewers’ newsfeeds, improving your chances of getting noticed as people scroll past your posts. Visuals are also great for integrating your online marketing activities, using thumbnails of content published on your website to draw traffic from your social media platforms.
For maximum exposure, visual content allows you to embrace social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Without visuals to help convey your message, these platforms are out-of-bounds, denying you access to hordes of potential customers. And if your customers are using these visual platforms, can you really afford not to?
The emergence of free and affordable tools for creating video, photography and graphics is leveling the playing field, allowing businesses with smaller marketing budgets to compete with bigger brands.
Before you start it’s a good idea to get a grip on the basics of sourcing and optimizing images for social media. In particular, knowing when “free” images are actually free and the additional responsibilities they may carry. An informative article by writtent outlines everything you need to know. For further reading, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers insight into best practice use of images in social media.
Images / Photography
Quality photos are a great way of grabbing people’s attention (they do say a picture is worth a thousand words). However, not all photography comes cheap.
With more than 56% of all American adults now owning a smartphone, you’re never far away from a device to take your own original photos. If photography really isn’t your forte there are loads of free and inexpensive alternatives for sourcing images:
- Compfight – scans Flickr for visual inspiration and free commercial use photography (including creative commons and public domain).
- GraphicRiver – an affordable stock photography option with files from as little as $1. Here you can find images for use in Photoshop, design templates, textures, vectors, icons and more.
- Canva – this fun, free and intuitive tool can help you to quickly build original images. Premium images start from $1.
- Gratisography – this free stock photography site offers images in exchange for a “cup of coffee”.
- Other great sources of free stock photography include: Life of Pix, Little Visuals; Unsplash; Death to the Stock Photo; New Old Stock; Picjumbo; The Pattern Library; Getrefe; Jay Mantri; Public Domain Archive; Magdeleine; and Picography.
Infographics can be a powerful component of your digital marketing strategy. They allow you to share facts and information in fun, creative and visually engaging ways, grabbing users’ attention and guiding them seamlessly through your messaging. Infographics can also aid in search engine optimization and offer a great way to “repackage” existing content for re-consumption.
With abundant use on social media there is also a growing trend towards single page “infographic” style web design. These short-form images are often called data graphics. Many of the world’s biggest brands now present responsive and visually dominant content, shying away from traditional multi-page formats.
Given their complexity, infographics can seem unachievable to many small businesses. This doesn’t have to be the case. A range of affordable and user-friendly tools can help you easily create quality infographics without the need for in-house graphic designers. Piktochart is a design app requiring very little effort from users to produce beautiful, high-quality graphics. Other similar tools include Visual.ly, Creately, Infogram and Venngage.
There is a huge (and growing) appetite among consumers for online video, with the average tire buyer using online video research and considering more dealers and brands than ever before.
Tire buyers look to satisfy their information needs through video, and this is a trend also true of other industries. According to Cisco, by 2018 (which isn’t as far off as it feels) video will account for 79% of all consumer internet traffic. Businesses failing to embrace video in their content marketing could quickly fall behind.
Like other technologies, video production can be a daunting prospect for businesses with small marketing budgets. However, video creation is more affordable and accessible than ever before. Today’s clever software helps you transform amateur footage into meaningful and engaging stories, without breaking the bank. Our top software picks include Animoto, Adobe Premiere Elements, Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.