You believe you provide top service or a top quality line of products...but let's be honest between you and yourself for just a moment. Does your imagery reflect that? Does it reinforce what you "say" you want customers to perceive about you or your business? In the online world, if you don't show what you do or sell and you don't show it well, it doesn't exist! Here are 10 things you can implement and begin to bridge that gap.
1. Show the faces of the business
Potential customers, especially millennials, want to feel like they know a little bit about the people behind the business. Good headshots are the first step in making a personable connection. It shows who they might expect to meet or work with. The intentionality that goes into creating the image is also a visual statement on how serious or passionate you are about your work.
2. Show your storefront
You might be inclined to underestimate your the power of a storefront image, but did you know hundreds of people drive by your business without noticing? Look outside...they are doing it right now. We all easily slip into our own routines and forget to observe our surroundings. Sharing a great image of your storefront on social media might be just the thing that jogs their memory and helps them spot your place tomorrow. Be sure that image is also uploaded to your Google Business Listing and Yelp.
3. Sell the destination
Don't just tell people what they should expect to get from using your service or product, show us! An image has the power to communicate to parts of the brain that are not governed by language and rational thought, reach the intangible places where we find feelings, identity, and belonging. Just like the airlines show images of a happy couple strolling a white sand beach in Mexico, you need to sum up what your product or service will do for the customer. A well-crafted image is a promise of how it will make them feel, the status they will experience, how other people will perceive them, how it enhances their lifestyle or the big problem it solves.
4. Show pictures of your ideal client
Another way to reach the intangible areas of the brain is to show what your ideal client might look like, what they do, or how they live. This makes me, the viewer, consider whether I am like that person or if I am part of that community. If I'm not, it is also an opportunity of me to mentally "try on their shoes," so to speak, and see if it could be a good fit for me.
5. Educate with visuals
You already know this. You can tell people everything they need to know in words, but you can never make them read it. An image has the power to communicate all this and more at a single glance. Show your products, show your work, show your process, and show how much you care.
6. Show people the inside experience
Many people around you still haven't visited your business possibly because they simply don't yet know what it's all about. However, your store experience is exactly the thing someone out there didn't know they wanted or needed. So how do you connect with that person online? Sharing images or video, of course. Yet again, it communicates all the intangibles, turning it into a visual tour and allowing potential customers envision how they fit into that experience. Think about photo tours, video tours, fly-throughs or flyovers, or even 360-degree photo bubbles. For some business, the VR movement might be the right way to connect with a new market segment.
7. Interact with real people
Real images or video testimonials of clients build social credibility and trust. It is as simple as showing images of a favorite client doing their thing, using your product, or enjoying your services. Again, it also gives viewers the opportunity to imagine what it might be like to be in their shoes.
8. Live stream
Both Facebook and Instagram have the ability to publish live video streams. Use it as an opportunity to be real and candid with your following as to what is going on with your business. It doesn't take much planning or production to get started, but you should at least be able to identify why your ideal client might care about what you have to offer in your live stream. Some easy ideas include, (1) give a two-minute walking and talking tour of your business, (2) show what you are doing on location, (3) give people a behind-the-scenes look, (4) interview someone casually who has one great thing your followers could learn, or (5) tell why you are attending a tradeshow or conference.
9. Make it fun - Represent your unique culture or personality!
If you are a little different, show how things are done differently. If you walk alongside your clients through a process, show your clients receiving guidance. If your staff is passionate about what they do, show them doing their thing and loving it. If you are more engaging, show people who are engaged. Providing such visual ques tells the viewers, "Hey, if you are like us, then we are the perfect fit for each other!"
10. Show you have a heart
You know you and your employees know you have a heart, but do the people outside of your business know? Most of your service or volunteer efforts probably happen off-site or after hours, so how would they know? Show your team serving, show your community involvement, and show happy group shots of your employees enjoying it.
Know what you can do well and know what you can't. Do you educate your customers about the importance of trusting a professional like you? Well, what does it say to them when you turn around and go all DIY with your brand imagery? Yes, there is a time to be real with in-the-moment cell phone images, but if all your imagery is amateur, you might be making a strong statement on what you believe about your business or whether you take your business seriously or not.
Even if you aren't a big brand, you can still adapt every single one of these for your business. Why not start with just one of these 10 points and dedicate this month to improvement?
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