How to plan image content for your business in 2017

Happy New Year! It's officially 2017 and this year visual content marketing will be more important than ever for your business. Whether you're selling products and services online or have a physical storefront to which you need to attract customers, images are going to play an ever-growing role in your marketing. Think about this: 

Images are the No. 1 most important factor in optimal social media content. 80% of marketers will make persuasive imagery their top content priority for attracting new customers.

So, where should you start? Having a consistent stream of images is no longer enough to attract customers and create engagement. Business owners need to be savvy and strategic in order to get results. Here are some tips to help you put together an image strategy for your business.

1. Make a content matrix of what images you're going to need

before you begin, create a blueprint

 Image Content Matrix for  Ebylife

Image Content Matrix for Ebylife

Building your brand online doesn't happen overnight. It's not just your logo and a consistent colour scheme. Your images have to reflect the values, quality, customer service, personality, and content of what you're selling. Decide which parts of your business you need to emphasise and create categories of images you need to highlight each part.

Above is a recent example I did for a personal training company, Ebylife, in Barcelona. Based on his service areas and media platforms we made 6 categories where images were needed and applied a percentage to each one. Each month we know exactly how many photos in each category need to be produced for his content marketing and we plan a monthly shoot and design session accordingly.


2. Account for original images in every post.

don't re-use or recycle images

 Social Media posts from  Casa Bonay,  Boutique Hotel in Barcelona, Spain.

Social Media posts from Casa Bonay, Boutique Hotel in Barcelona, Spain.

When planning the quantity of images you're going to need over the year, make certain to account for original images in every online post. Today's audience demands fresh images every time they see your brand. If they come across images you've used last week or last month they simply won't engage. In fact, most users will simply think they've already read your offer and turn away. Each social media post you share should be accompanied with original images that relate to your specific content. Period.


2. Match images with a call to action.

Images should facilitate engagemen

Eye-candy is nice to look at but a like from your personal facebook followers isn't going to convert - or at least not very often. Be sure that when you use each image you are soliciting a call to action from your audience. Some examples might be: Follow, subscribe, share, purchase, visit our site, review, shop now, leave a comment. The more you invite your audience to interact with you're images the closer you are to selling to them.

  Travel + Leisure  pop-up on homepage, December 2016.

Travel + Leisure pop-up on homepage, December 2016.

  Junction Moama Restaurant  does a great job of maximising images while asking its visitors to subscribe without disrupting their user-experience.

Junction Moama Restaurant does a great job of maximising images while asking its visitors to subscribe without disrupting their user-experience.

4. Make sure you have a lifestyle element in your photos

Image content should maximise human subjects

If you spent all of 2016 showcasing beautiful professional photographs of your product without a human touch, you need to jump on the lifestyle train. Photographs that show a lifestyle element or an example of a person engaging with your product or service are more authentic, more relatable, and simply more convincing. The user-experience is key to image content in 2017 and your photos should demonstrate the idea of potential customers enjoying or interacting with what you have to sell.


5. Create an image content calendar

know in advance what you need and when you need it

calendar_jocelynmandrykphoto

Identifying holidays, analysing past content, and scheduling according to social media analytics are all key steps in creating a content calendar.  A content calendar will be your greatest organisational asset, as it gives you a daily, weekly, and monthly view of your content schedule. Staying ahead of your calendar and scheduling one or two months in advance will help you monitor your workflow and avoid overlap, while also uncovering opportunities for larger campaigns.

If you've never used one before there are many that are available to try online for free including: Hootsuite, Social Inbox, Sprout Social, Kapost, Later (for Instagram)

Summary

Keep these tips in mind for getting ahead of the content curve in 2017 and building a fantastic brand for your business. For more information on visual content creation or to invest in a strategic image plan for your business please visit my website.

Related Articles:

Tips on using lifestyle images in your content marketing
How compelling photography builds your brand
How to boost your conversion rates using images