The term “visual storytelling” is being thrown about by marketers quite a bit lately, but what exactly is it? And how can you benefit from it?

Humans innately learn best with images and words simultaneously. This is often referred to as something called “visual language”. Visual language is elements which represent concepts in a spatial context. Basically, that means images are easier for our minds to understand. Visual storytelling plays right to this innate preference.

Statistics have shown that almost 60% of executives will watch a video online as opposed to reading, when given the choice. It’s important to keep these things in mind when you’re initiating your digital marketing strategies.

Storytelling allows you to create an emotional connection with your audience. And emotion is key. The decisions we make – from deciding what to watch through to making a purchase – are usually emotional, so using stories can be a powerful tool.

There are people who just don’t like reading. What’s more, there are people who just prefer to watch videos or look at pictures – which is fair enough given the amount of reading we do online every day! With that in mind, I thank you for taking the time to read this post!

Of course your marketing should be targeted specifically towards your target audience, but there’s no doubt that online, there is a trend towards visual storytelling. What’s more, it’s emerging as an effective marketing technique, thanks to some specific social networks. Here are a few things any business can do, even if you think that your company isn’t the most visual.

Make videos

Video interviews, product demos, explainer videos and animations are all great video fodder. Just about any company can put together a 30 second video that will provide an excellent alternative to reading. And you’ll get more information across in less time – according to Forrester Research, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words!

Get on Instagram

Set up an Instagram account and take behind the scenes office pictures or document events. Whether it’s a training day, office party, a team away day or just someone’s a birthday. Instagram is an easy and a fun visual addition to marketing. It gives potential clients the chance to see a personal side of your organisation and shows the competition what they’re up against.

Make Infographics

Infographics are fun representations of data. They make statistics and information easy to digest and can be a colourful way to liven up monthly reports. They’re also highly shareable – the social web just adores an infographic.

Reuse old content

If you have old whitepapers, logos, pictures from around the office or long forgotten training videos, these could all be revived to make for some great nostalgic content. With sites like Slideshare, and you can make great visual representations of your old content, with the bare minimum of effort!

Use Pinterest

Pinterest can be an excellent way to tie all of these visual elements together. The latest social networking craze, this site has been a revelation for online retailers. Immensely popular with women, the social bookmarking tool allows people to “pin” images to different “boards”. You can create your own boards full of images specific to your company. This could be combinations of your Instagram pictures, infographics, your recycled content, stills from your web videos.. the sky’s the limit! And all of these can contain direct links back to your website. That’s just one of the reasons why Pinterest is right behind Facebook as the second most influential social network and number one for website referrals.

These are just some of the ways that you can add visual elements into your marketing. They will enable you to tell the story of your brand in an interesting and unusual way, giving you the potential to reconnect with your existing demographic and reach out to others.

What visual elements do you use in your marketing? Leave a comment and let me know whether you’ve found visual storytelling useful in your marketing.

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