Nov 20, 2012

Imagery Rules: Images Engage Emotions

A picture says a thousand words—and a thousand Likes.

In a world of printed pages—books, magazines and essays—a picture was incredibly impactful. It drew the reader in, and gave context to the content. It helped to tell a story by drawing in a different part of the reader’s brain.

In a social media world, the picture is even more important. Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram all thrive on images. Pictures are the primary form of content.

Images are Liked two times more than text updates

According to MBooth, images are Liked twice as much as text updates on Facebook. Images work in social media, because users can process and understand them quickly—especially on a mobile device.

A picture tells a story. An image conveys a lot of content that engages a user at both a factual and an emotional level. And that’s their power. Pictures that engage our emotions trigger far more interaction.

On Sticky Branding’s Facebook Page, pictures that engage our members’ emotions can trigger ten times more Likes and comments over our regular posts. The virality of emotionally relevant posts is exponential.

Pulling on a user’s emotions drives their social media behaviors.

See, react, act

Social media platforms are very pavlovian in nature. You see something that you like, you press Like. You see something that makes you react, you comment. You see something that moves you, you share it. Each interaction is a small reward for your attention.

When it comes to actions, pictures engage us far more effectively than text. In seconds a picture can tell a story, convey meaning and engage our emotions. Speed is important. The faster we react, the more likely we’ll act.

We’re wired to respond to images

Engaging and reacting to visual stimuli is how we’re wired. Our eyes are connected to our lizard brains. This goes back to our caveman days. If a sabertooth tiger was stalking us in the trees, we needed to react quickly to a moving brush. It was life-or-death, and we honed our attention to respond to changes in our environment. Today our visual reactions are driving us in social media.

When you incorporate images into your marketing, you speak to your community at an emotional level and engage their lizard brains. Images help you move beyond factual, boring conversations, and engage people as people. And more importantly, images help you get your customers to react and act.

How are you incorporating images into your content marketing?

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