How to Think Outside the Grid to Create Memorable Images
In the age of the selfie, people are looking for images that speak to them personally. Something that doesn't come off as too constructed, airbrushed or posed. Now, more than ever, it's imperative that your brand's imagery is in tip-top shape. Good quality photography and consistent imagery should be up there on your branding priority list along with a kick-ass logo and compelling copywriting.
We're all about creating and maintaining an editorial calendar, and pre-scheduling the distribution of content in advance, however, we can't stress how important it is to make sure your marketing continues to be sensitive to your location, happenings and, most importantly, real-time. And if that means we have to break the carefully curated colour roster of our Instagram grid for a shot of a margarita on #nationaltequiladay, so be it.
Here are five questions we ask ourselves when curating visual content for our social media platforms:
1. Does Our Imagery Reflect Our Brand Values?
It's so important that your images convey the type of emotions you want people to associate with your brand. What feelings do you want to evoke with your branding and your imagery? If you can describe your company in five words – then can you use those same five words to describe the images you've chosen in your marketing? However, don't be fooled into thinking choosing images is just an issue of making things look pretty; visuals are now so crucial to the user experience that they're even a SEO ranking tool. Don't forget to name your image files in a way that helps search engines to understand what your image is about and what they should rank it for.
2. Are We Being Consistent?
It can be challenging enough to take amazing photos on a constant basis, but even harder to ensure they all feel like pieces of the same puzzle. It's a colourful world out there but If you've been following Not Your Standard on Facebook and Instagram, you'll know we're a little bit OCD when it comes to consistency and projecting a cohesive image. Every image used across your marketing touchpoints should have a consistent look and feel – for us, this stretches across not only our social media platforms and email marketing but our proposals, project documents and even our office décor. Find a look that you like, and fits with your brand, and stick with it. The difference will be wildly apparent in your Instagram grid after less than nine posts.
3. Do We Really Care About Keeping Up with the Joneses?
It's important that you put as much time and effort into the images that you choose as you do the written content of your brand. Check out what the competition is doing, yes, but be creative with your imagery and come up with something unique to you. Find inspiration and collect visuals, colours, accounts etc. that you admire. When creating our visual identity, we sought out interior design, architecture, fashion, beauty, food and wellness brands – all things that influence us in our every day – for stimulus and ideas, as well as our tropical island base for the natural elements that form the roots of our branding.
4. Are We Creating an Emotional Hook?
One of the best ways to really work that visual content is to make it emotional. Strike a chord with your audience by sharing emotionally-striking images that people can relate to. Happy smiles, yummy food, breathtaking views or motivational quotes are just some of the ways to provoke an emotional response in your followers. Our #nysabroad travel series from New York, South Africa and St. Lucia, for example, over the last few months has resonated really well with our audience. Keep an eye out for our next adventure Down Under…
5. Are Our Photos the Very Best That They Can Be?
Visual representation of your brand online may be the first experience your potential customer has with it – so make sure it's great! There is an abundance of royalty-free image websites, so it's really not that difficult to find amazing high-quality photos but we'd suggest using stock images only once in a while, and rather trying to use as much unique imagery or user-generated content as possible. By showing your audience that you've invested in time and good quality photography, you're implying that you care about your brand and the product or service you're selling. If your photos are sub-par, it could imply a lack of care or simply professionalism. Plus, people really do appreciate it when you take the time to create a pleasant user experience.