Visual Content Marketing Strategy: 10 Best Practices from Leading Brands

Olivia Fitzpatrick
November 18, 2021
Last Updated On

For today’s top brands, great content is a superpower. 55% of social media users report that a brand’s social media channels are often the first place they visit to learn about a brand’s offering. Considering the heavy saturation of brands on social channels today, first impressions are business-critical.

The right visuals help brands maximize the impact of digital interactions they have with consumers. Creating valuable content that both inspires your community, as well as invites them to interact with your brand, is ultimately the key to a successful visual content marketing strategy.

What is Visual Content Marketing?

Taking a step back, what is a visual content marketing strategy? A visual content marketing strategy incorporates images, videos, or any other mixed media content to help convey your brand DNA and form a connection with your target audience. It helps you craft a brand world that is engaging, informative, and entertaining for consumers, which ultimately creates a sense of brand loyalty that is built to last.

To begin, you need to know your target audience and understand what types of visuals resonate with them. This is where Dash Hudson’s Vision technology comes into play. Vision combines the power of computer vision and artificial intelligence to provide data-backed predictions for earned, owned and competitor content, helping brands inform their content strategy. It learns with your brand in real-time, so you always understand what featured images and thumbnails drive engagement, propelling your visual marketing efforts. 

10 Best Practices for Your Visual Marketing Strategy

Knowing how important a solid visual content marketing strategy is, let’s take a look at 10 ways some of the top global brands are taking unique approaches to content and getting it right.

1. Incorporate User-Generated Content

User-generated content has become a core piece of many brands’ visual marketing strategies. Consumers feel more connected to a brand when they see themselves reflected in their messaging, and when they feel like they are part of a community. User-generated content marries these concepts, and gives your audience a chance to be a part of the content creation process on social media platforms.

We can’t speak about user-generated content without mentioning the OG community content-led brand, Glossier. Glossier pioneered the way for brands by featuring their audience members on their social pages since day one. Their approach to unfiltered content, and consistent use of UGC, has led them to have one of the most successful visual marketing strategies of the digital age.

TikTok creator Isabel puts on Glossier makeup in UGC tutorial
Credit: @Isabel via @glossier

2. Create a Strong Marketing Strategy for Your Brand Image

Conveying a strong brand image is essential to a strong visual marketing strategy. Brand image is the general impression held by consumers or potential consumers about your brand. As this can be sometimes hard to convey through text-based content, relevant images and videos are the perfect vehicle to control your brand image and establish a strong sense of brand DNA.

Luxury heritage brand, Harrods, has always tied elements of its visual marketing strategy back to brand image to create a lasting impact on consumers. By anchoring its strategy around brand image, Harrods was able to shift its content approach to one that prioritized authentic narratives while maintaining its elevated positioning.

3. Nurture Brand Loyalty Marketing

Keeping brand loyalty at the heart of all digital interactions and content creation is crucial to a strong digital marketing strategy. Developing brand loyalty by fostering genuine connections with brand fans is only possible through the right content that invites users to engage in the first place. Content is the perfect meeting point for brands and consumers to engage, learn about one another, and spark meaningful conversations that make an impact.  

Trinny London ensures that loyalty, and core brand advocates are at the centre of every social post. The beauty brand’s community team replies to every single comment on social media. It actively works to engage audience members cross-channel by fostering connections between the brand and the users themselves. 

4. Promote E-commerce Digital Marketing

Great content isn’t just for your social channels. Your brand’s website is an excellent place to feature written content like blog posts, user-generated content, and to distribute high-quality forms of visual content (such as data visualizations) that reflect your brand. Social and commerce compliment one another and are merging into an essential tool for your visual marketing strategy.

