The Image Boom

Social media professor William Ward of Syracuse University has tracked the evolution of electronic communications. First, blog posts arose as the earliest forms of social media communication. Later, blogs shortened to Facebook updates and Tumblr posts, which shrunk further to 140-character Tweets. Today, pictures posted to Instagram or Pinterest have become the most shared currency of social media communication.

In our increasingly fast-paced and abbreviated world of communication, it’s no surprise that images, perhaps the most concise form of communication, have taken hold in the social media sphere. Images often convey a message easier than a bunch of text and can be shared at a rapid pace. So how can you leverage this to your community bank’s advantage?

Pinterest: If you convert a corkboard into a virtual format, you would get Pinterest. Not only is the website composed mainly of images, its ability to allow people to quickly and easily share images makes it stand out among its competitors. Even though it skews toward female audiences (since Pinterest boasts home décor, wedding ideas and other female-centric images as its main bread and butter), banks can develop a presence on the site if they have a compelling image strategy—as, North Jersey Community Bank does, for example.

Instagram: Pinterest is to the Web what Instagram is to mobile apps. The highly popular image-sharing app is a major hit because of its easy-sharing capability and also its option to enhance photos with a digital filter. If your community bank has a compelling image strategy, then Instagram could be a way to go.

Flickr: Unlike Pinterest and Instagram, Flickr has a more traditional social media setup with tags, places for comments and ways to organize your photos (albums, sets). It’s not merely a stream of photos on a Web page; it’s more like a photo-sharing site. Community banks may use Flickr to upload images from their latest events or share photos of their staff.

On a closing note, since visuals have a higher share and engagement rate on Twitter and Facebook, consider implementing a visual strategy to enhance your social media presence.

Ann Chen is ICBA’s communications coordinator.