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PubCon 2014: Part II: Maximizing the Power of the Visual

Color PreferenceIn Part II of our Pubcon 2014 coverage, we explore the power of visuals. A key but underutilized marketing tool in social media is the visual. If you want your content to be shared and commented on, as Krista Neher elaborated in her PubCon 2014 presentation, you absolutely need a comprehensive image strategy. The human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than text. Colors influence attitudes, memories, behaviors and emotions. Babies learn to recognize and react to images years before they learn to read. The visual proclivity of the human race is well-known, well-documented, the world over…so why aren’t you using it to grow your business?

Ask any interior decorator and they’ll tell you paint your dining room red to promote appetite and conversation, your bedrooms green to maximize tranquility and health, your kitchen yellow to create energy, brighten the room, and increase the body’s metabolism. Colors have a powerful effect. So what colors should you be using? It depends on your message. Here are some of the most widely used colors, where they fall on the color hierarchy, and some of their most common associations.

Blue -The universal favorite color. Blue is at the top of the color preference hierarchy, and has the following associations: calm, security, pleasant, relaxing, wealth and trust.

Red – Second in the color preference hierarchy. Common associations with red are: heat, power, passion, emotion, danger and sex.

Green – Third in the color preference hierarchy. Green is most commonly associated with: ecology, nature, tranquility, beauty, high status and gentleness.

Yellow – The absolute last in the color hierarchy (violet finishing fourth and orange fifth). The polarization of yellow’s most common associations may be what make it the least popular: warm, active, stimulating, sunshine, wariness and hazard.

Black – Not ranked on the hierarchy but worth noting, black is most commonly associated with: dark, formal, prosperity, aggression, death and staleness.

Next, let’s discuss maximizing the effect of images in promoting your business or product. Being aware of a few small details can make a huge impact with your audience.

• Happy images and those of material symbols of success are extremely effective on an emotional level with your audience.
• Minute details like the direction the people in your images are facing can have a subtle but substantial effect on your targets. Your image subjects should be facing the deal to get the most impact.
• Remember your color associations, discussed above, and employ them to your advantage.
• Keep it fresh and new. Regularly update your website with dynamic, exciting images. Today’s audience bores easily, so find ways to hold their attention.

A major trend in social media is to utilize user generated images. Using stock photos is no longer acceptable, and can actually erode trust in your brand and bore your followers into seeking what they perceive as honesty and innovation elsewhere. The most effective images are those that are or look user-generated. Starbucks is a wonderful example of a brand that has had great success with this. REAL photos of REAL things taken by REAL people have a HUGE impact on engagement and interaction. The industry is seeing a 5 to 7 percent increase in conversion rates after consumers interact with real people’s photos, a two to three times higher conversion rate. 78 percent people trust recommendations from others, as opposed to only 14 percent who trust advertisements. As discussed in Part One, audiences are looking for social proof of whatever you’re promising. User-generated photos are perhaps one of the most effective tools at your disposal. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, as the old adage goes.

There’s no excuse not to begin building a user-generated internal image library anymore. In social media, it’s becoming easier than ever before to get user-generated images, direct from your consumers, to promote your brand. Hold photo contests and ask your audience to share photos of your products for the chance to win a prize or see their photos on your page or in your promotional materials. Ask them to tag you on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook and then really cement their loyalty by interacting with them. Specify a hash tag, giving you their permission to use their photos, and use it as well to internally track the impact your contest or promotion is having. Be viewed as interactive and responsive, increases your following and impact, and saves money at the same time by transitioning from stock photos to user-generated.

By developing an image strategy, and integrating the above ideas and concepts, your brand can better utilize colors and images for a far greater positive effect on the bottom line.