More picture less words – Beyoncé style

By Nicola Pledger

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week, you’ve probably seen ‘that’ photo doing the rounds on social media. The one that broke records, reaching 6.33 million likes in less than eight hours and becoming the most liked picture ever on all social media platforms.

So, what is this teaching us?

It is teaching us that Beyoncé certainly knows how to reach people quickly! The most important lesson here is people want to be reached by pictures.

Most of us these days don’t wait for a glossy magazines, newspapers or TV news shows to tell us what is happening -we want information straight away, the moment it happens and we want it told to us quickly in visual form.

We are very visual creatures. A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing. Images grab our attention easily, we are immediately drawn to them. Think about this blog, you are probably only reading it because you saw a big picture of Beyoncé at the top!

Words aren’t enough anymore.

As communicators, we need to up the ante on our use of pictures. Ask ourselves with every piece of content we produce – how can I make this shorter? how can I make this shareable? how can I communicate this in pictures?

Visual marketing is a staple now in people’s diets. Stories are getting shorter and images are getting bigger – just look at any webpage, magazine, newspaper, Facebook page – words are the in minority compared to images.

Consider the response rate of tweets coupled with images. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets. People feel compelled to share visual content.

You have probably already stopped reading the rest of this blog by now – too many words! So, I will finish on an infographic stat that sums up my point perfectly.

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The most shared photo of 2016 last year was.

stingray-photobombWhen reading this piece – you have first looked at the Beyoncé picture, then read the infographic, then looked at the final image and gone back up to just read the headline – and that is probably all you have read. But it is enough to get my message across.