When reflecting on 2016, it becomes apparent how turbulent this year has been, from the controversial outcome of the American presidency election to the vote that saw Britain exit the EU. This vast sea of political change has had a knock-on effect on small businesses and larger corporations alike, so it’s no surprise that many are feeling unsure about what the future may hold.

Despite these revelations, one thing that remains undeniable is the growing influence of social media. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to reign supreme and yield more power than ever before, with new statistics showing that 76% of Facebook users engage with the site every day. That said, you only need to look to one of the most eye-opening PR campaigns of the year to gauge the impact that social media is having on the industry.

On August 1, Instagram gained a new user named Louise Delage, an attractive 25-year-old from Paris. Her posts showed her sunning herself on the beach and indulging in boozy lunches, suggesting that she was just like every other 20-something girl who utilises the site, but all was not as it seemed. Her last post on the site came on September 22 and it quickly transpired that she was in fact the cleverly conceived work of advertising agency BETC and the face of its ‘like my addiction’ campaign.

The account had racked up an impressive 65,000 followers and accumulated over 50,000 likes in just a few months, however all of those users that were double tapping had missed something crucial. In every one of her images, Louise was drinking alcohol and was doing so to promote Aide Addiction, an organisation committed to raising awareness about young people suffering with alcohol addiction. The campaign was captivating, powerful and performed just as intended, boosting traffic to Aide Addiction’s website and even creating a trending topic on Twitter in France.

But it went further than that, the campaign also demonstrated the impact of image-led content when engaging audiences. Thesedays, imagery speaks louder than words and recognising this is imperative to success. Did you know that content including relevant images gets 94% more views than that with none? Images incorporated in tweets are effective and can transform an otherwise simply informative message into something more dynamic. Infographics are popular amongst bloggers because they make information more easily digestible, so incorporating these in your tweets will make them much more shareable. But remember, you’re only as good as your ideas and powerful images and graphics will not mask a concept that that lacks substance and customer engagement. BETC’s campaign was successful because it tapped into its audience, their needs and the way they consume information. Ensure you select images that are effective and resonate with customer values and you will be on your way to social media success in 2017.

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