5 ways visual storytelling can help you grow your business

Whether you’re trying to attract more leads or build brand awareness, effective visual storytelling can separate you from your competition.

Shane Barker
December 18, 2019
Entrepreneurship

If you have a business but no one can understand your value, do you really have a business?

Any company that’s ignoring visual storytelling in their content marketing strategy is missing out on a lot of opportunities. Visual storytelling has a bright future and a potentially huge impact for your business.

It can be a confusing concept for some business owners, but the basic idea behind visual storytelling is simple — to connect with your audience through visual media.

Simple, plain text messages may not get a lot of attention. That’s why visual storytelling is all about crafting compelling stories with the help of images, infographics, videos, GIFs, podcasts, and real-time live videos. In turn, those compelling stories can help you grow your business.

How visual storytelling can help grow your business

Let’s look at 5 ways visual storytelling can jump-start your business’s growth:

1. Attract new leads

Attracting new leads is one of the most important advantages that visual storytelling can offer a business.

Just like great web design can help you engage your website visitors, using impressive images and videos can help you grab — and keep — their attention. The same applies to messaging that resonates with them.

By using visual content to tell a story that your target audience can resonate with, you help users connect with your brand on an emotional level.

This is what will set a lot of businesses apart in the 2020s to come. It’s about creating an amazing customer experience that’s memorable. People tend to remember information shared in visuals more than information shared through text. So, leveraging the power of visual storytelling increases the chances of people remembering your brand.

Greg Gunn's website gives potential clients a memorable experience

Leveraging visual narratives is an easy way to get an edge over your competitors. Though a lot of companies are investing in content creation and distribution, only a small percentage of them are betting on visual storytelling right now.

Almost anyone can create visual content online. But if you want to hold your audience’s attention, you need to be able to craft a narrative around those visuals. And that narrative is what will compel audiences to remember your brand.

2. Amplify your brand’s reach

Remember the dress that some people thought was black and blue and others thought was white and gold? This is an example of viral content — content that spreads quickly across the internet and gets everyone talking.

Viral content can take a brand’s reach to unimaginable levels. While you can never guarantee that your content will go viral, you can set yourself up for success by using impactful visuals. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Webflow recently did a great example of this in their "Welcome to the age of no-code ad."

Sure, it can be difficult to identify the perfect videos, images, colors, compositions, and accompanying messaging that has the potential to go viral. But there are a lot of tools, like Cortex, that can help you make the right choices.

Cortex is a data-driven platform that can help you analyze whether your social media ad creatives should show people or just your product and scenic images. By using tools like Cortex to fine-tune your visual storytelling, you can maximize the potential for your content to go viral and reach more and more people.

3. Build emotional connections with potential buyers

Building an emotional connection between your brand and your potential buyers is important. If you manage to achieve this, you will be one step closer to turning them into your customers.

Here’s a little secret: Some of the biggest brands in the world are converting potential buyers simply by telling engaging stories on social media.

Instead of just featuring your products or services, utilize your visual storytelling techniques to engage users. This type of content performs better than product-focused videos. That’s because humans tend to connect more easily with stories that trigger emotions. And guess what influences a user’s buyer decisions the most?

You’re right, emotions!

The more viewers connect with your content emotionally, the higher the chances that they’ll like it and share it with their friends — which is key. These days, social media algorithms detect content that is highly engaging and shareable and spreads it out to a wider audience. This is how, for example, videos on YouTube go viral.

HuffPost's ability to grab the attention of Millennials

If you receive a large number of likes, shares, and comments on a post, it means that the post has that emotional spark. These numbers can also help you analyze the amount of engagement a piece of content generated on social media and show you whether you’re on the right track with your visual storytelling.

Similarly, you can use scrollytelling tactics to increase the time a user spends on your website. The longer you keep people engaged on your website, the more it tells Google that it should rank your website higher in search engines — equalling to more organic traffic to your site.

scrollytelling
An example of scrollytelling in action

4. Generate authentic engagement

Visual storytelling can help you do a lot more than just reach new people and attract more visitors to your website. You can use it to generate engagement for your brand.

Businesses need to focus on creating and sharing powerful stories that can grab the attention of their audiences. You want your followers to genuinely appreciate your content and engage with it. But it can be tough to create authentic content as a brand without appearing too self-promotional.

Enter influencer marketing.

By collaborating with influencers, you can effectively reach out to a broader audience and generate more engagement. Three-quarters of people trust recommendations they see on social media from friends, family, and influencers and take those opinions into consideration when buying products and services. Connecting with the right influencers means more people will engage with your brand because the content is coming from a trusted source.

In other words, people trust their favorite influencers’ opinions and recommendations over those given by businesses and corporations.

One way businesses are leveraging influencers for their brand storytelling is through something known as influencer whitelisting. This involves getting access to an influencer’s social media account to optimize content and run a campaign.

With this strategy, you can edit their posts, test various CTAs, change the tag-lines, and do more.

Whitelisting puts your brand in the driver’s seat. It gives you more control, which can help you drive authentic engagement. You get to make the final call on targeting and optimizing your campaign for sales.

5. Drive more traffic through social media

You can use visual storytelling to drive more traffic to your website through social media platforms. Rather than just posting content promoting your brand, you can use visuals to craft compelling stories that make your posts more relatable to potential customers. People will want to be a part of your brand’s narrative. This, in turn, can translate into more conversions and traffic for your website.

For example, let’s look at Instagram. At first glance, it may seem like Instagram is all about photos. But if you delve in deeper, you’ll realize that successful brands don’t just post photos promoting their products and services — they tell compelling stories through these photos. It’s all about visual storytelling.

Wondering how to nail this strategy to boost your business growth? Here are a few ways you can leverage visual storytelling on social media:

  • Use relevant hashtags for your social media posts
  • Add a prominent CTA in your visual posts
  • Include a link in your Instagram Stories to redirect your followers to your website
  • Include your website link in your social media bios
  • Use branded hashtags for your social media campaigns

Building your brand with visual storytelling

Growing a successful brand is a difficult task — but visual storytelling can help. It’s easy to get deep into your business and lose your consumer mindset. But it's important to occasionally pull yourself out of your business and view things from the perspective of a user or potential customer. 

Ask yourself, “Am I communicating the value of my business in the most memorable way possible?” Because at the end of the day, it's how you position your brand, or website, and craft a unique experience that will set you apart from the competition. 

With the power of visual storytelling, you can craft stories that connect with people — creating brand evangelists. If done correctly, a visual story even has the potential to go viral and reach even more potential customers. It can shine a spotlight on your brand story and propel the growth of your business.

We’d love to hear about your thoughts on visual storytelling and its impact on business growth. And we always love featuring amazing work, so please share your insights in the comments below!

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Shane Barker

Digital strategist and co-founder of Attrock. Specializing in SEO, influencer & content marketing, and consulting for Fortune 500 companies & celebrities.

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