Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
How do we use images in our communications? We have all heard the popular saying “A picture paints a thousand words”. If this is true, are you using images as part of your communication strategy – online and offline?
People learn differently. Some people connect with words and others connect with images. As Christians, our lives are about communicating the Gospel and, as business people, our goal is to help clients or individuals achieve their business goals, and we need to communicate this.
Most of us now share our messages via social media and the Internet, using mobile devices, apps and emails. Already the
‘WhatsApp’ application is more popular than the tried and tested text messaging, as it is more user friendly in the way it displays images. MMS is also widely used, as people want to share images, not just thoughts.
The age of the good ol’ PowerPoint presentation is long gone. We no longer need to be subjected to long pieces of text and a miniscule image. Give us the big image and a miniscule piece of text, or embed the text in the image. Our brain can consume it easier and remember it better. The emergence of picture sharing sites (such as Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and others) has reinforced our need for images, and perhaps the biggest indicator of our obsession was the sale of Instagram to Facebook for a whopping $1 billion.
Using images in social media
Pictures should form an intricate part of every social media strategy. This saying is so true in social media land.
Social media is about consuming bite-sized information on the go. People simply don’t have the time to digest huge essays, unlike in other media. Therefore, your pictures need to tell a story without the need for long words.
As said, a picture can paint a thousand words, but a caption can dramatically alter the meaning. People use captions a lot nowadays to insert their own inspirational quotes in relevant pictures.
As we know, others rush in their droves to share these pictures, which ultimately drives traffic/recognition back to the originator. This technique works particularly well on Facebook.
Funny pictures, inspirational pictures, thought-provoking pictures. Business people – and everyone with a cause – have picked up on the power of this, and probably have their marketing teams sweating through the night, trying to conjure up captions to drive people to their cause. A lot of the time, the pictures are nothing that we have not seen already. But if the words are fresh, the image can be used over and over again.
A word of warning:
An increasing number of images/statuses on Facebook are posted with the sole purpose of getting more ‘likes’.
More likes and comments mean more popular pages, which can then get sold off by scammers. So watch out for sympathetic posts, eg.
“Click if you hate cancer”, or ‘test’ posts, eg. “Name a fruit without ‘a’ in it, this is hard”.
Sometimes even the religious images are a scam, eg. “Share if you believe in Jesus”. These posts gather thousands of likes and shares.
Sharing a photograph does not prove you love Jesus, and ignoring a photo does not mean you are ashamed of your faith. It is unbelievable how many people fall for these scams.
Useful Apps and websites
Sharing images online: Instagram
Owned by Facebook, and available on the App Store and Google Play, Instagram is a fast and effective way to share photos with friends and family.
Creating presentations: Prezi
Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that enables people to see presentations in a dynamic, obstacle-free manner. Prezi agrees that a picture can tell a thousand words, but a picture doesn’t tell an entire story. A visual story has a flow and narrative, where images and words work together to present an idea or lesson. Prezi is easy to use and is web-based, or you can use the Prezi desktop.
Promoting interests: Pinterest
Pinterest is a social network, used to share images of things that interest or inspire people. Other people can then discover these images (pins) and share them with other users. Organisations and businesses use Pinterest to create interest in their products. On Pinterest, a picture definitely tells the story.
Tweet of the month
Pope Francis 26 April
‘Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gists that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!
Keno Ogbo is a writer and web designer
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