Using graphic resources is essential for a successful online marketing strategy.
The widespread availability of image and video capture and the ease with which they can be published online now means that anyone can produce high-quality visual content for a very reasonable investment. Images and videos represent a significant added value and a necessity for an effective online presence. These visual tools help increase a company’s referencing on search engines and offer an effective way of talking about its products and activities in an innovative and pleasing manner.
Many internet users perform searches on online video sharing platforms (like YouTube) in the same way they do on traditional search engines. Being active on the internet means reaching a larger audience, clearly setting out what you are selling, and facilitating customer service by offering helpful videos. Images and videos are also a very effective way of humanizing your company. Just as for all other online marketing tools, fundamental questions must be tackled before you start producing visual media:
- What is the objective of your visual communication? Determine your strategy as precisely as possible. Do you want to post videos or images on a regular basis? What do you want to show? Are you prepared to show your face or your employees’ faces to your virtual community? What could you produce that would be of interest to your target audience? What can you do that others are not doing?
- What resources are available? Make sure you have the human, time and material resources necessary to achieve your objectives. This is especially important for the production of videos, which requires a certain material investment.
Some tips for optimizing the use of visual resources:
- Show who you are. If your website has a section introducing the company's employees, add some photos. Anything that helps make your company less anonymous should be encouraged, and the public will be pleased to be able to put a face to your name and your employees’ names. But be careful with the quality of the photographs: portraits produced in an unprofessional way, without any method, with different backgrounds and exposures, etc. can have the opposite effect and expose you to ridicule.
- Pay attention to the equipment used. The digital photography and video market has democratized considerably in recent years. No need to invest thousands of francs to publish decent high-quality photos or videos on the internet. A good smartphone can even do the job. Take advice from the experts. Some devices come with an image processing program; others do not. In this case, make sure that the recording format is compatible with the program you want to use.
- Demonstrate your technical knowledge. A video will have mucht more impact when it is produced professionally. High-definition cameras are available at a modest price. It is preferable, however, to use external microphones to guarantee high-quality sound. For example, use a tie clip microphone and adjust the sound to the image in post-production. Take care with the lighting: use natural light when possible; test different sources of light and choose the most suitable one.
- Host your visual resources on online sharing sites. Rather than having to allocate memory and find complicated technical solutions, upload your videos free of charge on an online sharing site (e.g. YouTube). You will gain in terms of audience and visibility and you’ll then always be able to easily incorporate videos into your main website or blog, using a link taking users to the online sharing site. This principle also applies to photos.
- If you intend to produce videos on a regular basis, create a channel for your company on an online sharing site. YouTube allows you to personalize your channel in various ways (color, background, etc.). You can even choose to just post videos by other contributors by adding them to your “favorites”.
- Vary the formats. There is a huge number of different video formats and concepts. Diversify your offering by posting interviews with experts, reports from within your company, product demos or even instructive videos in which you demonstrate your expertise in your preferred area. Be inventive: if the person you want to interview is on the other side of the world, do the interview over Skype and record the conversation! But keep your global online visual communication concept in mind so you remain on task. Try to find a unique style to make yourself stand out, a brand that will differentiate you from the competition. Videos with purely advertising content are in principle not recommended on the internet: instead, try and get your company talked about indirectly by making yourself useful to web users.
- Measure the results of your efforts. Check on a regular basis to see whether the goals you set have been achieved using statistical tools, and adjust your strategy if required.
Sources: Réseaux Sociaux et Entreprise: Les Bonnes Pratiques, Christine Balagué and David Fayon, Pearson, 2011; Le Marketing en Ligne, Jon Reed and Christine Balagué, Pearson, 2011.