Eighty million pictures are shared daily on Facebook’s flagship visual network, Instagram. Snapchat users—think millennials and younger—snap 10 billion short-lived videos a day. Facebook video views are close behind at 8 billion daily. But pictures still reign. Every minute, Facebook users upload 243,055 pictures.

The days of standalone-text posts are fading.

If you want to be heard by the next generation of consumers, start framing your message in still or moving pictures.

Think in Templates

Start the shift from verbal to visual posts by creating templates for common content. For example, design a graphic with your logo, perhaps a picture of a staff member, and the words, “Want to Work With Us?” or “We’re Hiring!” To customize the image, add a line of text for the open position title.

Templates are useful for sharing efficiency rebates and scam alerts. The key is to develop a consistent look and feel while adding a visual element to posts that might otherwise get missed online.

social media templates

Be Sharable

The best content taps into consumers’ passions and leads to sharing. This does not have to be limited to power restoration (although a graphic announcing “My lights are back on!” could spread like wildfire after a long outage). Instead, look for sharing opportunities with messages about community grant programs, rebates, youth programs and energy efficiency.

Create an image for a program such as Operation Round Up. The focus of the graphic could be a quote about the benefit of building a community, or it could be a quote from a recipient whose life is better because of the program. Include a link to program details in the post so more people can join the effort.

If you have time, invest in quick videos highlighting the faces of people your programs help. Short stories can be powerful. If your subject (individual or community group) has a social media presence, tag them in the post so they can share your content, too.

Action words help (share the word, pass it on). But the quality of the content—how it resonates with consumers—is the real reason people may choose to share.

More Tips for Planning Visual Content

  • Work ahead. Before an outage, create generic video and images with the utility logo and a number to call to report outages. Consider making at least 2 versions (snow versus rain) to reflect different seasons.
  • Record restoration. During an outage, share short (less than a minute) video updates from the field. Post videos directly to Facebook for better reach. Some utilities are experimenting with live video through Facebook and third-party apps such as Periscope. While immediate access is great, be aware that safety issues might inadvertently get broadcast.
  • Boots on the Ground: Powerful utility visuals opportunities are found in the field. Encourage lineworkers to share pictures and video they capture while on the job. Some utilities offer incentives if a submitted picture or video are used.

Your message matters. Use pictures and video to make sure consumers hear you loud and clear.

Sources: TechCrunch, Bloomberg Technology, Instagram

Need Social Media Images? We Can Help

Try our social media support program. For only $250 a month (less for Ruralite magazine utilities), you can download energy-efficiency, safety, and magazine content, then decide what to share with consumers. On holidays we send you images to share branded with your logo. And our planning resources give you the insight you need to stay relevant online.