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We live in an instant gratification world today, partially in thanks to the technology and social media right in the palm of our hands. Our attention spans, on average, are only 8 seconds, which means brands don’t have a considerable amount of time to communicate to consumers what they have to offer and why they are unique. In just 8 seconds, they have to tug on heartstrings and do something that is memorable; something that is totally unforgettable.

As Director of Client Relations, I work to ensure that our clients’ campaigns are running as effectively as possible and resonating with the right audience, ensuring a successful campaign outcome. This entails constantly looking for ways to strategically design successful campaigns by aligning client goals with campaign creative design and implementation. We owe a significant part of client success to the careful consideration of the imagery that we use in their content.

Obviously, you can communicate much more quickly with one photo than you can with three paragraphs of text. That’s why imagery is so important for marketing today. For example, did you know that relevant images on social media get 94% more views than content without relevant images? Images on social media can completely make-or-break your marketing outreach, potentially wooing, or deterring, students and candidates for your institutions.

Social media platforms already know this. That’s why they’re built around imagery and visuals. Just look at Twitter, which originally started as a social media site simply made for short, witty posts and captions. This year, they released TwitSnap, which enables Tweeters to add quick, bright, and large imagery to their tweets.

Information Retention

Countless studies have proven that visual marketing is the most effective form of marketing today. Why? Because our information retention is most effective when it comes to imagery. As humans, we are visual creatures, which is why we are able to recall about 65% of the information a few days later if it was paired with an image.

However, if there was no image, but just audio clips or sentences of text, the average human will only retain 10% of that information, according to Brain Rules. Even further, according to this article, 81% of people skim the content they read online, reading only about 20-28% of the words in the entire article during their visit.

That’s why it’s estimated that 84% of communications are now visual through social media. Posts that come with images produce a 650% higher engagement rate than text-only posts. These kinds of images are able to satisfy what we want to see and know in just 8-seconds, so we can move on to the next post and sink back into our instant gratification world.

If your marketing can’t satisfy this kind of quick, engaging content desire, then your ideal candidates are going to find a marketing team that can.

Are You Missing Out on the Impact of Imagery?

Maybe you already know that imagery is important in your marketing outreach. You’ve read the statistics and you know that you prefer images to text, too. Time is money, and you have a marketing department to run. However, not just any old image will do. But most of us can’t afford or don’t have the time to set up a photoshoot for every ad we create; so if you’re using stock images, choose them wisely. Take the extra time to find the image that matches the emotion you trying to convey or feeling you’re trying to invoke.

People want to be part of a story. They want to know why they can trust you. They want to see themselves at your school.

Ask yourself, do your social media images:

  • Contain the actual people/environments at your trade school? People don’t like anonymity anymore today. They want to know what you look like. It’s not about being a model; it’s about being transparent.

  • Play into your storytelling? If you are trying to help someone see themselves returning to school to be a nurse, do you have images that detail this journey they are about to embark on?

  • Back up your claims? If you’re going to post that you offer X number of classes during after-work hours, prove it. You need images that tell people you are not lying. Again, it’s all about transparency today.

Don’t forget that these imagery stats are also relevant for gifs, video clips, and animations. Anything that can take information and breathe visual life into it is going to be beneficial for your social media recruiting.

Photos That Feel

All of the content across your social media channels needs to be anchored in feeling, empathy, and emotion. These images need to elicit responses, bring tears to people’s faces, or fuel a laugh. Instead of using the same stock video of a classroom that has been shared far and wide on social media, take the time to invest in your own 30-second video. Really show people what you have to offer them, but more importantly, show them the process.

Record testimonials from past students. This article shows that customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89% today. That’s because people respond to another person through the camera. It’s like talking to a friend or an acquaintance. It encourages them to open up and trust.

If you’re tasked with recruiting candidates for post-secondary schools and other institutions, then it’s time you consider the power of imagery. Remember, don’t just settle for the lackluster images that are irrelevant to your platform. Invest in quality imagery and videography that really pays testament to what you have to offer candidates and students.

Your school could be the start of the rest of their lives. Pick images that communicate this without writing a single word. Trust us, it won’t go unnoticed.

If you’re looking for new ways to use imagery and powerful content to boost your admissions and enrollment programs, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, check out this video on recruiting with the top-of-the-funnel approach.