Fashion brand, Anya Hindmarch, is always ahead of both fashion, and content marketing trends. The brand uses on-site galleries as a way to feature relatable, lifestyle content, and prioritize authentic narratives around the brand and its offering. The result is a seamless integration of social and commerce that bolsters the brand’s visual marketing strategy.

screenshot of Anya Hindmarch website

5. Understand and Guide the Customer Journey

Today’s top visuals should also contribute to a seamless experience for the end user. The customer journey should be organic, and be easy for consumers to navigate. High-quality content draws the user in, but it's the process of moving from content to a product or service that brands must get right to achieve a flawless customer journey. 

Beauty Pie is an excellent example of a brand that keeps the customer journey top of mind when crafting its visual marketing strategy. The innovative beauty brand uses Dash Hudson’s link-in-bio solution on its Instagram page that guides the user from the feed into a world of content. The brand links out to videos, articles and products, taking the audience from top visuals, into an entire branded digital space that augments the customer journey.

screenshots of beautypie Instaram account, LikeShop feed, and website

6. Nail Your Omnichannel Strategy

In order to achieve a cohesive visual marketing strategy, you need to ensure your brand is nailing creative cross-channel. This means that you are putting out the right types of visual content, ensuring that it is appropriate to each channel, and considering each channel’s specific audience. While it may seem like a lot, laying out a unique visual strategy cross-channel will save your brand time and money in the long-run. 

Athleisure brand, Gymshark, has created an omnichannel strategy that really works for them and their audience. The brand has figured out the types of content that resonate with fans across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and consistently posts across these channels, forming a streamlined visual output strategy.

7. Prioritize the Mobile Experience

All great visual marketing strategies consider and actively prioritize the mobile user experience. In 2020, Forrester reported that 75.8% of online retail sales in the US and Europe occurred on smartphones, and we know that social media is primarily accessed via mobile devices. This means that a successful visual marketing strategy should incorporate content that can be consumed easily via mobile. 

Hulu understands this and actively incorporates mobile-friendly platforms into its strategy. The media brand has a large following on TikTok and Instagram, two platforms known for easy mobile-consumption, and actively capitalizes on trending video content. Hulu uses insights and Dash Hudson’s Vision for video to predict what will perform well for the brand and allow users to easily consume its content. 

8. Leverage AI in Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

The most tactical brands are using artificial intelligence in marketing to power their visual marketing strategies. Software like Dash Hudson’s Vision helps brands like share photos and videos that people care about across organic and paid social networks and across their e-commerce portfolio. The software is a strategic way to understand your audience and what will make them add products to their cart.

Aussie retailer, Cotton On, uses artificial intelligence in a unique way. The brand taps into Vision to select visuals for its email marketing campaigns, ensuring they are selecting content that will drive real ROI. Due to the success of this strategy, +80% of the images used in their email marketing campaigns are Vision-selected.

9. Team Up with Social Media Influencers

Partnering with influencers has become a prime way for brands to reach their target audiences across social channels. Influencers are a great way to level up your visual marketing by providing fresh content and a familiar face that consumers can relate to. Influencers can help humanize a brand and allow brands to explore new avenues for content. 

Part of the URBN group, Free People has been incorporating influencers in its visual marketing strategy since inception. The key to their success is measuring the ROI from their influencer partnerships and eliminating the guesswork when it comes to selecting the partners they work with by using data.

10. Don’t Forget Generational Marketing

With distinct differences in how and what type of content different generations consume, it is important your visual marketing strategy reflects these preferences. For example, Generation Z consumers value purpose-driven marketing, Millennials look to social media channels for discovery, and Generation X consumers seek educational content. By taking a data-first approach to content, brands can ensure they are simultaneously meeting the content needs of different target audiences. 

The INKEY List has created a visual marketing strategy that spans generations. The brand focuses on targeting consumers based on knowledge of the brand and skincare ingredient experience, incorporating different tactics like short-form video and infographics cross-channel. The beauty brand measures KPIs along the way to ensure its visuals are constantly resonating with fans.

The right creative is the winning piece to a brand’s visual marketing strategy. No matter the size or reach of your brand, visuals will be what drives engagement and ultimately ROI going forward. For more insight on crafting a visual marketing strategy, check out Dash Hudson’s TikTok marketing playbook here.

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