social images Marketers keep talking about the need for original content that is able to create authentic and engaging experiences for consumers. Consumers want to connect with brands that provide engaging, useful and quality content. It has been shown by several studies, tests and the growth of visual content platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, etc. that visuals are key in creating unique experiences. OpenView Marketing Labs reported that company Facebook pages posting status updates with visuals in the form of videos and photos create up to 180 per cent stronger engagement. Visual content can ensure that readers spent more time on site which increases their changes of conversion. However, with increasing opportunities, the time a marketer has remains constant. We can’t add an hour to a day, but we can surely add a range of methods and tools that can make your day more efficient! 1. Use online tools: Plenty of digital tools are available currently to help designers, web developers and marketers to bank on. Some of my favourite ones include:
  • For infographics: Piktochart,
  • For visual design on social media: Canva, Pagemodo
  • For visual editing: Photoshop, PicMonkey
  • For images: Getty, Flickr, Unsplash, You own camera
2. Curate data and information: Many large and small companies are full of data that is somehow never used. It moves between one department to another almost every time falling through the cracks. As much as 60 per cent content in SAP was "unused" as per an ex SAP VP of Content. Data numbers from a proprietary database or company presentations and spreadsheets can be  visually represented in the form of infographics, photo stories, videos, and other visual content. 3. Customise your visuals: It is important to use visuals according to the networks that you're posting on. From Google+ to Twitter to Facebook, all these networks have cover images, post images, profile images all differing in ideal size dimensions. It is important to adhere to these unless you want to lose brand impact by cropped images that look unprofessional. Tools like Canva or guides such as these offer guidelines and help. All visual content of course has to be in line with your brand tonality and presence. And before you start off on an image posting spree on all networks, ensure you are monitoring and approving posts that are relevant to your brand. Using tools is helpful in this case. One option is, for instance, using approval tools like Outbox Pro allowing you to keep track of how you share by giving you an approval mechanism so you can customise per network. LinkedIn has recently announced a new tool Elevate, but will only be available by invite at the end of this year and is sadly limited just to LinkedIn content initially. 4. Don't steal: Stealing means using images from "Google search" or any other means you used to find the images without giving credits to the original creator. Many on the Internet operate using the creative commons license but still require you to give them an attribution (name, source, link) back if you use their images. I recently found a classic conversation between the original creator and the person using the image without the credits on LinkedIn. The conversation spanned over several Tweets and people on Twitter basically portrayed the user as a plagiarist. As a brand, it is a serious issue and you can be left with legal cases and a severe brand damage and embarrassment if you do not adhere to simple principles. As a brand manager, if you're not sure what your team is up to, ensure you avoid embarrassment by having a training and approval system in place. And lastly, have fun with the content!