Role of Photographs in BusinessesInstagram was born out of Stanford-graduate Kevin Systrom’s passion for photography and knack for coding. Within 9 months of its launch it had 7 million users. Today it boasts over 300 million users, and the word ‘instagram’ has become a verb on its own. Its instant success and continuous growth can be attributed to the application’s simplicity, ease of use, and most importantly, medium of social sharing: photographs.

The hackneyed saying, ‘a picture is worth a million words,’ has science to back it up. The human brain can interpret images 60,000 times faster than text. This means that pictures can tell full stories and tell them fast. That’s why when we first learn to read we use picture books, and even today as we read news and magazine articles, we are attracted to the ones with the most pictures or media. Moral of the story: pictures are crucial. Today, it’s not enough to explain your business, product, or brand via text. You need images to support your message.

In case you need some more convincing, here are some statistics from to show you the power of pictures:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • Posts with photos attached to them generate up to 180% more engagement than those that do not

So how do you integrate photographs, or visual storytelling, into your marketing plan? The first thing to consider is what photographs to post. This depends on what you are trying to achieve through the visual. Are you growing consumer attention? Informing users on your products or services? Normalizing the use of your product or service? All three?

When attracting more attention to your products and brand, post visuals that are shareable so that your customers can help you reach out to a wide array of people. Shareable posts can be informative, practical, humorous, or have a reward connected to sharing the content. To inform the public on your product, focus on simplicity and differentiation. It shouldn’t be difficult for the average person to figure out what your product is and what it does. If you can clearly deliver why your product is different, you are steps ahead of your competition. Lastly, it’s important to show people how your product or service can apply to their lives. Post images of people using your product. You can combine this with the shareability aspect by having a social media contest; Ask your current customers to post an image of themselves using your product with a unique hashtag to enter a competition to win exclusive products or discounts.

As we are in an era of infobesity–being inundated by information, photographs, and videos everywhere–quality and content matters now more than ever. Make sure that all photos that you post are high-resolution. A blurry image is an instant turn-off for modern media consumers.

The next question is when and where to post images. In a general sense, the answer is all the time and everywhere, within reason. Images should be integrated in your company’s website, blog, social media accounts, and physical displays such as posters and flyers. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, says to continuously seek ‘content moments.’ She says that it’s no longer enough to have a professional photographer to capture high-quality images in a planned setting. “Take active photos that show real customers or staffers doing real things–as opposed to staged shots or logos.” she says. The current era of consumers appreciate authenticity over everything. By making photographs part of your business plan, you can capture and retain more customers than ever before!