5 questions to ask yourself about your social media images

“89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers report they are using content marketing to increase leads and drive their brand forward” – Gary Henderson, Forbes

I’m not going to touch on the serious content of the article, you can read the full thing here, but it did get me thinking.

Always a dangerous thing!

Looking at it from an imagery perspective, what’s your content saying about your business? We looked at this last week at No Ties Networking when I was giving a talk on visual communication. Instead of just telling people stuff I took two of the businesses as case studies. Then used the knowledge and experience of the group (there are some excellent marketers and brand specialists) to develop some ideas to help those businesses with their visual content.

We can all refocus our social media content by asking ourselves the same 5 simple questions we discussed at No Ties (the questions are simple…the answers might be a bit harder ;):

  1. Who or what is your business? …ask yourself this 3 times and try and expand on the answer each time. The clearer you have this the easier it is to target your message.
  2. What do you want to say? …I suppose this is sort of looking at your USP, but maybe more importantly how you want people to see your business.
  3. Who is your target market? …pick someone as specific as possible. Generally only multinationals have the resources and budgets to target everyone. And they regularly get it wrong…see Pepsi.
  4. What do they want to see? …what do you think will engage your market? Get them over their indifference. What do they like looking at? How can you match that to what you want to say?
  5. What stops them buying from you? …people are naturally suspicious about services. You can use images to help people get over their concerns about buying from you by identifying these problems and then tackling them one by one.

There are no answers in this post, only questions. I need to do this for myself too. I’m often guilty of the same thing as everyone else with a small business and limited time. I grab random images with ‘that will do’ attitude…I would never do this to a client, so I’m not sure why I think it’s okay for me.

If you’d like to learn more…possibly with answers this time…I will be putting some training sessions together for the coming months. One of which will be a full-day and run in conjunction with Katie Goudie from Words that Work and Brendan Reilly from Dangerous Studios. We will take you through the whole process from planning to practical skills for both photography and video, so you can walk away with the skills and knowledge to get on with your content marketing.

Leave your email address below or signup and we will let you know what we have planned.

Any other questions or requests for info just give me a shout.

Claire x

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Imagery lessons for SMEs…using Tinder

Here is a giggle and a few things to think about on imagery for small and medium sized businesses.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about Tinder. For those who are not familiar it’s a dating app where you select people you are interested in based on 1 initial image, 5 additional pictures and a few words. If it sounds superficial, it is, but you would be amazed how much you can learn about yourself and others in 6 pictures.

Then when I sat down to write today’s blog on imagery lessons for SMEs it occurred to me that it is a perfect example of how to use imagery effectively. Looking at the difference between stock photography and images tailored for your target market, the importance of first impressions and how to tell a story that gets across your USP.

There is a caveat in this post that the pictures are not of professional quality but being used to illustrate a point 😉

So back to my friend…lets call him ‘Gary’ (not his real name). Gary is looking to get back into the dating game after a long time away and he wanted to get my impression of his Tinder profile, so we started with his main image, the picture everyone sees first. He had a really nice professional picture lifted straight from his LinkedIn profile…the stock photography of Tinder pictures if you will. A terrible choice in my opinion for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly it tells someone looking at it absolutely nothing about you.
  • Secondly it appeals to the pretty much anyone, which is fine if you are going for mass market, but of no use if you are looking for a specific type of client or in this case are a bit more discerning about your dating preferences.
  • Thirdly, Tinder is full of people you really don’t want to meet, so you should be using your images to filter out people who you will have nothing in common with to save yourself (and them) some time and effort.

In contrast this is my opening image on Tinder…

Tinder Main Image

…I have found this very effective in filtering out people I have nothing in common with. I think is says a few things: I’m interested in politics**, when dressing up I like to commit and come from left field…you will never find me in a ‘sexy nun’ outfit, I have a pretty dark sense of humour and am happy to laugh at myself. This immediately removes lots of people who would class me as a weirdo and have no interest in politics and attracts people who think I look like a laugh. From a business perspective it talks to my niche market!

Then if they click though, to learn more about me, they see…

Fitness is important and I'm pretty confident/have a high opinion of myself.

‘Fitness is important and I’m pretty confident/have a high opinion of myself.’

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‘I’m a keen photographer and traveller.’

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‘I can look presentable sometimes…’

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‘…but most of the time i don’t really care…would rather swim in a loch.’

In conclusion:

  • The importance of stock photography verses images tailored for your target market, really depends on how niche your product is and how much you want to stand out from your competition. The majority of SMEs I meet have very clever and interesting things to offer but that is often not communicated by their online presence. This seems like a lost opportunity to me.
  • First impressions are massively important, if people don’t like what they see you will get swiped left (rejected) and you’ll never see that prospective client again. Making your landing page engaging is key.
  • Telling a story though images is much easier and more engaging than text and as result gets across your USP much more effectively when done correctly.

