Friday, March 20, 2015

What's a Picture Worth?

There is no question that the way that social media has developed, images play a central role more YouTube enjoys over 4 billion views daily. Instagram has bypassed Twitter for mobile users. photographs on Facebook draw 53% more "likes" than those without. Pinterest is the 2nd largest referrer of social traffic. It grew by 50% in a year. These tools are driven by images and require (almost) no words. The fact that FaceBook was willing to pay the big bucks for Instagram is testimony to the importance of images.
than ever before. There has been a dramatic shift towards visual marketing. Everyone needs to start thinking in these terms.

As I visited the RN Pinterest Page I searched on "SBDC" to see the results and they were patchy. A quick visit to a few SBDC websites demonstrated very, very few images.We are often looking for good pictures from the various centers for different uses. Potential clients visiting our center sites would benefit from a glimpse at what they can expect from a visit, what our clients are doing, and what the local streets look like. Pictures of the backs of peoples' heads at meetings or drab images don't do your center justice. Take a picture of the store fronts on your street, a flattering
office shot, an image of an advisor meeting a client. Close-ups to a client's products, or a picture of the client from an interesting angle, the sandwich board out on the sidewalk of a restaurant, Any natural scenes will brighten your page and lend a little humanity. Images of your local city are also good to create a mood and build a sort of like a "team" persona. I would encourage center staff to keep their phones or cameras at the ready when visiting sites, walking through your downtown business district, or meeting with clients, especially informally. These images can all be fodder for social marketing opportunities.  Relaxed meetings lend themselves to natural photographs.

We know that press materials that use imagery get more attention. A lot more. Online consumers are 60% more likely to contact businesses that provide an image with the results. While the focus is on the photographs, the accompanying words need to be concise and descriptive. Choose relevant terms in your captions so they will show up in searches. How complete your tags are, the easier customers can find you.

Notice the images in your favorite news site or publication. When you visit websites, pay attention to how photography is used, how the best ones use images to project their brand. Pay attention to how simple images can evoke more than busy, cluttered photographs. Think of your clients and how you can communicate the value you provide, the expertise you offer, the love of your city, the individuals who bring their experience to the aid of entrepreneurs. Be creative and if you have good pictures of your center, clients or city, please share them with us.

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