The Rise of Visual Communication

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Wondering when the world-wide rush to Pinterest was going to hit internal communications? Now.

Looking for an authority to sum up what internal communicators can learn from Instagram, Vine and Pinterest?

Look no further than Shel Holtz’s brilliant new interactive analysis of what photo-sharing sites mean for organizational journalists, “The Rise of Visual Communication.”

Let’s set aside for a moment how the mad rush to visual has changed communication: What changes have photo-sharing sites undergone? These:

Three years ago sites like PhotoBucket, Picasa, and Flickr allowed people to store images, but sharing images was hard. Flickr was a huge photo album, while images on Instagram and Pinterest was purposeful and interactive.

Now, in 2014, photo-sharing isn’t one-way, top-down anymore. This change will propel communicators to new, creative thinking about visuals:

  • First, the move from word to image: Pictures are the text.
  • Second, the change from the rhetoric of text to ideas transmitted through images.

Shel compares the most popular image-sharing platforms: what they can and can’t do. He gives you a feature-by-feature comparison of PicYou, Jittergram,, Hipstamatic, TaaDaa, Burstn, and four Android alternatives, Pixlr-o-Matic, Hipster, Streamzoo and Vignette.

Shel looks at seven Web tools that bookmark images:

  • Pinterest, the fastest-growing web site ever
  • Jux, encourages sharing images, audio, video and text
  • The Fancy, more business-focused than Pinterest, links users through shared tastes
  • Gentlemint, concentrates on male-oriented content
  • We Heart It, uses fashions and celebs to appeal to younger women  
  • ImageSpark, users collect goal-based content, appeals to the creative, project-oriented
  • Clipboard, sorts content on boards private by default, more private than Pinterest

Next, he discusses imagery on the Social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

Then, image-sharing on mobile social networks:

  • Path
  • Pair

Last, he appraises photo archive sites:

  • Flickr
  • Photobucket
  • Tumblr
  • Picasa
  • Snapfish

Shel offers insights and ideas about smart visual communication:

  • Why it’s so easy to overdo image posts
  • Why Pinterest’s frequency of posting rules are more complex than Instagram’s
  • The two rules you must follow when posting images
  • Why repeating images on multiple Pinterest boards may earn you hundreds of “un-follows”
  • The importance of separate “albums” on Flickr
  • How to avoid the number one image posting mistake communicators make

Your image-sharing strategy, Shel says, is by far the most important piece of the visual communication puzzle.

This module is full of instantly usable, practical wisdom for communicators:

  • Shel pleads; promote your organization with imagery. If you don’t do this, others will do it for you.
  • Communicators can put up an external image that will dominate the minds of competitors, stakeholders and consumers. Believe it!
  • Why a reader may not want to see your product image, no matter how seductive.
  • How grouped, themed images on a photo-sharing site generate surprising marketing power.
  • Shel analyzes why the Sharpie brand is so good at content marketing through images.
  • Learn how images engage readers and get people talking with your company and with other fans.
  • Why you MUST always “theme” a collection of company photos, and how to do it.
  • How to hold a photo-sharing contest – it’s an easy, engaging way to support your image-sharing goals. Hint: You don’t need expensive prizes to get impressive participation.
  • Why you should never post the same images on photo-sharing sites that you publish on traditional channels like magazine ads.
  • Why your photo-sharing sites should avoid “infamous” info-posters.  They’re impostors, not true infographics.
  • See real examples of great photo-sharing from Chobani Yogurt, National Public Radio, Warby Parker, GM and Ford

Below is just a SMALL SAMPLE of Shel’s Tips for Pinterest:

  • If all you do is post your own company’s product images, your account could be suspended for being overly commercial. Content creativity is a requirement, not an option.
  • Always add starter pins before you start engaging.
  • Connect your other social accounts to your Pinboard account.
  • Spend time on your fans’ boards to see what they’re sharing and talking about.
  • Captions on your pinned photos increase their SEO.
  • Always give credit and hyperlink to the original source of your image.
  • Select board themes your audience wants to subscribe to.

Shel gives you dozens more tips like this for Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and other platforms.

Finally, Shel’s photo-sharing resources—the best anywhere:

  • 16 articles on image-sharing strategy
  • 7 sources on how to exploit Pinterest to the maximum
  • 8 authoritative essays on the powerful new combination of Facebook and Instagram
  • 9 detailed posts on little-known, effective alternatives to Pinterest and Instagram

This course has hundreds of new ideas about visual communication, including the best visual sites and tools, endless resources, and slides and videos of the best examples in the country:

This is the first step to visual mastery!

December 2013

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Presenter bio: 

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, which has counseled companies about online communications since 1996. He brings 35 years in organizational communication to his clients. A regular speaker at conferences and corporate events, Holtz is the author or co-author of six communications-focused books. He has blogged since 2004 and co-hosts the first and longest-running communications podcast, For Immediate Release, which debuted in January 2005.