If you don’t have a realistic budget to showcase your brand on social media sites, it’s time to fight for one!

This blog posting was going to be a short piece on Facebook’s new timeline, and how to use graphics to get the attention of your audience and capture the essence of your brand. Try not to yawn! As I started to put some thoughts on paper, I began to consider the Google+ and LinkedIn mobile sites; the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram; and rising content-sharing star, Pinterest; and what these all had in common.  And, this is when things got interesting.

So, what’s going on?
Social media sites are becoming more visually oriented and the quality of the graphics being published by brands on these sites is up. Way up. If you’re a marketing executive, using social media to communicate to your customers or stakeholders, it is time to make sure that you have a realistic design and production budget for graphics if you are going to compete for people’s attention on these sites and have them share your content. A low budget, folksy approach to social media, which might have worked in the past when social was new to everyone, will not produce results in the future. It’s like thinking that a word document summarizing your services can deliver the same results as a beautifully designed brochure.

What’s driving this situation?
The marketplace has matured, as adoption has become the norm. How mature? Recent studies published by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, for example, indicated that most executives of the Inc. 500 in 2011 viewed social media tools as important for brand awareness and reputation, as a driver of web traffic, and for customer support programs.

With maturity, standards and expectations have risen, along with budgets. Now, factor in the following:

  • The proliferation of smart phones (giving people easy access to their information anywhere, anytime but on a small screen); and tablet computers
  • Continuing improvement in the quality of viewing devices (such as, smart phones and tablet computers)
  • The ease and comfort at which people of all ages now share information with their social networks via the web
  • A generational norm or acceptance of short, bite-sized messages (using copy or images)
  • The ability to tag images for search purposes and to link them to URL’s
  • A world of wired people learning how to cope with an overwhelming amount of information

It’s no surprise that marketers are turning to social networks and technologies that allow them to showcase their products and brand visually, and that consumers are gravitating towards those that do. Great graphics have always been, and continue to be, an effective way to get people’s attention; to tell a story in a snapshot. If you don’t have a realistic budget for the development of quality content that’s visually oriented (from concept to direction to production), it’s time to fight for one. Most likely, your competition already has!