I hope that made a few of you smile on a Friday. Any questions on photography for business or setting up online dating profiles ask below 😉

**I would usually keep political leanings off any of my business platforms, but in this case it makes a point and for anyone who’s interested I voted yes in the referendum because I believe in the positive, socialist message of the Yes campaign, not because I wanted separation. I love everyone, but don’t think the system is serving those that it should be. C x

5 Top Tips for Effortless Social Media Images

How do you take better pictures to represent yourself online? So you have all the right Social Media accounts…Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and a strategy on how you want to use them. You know stock photography sites you can use, but the problem is your USP is all about your people, your place, your product, so how do you get that across to your target market?

How do you improve your social media photography content? Not by using expensive equipment, but tablets, smartphones and your existing equipment to generate higher quality more engaging images for your websites and social media channels.

I’ve put together a training course to help SMEs and start-ups improve their photography. However, if all you’re looking for is a few quick tips here are a some things that can make a huge difference with very little effort.

Look: Look for light and interesting angles. Is the light coming from as strange direction? What colour is it? Are there reflective surfaces where you can see yourself? Picking an unusual angle of an everyday subject makes it more interesting.

Ask: Ask people to move closer together in group shots. It makes them awkward to get into each others personal space, but leads to better pictures. Ask if people mind having their pictures taken. It keeps people happier to be considered and can raise awareness of your company if you encourage them to check out the pictures on your social media channels.

Move: Move closer to your subject. Too much dead space is not (usually) that interesting. Move to change the perspective. Get lower or higher so your image is not what people would expect to see.

Use: Use the apps on the phone or tablet to make the best of your images quickly before you upload them. Use something to stabilise the camera like resting your arm or the camera itself on a table to keep the picture sharper, especially in low light situations.

Think: Think about the composition. Peoples eyes move from left to right across a picture, so put something there for them to look at. Think about a plan before the event. What is going to appeal to your target market? The venue, people, food, entertainment? Have a plan and you will save time on the day and be more likely to get the pictures you need.

Here are a few examples of different looks you can achieve from a camera phone and if you want to have a coffee and a chat to find out more give me a call 0776 309 2221 or email claire@clairewatson.co.uk

commercial photography, Edinburgh

The Best of Week One

So 9 days in to the 30 day blogging challenge and its 11pm…oh well not exactly to plan but it’s going to be done before midnight! Here is the edited highlights for you to see all of this weeks ideas.

Day 1: Getting started: taking action and setting goals. The start of my 30 day blogging challenge. Lessons, goals and getting started. With links to Sarah Arrow’s 30 day blogging challenge.

Day 1 Getting started

Day 2: Finding a Commercial Photographer. How do you find the right commercial photographer for you and your business?

Day 3: The Myth of Only being Online. Why I think business needs face to face interaction more than just an online presence. People buy from people.

Day 4: They Importance of Systems to a Creative. How do you find time and headspace to be creative? I need a system.

Day 5: Learning from others. Learning from other people is a key part of business. Here is some great tips from Sanja Moll of the Salt Yard Group and LeCoq restaurants.

Day 6: How do you keep your productivity? Weightlifting is great for entrepreneurs. It’s all about maximising productivity!

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Day 7: Why do you need a professional profile picture? Why are professional profile pictures important to have and to use? Ultimately, you are your brand. With links to William Arruda’s ‘22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You’ article fro Forbes.

Day 8: Your message your market. The importance of images to get your message across to your target market. With links to Mark Parkinson: The Power of Visual Communication, Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty, Red Bull: Stratos.

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Your message, your market!

Images are about getting your message across to your market. Images communicate so much more than text. This is both a good and a bad thing. Poor images give an immediate negative impression, but equally great images make you stand out from the crowd and connect to your audience better than anything you can write. It’s evolution.

“What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and who we are. Through experience and experimentation, we continually increase our understanding of the visual world and how we are influenced by it. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Studies find that the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process. Our minds react differently to visual stimuli. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, we are genetically wired to respond differently to visuals than text.” – Mark Parkinson, The Power of Visual Communication

I’ll talk about a case study of work I’ve done later in the week, but today I wanted to look at a few ad campaigns with a bit bigger budgets. Here’s a great link to top ad campaigns of the 21st century. My favourite is also their top choice Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty. The images are bright, clean and not over photoshopped, which matches their message and bucks the trend in the industry.

Day 8 DOVE-REAL-BEAUTY

The Red Bull: Stratos is also a favourite as it is just visually spectacular. The images grab us because they are totally out with our experience. Fortunately, we don’t need to leave the atmosphere to get great images. Most SMEs don’t quite have the budget of Red Bull 😉

Day 8 red-bull-stratos-felix1

What makes your business different? It does’t have to be plummeting through the earth’s atmosphere or being pictured in your pants. It can be small details like the quality of your stationary, the friendliness of your staff, the unique features of your building, the difference of your approach that makes you stand out from your competitors. Images can show people who they are much better then telling them.

Over the next 2 weeks I will blog more about how to get images that take your message to your market. I’d love to hear other people’s feed back on their images.