Behold: Grab Consumer Attention With Power of Images!
Humans are visual creatures and everyday more than 1.8 billion images are uploaded and shared on the Internet. Images greatly enhance messaging and help content stand out in an oversaturated marketplace of information. In this article, you’ll learn why the following items are essential considerations when using images for marketing purposes:
Images are critical attention-getting components in a marketing mix because customers have access to more information today than ever before.
Images for your marketing purposes don’t have to be overly expensive, but it’s important to be willing to invest in a photographer or image that best fits the needs of your company.
If you are sharing images and information that is not properly researched, your brand image can suffer.
Benefits of using images
How do you grab viewers’ attention and get them to look at your content? Images provide a great way to stop viewers from continuing to scroll right past your content and onto to the content of a competitor.
Looking back at the last three months of posts on one of the Facebook pages I manage shows a significant difference in posts with images compared to posts without images. Facebook posts without photos achieved only 6.8% of the reach that posts with images received. Additionally, posts with images received more interaction than posts without images. (None of the posts were promoted or used in Facebook advertising.)
Now, there are not many people who would disagree that posting photos is more beneficial on Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter than not posting images, but there are some important things to take into consideration before roaming the Internet to find images for your web site, blog, Facebook page, or advertisements.
Considerations for utilizing images
The most important consideration when utilizing images in your content is to make sure the photographer or creator of the image is clearly mentioned (if required) and you have their consent to use the image. As a photographer, there is nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart and soul into an image only to find someone took it from your site and is using it for their content.
A few years ago I was working for a nationally touring musician. Because of this I had a Google alert set up on their name. When I was checking their publicity for the week I noticed a photo of mine that was used without my permission. The author never contacted me to get permission, and did not site me as the photographer. They completely disregarded the copyright information on the image and used it for their personal gain. When in doubt, ask for permission.
Depending on your need to utilize exclusive images for your site, you can decide to invest in stock photography, hire a photographer, or utilize open source images.
If you’re ok with not having exclusive rights to your images, you can utilize Google’s search functionality, which allows you to search for images based on their usage rights, or visit the Creative Commons to find an engaging image that fits with your content.
If exclusivity is essential to the message and goal of your content, hiring a free-lance photographer, or crowd-sourcing images can be very beneficial. Setting up a relationship with photographers can be instrumental down the road as your content and photography needs grow. If you’re looking to hire a free-lance photographer, here are some things to keep in mind.
Determine your budget, but don’t be afraid to invest in what you really want. Yes, there are a lot of people out there with a digital camera who want to make a little bit of money, but you may not get what you’re looking for. Simply taking one, good quality photograph can be very time consuming. Select a photographer who can give you want you want in the time frame you’re looking for.
Set up a detailed list of what you’re looking for and what the turn around time is.
Determine in advance how you will use the images. There is a significant difference in photographing something for a web site and photographing something for a billboard. If the photographer doesn’t know this in advance you may not get an image that can be used for a large space.
How much editing will need to be done before the images are complete? This is especially important when doing company headshots. Skin retouching, stray hair removal, and other “cosmetic” changes can take a lot of time and the photographer will bill you for that.
Make sure you know who will do the resizing of images. Do you have a graphic designer at your company that can do the resizing if the photographer cannot?
Be specific with the photographer about how the images can be used. Would you like the sole rights to the image? Can they use them for their portfolio or their advertisements? Are both parties allowed to share the images on social media? If you’re doing company headshots, will the employee be able to use the photograph for their personal use? Determining all of these uses in advance will save confusion down the road.
Good photos can be difficult to attain. If you’re taking your own photos, purchasing photos, or working with an up-and-coming free-lance photographer, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting photos.
Make sure the photos do not include logos of any kind on any aspects of the photo unless it is your company’s logo. This includes shoes, shirts, hats, or elements in the background of the photo.
Do the people in the images reflect the your company’s image? One thing a coworker told me that has stuck with me is that certain groups of people look for signs in images to try to anticipate it they’re welcome in a certain space. For example; we were putting up new signage in a building and my co-workers said that LGBT* students look at signs and advertisements to try to see if they’re accepted at a university. If every advertisement features one man and one woman, how will LGBT* students interpret that messaging?
Does the image you’re selecting have room to grow? Could the image fit into an integrated marketing communications campaign?
Research before you distribute
If you’re creating your own images, or sharing others, it’s important to make sure you’re creating and sharing the most relevant and accurate information possible. Image manipulation in the form of charts, graphs, maps, and infographs can mislead viewers, which can impact your company’s brand image. Sharing valuable content is a great way to grow your customer base, but sharing without proper research can cause customers to loose faith in your content.
If you are sharing content created by someone else, it’s important to, again, gain the permission of the creator and do a little research to make sure the content is accurate and reliable.
It’s important to understand that images such as infographics can be misleading in a variety of ways. Even if the data is sound, the visual display can be misleading and vice versa. Make sure you check the validity of the information you are sharing, even if it comes from trusted new sources or web sites.
In today’s information-packed society images can grab viewers’ attention and increase their engagement with your content. As a company, business, or organization it is important to know how to legally and ethically attain images for your marketing tactics and ensure that the content you’re sharing is as accurate as possible. If not used correctly, images can do more harm than good for your brand image. Copyright issues can significantly damage a company’s image.
When my photo was posted without my permission all of the web analytics and “exposure” from their blog post couldn’t make up for the fact that they stole my photograph. Because the company decided not to seek out my permission and would not apologize right away, I refused to let them continue using the photograph. If they had apologized and made a plan to ensure this didn’t happen in the future I would have considered letting them continue use of the photograph with proper credit.
How would you react to a blatant disregard for copyright considerations?
Image copyright: Kat Shanahan
UC Promotions Coordinator at UW-Whitewater
Kat Shanahan is the Promotions Coordinator for the James R. Connor University Center at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Kat oversees the UC Graphics & Marketing department and manages 10 IMC campaigns yearly. Additionally, Kat works heavily in branding, social media, and technology. Kat is pursuing a MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and serves a Student Ambassador/Blogger for the program. Kat also owns a small photography business focusing on event and lifestyle photography.
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