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Social Media Slump? Use Visuals to Amp Up Your Marketing Efforts. A selfie station in your boutique or a check-in special at the bar. That's how you stand out.

By Dan Steiner

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Every business realizes the importance of reaching out to customers on social media. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to stand out, especially when you're competing with messages from a person's friends. As social media users scroll through their newsfeeds, it can be almost impossible for any one text-based post to stand out.

In recent years, marketers have realized the power of using visuals to draw attention to their social media updates. Every business can find images that convey a message or help give customers a glimpse of their team members' personality. Here are a few creative ways you can use images to improve your social media marketing efforts.

Feature products.

One of the easiest things you can do as a business owner is share photos of your products. Of course, you don't want to constantly post a stream of ads for the items you sell, but when you debut a new item, be sure to dress it up and snap a picture to show all of your online followers.

Related: How to Make Snapchat Work for Your Personal Brand

You can also feature a product of the month, and invite customers in for a discount on that product if they mention your social media post. You'll be able to quickly track whether or not your posts are effective, and your followers will enjoy saving money.

Share event photos.

When Dr. John Nosti had his recent seminar in Boston, he found that sharing photos from the event on Facebook helped show appreciation to all of the doctors who attended. Whether you choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media platform, you'll likely find that by sharing photos of a group gathering, you can easily widen your reach. They'll probably share the photo with their own followers, who may click to learn more about the other people in the photo.

It's also a great way to increase awareness of a particular event and increase attendance for future get-togethers.

Encourage check-ins.

It's important to remember that customers often show loyalty using their mobile devices. When someone checks in on Facebook, all of that person's followers see a map with your location pinpointed. They'll also see a small glimpse of your own Facebook page, including your profile photo. Make this photo compelling and ensure your own Facebook page has all of the information a customer would need to buy from your business.

Related: 3 Ways Pokémon Go Can Be Useful For Marketing

Customers will naturally check into interesting places, such as tourist destinations and popular clubs, but you can also encourage check-ins by having a monthly drawing that includes everyone who has checked in. You may also see results by simply posting signage in your store reminding people to like you or find your page on Facebook.

Create selfie opportunities.

When a customer shares a selfie and tags the location, that business gets immediate free publicity. Some venues have found it beneficial to give customers a fun reason to snap a picture. A standee in the lobby of a popular restaurant, for instance, will create a perfect photo opportunity.

Product-based businesses can invite customers to share a selfie of themselves with one of their items to be entered to win a prize. If your business shares some of these photos with your own followers, you'll likely find some customers freely snap selfies just for the attention your share brings them.

Related: 5 Impacts a Social Media Campaign Can Have on Your Brand

Show off your staff.

Your employees work hard to make sure your customers are happy. When you include them in your social media posts, you show your followers how valuable they are to your business. It can also make the employees feel appreciated, provided they're comfortable with their image being used on a public page. Once you have their authorization, regularly show behind-the-scenes photos of them hard at work, at the annual Christmas party or hanging out with their family at the company picnic. Your customers will begin to get to know your employees and your employees may even share the photos with their own followers.

Visuals are a great way to stand out in users' social media feeds. It's important to find ways to creatively showcase your brand, though, without actively marketing to customers. With a little creativity, you can create a social media presence that engages customers and has them looking forward to what your next post will be.

Dan Steiner

CEO of Elite Legal Marketing

Dan Steiner is an entrepreneur, Internet-marketing expert and author from San Luis Obispo, Calif. He currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Elite Legal Marketing, a company offering law firm web design and SEO for lawyers. He has been published in a number of media outlets, including HuffingtonPost, Inc and Yahoo, among many others.

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