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Image is (Almost) Everything — Social Media Images Support Messaging

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(kote baeza, Pexels.com)

22 September 2018. On the global social media langscape, Facebook dominates most other competitors, but sheer numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. To make social media work, businesses need to engage their audiences, and that requires engaging the psyches of audiences in multiple ways.

Data produced by the market research company Statista earlier this year — and featured earlier in a Science & Enterprise infographic — show Facebook well in the lead with more than 2 billion active users each month. In second and third places are WhatsApp and Messenger, both owned by Facebook, each with over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide. Both properties are designed for sending and receiving messages, with Messenger more tightly integrated into Facebook itself. In fourth place is WeChat, also with nearly 1 billion active monthly users, a messaging app based in China that also offers social media and payment functions.

In fifth place is Instagram, another Facebook property with 800 million active monthly users, but unlike the messaging apps, revolves around images and video. Instagram makes possible posting images and videos from mobile devices, capturing the immediacy of phones and tablets, with messaging. More importantly for businesses, Instagram allows for multiple images and videos in a single post, known as Instagram Stories. With Instagram Stories, businesses can construct more detailed, complex, and meaningful messages.

Building an audience with Instagram means not only attracting visitors in the traditional Internet sense, but using the additional emotional attractions of images and video to connect with current clients and customers, or expand your business’s message to prospects. At the same time, businesses can build organic Instagram growth by engaging third-party services, such as Rocket Social that specialize in Instagram. And this organic audience growth need not be enjoyed by businesses alone. Not-for-profit organizations and institutions can also benefit from using Instagram or other image and video social media.

More complex narratives can be constructed with text-oriented messaging apps, like Messenger or Twitter, but they require constructing collection of posts known as threads. While images can be added, the narrative still uses text as its basic means of communication. For many, if not most businesses, a successful social media strategy with combine text-based messaging with image and video services.

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