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Let’s Get Visual

Earlier this week, I highlighted some tips to help you tell a more engaging story. That post got me thinking, remember the old saying “a photographic is worth a thousand words”? Well if you haven’t noticed, the last year has been all about the photo. From Instagram to Pinterest, there has been an explosion of photo taking and sharing. Today, it’s clear to see that photos are quickly becoming an important avenue to tell powerful stories, and you should be taking advantage of it.

Last night I while I was watching the Yankees – Tigers baseball game and trolling the web, I came across a very interesting Inc. article by Marla Tabaka. She points out that in today’s business environment it’s better for organizations to show, rather than tell. See it turns out that there has been plenty of research conducted that indicates messages depicted by pictures, images and videos penetrate the brain more quickly and with greater impact. “If you want someone to buy, don’t simply tell them about your product or service – show them,” says Tabaka. Given this information, I wanted to share some photo tips to help you tell an even more interesting story and help you connect with your customers.

1. Show your goods

Part of the power of taking and posting images is that they help customers familiarize themselves with your products. However, when taking product photos Tabaka points out that it’s important not to “think of these images as some sort of extended product catalogue.” Instead, think of it as posting images about things you’re excited about — We’re so excited about our new can opener that we wanted to share it with you. When posting, be sure to add a paragraph about the product as well. “Sharing your enthusiasm helps get your customer excited too – especially if they can see the thing you are excited about,” says Tabaka. Not a product based business? No problem. “Service-based business can use lifestyle shots to connect their audience to the essence of what they do.”

2. Show off your staff

Everybody loves a “behind the scenes” sneak peak. Whether it’s the making of a film or a glimpse of your staff at the office, it’s always a good idea to take some time and show off the people who make up your organization. According to Tabaka, “When someone ‘likes’ your coffee shop page, for instance, they want to be reminded of Jenny, who’s really nice and makes that amazing soy latte for them every Tuesday. They want to know more about your culture and stay connected to the aspect of your business that they enjoy.” Be careful though, you don’t want to post posed “suit and tie” photos or something that looks totally contrived. You want these to be a real glimpse as to the people and what they do. That said, you also want to steer clear of “t-shirt and beer” or “internet face” pictures as well.

3. When taking pictures fill the entire lens

While you do not need expensive DSLRs to take awesome pictures, there are some tips for when you’re using that iPhone. When taking pictures try to get close to your subject (in fact try to fill up the entire screen with them). “In many cases, images uploaded to social media sites will be viewed in a small thumbnail-size” says Tabaka. So when shooting a photo, be sure to really get close and double check that your subject is clearly visible.

4. Lighting makes the photo

Having the proper lighting can turn an ordinary photo into something extraordinary. The god news is that you don’t have to purchase expensive studio lights to achieve better lighting. Tabaka does offer up several pointers to help you take advantage of all that “natural lighting”.

  • Turn on overhead lights before you take a photo, even if the room you’re in seems brightly lit.
  • Make sure the light is behind you when you take a photo. If you are outside, make sure you hold the camera with your back to the sun. This way, your subject will be well-lit. If you are inside, put your back to a brightly lit window.
  • Want some more photography tips? Check out this great resource.

5. Make sure your photos are helpful to customers

The last but certainly not the least important tip, is that when you’re taking and posting these pictures keep the customer in mind. Try sharing a photo of a new hire, or if your office space has been renovated. “Sharing photographs of products, services, and staff can be helpful because when customers come visit your business, they will already know who to ask for, and what they’re looking for,” writes Tabaka. One last parting tip, make sure to associate relevant text with your images. Avoid giving them generic names like IMG1123.JPEG. Make names and descriptions keyword rich.

There you have it. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to dust off that camera and start sharing photos with your customers!

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