Visual Storytelling On Social Media: How to Use Images and Videos to Enhance Your Brand

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” may be overused, but its meaning is actually rooted in science. Out of all the information we process in our daily lives, 90% of what we actually hold onto is visual. Our brains process and remember images much better than words and letters; after all, while humans made written language, colors and shapes have been around to tell us about our world since any of us could see. For these reasons, visuals often draw powerful emotions out of us and imprint them into our memories in ways that text cannot always do by itself. 

In many ways, a picture is worth something beyond a thousand words—and there’s a reason why that saying was made famous by an advertising executive. In marketing, visual storytelling forms an essential part of what we do to help brands establish their online presence and grow their audience. Especially in today’s digital landscape where Instagram and TikTok stand as some of the most used social media platforms, no brand can start connecting with its community without incorporating visual content into their marketing strategy. Learning how to do visual storytelling in a way that captivates your target audience will elevate your brand and distinguish you from the crowd.🖤

Create a Distinct Visual Identity

When your audience sees a post from you, they should be able to quickly identify who the post is coming from. When your audience looks at your feed, they should be able to see a cohesive visual theme that expresses what vibes your brand embodies and what values your brand stands for. Putting together a branding kit with a specific color scheme, typography, and aesthetic inspiration images will help your brand establish a distinct identity and make your visual content stand out to the right audiences.



Use A Variety of Visual Content Forms

To make the most of your brand's storytelling ability, it is important to include a variety of content types. You should have a balanced mix of graphics, photography, and videos that all come together to form a cohesive, diverse feed that will enrich the stories you tell and provide opportunities to get your message across in unique ways. It’s also a great way to prevent your content from getting stale and keep your feed fresh.✨

Remember: nothing that works once is guaranteed to work forever. Continue to experiment with the different content forms you produce, and adapt according to your audience’s constantly evolving preferences. What kind of images and videos does your audience love most? How long should videos be for your audience to stay attentive? Always keep questions like these in mind as you continue to learn and improve your visual content strategy.


Balance Quality and Authenticity

Put time and effort into your visual content to make sure it displays the quality your community deserves and comes to expect from you. For example, don’t just use the first second of your video as your Instagram Reel’s thumbnail; use an aesthetically appealing image that fits into your feed’s visual scheme, or catch people’s eye with text over a clip in your video that teases what it’s about. Post high-quality pictures that feel pleasing to look at—and keep in mind how the size of the image will impact its quality on the social media platform you are posting on. Use a content planning app like Preview and take time to plan how exactly your images and videos will come together to form a cohesive, visually powerful feed. 

Of course, using aesthetically-pleasing visuals with professional quality will take your content to another level and help you stand out from your competition. But as you can probably tell from your For You page, visuals that make a strong impact online aren’t always taken on a high-tech camera. Depending on your brand identity, using video clips that were taken on a great quality iPhone often creates a perfect balance of professional quality and authenticity that people will find more relatable, which makes it easier for them to connect with your brand’s message. 


Put Time Into Creating Long-form Posts

Along the same lines as the previous tip, making the effort to create visual content with depth will establish your brand’s relevance in your niche. On Instagram, carousel posts have the highest engagement rate compared to single-image posts and Reels. Longer posts allow you to put together a collection of visuals with a more thoughtful message than one you might be able to convey with one picture or a 7-second video. Of course, not every single one of your posts has to be a long one; just make sure to create them as much as you have the capacity to.🤍

You might think that with our shortened attention spans in the fast-paced social media world, long-form content won’t do as well as quick, snappy posts. However, as long as you tell a captivating story with your carousel post or minute-long TikTok, people will stay to hear what you have to say. A great strategy for reeling people in is to start your post with an engaging hook—like a thought-provoking question, a bold statement, or a relatable sentence—to grab your audience’s attention, whether that’s on the first graphic in your carousel post or the first 5 seconds of your video. 


Tell Your Story

The entirety of your visual content should not just be a hard sell of your products; after all, people won’t buy your product if all you do is put it on a pedestal and tell people they should buy it. To effectively utilize images and videos on social media, you must be open to showing your audience things about your brand beyond your product and its benefits—to telling a story about who your brand is and how your products impact your community’s lifestyles. Here are a few starter questions to help you brainstorm the kinds of visuals that will be most effective in telling your story: 

🤍What inspired the creation of your brand and products?

🤍Who are the people behind your brand? Who are the people that love your brand?

🤍What values does your brand stand for, and why do you and other people care?

🤍What visuals can you show to convey the impact of your brand on people’s lives?


Evoke Emotion

“People don’t buy features or benefits. They buy emotions.” —Scott Beckman

The most important thing that makes a brand or product a staple in a person’s lifestyle is how it makes them feel. Your visual content should draw upon these desired feelings to create an emotional impact. When people see a visual that evokes a strong emotion in them, they are more likely to remember the post’s content and your brand as a whole. Highlight visuals that tap into the feelings in the heart of your brand and community to carve a place for your message in people’ minds.💫


Keep Up With Important Dates and Trends

When you plan your visual content, check the calendar to find any holidays that are relevant to your community. If you’re a food service, are there any cuisine-related holidays you can make note of to spotlight a well-loved dish on your menu? Take these opportunities to create visuals celebrating holidays that you and your target audience care about.

In addition to holidays, make note of trending visual formats and topics as they come to keep your content relevant. Keep in mind that hopping on every single bandwagon may get you the occasional spike in likes and views, but won’t help you cultivate a community that really cares about your brand. Don’t post that meme or hop on that TikTok trend if it doesn’t fit your values or voice—remember who makes up your audience, be selective with the conversations you join, and create your content to join trends with genuine intent. If done right, joining an online trend will help you form an invaluable connection with your current audience and reach more of the right people.🖤


Be authentic

The most important thing to remember as you incorporate all of these tips into your visual content strategy: don’t forget who you are. People seek connections with like-minded people—not just with products and services. Be transparent and consistent in the narratives you tell about yourself and your brand, and always use your brand’s values and personality to guide your visual storytelling. Understand exactly who your target audience is and why they would value what your brand does in their lives, then create visuals with real stories they would love. Ultimately, the people who hold the same values you do will be the ones to find your content inspiring, share your vision for an improved lifestyle, and want to see more of your brand. 

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