Key Applications of Visual Social Marketing - dummies

Key Applications of Visual Social Marketing

By Krista Neher

Visual social marketing is generally applied in three ways: on social networks, on visual social networks, and to generate more traffic to a website. Though most social networks feature visual content, a visual social network is one that focuses on visual content such as images or videos.

For example, Facebook includes visual content such as images and videos, but Instagram, a visual social network, focuses primarily on taking, editing, and sharing images.

How to apply images on social networks

Images represent a prime opportunity to connect with customers on all social networks, not just on visual social networks. Images generate more views, likes, and clicks on most social networks than do text-only posts.

As a social media marketer, your visual strategy should focus on more than visual social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. Your strategy should extend to all social networks in which you participate.

A solid social media strategy features a variety of content that includes images and videos. Additionally, existing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are great places to post visual content.

For example, a photo taken on Instagram may also be used as a Facebook post or a Twitter status update. A video created to be shared on YouTube may also make a great post on LinkedIn or a strong blog post.

Basics of images on visual social networks

A visual social network is a powerful tool for visual social marketing because its primary content is visual — images and videos are the primary content that is viewed and shared.

Visual social networks are among the fastest-growing and most frequently discussed networks.

Here are some of the primary image-focused visual tools:

  • Infographics: A graphical representation of data tells a story in long-format images with charts.

  • Instagram: The more than 100 million users at this site (recently acquired by Facebook) shoot photos from their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

  • Pinterest: This online, visual “pinboard” site allows users to create boards based on any topic and to “pin” to them relevant images from their computers or from the web. It is now the third largest social network, and many similar sites have begun to emerge.

  • SlideShare: People share PowerPoint presentations at this site, which is growing quickly and generating tremendous numbers of presentation views.

Here are a few of the primary video social networks:

  • YouTube: At the biggest video-sharing website — and the number-two search engine on the Internet — visitors can share any type of video.

  • Vine: Using this new video sharing application (launched by Twitter), people can share six seconds’ worth of short-format videos.

  • Instagram video: Users can create 15-second videos on Instagram and share them on Instagram or other social networks.

These social networks are all growing quickly and show the importance of visual social marketing.

How to apply visual elements on websites

Visual content is vital to driving relevant and targeted traffic to a website. The importance of using images and videos on websites isn’t new. What is new is that, as social networks have grown, they have emerged as indispensable places to promote content from websites. Social networks also drive significant amounts of traffic to websites.

As social networks become more visually oriented, visually optimize your website to take advantage of the traffic that can be generated from social networks.

For example, Boot Camp Digital has a free report on how to use Google+ for marketing. The page containing the report originally included only the report, and because the report was on the page, there isn’t an image of it.

The problem was that whenever customers read the report and received value from it, they wanted to share the report on Facebook. The site didn’t display an image of the report, so whenever the page with the Google+ report was shared, no appropriate image accompanied it.

The web page needed an image to optimize the report for sharing on Facebook, so an image of the report was created. Now, whenever customers share the report, an image of the report appears as a part of the post.


After the image was added to the web page featuring the Google+ report, it began to generate more shares across social networks, more traffic, and more downloads.

This simple example shows the importance of incorporating images into your website design and marketing strategy. Images on a web page are increasingly important in generating shares and traffic via social networks.