Offer Some Eye Candy to Get the Attention You Want

How To Offer Some Eye Candy to Get the Attention You Want by @EliseRedemann.
from University Alliance.

There’s no denying that humans are visual creatures. In fact, human beings were telling stories with pictures on cave walls before language was ever invented. So it should come as no surprise that society has come full circle and placed a great emphasis once again on imagery.

More and more businesses, including hotels, are catching on to the fact that audiences typically engage more with images than with large chunks of text. These photos tend to garner more followers on social networks, and more followers usually mean more customers.

Yeah, But Do Photos Have the Power to Drive Website Traffic?

At this point it’s fairly common knowledge that imagery creates more engagement on social networking sites like Facebook and Pinterest. But how good are pictures at driving traffic to a website, which is a fundamental objective of any online business?

Hubspot, the inbound marketing software company, analyzed the effects of image marketing by looking at results from their own Facebook account. Looking at posts created in October 2012, they found that the posts with photos received an 84% higher click through rate to their website than contextual links. The study suggests that businesses that incorporate more imagery into their marketing strategy can increase traffic to their websites, provided they remember to include links within the photos.

More Likes, Followers and Reviews When Using Photos

When social media first came on the scene, it was much easier to entice followers to engage with a brand’s message. But with the onslaught of requests for “likes” and follows, consumers often feel bombarded online and have become much more selective about who they engage with.

Using photos on these networking sites is a great way for companies to stand out and connect with an audience. The Seven Hotel in Paris has attracted over 44,000 Facebook fans by using stunning imagery of their small hotel. These images help tell the story of the experience of staying at Seven. Should any of those 44,000 fans plan a trip to Paris in the future, there’s a very good chance they will book with the Seven Hotel.

How to use Social Media Avenues Like Instagram and Pinterest

With imagery being the new darling of social marketing, it makes sense that social sites like Instagram and Pinterest would be able to drive large amounts of targeted traffic. Pinterest is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing social networking sites online. Users are allowed to ‘Pin’ imagery in an effort to share information and tell stories, including brand stories.

Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion dollars, yes that’s billion with a “b,” has more than 15 million users currently signed up and more than 400 million photos have been uploaded. Those numbers are growing every day as a huge percentage of people with an iPhone or Android-based device uses the photo app.

As powerful as these social platforms are, the key to being successful with using them is to have a solid marketing strategy.

Here are some tips on getting the most out of Pinterest and Instagram:

Decide on Your End Goal

Every good plan has a well-defined end goal, in this case, what story is being told through imagery? It’s not enough nor will it be effective to randomly post images with hopes an audience will respond. Choose a story and make sure every post and every image helps tell that story.

Take Great Photos

It should go without saying that the quality of imagery is important. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but photos should be clear and not blurry. They must be well-lit and have a high enough resolution to avoid pixilation when resized.

Routine is Key

Imagine how successful Seinfeld would have been if one week his show was on Sunday night at 8pm, and the next week his show was on Wednesday at noon. An audience, any audience, likes routine when it comes to storytelling and social posting is no different. Establish a posting routine and stick with it. If you’ll post 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, be consistent with that and your audience will thank you.

Actively Engage Your Customers

Even in social media, one way conversations are typically less effective. It’s not enough to just post messages, conversations must take place. This means asking customers to upload their own photos of your products. And when they do, you need to monitor what has been uploaded. Sometimes customers may have had a negative experience with your brand, so it’s important that businesses monitor image uploads and respond in a helpful and positive way.

Elise Redmann writes about hotel management and hospitality for University Alliance. You can follow her @EliseRedemann.