3 tips for creating compelling visual content on social media


Paul Webster

As users continue to adopt a mobile-first approach to online access, marketers need to create more compelling content for visual platforms like Instagram to engage consumers.

More users around the world move online as mobile-first and mobile-only consumers, especially those in emerging markets. Billions of people now have powerful phone/camera devices with Internet access in their pockets. This has led to a profound shift in communication: images are replacing words. Therefore, it’s imperative for marketers to understand the value of eloquent storytelling on visual mediums.

In addition to communicating via imagery, people now use images to experience the world around them. If something happens, it will most likely be captured on a visual storytelling platform.

According to Social & Mobile in APAC 2015, a report from We Are Social / IAB Digital, mobile Web traffic in Asia has experienced a 30 percent year-over-year increase.


*We Are Social / IAB Digital Social Media in APAC

Research from eMarketer suggests that users in Indonesia and Thailand spend more time on smartphones than on any other devices – including television. This explains why mobile-first platforms are experiencing rapid growth in our region.

The most successful brands on a visual platform tend to share images that:

  • Tell a story.
  • Create an emotional connection.
  • Match the aesthetic of the rest of visual experience in the user’s feed.

That doesn’t mean marketers always have to spend big on photo shoots or elaborate productions. Thousands of small business owners and hobbyists are already creating well-crafted, compelling content with the help of simple photo editing and filtering tools on their mobile devices.

Social media isn’t just a communication tool – consumers use it to search for new products and services. They want to be visually inspired by creatively captured moments, and don’t mind if it comes from a friend, foe, or brand, as long as the content is compelling.

This makes visually driven social platforms like Instagram an incredibly powerful place for brands to play. So what should marketers keep in mind when launching a social campaign on an image-centric platform?

1. Captivating storytelling

The key factor for driving engagement is visual storytelling. Good images and videos will amplify the outcome and fit within the native experience of the platform.

Make sure your brand’s feed forms are part of a bigger picture. View your account as a cohesive whole, rather than lots of separate images. Follow a theme or style that suits your brand’s purpose.

2. Branding

Maintain a strong brand consistency across campaigns by establishing connective elements across images and videos – like an identifiable color palette, composition, or photographic style. This will make the brand more recognizable.

Remember to include a mention of the brand in a subtle way within the written content that compliments your visuals.

3. Have business goals

Always have a marketing goal in mind. Are you trying to drive app installs or traffic to your website, or are you pushing an online sale? Perhaps your objective is to simply create brand awareness. Compelling ads have a strong concept tied to a clear objective. Whether it’s driving brand awareness, website clicks, or app installs, the creative concepts need to align with the campaign goal in order to measure campaign’s impact with ease.



At the end of the day, you need to do what works for your brand. Experiment with different things and have fun. Though I can’t tell you where to spend your time, effort, and marketing dollars – the results certainly can.