As I have mentioned in my previous posts, this summer I worked as a photographer at a digital marketing agency. The previous two posts and the posts that are coming were all what is considered content photography. What is that? Why would a digital marketing agency or any agency for that matter pay someone to do this? Why would their clients pay for this? Honestly, before this year, I had not really thought about it either. However, now, I am confident in answering this question for you.
How many social media accounts do you have? 4? 5? How many times a day do you check said social media a day? I would go so far as to say that the app icons for said social media are on the home screen, if not in the dock (for you iPhone users out there) on your phone. I know that mine are. Now, companies that are selling products and services, where would you bet are the most effective places to market said products and services? Billboards? Magazine/Newsprint adds? When was the last time you ACTUALLY paid attention to a billboard or didn’t flipped furiously past all the adds in your magazine to get to the content? There in-lies part of the answer.
While I think that print media still has a huge place in the world and will never actually go away, PEOPLE ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, an companies have to go where the PEOPLE are. Facebook has had adds for quite a while now. Twitter has its "Sponsored Posts" and Instagram (where the vast majority of people are right now) just recently has placed adds and sponsored posts on their platform. Why? As I said, companies have to be where their target audience is. You are their target audience.
For example: Some of you may or may not know how Facebook ads work. Basically a company goes in and purchases "clicks" for a particular ad that they are set to roll out. Then, they plug in demographics. Yeah...you know...all that information that you put on Facebook? Age (birthday), where you live, where you went to high school/college, the people you have (or don't have) listed in relationships, whether you are married or not, what music you like, what your profession is, etc. All this is information is used to TARGET you. Say this is a local company selling skin care products. They are going to put in something like: woman, ages 25-60, that lives in Dallas (where I am currently), that "Likes" fitness and beauty pages and products...and on and on I could go. Yeah...it is effective...and it works.
So to answer the question fully: Why would a company pay a digital marketing agency to create and manage content (photography)? They call it the signal to noise ratio. I am not one who loves ads. I hate them in fact. I have add blocker plug-ins on the two web browsers that I use. It slows down my experience and I just want to get to the content that I am attempting to access. However, this does not work on social media feeds. Now, when I talk about "signal" and "noise", I am referring to the "noise" as content that you literally skip over because you are so desensitized to the constant barrage of information being thrown at you on a daily basis. Ads containing only text, mediocre imagery (STOCK PHOTOS), no real grabbing tag line, and a poorly constructed call-to-action (BUY NOW).
To the crux of the matter: The Signal. Carefully curated content, well written copy, imagery that shows ACTUAL people using/wearing/consuming the ACTUAL product/service being sold grabs the attention of the targeted audience. Content that will create more conversion (clicks) on the ads that will direct the user to their site. Curated and targeted to catch the eye of that audience.
This is what I learned in my time at Infinite. This is a problem that I want to solve, which is why designers and photographers do what they do: to solve problems. The photography that I shot this summer, which I will be sharing more of, showed actual people wearing a company's clothes, in the situations that the companies provide services for, etc. Additionally, the work that I am in currently doing with the creative team is showing me how to take those photos, copy, and such and curate them into actual digital and printed products. It is great, and I believe it is what I was made for: telling brand (company) truths through well created and curated content that reflects the values and personality of that company. Because, stock photos, clip art and Comic Sans just don't cut it anymore.