Look, we’re sorry, but we have to begin this article with an inconvenient truth.
Using Google image search for visual additions to your blog posts and social media campaigns might be easy, but it’s a high risk strategy that can cost you a small fortune, especially as stock photo companies are now notorious for coming after you and dishing out significant fines.
Visual content is all the rage right now for one reason: it gets results. But why is it so effective? In an interview with Nieman Reports last year, Carnegie Mellon University’s Director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging offered an explanation:
“Processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artifact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it.”
So, visual content matters more than ever, and implementing a social media digital asset management (DAM) system isn’t just about keeping up-to-date with copyright legislation, it’s also about saving money. In many cases, it’s about saving a lot of money. But what types of visual content needs managing in the first place? Here’s a quick list of some of them:
• Stock photos
• Product images
• Video files
• User generated content (UGC)
• Other custom visual images
Statistics show that 78% of CMO’s believe that unique, custom visual content is the future of digital marketing. So, let’s look at how companies that manage visual content assets properly both keep out of trouble and stay ahead of the curve.
What is a Social Media Digital Asset Management System?
So, before we explain why you need a digital asset management system, we should explain what one is.
Simply put, it’s a cloud-based storage system that allows you to upload, store and organize all of your social media visual content (images, videos etc) for owned, licensed and User Generated Content (UGC) in a centralized library.
All your content is tagged with metadata to enable easy searching and use and the library is accessible by anyone in your social media marketing team. That said, let’s see why this is so important for 2015.
In April 2014, the single most embarrassing visual marketing error in the history of mankind went live. Shortly after its merger with American Airlines, US Airways tweeted a photo of a naked woman lying on a bed in a very compromising pose.
Okay, so this is an extreme example, but the lesson here is a very serious one. Less serious examples include having incorrect images of products or people and even simple things like typos on images can lead you to ridicule.
If you’re a regulated entity such as a bank, insurance company or involved in the medical field, you want to make sure that every thing that is posted to social media is approved by your legal department to ensure that it complies with the relevant regulations.
Insuring that your content is approved before it’s sent means that you won’t suffer the kind of embarrassment that befell US Airways, or worse, the wrath of a regulator.
User generated content (UGC)
Creating unique content takes investment. But, with better image editing, photography and video software and hardware at everyone’s disposal these days, user generated content will play a key role in 2015.
Not only does visual content have to be great, it should be produced consistently, another reason why UGC is becoming so crucial. Your fans essentially do the work for you and can deliver a large amount of content, free of charge.
And did you know that 92% of consumers trust user-generated content over traditional advertising? All of this content you are given needs to be sorted, accessible by staff and easily sharable on social channels to use it effectively.
Another question is: who owns the copyright for that material? Right now, it’s something of a legal grey area but as is defined, you need to have a way to manage it properly and ensure you don’t find yourself in the legal crosshairs of someone you previously called customer.
In 1963, the first ever McDonald’s television advertisement hit the air. This is one brand from which we can all learn a lot about marketing, but in relation to visual content, one point in particular is brand consistency. A major key to the success of this multi billion dollar company is that they still use the same branding, logo designs etc today as they did over 50 years ago…
Brand consistency matters. These days, it’s not uncommon to have multiple creative teams in multiple locations and keeping everyone on the same page can be tricky. But if you don’t, you can dilute your branding and send mixed signals to your users, resulting in reduced credibility and ultimately, lost sales.
Repurpose content to improve ROI
Creating unique content takes investment. If you’ve paid a creative team to produce something or even just bought stock images, repurposing is an important strategy to see the best return on your initial investment.
If your visual content is managed properly, it’s easy to see what content you’ve created from any particular asset, which channels it’s been published to and easily spot opportunities to repurpose it further. Example repurposing strategies include:
• Adding quotes or memes
• Posting to different networks or regions
• Reusing webinars in Google hangouts
• Reusing webinars into show “How-to” or other value video clips
With a digital asset management system in place, repurposed content is easy to manage; saving time and increasing ROI from your marketing spend.
Visual content is often accompanied by quotes, taglines or slogans, and a popular method of re-purposing to have these tag lines re-written in different languages so as to be published in geo-specific channels. Without managing this visual content properly, it’s difficult to make the most of this strategy.
Additionally, this is another area in which approvals become important. Different languages should be proofread by native speakers as embarrassing typos are linguistic faux pas.
Avoid recreating lost assets
Having to recreate lost or deleted visual asset content from scratch is not only disheartening, it’s a waste of time and money as well. It’s all too easy to have important content saved in someone’s personal Dropbox folder and consider it safe. But if they leave the company one day (or even on holidays) you can no longer access it. Losing USB memory sticks also springs to mind.
Plus, there’s an opportunity cost to consider from not being able to find the material when you wanted it.
Because 2015 will focus more on visual content, it will be more important than ever to keep it both safe, easily searchable and accessible to any of your staff at any time via a centralized system, something that’s not really possible via Dropbox etc.
Over the course of a year, a team without a visual content management system will waste many hours searching for and otherwise trying to manage visual assets. These hours accumulate in huge amounts of cash wasted on a lack of productivity. Let’s see an example.
In a previous MavSocial blog, we discussed how 8% of a working day is spent looking for files. So if the average number of hours wasted per week is around 2 and with a conservative average wage of $22 per hour, that’s a whopping cost of $2,288 per year in lost productivity.. And that’s per employee!.. This is a technology that pays for itself.
With a system to properly manage digital assets, content can be tagged with Metadata such as what the image contains, what campaigns it will be used in, what social media engagement it’s received, when it was created, not to mention any necessary licensing information. Having your visual content properly tagged, organized and accessible from anywhere will save you a fortune in man hours and increase your productivity
Okay, copyright infringement has a number of different considerations, so let’s look at these individually.
• Legal action
In worst-case scenarios, legal action might be taken against your company for copyright infringements, a scenario where proper management of your visual content could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
• Content takedowns
If your site is using content without proper authority, the copyright owner can issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice. As Search Engine Land reported back in 2012, this also acts a negative SEO indicator that can damage your hard-earned search results.
• Complaints & reputation damage
Reputation management is big business these days. If people notice you’re using images without copyright approval, they can leave comments on your website that negatively affect your on-page conversions and reputation and ultimately undermine your SEO efforts.
Avoid overuse fees from licensed content
If you’ve licensed stock photos or other images, using them for longer than agreed (depending on the license terms) can result in over usage fees. And, these fees can amount to a lot of money, so proper rights management is in your best interest…
Licensing images that are “royalty free, perpetual usage”, meaning there’s just one payment for life, avoids you having to worry about this.
Visual content analytics
The current limitation with social media analytics reporting is that you can only analyse the engagement per post. But what if that image or video was used across different pages, social networks or at different times?
How can you then compare the engagement of that piece of content against other content you’ve published? It’s technically possible, but also difficult and very time consuming.
With a social media digital asset management system, you can easy analyse the performance of individual pieces of visual content no matter when or where or how many times it’s been published.
Conclusion: It’s about saving money and being more efficient
Digital marketing has changed a lot in the past few years. There was a time when we didn’t need to worry about having social media managers and engaging audience in such personal ways.
But, just like those things are now crucial to successful marketing, so too is managing visual content properly.
Not only does it make your social media life much easier, it saves the valuable time of your staff, allowing them to focus on what they’re good at.
A digital asset management system doesn’t just help you stay organized. It helps you see which visual content produces the best results and on which social channels, allowing you to produce a greater return on investment from your marketing efforts.