The other day at the airport, I was browsing the magazine rack and was instantly drawn to the gorgeous cover photos and the inspiring images inside each of the different magazines. It made me want to change my flight and escape to an exotic locale.
Then as I was in the gatehouse scanning my social feeds, I realized I was drawn to some posts over others for some of the same reasons as when I was flipping through magazines.
Are you like me when you pick up a magazine or read an on-line article? Do you scan the title, look at the photos and read the captions? Then, after all that, do you read the opening lines?
You’re not alone. I’ll bet your clients are doing the same thing with your content. Every day over 200,000 million photos are uploaded to Facebook. Each minute 216,000 photos are shared on Instagram. Some sources say we see over 5,000 ads each and every day.
Is it still worth 1,000 words?
The old adage that a photo is worth 1,000 words has been proven again and again. Yet, how well are you using visuals in your marketing? Are you getting your 1,000 word impact?
Social marketing is perfect for bringing your photos and graphics into the limelight. Consider the popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr: Pinterest was the fastest growing social site in 2014 with more than 97% growth in active users. This brings their total audience to 72.8 million users, of which 85% are women.
Meanwhile, Instagram added 47% more active users to their roster for a total of 300 million users, 75 million who visit daily.
Flickr is a bit more mysterious as they keep their stats pretty quiet. Through some digging, it appears they have 112 million users. Research is also showing that images on Facebook bring 104% more engagement. Snapchat is engaging a young demographic and now some industry leaders are taking note. Check out these cool examples of how our industry is starting to embrace Snapchat.
Let’s go back to that magazine rack and online story. What grabs your attention as you’re scrolling through your own social timelines? Images? Video? Photos of people? Do the images inspire you to travel? I find myself drawn to images of exotic destinations or quirky attractions.
Photos and graphic images always tell your story better and involve the emotions of vision. Maximizing their impact can be as easy as using filters or adding text, or it can be as involved as increasing your budget to produce higher quality images, or even rely more on user-generated content for an authentic view.
How well is your company focusing on visuals? Here are some popular tools to help your images stand out.
What’s worth 1.8 million words?
While YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the Internet, it’s been said that 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. WOW! That makes the still photo look absolutely antique.
Travel and tourism companies are embracing live video streaming sites like Periscope and Meerkat. In our industry, the opportunity to have real-time video interaction at events and festivals is intriguing. While the user base is growing, the race is on to see which one is most popular. Right now, it appears that, according to current data, Periscope is leading Meerkat by nearly half a percentage point in terms of monthly active users on iOS.
Video is predicted to account for an unprecedented 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018.
Facebook has changed their algorithm to rank native video more highly, thereby showing this type of video to more viewers. I’m finding that video posts receive about 3 times more organic reach, while video ads receive 5-6 times the reach of non-video ads.
Speaking of ads, Pinterest has recently added video-like ads to their platform. Users can already create video pins with select video formats (Slide Share, Vimeo, You Tube).
Instagram and Vine make the most of short form video. Imagine telling a story in 6 to 15 seconds. Here are some best practices for our industry.
Visual options and opportunities
As you ponder where you want to focus your visual marketing efforts there are a wide range of options for you.
- Enhanced & filtered photos
- Photo quotes
- User-generated content
- Instant photos via Snapchat
- Video; short and long form
- Video showcases of still photos; Animoto and Flip A Gram are examples
- Live streaming video; Periscope and Meerkat are examples
The opportunities to market visually continue to grow. The future will focus on better ways to tell our travel marketing stories in even more succinct and authentic ways. I’ll bet that before my next flight, a new social marketing opportunity is born.
Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing & communication for the travel and tourism industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at www.cmsspeaking.com and socially.
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