2012 might just be the year brands decided to show more and tell less with Facebook marketing. Call it the Tumblr effect or the “Everybody Wants to be Oreo” syndrome — but whatever you call it, brands big and small are using images, not text, in Facebook-for-business posts. Suddenly, the neighborhood butcher and the multi-billion-dollar big box retailer alike are all hunting for the next meme-like image that will get followers talking. All these pretty product pictures got us wondering: Are the days of talkative brand-sponsored posts totally over or can great images and conversations peacefully coexist?
Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart has always stamped her brand with picture perfect visuals, and her Facebook page is no exception. Mama Martha has populated her posts with to-die-for photos of fall soup ideas, crafty things that look hard to make and all kinds of other Marthatypical images. Yet this doesn’t mean the talk has stopped. Far from it, in fact: Martha’s fans are feverishly chatting and want to know how she made this or that, whether you can substitute such and such and eager to share their own crafty creations. The same seems to be happening over at the photo-filled Facebook pages of Bath and Body Works, Target and Sports Illustrated.
Clearly, photo posts are becoming prompts for Facebook fans to launch conversations, arguments and discussions. Most branded posts are so rich with photos, illustrations and infographics that wordy offerings from businesses seem awkward and kind of exhausting. Yet a business’ Facebook page without any interesting text can come off vapid and shallow.
As Facebook management experts, we think there should be a healthy balance. After all, if you own an investment firm or a staffing agency, it isn’t exactly easy to find relevant images to stick in your posts. Memes, photos and illustrations should be used only if they make sense for your business and the overall tone of your Facebook page. Authors and booksellers, for example, still rely on the written word for sales and it would be beyond baffling to have only photos on such a page. Funny and opinionated author Anne Lamott has legions of Facebook fans (81,217 and counting) who follow and chat along specifically for her wordy and sometimes rambling posts. So to answer the question posed at the beginning of this post: No, pictures haven’t killed the chatty Facebook star. They’ve just made our followings even more likely to engage.