Social Media in a Visual Age - Holyrood PR Scotland

by Kenny Murray

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Facebook has declared itself “a place where words aren’t needed” – so how does this affect business and Social Media?

Facebook POster (1)WALKING to the office a few days ago I was surprised to spot an advertisement for Facebook on a bus stop.  I work in PR  in Scotland, not Silicon Valley. At first my amazement was at the very fact Facebook were taking out advertising. As a social network, it is used by 1.09 billion users around the world on a daily basis – so doesn’t seem like they’d need to advertise. Never mind on a bus stop in Leith.

Once I’d managed to get over the shock of Facebook paying out the vast sums of money to advertise in a way they’d tell businesses was ineffective, I took more notice of what they were actually saying. Or rather what they weren’t saying.

The advertisement featured Emoji ‘reactions’ – which were introduced earlier in the year (see our review of these during our Holyrood PR video) and the words that inspired this post, “A place where words aren’t needed”. That’s right. Facebook the platform where we share what we’re up to, what our businesses/clients/families are doing and pretty much everything, for some people anyway.

So how has Facebook come to be the social network where words aren’t needed? It’s a bit of an obscure path – indeed, it’s not something I was entirely convinced by until I sat and looked at the data.  Surely of all the social media networks where words aren’t needed; the social network that literally asks, “What’s on your mind?” at the top of your news feed, is a hard one to believe. Snapchat, Instagram or even Pinterest seem more likely for this approach. Not Facebook.


PR agency guide explains the essentials of visual communications for businessesDiscover the secrets to unlocking the full potential of your visual communications in an age of images, video and emojis


However, there has been a clear and deliberate attempt to connect users in a manner in which they will continue to find engaging and stay on Facebook as a platform.

This is of such importance to Facebook that they have announced, Instant Articles, which is a way for news publishers to share their news content on Facebook and to be paid for doing so in the form of Facebook’s advertising network, arguably a super power in its own right.

Facebook continuously changes the rules to keep users interested. In fact, it’s something they encourage their staff to do. To think of new and different ways to engage with each other using their platform. So much so, that Facebook staff have access to a different Facebook platform than we do, called Facebook Yellow. Facebook Yellow is used to test and try out new Facebook features on an ongoing basis – some of which will roll out to the main platform we all use.


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One thing is clear though. Facebook clearly values visual forms of engagement more than the written word. Of course, they appreciate words need to be used to engage with visual posts but with the introduction of video, live video, video profile pictures, video comments, canvas posts (made up of images and video) and interactive Facebook messenger games including football and basketball.

The game element to Facebook’s messenger platform has even seen Mark Zuckerberg challenge global football superstars to beat his high score.

The aim however is clear, to encourage users to spend more time on Facebook and to engage more. Facebook obviously sees visual engagement in being key to this. The facts say so too. The most engaged with post types on Facebook are as follows; live video, recorded native video, canvas posts, photo carousels, links, text only status updates.

So what’s the lesson for business?

I suppose the lesson would be to keep yourself aware of Facebook’s ever-changing nature so that you understand how users are engaging with content and what Facebook is doing about that.

In fact, why not get in touch and learn how to take advantage of the ever more visual digital landscape. With our expert in-house videographer, we could help you put your business on the Facebook Live map or indeed, improve your level of engagements.

Want to stay ahead of the game? Then you need to speak to our award-winning PR agency

We’re a chatty bunch and you can phone us on 0131 561 2244, or you can simply take a few seconds to complete the contact form, below, and we’ll get straight back to you:

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