Visual content marketingRarely do you see an image on social media that hasn’t been doctored – often to the point where it is ‘overly perfect’. You might argue it is Instagram’s fault or simply symptomatic of the world we live, but are we starting to come out the other side of this obsession with perfection?

That’s the suggestion of Nathan Iverson, design director at agency Deutsch LA, who says that people are coming back round to the value of authenticity – as far as brands are concerned anyway.

“We kind of call it ‘perfectly imperfect,'” he told Ad Week. “People will call you out pretty easily if your food looks overly propped or overly perfect because that’s not how it is.”

Iverson makes a sound point, but are brands in danger of showcasing an ‘inferior’ product by not putting it through a filter, while rival businesses persist with ultra-glossy images?

It’s difficult to say at this stage, but I think we’re only going to see more efforts made to break away from this age of perfectionism – and brands would be wise to stay in tune with how consumers think about photography.

However, that’s not the only trend brands need to keep in mind when posting visual content, as Econsultancy contributor Patricio Robles details:

Creative content usurps expensive content

You can pour all sorts of time and money into a post, but if it’s not original then there’s every chance it’ll get lost in the mass.

This might sound somewhat scary from a small business perspective (“We’ve got no chance of standing out amongst the mass of content”), but the beauty of content marketing is that creativity tends to prevail, giving modest-sized firms an opportunity to be heard – as long as their content is unique.

Short-form content comes to the fore

We’re big believers in the power of long-form content, but social media platforms don’t always allow for full-length posts.

So, if brands want to get the most of platforms such as Vine, they’ve got to find ways they can convey effective standalone brand messages in a single photograph or 15-second movie clip.

Time to bring in the creatives again, then…

Image recognition technology being utilised

Finding your brands’ fans and potential influencers should be part of any social media strategy, but for brands posting image and video-based content, simply searching for Twitter users who have made a brand reference just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Enter image recognition technology which can be used to identify images and videos that incorporate your brand’s products.

The upside: it is increasingly sophisticated and reliable. The downside: to get the best results, it takes serious time and money.

Attracting new age brand ambassadors

Social media has simultaneously made celebrities more accessible and detached: anybody can send a celebrity a tweet (some might even get a reply), but their timeline will probably illustrate how far and away their lives are from the norm (or our own).

For this reason, brands have started to reach out to a new generation of young digital natives who made their name on social media. Because they are seen as more authentic and relatable by customers, they often have as much influence as a celebrity might.

Remember, however, if you pay vloggers to advertise a product, the Advertising Standards Authority is making them declare as much.

What other visual content trends have you noticed this year?