Your visual content is the most impactful content you will create regardless of the platform that you use. The reality of this is showcased in the use of memes across digital platforms because of the way images can subtly and greatly enhance a message. It is likely that customers interpret your brand through the images you use on Instagram, Facebook, and your website far before they read anything about your mission, founder, or products. What and how you create your visual content is incredibly important to how you are understood and appreciated both online and offline. Here are five ways your images are affecting your business:
Poor Quality Images
Currently, the vintage vibes are curated and sought after in imagery. From grainy, film-style photos to retro sepia-toned images, vintage is in and highly favored—but only if it is done on purpose. If you are shooting content with a camera that regularly produces photos that are grainy, out-of-focus, or disorienting, your potential customers will lose interest quickly and relate your low-quality images with your company.
If you are out of touch, your customers will know within seconds based on your visual content. You will have seen many organizations have a public reckoning after years of non-inclusive imagery and verbiage across their platforms. Your customers want to see that you recognize them and their community in your imagery, where applicable, so that they can see themselves engaging with you. This also applies if you never update your message to fit the cultural climate. Have the meanings of colors or symbols changed in the national eye? Have you recently become an international company and now must rethink the global implications of your branding? Your public consumers expect you to consider and research these things and reflect that intellectual investment in your images.
You may use blurry or incomplete images to slowly reveal or create anticipation for a new product or service, but if your intention is to be clear and you are accidentally creating confusing images, this can do more damage than you think. Images are often accompanied by a written caption online, but that doesn’t mean that your audience is reading that caption. Remain thoughtful about your images and how they are constructed. Hiring a professional to help you learn or create these images can help you get better at this on your own. All images are open to interpretation and the confusion is not always easily corrected.
This one is not always as obvious as you would think. Because images are in such high demand to conduct business online, there are a multitude of websites and creators who sell the images they create to businesses. Make sure that the images you use are images that you own or are images that are open to being used by the public. Also, when collecting images for customer testimonials or re-sharing posts on social media, be sure to ask for permission and be clear about how that permission is requested and granted so that you are not taking what does not belong to you.
Again, it seems like this would be too obvious to include on this list, but it is worth thinking about how your images may be harmful. When you are in a public space taking photos, are there other buildings or people around that may appear? Are these other entities doing, wearing, or carrying something that would not be beneficial in the photo? Additionally, if you are using nudity or vulgarity is it used in a way that is nuanced, meaningful, and respectful, or are these additions purely for garnering shock? Every image should add value to your organization, or it should not be used.
In what ways do your images communicate value to your customers?