Last week began rather astonishingly when I saw this headline:
There it was in all its Facebook glory (on Mashable) that 50% of Consumers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More Than Its Website. Good grief!
If you’ve poured money, blood, sweat and (often) tears over getting your website just right, this would seem a discouraging finding.
I delved further.
Okay, sure, lots of consumers like the brand pages on Facebook so they can get some kind of deal. But 50% of respondents in this survey said brands’ Facebook pages are more useful than their websites.
What does this mean? What exactly is “useful” to the consumer? Let’s look at the positive notes:
- If you have an active and engaging brand/fan page on Facebook, it’s likely doing its marketing job of building and maintaining customer loyalty as well as spreading the word to prospective clients.
- Facebook is an easy place to let your customers know about current events and changes at your business – quick communication.
- The number of customers devoting more attention to brand pages on Facebook has only increased over time. The likelihood this platform will support your marketing strategy only goes up and up!
On the downside:
- If you’re not using Facebook to attract prospects, you may be losing out on a segment of your market. HubSpot also reported this week that “67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer from Facebook.”
- Successful engagement of customers on Facebook is becoming increasingly sophisticated to execute. For example, Salesforce Buddy Media reported, “Posts with 80 characters or less receive 23% higher interaction than longer posts. Brands are not, however, creating posts at the optimum length, as more than 75% of all posts contain more than 80 characters, which negatively affects interaction.”
- From the same report: “Photo posts receive interaction rates 39% higher than average. Status updates, which contain only text, see interaction rates 12% higher than average, while posts with links or videos drive fewer likes, comments and shares than average.” That means if you’ve been linking to a lot of outside pages but not been using photos, you’re may not be reaching a large segment of your audience.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but the link imports the outside page’s featured photo from the page I mention. Doesn’t that count?”
Use Photos to Build Your Brand, Credibility and More
What if I could show you a fast and easy way to better engage and grow your fans on Facebook as well as build your brand on your own website?
What if you’re still not interested in including Facebook as part of your marketing strategy? What’s the takeaway to improve your business and client engagement?
Use more photos. Everywhere!
Put them on your blog site, but don’t just throw them willy-nilly about!
(Sorry, I couldn’t help the Seussian inflection!)
It’s easier than you think to crank up your use of photos.
First, expand your definition of photos. You needn’t restrict yourself to just your own product photos. Images that grab viewers’ attention can include:
- Thank Yous
- Product or Service Tips
- Core Business Values or Philosophy
- Famous Quotes
- Your Own Quotes
- Seasonal Promotions
- Sale Announcements
- Lists (e.g. Letterman’s Top Ten)
- Stories Told in Frames (like comics/graphic novels)
- Collages of customers
- Collages of products in use
- Collages telling a story
Second, from this list determine what types of images best serve customer engagement. Variety is an important ingredient to maintain customer loyalty. Perceived freshness by using a wide variety of image types keeps them remembering you and not unliking your page. You may determine that a mix of half a dozen categories from the above list provides a good balance for your company.
You may have noticed that quotations set to photos or images often garner a great deal of Sharing and Comments on Facebook as do special promotions and offers.If you previously offered fan special deals, quizzes or contests primarily via a Status Update, now is the time to move your game up. Place your text with the offer into an image for greater response instead of merely typing the text in the Status Update box.
Most importantly, reinforce consistent branding by duplicating the image on your website as well. This image may belong on a specific landing page, or it may accompany a blog post. Large images give your fans a place rest their eyes away from lengthy (or even not too lengthy) text on a webpage.
Third, duplicate these images across your other platforms to reach your audiences. Twitter provides a great medium to show off pictures through links in a tweet. Link your website image to an update in LinkedIn or Pinterest to convey the same message on another platform.
How to Create Professional Images Quickly and Easily
By now your mind may be whirling with creative ideas for your brand: A collage of satisfied customers showing off their new pedicures; a series of quotes from famous financial managers with wise tips for your financially savvy clientele; or perhaps a big, graphic “Thank You” to some volunteers at a recent event you held for clients.
How do you produce these images without violating image copyright laws? Where do you find royalty-free backgrounds? How do you figure out the best font, point size and colors?
I could say, “Send them all to me! I do this for a living!” (Shameless plug inserted here.) But actually that’s not a practical solution when you run across the perfect quote or idea you want to blast out to your audience right away, is it?
Thankfully, I’ve found several online solutions that permit you to either add custom text to an existing image or upload your own image and add text.
It took me less than a minute to create the quote image below at Quozio.com. Simply type in (or paste in) your quote, attribution and choose the background image you wish to use. After you finalize your choices, simply right-click and select Save Picture As…to save it to your computer or other storage device. It even has a bookmarklet to add to your toolbar for easy generation.
From there you can simply upload your quote image to your website, Facebook fan page, Pinterest and so on. It can all be quite painless and very speedy!
Building a Portfolio of Company Brand Images
Many online photo editing sites specialize in specific themes: food, science fiction, humor, children, inspiration, animals, technology…. Review all your options before you begin building a portfolio of images for your brand. A well-edited collection will send a strong and clear message to your target audience.
Other quote-driven image sites you can try out include ShareAsImage.com (formerly Pin-a-Quote) which provides a fast way to create an image from any website’s text in moments. Choose the font (paid version), colors, background and post it.
Others I am less familiar with include MyQuoty.com, QuotePictures.net, Quickmeme, Memebase and Meme Generator, for which you must select a background image in their catalog and proceed from there adding text. Not all sites provide the ability to save the finished image to your storage device. Some of them post the image directly to a social media site.
While the above sites may have the advantage of speed generation due to the limited theme or font choices, you should bear in mind that you don’t really own the finished product—even if it fits your needs perfectly. And in the case of the memes and borrowed backgrounds, you should consider whether or not your finished image is truly advancing your brand.
- Did you use your company colors to extend the brand styling?
- Did you use your company’s font or a close approximation to match literature materials?
If you cannot adequately brand your message through these sites, I recommend PicMonkey as the best alternative. PicMonkey has a wide range of editing alternatives (and it’s free!) You can create collages in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and layouts. You may upload your own images and overlay your quotes with ease. Adjust and correct photo flaws from red-eye to color. Posterize an image. Add a variety of frames or drop shadows and rough-hewn edges.
I created most of the image at the top of this article using PicMonkey. (Full disclosure: I created the base image with my logo aligned center bottom in Photoshop. Then I uploaded it and applied the shadow effects around the perimeter, the scalloped edging and added the text.) Upon completing an image it can be flattened and saved to your hard drive to upload at your discretion to any location.
I also created the collage below in two minutes at PicMonkey, resizing, repositioning and adjusting the photos several times. Imagine what you could do to create a collage of product images or how-to tips.
Pictured quotes get higher visibility online, build credibility with prospects and can help build your brand when incorporated with a complete branding strategy. Attractive images pull eyeballs as the brain interprets a photo (even one with text!) as easier to process than a bunch of words.
What content are you setting to images that is improving your fan and prospect engagement?