Take a stroll around Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see a lot of great brand content being shared, pinned and engaged with. What you’re less likely to see are crappy brand images -- making you wrongly assume that all marketers are posting amazing pictures all the time.
There actually is a lot of garbage being shared, but you may not see a lot of the sub-optimal content because social network technologies are tuned to surface the good and bury the bad.
A recent analysis by ShareIQ found that a lot of brands need to rethink their visual content strategy. We have seen data showing that brands posting original content optimized to be searchable and discoverable get nine times the engagement of brands that do not. That may sound intuitive, but regardless, too many companies post boring, generic off-brand images that don’t contain merchandise that consumers are searching for.
The social platforms are designed to surface what’s popular and engaged with. Pinterest’s algorithm rewards the sharing of new, unique visual content, surfacing it in users’ streams to be discovered and re-pinned. Instagram surfaces what is getting liked and engaged with and punishes you if you post a lot of bad content. If you share a lot of original content your ranking will go up and people will find your content on their home screen or when they search for it. If you post a lot of garbage your rank will go down and your content will be pushed down in the search and feed results. What’s new and cool gets surfaced, what’s not drowns in oblivion.
Here are a some rules for brands to get better at their visual content game:
- Stop sharing lame pictures. Here’s an example of a fast fashion company that is posting generic, boring content. Don’t post memes and pictures of skylines or “still lifes,” shot with white backgrounds without any merchandise people can buy. Beware of posting already-popular content because the algorithm is looking for what’s new.
- Start sharing awesome, branded images that show people enjoying a fabulous lifestyle in cool settings, wearing your company’s latest looks.
- Optimize your visual content game just like you do your SEO program. Think “searchable” for all your content. People are not searching for your board or account, content is mainly found in searches and home streams. People search by themes and keywords and that’s how you get re-pins and reshares.
- Identify your content “greatest hits” and put some money behind them to amplify the engagement.
- And, once again, post new pictures that you create. Stop posting stock images that are already popular and you think will get engagement. Be creative.
Consumer engagement is now on every screen and device, 24/7. The web is an increasingly visual medium, with three-billion-plus new images online every day. Brands face a competitive commerce marketplace where thousands of pieces of their visual content are being shared, liked and engaged with across online channels and social platforms. Marketers can’t afford to make missteps when they try to connect their audiences with visual content.