Delicious and fun Oreo cookies. Oreo's picture prominent strategy has won it millions of fans.

Delicious and fun Oreo cookies. Oreo’s picture prominent strategy has won it millions of fans.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

It’s an old saying but it remains more true now than ever. It used to describe the fact that pictures would convey far more feeling, empathy and sub-text than any article ever could and it’s right. A news article about the discovery of mass graves in Congo would not raise an eyebrow but if you happened to have a photo of the bodies lying in the dirt then suddenly there’s global outrage.

But how does this stay true in today’s social media orientated world? How do pictures help convey all of the complex series of emotions?  In short, are pictures worth a thousand dollars worth of Facebook ads?

Study, after study, after study has constantly shown that pictures are the most viral aspect of social media.They’re unbelievably easy to share (a single click of a button will enable you to send that picture to your few hundred Facebook friends) and they are often funny or meaningful in some way (or simply just beautiful pictures). As noted in last weeks post Facebook is in the midst of changing it’s newsfeed. The most prominent aspect of this new change is that photos will now display far more prominently to the user. In fact Facebook discovered that images now make up just over 50% of Facebook’s newsfeed.

More and more people are using images to express their political and social beliefs. Currently a number of people are changing their Facebook profile pictures to a red equals sign to show their support for marriage equality. As their friends traverse their newsfeed they will see more and more profile pictures which have been changed. The idea is that this simple, yet prominent, image will lead more and more people to ask about marriage equality in the United States.

But how should brands use photographs? What role do images play within marketing? Well many brands have now become infamous on the various social media channels for their use of images. The most prominent of this is Oreo. In their ‘daily twist’ campaign the cookie company has highlighted political and social issues from gay marriage to the Mars rover landing.  They have even enlisted their own customers to help them design Oreo adverts. This campaign does not cost Oreo much money (other than the initial outlay of a graphic designer) and because they are light-hearted, fun and prominent Oreo reaps a substantial reward from their consumers. The images often skyrocket through the Internet because they are so easily sharable.

However what if you don’t have a dedicated graphic designer like Oreo? Perhaps you’re just a small ‘mom and pop’ shop who wants to connect with their customers? That’s fine. Images work here as well. Let’s say that you own a cafe? The easiest way to get likes, fans and social media momentum is to post photos of your cakes, coffees and other delicious treats. These quick, simple photographs go a long way in gaining new customers. You’re able to display your wares to current (and potential) customers and they look fantastic on the newsfeed (not to mention making people hungry).

There are so many ways to incorporate pictures into your social media strategy that it’s silly not to. Community Managers know that the best way to get some kind of response from your audience is to post a good picture (after that comes YouTube clip and all the way down the list is text-only status updates). There’s a great deal of strategy involved in a successful social media campaign. You need to know when your audience will be online and what sort of content they’re going to enjoy. What I can promise you is that a winning strategy will always incorporate pictures!