It’s getting harder to attract and engage audiences on social media—because of the vast number of brand managers flooding social media channels with lackluster content.
Visual storytelling can help you cut through the competitive clutter. Here are three tips to help you grab a bigger share of audience attention by fostering a give-and-take around visual content:
1. Experiment with live streaming.
“Millennials want to be part of new experiences and love joining in long distance if they can’t attend in person,” says Ekaterina Walter, author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling.”
Many couldn’t afford to attend SXSW this year, for example—so they followed high-profile figures such as Edelman’s David Armano and PureMatter CEO Bryan Kamer on Meerkat for live updates streaming from Austin.
Walter’s advice: “Follow these influencers and others to see how they’re using streaming tools like Meerkat or Periscope. Then start experimenting,” she suggests, “but be sure to stream material that you’re passionate about. For example, stream from inside your office or manufacturing facility to showcase your culture and people.”
2. Engage with video commentary.
Communicators don’t often engage with video comments, Walter says. Yet positive and negative comments alike can provide marketing insights into what motivates followers. They can also inspire creative responses with the potential to go viral.
For example: Honey Maid’s recent “This Is Wholesome” commercial celebrated diverse couples. The apparently polarizing video received so many negative comments that Honey Maid printed them out and arranged them to spell the word “Love.” The resulting “Honey Maid: Love” video was widely praised for its “Love conquers all” message—and has garnered more than 4 million views.
The lesson, says Walter, is to respond to positive and negative commentary. “Don’t just respond with text,” she advises. “Show your smiling faces.”
3. Find ways to add humor.
Many people turn to social media for entertainment—and to laugh, says Walter. “So, don’t be afraid to use humor,” she advises. “Try not to take yourself too seriously. Audiences appreciate brands that loosen up and will reward you by watching.”
H&R Block is using humor to break through the content glut. Its “Hipster Tax Crisis” series drove millennial engagement by poking fun at hipsters who are struggling with the “mainstream activity” of paying taxes. Ironic, no?
The effort resulted in 394,000 video views, 12,000 points of engagement and 43 national media hits, including Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.