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The Evolution of Visual Social Media

This post was first published by Becca Crouse on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

According to a Fast Company article, visual social media has evolved tremendously over the years. Syracuse University’s social media professor, Dr. William J. Ward, says, “Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words. When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest.”

It’s no surprise that with social media a picture captivates a reader’s attention over text. Since pictures have more of an impact, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have started to head towards the path less traveled to promote their brands and products through social media with visual marketing.

As visual social media grows and becomes more effective, more and more companies are likely to turn towards visual marketing. A recent study by ROI Research found that “44 percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.”

The rise of visual marketing has been influenced by the current habitual use of technology. Nowadays, most social media platforms are accessed via smartphones, where taking a picture and uploading is simpler and more effective than creating and typing a status update. It is simply a faster form of communication, and we are all about simplifying.

What is your preference when visiting social media sites? Do you tend to flock towards the colorful pictures or the paragraph-long status updates? Personally, pictures always interest me first as they always seem to tell more of a story.

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