Every picture tells a story
If there’s one thing that’s constant in social media, is that it’s constantly changing. And one of my favorite changes are the new profile design layouts.
Have you noticed that these new social site layouts are giving you more opportunities for promoting your businesses? Even the new Twitter design expanded their header graphic to give you more space to market your companies.
As small business owners, we should take advantage of this opportunity for the added marketing space.
I realize that it’s easy to just throw up your company’s logo and check that social update off your list. But have you thought about using images in that cover artwork or header area?
Think about it this way: Marketing is about communicating messages out to your audience. And one of the best ways to easily share your message is through images.
Using creative images in your social media profiles can tell your company’s story in a more in-depth way than just uploading your logo into your Twitter headline area.
Where do you start?
The first place to start is to get the latest social media image sizes for your social sites. Unfortunately, there are some sites like Pinterest and Instagram where the only image available to you is a profile picture.
Hopefully, one day those sites will do a redesign for our profile areas and we’ll be able to use these image ideas for marketing our businesses.
But for now, here’s the list of social sites where you can customize your promotional image space:
Facebook: Cover artwork photo is 851 x 315
Twitter: New Header size is 1500 x 500
LinkedIn: New Header size is 1400 x 425 (THIS just launched for free accounts!)
Google+: Cover artwork photo is 2120 x 1192
YouTube: Header artwork size is 2560 x 1224 (this is the total space, you’ll have to play with the safe area)
Making Your Visual Marketing Stuff
Creating marketing images for your small business doesn’t mean you have to be a graphic designer. Or that you need to spend money every month to get someone to change out the graphics in your Facebook fan page cover artwork.
If you learn anything from this post to help you design your own creative images, it’s these two words: Picmonkey collage.
Picmonkey is my favorite FREE image designing tool! Just pull up Picmonkey’s site and then click the Collage button. It’ll ask you for an image to open up the program so pull up an image that you have in your computer files.
By clicking on the Open Photos area, you’ll also be able to upload images (including your logo) you want to use for your marketing message:
Then click the Layouts button to select your layout design. I find that using the FB Cover layout works best. It’s already sized for the exact size for my Facebook cover artwork.
And if I want to use the image for another social site, I can just size it based on the image sizes that I listed above.
Now you just click and drag your images over to layout and arrange them in whatever order you like.
You can also add in color backgrounds, textures and the button that looks like a painter’s tool, allows you to change the spacing or round the corners for your images.
Once you’re happy with the layout of your images, click the edit button and you can move your collage into the main Picmonkey editor to add in some text like your website address.
Just be sure that you’re cool with your design because once you pull it into the editor, you can’t go back to the collage section to make any changes.
3 Creative Ideas for Visual Marketing
Let’s look at these 3 ways your company can use images as visual marketing messages:
1. Make a collage of your products or focus in on just one product that you’re promoting
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to turn into a professional photographer. But there are some things you can do with just using your camera phone and some cool Instagram filters to create a unique image of your products.
If you need some ideas about where to start, log into Pinterest. Run a search on products like yours and see how other companies are creating their product images.
Study the layout, the staging (what other objects did they bring into the photo) and the placement of the product (is it being used or sitting on a table).
Then have some fun and play with your camera phone’s internal photo options. Experiment with these ideas: shoot from different angles, like going down to the product’s level, close-up shots or wide-angles.
And use the daylight in the room or turn on the lights to play with the exposure.
2. Fan contributed photos
Think about ways you can start collecting photos of your fans. Try running an Instagram or Facebook challenge and ask your fans to take photos of themselves using your products.
Or maybe do a Before & After contest of your fans using your services. Before we hired Mary’s Miracle Stuff, our house looked like this …. and now after she worked her magic, our home looks like this!
Try creating a monthly customer spotlight. Use photos of your customers using your products or services, add in a quick testimonial and you’ve got a great marketing message while spotlighting one of your top customers.
3. Creative company images
Your company is more than just that logo you uploaded to your Google+ header. It’s you, who you are, what you do, where you are and what you love.
Here’s some ideas to try to promote your company:
- Highlight your city – take photos of places that people associate with your city and turn them into a Picmonkey collage.
- Take a photo of yourself in the same spot holding your product or something with your logo on it as each season changes. I realize this one will take awhile to create but think about how cool it’ll look when you get four different images of you in the same spot!
- Do a behind-the-scenes collage of the work that goes into the stuff that you do.
- What do you love most about your work? Show pictures of you doing a personal coaching session or making your next order. Show us something about you so we can get to know more about you as a person, not just someone trying to sell us something.
And that’s just a few ideas I came up with when I did a quick brainstorm session. I’m sure that once you start thinking visually, you’ll think of even more ways to create visual marketing messages for your company.
If you use any of these ideas or come up with some of your own, please send them my way. I’d love to see them!
So grab your camera and get your creative on!
PS Are tips like these helpful to figure out your social media marketing? Download the Strategy Builder workbook and get more of my secret tips to help you develop your social media plans. It’s an easy to follow marketing strategy workbook to help you create successful social media campaigns.