Photography as social media shorthand

Social media apps and websites have been pushing visual and video content heavily this last year. Facebook will soon allow users to set a seven-second video loop as a profile picture, Harry Potter newspaper style. The social media giant is also claiming to be a bigger video streaming site than YouTube. Questionable as that claim may be, it is true that with bigger smartphone screens and faster data connections, app designers have the incentive to prepare their user interfaces for more visual content. So what does this mean for technical and engineering companies that want to use video in their marketing campaigns?

By Lawrence Watts

In a nutshell, this shift to video means the visual content your company shares is more likely to be seen, since users will scroll past embedded images or videos rather than links. Unfortunately, it also makes video more likely to be tuned out due to its increased frequency.

The great thing about visual content is that it can function as shorthand, meaning it can quickly identify a post as part of a wider social moment. Social media sites operate in memes. What are hashtags if not text-based memes that users employ to align their posts with wider movements? Memes allow users to add contextual information to their content by aligning it with a wider pre-existing movement or topic. Images have their own wider context too, and large social events like Christmas, trade shows or new industry trends are the perfect time to engage with the rush of themed visual and textual content.

There are two keys to a successful meme: it should encapsulate an idea broad enough to draw the attention of a large number of people and it should allow for variations on the basic formula. As such, seasonal themed content has to engage the viewer among the clutter of other visual content clamouring for attention.

However, today’s internet culture is a creative and engaged one, so it’s not enough to only participate or share visual social media, you have to iterate upon it. You have to add your own mark to stand out.

When deciding what visual content to create, it’s important to stick to topics that are relevant to what your company does and your corporate culture. Nothing pains the gods of internet more than shamelessly promotional social media content that is highjacking a hot topic, but has nothing to do with it. So, for the love of Yoda, please stay away from badly edited Star Wars-related images about your latest product.

If you are struggling to create visual content for social media, why not get in touch and hear our suggestions for infographics, social media graphics and even video assets? Just give us a call on +44 (0) 1785 225416.

PS: And to all of you still reading, Merry Christmas from the Stone Junction team! May this year’s holidays be peaceful and plentiful!


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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