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Social Media Evaluation: Show Don’t Tell

Social Media Evaluation: Show Don’t Tell image iStock 000006855981XSmall.jpgThere’s a scene that appears somewhere in every action movie. The hero has just escaped an attack by his enemies, with the help of a disenfranchised employee of the villain who becomes his sidekick. Just after the escape, they’re in a car or a motel room and the hero’s new comrade, usually a scientist, explains the villain’s plan in explicit detail. Usually in more detail than you’d imagine a minor minion would have.

There’s one word that screams in the mind of anyone who’s studied screenwriting when they watch that scene, exposition. When you’re told how to write stories for the screen there’s a basic rule about expositional dialogue, avoid it at all costs. Film is a visual medium so there’s no need to tell the audience the story, you should be able to show them. You don’t have the sidekick or the villain tell the audience about the nuclear bombs under the tropical island; you show them instead.

Social media is a visual medium and as social media marketers, we’re storytellers too. We build brand awareness and brand identity by telling the story of the brand, the story of the product and engaging in the stories of the brand’s customers. When you tell the story too much, your motives can become too obvious. Especially in a medium where people prefer to be shown the story.

Social Media Users Prefer Visual Posts

A recent social media evaluation by SimplyMeasured demonstrates users’ desire to be shown the story rather than told it. According to the figures, photo updates are liked twice as often as text updates, while videos are shared twelve times more often than links and text posts combined. It’s clear from these figures that people are more engaged by visuals than text. So how do you show your brand’s story?

This requires some social media evaluation of your own. The main question should be; how do you use images and video in your social media? Do they illustrate the message, or just provide a backdrop? When you’re tweeting about an event or posting a Facebook update do you include a picture or a video?

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The key is to use the tools you have at your disposal. Cameras are everywhere these days, on phones, tablets, laptops etc. So even if you don’t have a professional photographer on hand, you always have a camera. Social media is a visual medium, so don’t just tell the story, show it.

Show Your Social Media Story through Visual Media

When we talk about social media evaluation, we’re not just talking about evaluating the social channels you’re currently using. It’s also about evaluating which social channels you should be using. If you’re looking at improving the visual side of your social media marketing, you need to consider areas like Pinterest and Instagram. These sites are designed specifically around visuals; creating compelling images will generate engagement and interest in your brand.

SimplyMeasured’s figures provide strong reasons to get involved in both channels. Instagram is growing at a faster rate than Facebook did; it gained 10 million users in 10 days April when the app was released on Android. Meanwhile, photo and video posts on Pinterest are referring more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Google+.

We started out this post talking about movies, so we’ll finish on a topic we’ve talked about before in relation to video and social media evaluation, YouTube. YouTube is growing in the eyes of a lot of brands, but is still viewed with a lot of skepticism. These figures state that 100 million users, per week, take a social action on YouTube. That’s a market that can’t be ignored.

Any social media evaluation can be subjective. It’s too simplistic to assume these figures mean using images will lead to automatic success. How you use images will be key to turning this social media evaluation into real results. Our advice is simple; don’t just tell your audience the story, show it to them.

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