Gone are the days when businesses would depend on newspapers, flyers, and other print materials to get the word out there. Times have changed. We now live in the digital marketing era where businesses take to social media sites and online communities to promote brand awareness and connect with a wide audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is through content marketing.

The problem with that is that as businesses are realizing the power of marketing online, the number of content being generated each day is constantly exceeding what we could consume. The challenge of marketing online is tougher than ever as the online space is becoming more and more crowded. It is essential for businesses to keep finding ways to stand out from the competition and avoid drowning in the vast pool of online content.

So how do you catch an online user’s attention amidst the crowded online space? I’ve got two words for you: visual content. Considering 90% of the information that comes to the brain is visual and the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, you are more likely to engage a user scrolling mindlessly content after content if you use visuals than you would with text.

According to Kissmetrics, the 6 types of visual content that will help you create a successful marketing campaign are images, videos, infographics, memes, presentations, and screenshots. Here are a few tips on how you can leverage visual content in your marketing strategy.

Involve your audience

Encouraging fans to create and share visual content is a tested and proven way to get the word out quickly and organically by a number of brands. What better way to engage your audience than by giving them a chance to contribute to your content? You don’t have to rely on posting your own content all the time. User-generated content will give a fresh look to your feed every now and then. Plus, when you feature submitted content, the person who submitted it is likely to share your post, expanding your audience to that person’s friends or followers.

Photo contests are an even better way to build excitement. Encourage users to share photos of them using your product using a specified hashtag and choose a winner randomly. The prize doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or monetary in nature. The value of showcasing their creativity and winning something for it is more than what money could offer.


The best thing about photo contests is that it benefits both you and the participants. They are given an opportunity to win, and the word of mouth it generates through hashtags and shares allows you to boost your visibility online and eventually increase your sales.

Take for example Oreo. Though already a popular brand, they continued to entertain fans when they successfully leveraged user-generated visual content in their “Cookie vs. Crème” campaign. They asked fans to post a random photo on Instagram with their preferred element (cookies or cream) and the hashtag #cookiethis/#cremethis as a caption. Out of all those photos, they chose random submissions and recreated them in the medium of Oreo.

This campaign is only one in many times Oreo has won (and keep winning) over crowds in the online community. Businesses and marketers could all learn a thing or two from Oreo when it comes to using visual content in social media engagement.

Consistency is key

By the time you’ve reached this point in the article, 55,556 blog posts would’ve been posted and 1,368,956 posts would’ve been shared in the online space. With that much information online users come across each day, it’s likely they’d forget anything they’ve seen you post online in seconds. This is why it’s crucial that you develop your own style that would differentiate you from the competition and make customers easily associate your content with your brand when they see it anywhere online.


Consistency doesn’t mean reusing the same template over and over again. It means maintaining a signature style and brand identity your fans will easily recognize. They should be able to see your content anywhere online and immediately know it’s yours. Use it in designing your website and in the visual content you post. You can start by deciding which color palette, font, layout, or design you will be using in your visual content.

It might be helpful to develop a visual style guide especially if you have other people designing for you. This will maintain uniformity in all your materials and help you describe what to avoid and how exactly you want your style to be. If your signature style is used consistently, with enough exposure, even new audiences will easily recognize and recall your brand.

Turn complex information into something simple and interesting

The internet is abundant with “how-to” articles and other information free for anyone to consume. While long-worded articles are helpful for anyone needing extensive information about a certain topic, it isn’t exactly convenient for anyone just looking to grasp the concept or needing a quick answer. Wordy, information-rich articles may be valuable, but they’re not exactly shareable. A study found that 48% of Facebook users share content that are entertaining and that their friends will find interesting.

JuralMin / Pixabay

While businesses and marketers genuinely want to help users by providing useful online content, their real aim is still to promote their brand. That’s why they need to reach a wide audience through likes and shares on social media. Through the use of infographics, you can do both. You can provide users with important information that are still shareable in social media. In fact, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content.

Turning what would’ve been a 2,500-word article into an infographic will allow you to convey information in a more efficient manner. It’s still the same information, just more understandable and less complicated. A sea of text posts is easily overlooked, and images are more likely to grab online users’ attention. Not only are you delivering relevant information to the audience, you are also demonstrating your expertise with your research backed with concrete data and facts, establishing your credibility in the online community in the process.

Awaken emotions

Tapping into online users’ emotions is easily the best way to inspire trust and loyalty, and the most effective way to spark emotions is through visual content. Apparently, the brain is set up in a way that visual stimuli and emotional response is easily linked, and together the two form memories. Images evoke more emotion than words ever can and they tell a more powerful story than you could with a worded content.

Whether it’s a positive or negative emotion an image invokes, it will still leave a powerful impression on the user and help build a long-term relationship with your brand. Memes, or images accompanied with funny captions, are popular among millennials. Creating your own can help you attract their attention. It evokes positive emotions and will help your brand become relatable to a younger audience. Just make sure it’s appropriate for your niche.


If you’ve hung around social media long enough, you might have noticed the affinity of online users to all things adorable and cute. There’s actually a scientific explanation behind that. Research conducted on the human brain revealed that the Nucleus Accumbens, a pleasure center also activated by drugs, releases dopamine when we see cute pictures. Cute content sells. It makes people happy and urges them to share the content and the happiness with other people. Many businesses are using images of cute babies and animals to promote their business or sell their products and maybe you should, too.

Images alone can trigger all sorts of emotions, but sometimes, paired with a good story, it can invoke an even more powerful feeling of sadness, joy, or anger. That’s exactly what Humans of New York (HONY) succeeded in doing. HONY initially started as a project that aimed to photograph all residents of New York City. However, it became popular because of the captions–stories of New Yorkers as they rejoiced and struggled through life. The inspiring, funny, and sad stories complemented with powerful photographs successfully kept followers engaged and helped it gain popularity all over the globe.


The world is becoming more and more connected as the number of mobile phone users is progressively increasing every year. Businesses are taking advantage of this and reaching out to customers in the way that works best today–through online platforms. As the competition continues to grow tougher in the online market, many businesses ride in the bandwagon of whatever new trend emerges in order to avoid getting left behind. One of the popular trends among marketers today is visual content marketing. Visual content, when used wisely, can be a powerful tool in attracting a wide audience.

While visual content marketing is not a new concept and it’s something many other businesses have been banking on for a while, it’s still up to how you implement your strategy. As long as you involve your audience, stay consistent with your style, provide valuable material, and remain relatable to your audience, your visual content should bring you the social media engagement you need to help you achieve success over the online community.

In what other ways do you think visual content can help in your online marketing strategy?