As more people, teams, and enterprises increasingly rely on social to create brand awareness and increase engagement, the trend towards using multimedia to achieve these objectives is clearly on the rise.
A recent social intelligence report by Adobe for 2014, Q1, showed increased engagement with video posts of up to 25% year-over-year. The highest engagement rate was found among posts with images, which accounts for 93% of all engagement on Facebook.
The above report is not unique.
A Cisco report on consumer internet traffic estimates 75% of all traffic will be video by 2018, based on current growth rates.
Clearly, images and video are becoming the preferred way for interacting with brands on social networks.
But, why is such multimedia so effective? Why should you have more video and image posts over text-only status updates?
Humans, especially internet users, are inherently lazy. If you can watch a video over reading, most will opt for the one that demands less brain effort, which is video. As it turns out, the web is the perfect platform to build a brand or teach via video. Sites such as YouTube are growing at an alarming rate as demand for video content increases.
When you run video ads over text, your followers are more likely to watch the video over reading as is shown by the Adobe report. With faster bandwidth speeds and better features to access video on mobile devices, many are finding it easier, and more convenient, to simply watch or stream video content over spending time going over text to achieve the same objective.
Images and video are the "next best thing" close to reality.
You can’t get any closer to the real thing than that, at least on the web. As a result, most social network users will unconsciously gravitate towards watching a video update over reading. Whether it’s breaking news, sports updates, or the launch of a new product, there is more impact if the message is put across in the form of an image or video.
Training or how-to videos are especially appealing and engaging online. Users are more likely to grasp concepts and remember them when in video. They are simply watching a recorded version of the real thing which gives it more value. Such videos also enable you to recommend your products and services in a more acceptable way over making a direct sale that easily puts off potential customers.
While YouTube may be dominated by funny cat videos and other funny antics, a lot of this content has been reshared across social networks like Facebook. People are sharing video content that they watch on one website onto another ... which allows it to spread, and sometimes, go viral. As a result, Facebook has become the second largest video site in the U.S. after YouTube.
This high level of engagement has been very successful among visual content and will likely be confined to these approaches due to the impact that images and video have on the human mind.
Nothing tells a story better than visual media. A story told using images or video is easier to grasp, and sometimes easier to tell, over plain text. It is more likely to stir the emotions or spread a message in a way text could never achieve.
Sites like Twitter are known to direct people to links that either contain video or with an attached image. Most recently, Twitter’s profile has now become visually enriching, like Facebook, to enable users to tell a story while still being limited to 140 characters.
Whether its animated GIFs, how-to videos, interviews, behind-the-scenes photos or a funny brand video, multimedia content will create a more engaging social media profile that will help reach more audiences than you could ever hope to alone. This is the power of photos and video on social.
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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