When it comes to telling a brand story, people often think the best way to communicate is through written content. However, numerous studies have shown that visual content trumps text. For one basic reason, the human brain is wired to process visual elements faster than text.

Rich media not only catch the eye more easily, they also drive engagement and deliver the message more clearly. People consume it everywhere they go online – on social media, mobile or the world wide web. Because it’s easier to process, visual content helps people gauge the value of your content much quicker.

As such, using visual content is increasingly becoming a key part of every marketing strategy. Here are the things you should know about how to use it to make your brand story even more compelling and effective.

Make it relevant

Don’t create visual content for the sake of being on trend. Whether you are creating a standalone piece or a complementary piece to a written copy, make sure your content stands for something or enriches the conversation.

More importantly, make sure it is of high quality. You do not want to post a low-resolution image, a poorly created video, a confusing infographic or any blurry visuals. Doing so will not help your brand image but will actually harm it. So make it a point to always choose rich media that are as meaningful as they are stunning.

Make it authentic

People are bombarded with tons of images and videos every day, but they tend to be very selective of content they engage with. This alone tells you that a cookie-cutter visual content will not get you very far.

So how do you make your content authentic? Forget stock photos – chances are your content will only end up looking like everyone else’s. Use images of real customers or “behind the scenes” instead. Not only will this make your content original, but this will also add credibility to your brand. When it comes to advertising, 84 percent of customers trust referrals or word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know.

Stay true to your personality and brand identity. Nobody likes looking at boring images that looks generic. You want to separate your brand from the pack, so give your audience something unique and engaging. Make use of creative photography, filters, colour themes and font styles to make eye-catching and compelling content.

Use text if it helps

Sometimes, a concept is better explained through images. But sometimes those images may not effectively convey the story or may be interpreted in different ways. If you think your photos or videos are somewhat vague, add headlines, captions or descriptions to clarify and amplify your message. Make sure to include metadata in your image alt tags as well in order to help search engines index your content.

Choose the right platform

People prefer different types of visual content on different platforms. For instance, videos get the most traction on Facebook, while memes and images are well received on Twitter. As such, you should use the right platform to ensure maximum exposure and engagement.

The choice obviously depends on your audience’s preference. So it helps to find out where they spend most of their time online and what type of visual content they enjoy the most.

Whatever you put out there and wherever you put it, always be consistent in style and voice in order to build a following. As you perfect your rich-media campaign, you will see significant boosts in your social engagement and traffic. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you can never go wrong with your visual content.