5 Ways Small Businesses Can Increase Facebook Engagement With Visual Media

There’s a reason Instagram is so popular: the mobile-only app focuses exclusively on sharing images and videos. As one of the fastest growing social networks with over 400 million active users, Facebook clearly saw Instagram’s value back in 2012 when it purchased the company for $1 Billion. In fact, a whopping 2 billion photos are shared daily across Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, according to Facebook’s 2015 earnings call. Add Facebook’s whopping 8 Billion video views a day to the mix and it’s obvious how important visual content is for marketers. Visual content–both images and videos–get the highest organic reach on Facebook and is set to be even bigger in 2016. Marketers would do well to plan out a solid editorial calendar, with photos and video driving their message. Here’s how to win eyeballs, clicks, shares, and reactions on Facebook:

5 ways to stand out with images and videos

  1. Fit in – Include everyday people, especially women, in your ads. Social advertising agency, Consumer Acquisition, conducted a study of over 100,000 Facebook ads and discovered that the best performing ads included images of women—Not super models or highly edited perfect women, but rather, regular women that we might see in our news feed as shared by any of our friends. While images should be enticing, they needn’t be overly professional. In fact, it’s better to seem as human and delightfully imperfect as anyone in your feed sharing what’s important to them. Adding text over images can help get your message across in the blink of an eye
  2. Get creative – It might be tempting to push your product or service, using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as free advertising platforms, but you’ll see more engagement on your posts if you reduce how much you “sell” to your audience. Instead, your social pages should be extensions of your brand, in which you promote a certain kind of lifestyle, and naturally integrate your product or service as an answer to living that lifestyle. Think about who your customer is: What do they like? What’s important to them? What kind of image do they want to project online? Have a specific vision of who your customer is and then post visual content that speaks to their interests. When it comes time to promote your business (about once out of every five posts), your audience will feel like they know and trust you. Businesses that get it right across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter include Jetsetter, Callaway Golf and Lowe’s Home Improvement.
  3. Tell stories – I often get asked how a business that is seen as “boring” can possibly come up with engaging content on Facebook. Believe it or not, it’s easier than you might think. Create short videos that tell a story, ideally with an emotional, human element. Get together with your team and come up with all manner of stories that illustrate your company, its founders, the team, your brand, what your stand for, your company culture, and more. Spotlight customers – tell their stories. A great example is this Kleenex® video featuring a heartwarming story about an elementary school custodian who receives a surprise burst of love and gratitude from the staff and students. (You may indeed need to reach for a Kleenex®!) If you can include emotional elements in your video stories, you’ll draw your audience in even more.
  4. Crowd source – get your customers to submit their photos and videos by providing incentives, such as a chance to win something. Or, interview them on Skype, Google Hangout or Blab. Don’t be afraid to ask what they love about your company and its products and services. Of course, you want to select positive experiences and highlight these on your social channels.
  5. Caption your video content –  I strongly recommend adding captions to the bottom of your video throughout or to highlight key points. Given videos on Facebook automatically play without sound, you want to draw your viewers in within the first few seconds. In fact, you would do well to create your video content that would make total sense to anyone who watched with no sound at all. Many content producers post videos with just background music and let the captions do the work of telling the story.

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Facebook hired Mari to teach at the 2015 Boost Your Business series of live events.