Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without. (Source: http://www.business2community.com) If you don’t share photos of all your business has to offer with potential customers, you are surely missing the boat. And you don’t have to be a professional photographer, either – using your smartphone will do just fine to get you started.
Types of Photos to Capture with Your Smartphone
You have a really neat camera already with you. It’s your smartphone. You might never have thought of using it as a resource and marketing tool. It’s not just all about photos of cats and what you are eating for lunch or dinner.
There are six major categories of marketing photographs that every business should have, especially on their website but also to share in social media. If you have a smartphone, there’s no excuse anymore.
Product photos are a given with any business that sells its products online, particularly in e-commerce. But not all businesses realize the value and importance of having good photos of their products and services – it is an absolute must if you want to show your best work to others who might need your products and services now or down the road.
If people may be unsure how easy your product or service is to use, or are unsure of how they can use them, photos showing their utility will empower the viewer with how to use the product/service. This includes how to eat it or how to wear it. This is of tremendous value if you are showing other people using the item so the viewers can identify with it. For example, if you are selling Frisbees, show someone throwing your Frisbee.
Here is a photograph that I took in a showroom of a major tradeshow exhibit house I worked for before it was being shipped off to show. This photo was used in social media and on the corporate website (which I helped to redesign, build content and maintain). I photographed this with my smartphone, as I did not know it was the last opportunity to capture it. With the right lighting, angle, and frame, the business photo works to show potential customers your abilities and qualifications.
Your website visitors perceive the value of your products and the trustworthiness of your business by the quality of your images and web design – the visual experience they receive through your online web presence. This means showcasing your products with high-quality images, especially if you also sell your products on Amazon or other marketplace sites, where they are displayed alongside those of your competitors.
Here are two helpful resources if you want to learn more about setting up a product photo shoot, which you can then use to photograph with your smartphone (for the adventurous and ambitious only):
- How to Shoot Professional Product Photos with Your Smartphone
- The Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography
You can take photos with your smartphone for your product or service and share them on Social Media sites immediately to engage viewers.
- Celebrations or an Important Event
People identify with celebrations that make them feel that they are part of the “in-crowd”. It is a chance for them to learn more about you and your brand. This could be an award, cultural event, grand opening, party, sports event and/or a reason to thank your customers/clients for helping.
If you are at an important event, there is no better way to share your enthusiasm and brand than live at the event. You can claim your spot in social media with these photos – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest – all thrive on photos and help you tremendously in building your online presence beyond just text.
Here is a photo taken tableside at a special event at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, in Montclair, NJ. I had organized the event after learning their fans were hungry for more of the Ethiopian culture. I posted this photo on their Facebook page and fans immediately commented, “liked” and shared by those who were either there or wished they were. Was the lighting optimal? Was there perfect focus? Did anyone comment on the photo quality? The answer to all three is “No”. It was a photo that fulfilled a known need – the need to learn more about Ethiopian culture beyond the food. It was a photo people could relate to – they understood what was going on and it was now in their minds as part of the brand.
3. Behind the Scenes
Give your customers and potential customers a look behind the scenes to show all of the work put into your products or services. It adds authenticity and value to your product or service. They learn what efforts you put into giving them their product or service and adds dimension to the product/service photos. This photo is of me taking a photo of a kitten for adoption for FOWA in Wayne, NJ. The photo was taken with a smartphone. I was so proud to have this opportunity to take photos for my local animal shelter, and the shelter’s fans were also happy to learn who was taking the photos and to see what goes behind the scenes of a live pet photo shoot. Let your fans see you at work!
4.Your staff/team members
People always like to see a face behind a brand. It gives authenticity and a human side to your brand that people just want to do business with, particularly if your competitors are not putting a face to their name beyond just their products and services.
You should share photos of your staff members on your website, especially on the About Page. It’s important to convey professionalism in your photos so you leave a strong first impression that’s positive. They could be professionally done, or you could try to take some portraits yourself with your smartphone.
In social media, it is not necessary to create professional headshots for sharing to your Facebook fans, but images of your team should be professional, even if the subject is just having fun, and not something that you think you might someday need to retract.
One of the most successful users of staff photographs is Zappos, an online shoe and clothing company consistently on the Fortune Magazine 100 Best Companies to Work for List. They rank high in employee satisfaction. Their team photos show these happy employees and the overall object is to bring a smile to the viewer. I wouldn’t want to buy from a company with miserable employees – especially in customer service!
Your office building or storefront is an excellent choice for a photograph, particularly if you have directions listed on your website (A helpful addition to a Google Maps embed on your Contact/Directions page).
Take a photograph of what people should expect to see if unfamiliar with your physical location. Your customers will be thankful to have something to envision, so they know they have arrived. It’s very frustrating to try to figure out what you are looking for when travelling in an unfamiliar area! This photograph was taken by a client with their smartphone, and it continues to be a valuable asset to new patients.
Office Building in Wayne, NJ, taken with a smartphone for Sunshine Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Another location photo might be of the inside of your workplace, your waiting room, office, seating (for restaurants). People who see these photos and come to your physical place of business will feel like they are returning because it will look familiar.
Before and after photographs allow you to create something that is worth a thousand words – a picture! A smartphone is a great way to capture these types of photographs, particularly if you have someone that you just provided your service for, and who is now on their way out the door as a happy customer.
You must ask for permission before those photos, and it would be a good idea to get a waiver for their permission to use their photograph. Make sure they are aware that you intend to use not just their amazing results photo, but that you intend to use their before photo, as well.
If your product/services improves the appearance of something, don’t just say it, show it!
Like this dog grooming business does – (Clubdoggie.com) their website has a special Before and After Photo Gallery. Perfect occasion to take that quick smartphone photo and show what you can do!
Now that you know what the 6 types of photos your business needs (Product/Service, Celebrations/Important Event, Behind the Scenes, Your Staff/Team Members, Business Location and Before/After), you can stay relevant with irresistible images that you create for marketing your brand. Photographs can build your brand awareness, engage your customers online and even help you to create new customers, and will help you to move beyond just words.
This excerpt was taken from my best-selling book, Visual Marketing Secrets: How to Use Smartphone Photography to Engage Online and Attract New Customers,” is available on Amazon.com. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below or visit my page, Say WOW Marketing, on Facebook.
In this video I show you the six photos your business needs that you can start taking with your smartphone today. This means more engagement and more customers for your business! I go over a slideshare presentation I created for this topic.
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Visual Marketing Secrets: Smartphone Photography – 6 Photos Your Business Needs