Don’t Be a Photobomb! Tips to Amp up Your Social Image Strategy from #SESCHI


Welcome back to AIMCLEAR‘s coverage of SES Chicago! Day three of SES Chicago was a visual bang – of great ideas on how to harness images to grow your business. Laura Roth, head of content, Interactive Marketing Division, Incisive Media kicked off the session by introducing Krista Neher, CEO, Boot Camp Digital. Krista explained the increasing importance of leveraging images to drive online traffic and boost your bottom line.

She shared that social images are not a trend. In fact, they’re sort of a science. The old cliché of, “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds pretty true – because your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.

Just think about these facts. Social is completely cluttered. According to Krista, the average person on Facebook has 130 friends and is connected to an additional 70 plus connections including brands, celebrities, groups, etc. And you know that most of us have larger online social circles than that.

So, if “Susan in Ohio” has 200 connections bombarding her with messages nearly every single day – that is a whole lot of processing. So why don’t we offer her a more efficient way to process that information… with an awesome image that helps convey our message faster.

People love images, explained Krista. Photos on Facebook are liked 2x as much as links, that holds true for Twitter as well. In addition, people spend more time reading blog posts with images.

The industry is starting to notice another trend. People heart real pictures much more than stock photos – they gain far more traction in social and help build more authentic connections. For example, Starbucks and lululemon have been incredibly successful at sharing real people with real products. In fact, lululemon saw a 5-7 percent increase in conversion rates as a result of user submitted photos. “People are responding to real pictures, of real things, by real people,” said Krista.

Real images have propelled the success of Instagram. It can be a little trickier to get people to share brand related images on Instagram, so give them a little incentive. Have them include hashtags of your business in simple contests by giving away free coffee, show tickets, gift cards, etc. for the best user submitted photos (the kind customer’s LOVE). Lots of people just like getting reshared by brands – that often is the best prize, and it is FREE.

The Power of Pinterest

Many brands feel Pinterest might not be relevant, but it can be just as important as Facebook, and has become the third most popular social network in the United States. It is also incredibly powerful at getting information reshared. More than 80 percent of pins on Pinterest are repins. It is a social source of content that is heavily shared. In turn, it is a great place to seed content and get traction.

You can also use Pinterest as a great resource tool by examining what your customers’ pin and reshare. Pins also have greater longevity than Tweets and Facebook posts, which tend to get buried pretty quickly – never to be seen again.

Interested in what people are pinning from your site, or even better, from your competitors? Krista shared the importance of this powerful tool and the power of Pinterest:

Check out – can you say wholly bucket loads of free advertising? You’ll also notice a big trend; people REALLY want the new Fuel Band for Christmas.


You may say, “my organization isn’t very visual.” Every business can create great visuals, explained Krista. Create quote pictures, visual stats, cartoons, drawings, photos with clever captions, infographics, short fun facts, etc. You can develop great pinboards of infographics, which make it much easier for your customers to find them in one central location. It can be easier finding them on Pinterest than by searching a blog, which pulls in all mentions of “infographic.”

That wrapped up Krista’s insightful session. Next up, the talented Cara Phillips, photo director at Federated Media. Cara was ready to share the importance of finding a visual voice to stand out in today’s photo landscape.

She started with some daunting facts:

  • 250 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook
  • 16 Billion photos have been shared on Instagram
  • Vine has more than 40 million users
  • The visual heavy Tumblr has 145 million blogs
  • An estimated 4 billion photos were taken around the globe in 2012 alone

Wow! So how does a brand have a chance to be heard through all this visual noise? Use good visuals and find your voice, explained Cara. Even though everybody loves a good metric, there is not a magic form or scientific process for proving what is “good” or “poor” visual content. However, you know it when you see it. Great photos should convey emotion, share a story and leave the viewer wanting to discover more.

It is important to have a tone of voice. All brand images should speak with the same tone; similar to the way the infliction in your voice is understood. Images should evoke emotions that resonate with your brand philosophy – that is best done be sharing human experiences.

Have a consistent visual strategy. It is important to share similar interests throughout all of your social platforms and to have a unified overall theme with one look and one style. For example, Urban Outfitters uses the same filter on every Instagram photo.

Cara explained that it is very important to know your platform and where your photos will work best. Before investing in a new photo driven social media campaign, find out what has worked for other brands and especially what has worked well for others in your industry.


She wrapped up her presentation by sharing an important factoid that should get you moving on your social strategy. A 2012 report by ROI Research found that 44 percent of respondents were more likely to engage with a brand that posted pictures on their social media channels rather than any other type of content.

That means you need to get out there and start posting fantastic images, but remember all these helpful tips before you hit “post.” That completes my coverage of SES Chicago. Stay tuned for additional highlights from the AIMCLEAR team!

photo credit: © artur marciniec – fotolia(dot)com
Feature image: Flickr toritoons

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