Social media has seen a dramatic change in 2012, with image-led social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram revolutionising the market and creating ‘the year of the visual’.
With ever more advanced mobile phone cameras and smartphone sales reaching critical mass, people are increasingly using images to document and share their lives.
This trend for image-led social engagement, together with the launch of Google+ last year and its emphasis on larger images, has led established social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to focus more on visual content and adapt their features to suit.
It has also given rise to new and fast-growing services such as ‘social curation’ platform – Pinterest and app-cum-social network, Instagram.
There are obvious benefits to using visual content as a marketing tool, especially for sectors that naturally lend themselves to visual media such as design, food and fashion. But Pinterest also allows links to be embedded within content. Combine this with the viral potential of social likes, comments and shares, and suddenly the possibility of super-charging SEO and driving e-commerce is huge.
Savvy brands have been quick to recognise this and many (such as Whole Foods) have already launched massively successful viral campaigns.
The trend for visual social media is set to continue for the time being, which means brands should focus on prioritising visual content when developing a social – and wider marketing -strategy.