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The power of imagery and video in social media marketing

Learn how to make the most out of live video to drive deeper engagement with your audience Start lesson

The power of imagery and video

Actions often speak louder than words. And this has never been more true than in social media. Using visuals (both imagery and video) can often be far more effective than using text alone. It’s a great way of quickly communicating something to your audience. It’s also ideal for showcasing different products and their specific details, or telling a story in a more engaging way. Text is still great for some things and can be very effective, but we recommend using visuals where you can for greater impact.
Try to keep your visuals striking, yet simple. That way they’re more likely to grab people’s attention, be shared, and be remembered. Complex images with too much going on may not stand out in people’s feeds.
Always make sure you have a clear goal with each post. And depending on that goal, you might want to use different types of visual content.
For example: If you were to tell a story about your business’s history and heritage, a video could be more interesting than a long written post alongside a single image. Whereas if you’re showing a new range of churidars, you might want to use imagery so customers can see the detailed embroidery.
Creating and sourcing great images or video for your business profile doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. But before we get into the specifics, here are a couple of key points to keep in mind:
  • Show people. It can make your posts feel real and familiar rather than intrusive and sales-like.
  • Be consistent. Always make sure your imagery and video is appropriate for your business’s identity and tone of voice. Whether it’s the colours you use, the style of imagery you post or the type of videos you create, try to set a style and stick to it. Well-curated and consistent content will maintain a recognizable style that your audience will remember.

Using powerful images to convey your message

Using imagery is a simple way to create a visual connection between your business and your audience. But you don’t always need a professional photographer or a fancy camera. You can take great images yourself using a smartphone, or buy them from an online stock photography library. Remember, if you are using other people’s imagery, always make sure you have permission first.
Here are some top tips for creating your own images using your smartphone:
Use natural lighting: Using a house light is fine. For the best picture quality, place the object near a window. Indirect sunlight in the afternoon is best, as it’s warmer and softer.
Top tip: Stand with your back to the light, being careful not to cast a shadow on your subject. Taking a photo as you’re facing the light can mean your image becomes dark and your subject will be difficult to see.
Experiment with different backdrops: You can play around with the tone and feel of a shot by adding different backgrounds. Everyday household items such as paper or fabric can add colour, patterns and design to images.
Focus on composition: It’s the key to turning an average image into a great one. But what is composition exactly? Essentially, it’s about the arrangement, framing and balance, and how different objects sit in relation to each other. The better all these elements are, the more eye-catching your image.
Top tip: Get to know the “Rule of Thirds”. This is a set of guidelines designed to help create a well balanced image. It is usually displayed as a grid pattern (3 x 3) laid over an image, helping to make sure your subject is placed in a position that’s most visually pleasing. Some smartphone cameras even have a grid built in.
Use apps to enhance visuals: There are many great photo editing apps available that can help make an image look its best. Try apps like Layout to combine multiple photos into a single image. You can also drag and drop images, stretch them, shrink them, flip and rotate them until your layout is just right.
Less (text) is more: You can add copy to your images to highlight a key selling point or promotion. But too much text over an image can be distracting, so try to keep it to a minimum. A clear, crisp headline is often all you need.
Image quality: You don’t have to be a professional photographer to create great looking images. Just be sure to pay attention to the size and quality of the images you’re working with. This means making sure that the photos you use look as good as they can – so no blurry, fuzzy or pixelated snaps.

Over to you

Before we move on to look at using video, take a moment and think about how you could use imagery to engage your target audience on social media.
  • What products do you have that would create interesting visuals?
  • Are there particular elements of your product or service that you could highlight?
  • What could you do to make your images more eye-catching (i.e. what backgrounds or props could you use?
Right, time to grab your camera or smartphone and have a go!
Use video to tell an even richer story
Today, video is a huge part of our lives. It’s one of the most popular ways to share moments with friends, watch news and entertainment, and find out about new products.
With many people watching videos on their smartphones, it’s become a big part of their social media experience. So when it comes to your business, it’s a great way to engage your audience.

How to create compelling video

Creating video content isn’t as scary as it sounds. There are so many ways you can do this at home, with equipment you probably already have.
Use your smartphone: You can film videos straight from your smartphone, either with the built-in camera or with one of the many apps available, such as Instagram. Try experimenting with filters and other design features like contrast or saturation on your camera settings. And if the image background is looking too busy, try using the crop tool to clean up the frame.
Use natural lighting: As we mentioned earlier for imagery, it’s best to use natural lighting where you can – near a window, door or even outside. If it’s only possible to film indoors, use an everyday lamp or even your phone’s flashlight.
Keep your file short: Viewers often have a very short attention span, so stick to a length of around 15 to 30 seconds. This will maximize your chances of capturing and holding the viewer’s attention. This will also help to keep the file size of your video down, which is important, as large files can mean that viewers have to wait longer for a video to load. The worst thing you can do is lose viewers because of slow loading times.
Use the first few seconds wisely: Start your video with something attention grabbing, so that when people scroll through their social feed, your video will quickly pique their interest.
Top tip: Consider showing someone using your product in the first few seconds.
Consider using subtitles to tell your story: A very practical point to consider when creating video content is sound. Whether your video needs audio or not, subtitles ensure people can still follow the video if they don’t have the sound turned on. Videos often auto-play on mute, and not everyone will activate the sound, so simple captions help you effectively tell your story.
Think about the different ways to engage your audience: When it comes to video, the options are endless, but as always, keep it relevant to your business and product experience. People are more likely to pay attention to content that’s relevant to their interests, so think about what they’d actually want to see. For example, to tease a new product or service, you could interview the people involved in its creation, including yourself.

Here are a few ideas for creating your own videos

  • “How to” videos that are related to your business (e.g. a restaurant might share a video on “How to prepare a lobster”, a tailor may share “How to tie a bowtie”)
  • “A day in the life of…” video that provides behind-the-scenes access to your team and gives customers an insight into how your business works
  • “AMA” (Ask me anything) − give your audience the opportunity to ask you questions, and share your responses through a video

Let's recap
Lesson Overview
  • Visual content on social media can be much more effective than text alone as it is more likely to grab people’s attention and be shared
  • Creating great visual content doesn’t need to be expensive, it can be done well using just your smartphone
  • Always look for natural light when capturing images or video
  • Composition is key − good framing and balance can make your image eye-catching
  • Keep your videos short and make sure the first few seconds really make an impact


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