Social media is wildly popular these days but for brands to harness its full power, they need to remember one thing: visuals rule. People absolutely love photos and videos — they’re easily digestible and eminently shareable, and they allow companies to create really cool visual marketing campaigns.

Need a few ideas to jump-start your creative process? Here are four powerful directions to head in:

Need more ideas? Check out The New Customer Journey, our in-depth guide on building brand advocacy.

1. Do something shocking

It is the internet, right? Yes, creating shocking material for views is starting to seem like an old tactic in the online realm, but you have to admit it works.

Miley Cyrus used shock value to great effect while promoting her album “Bangerz.” Shock tactics are powerful because they get people talking and sharing. It gets people saying, “Did you see this?” and “I can’t believe they did that!” And with all the frenzied word-of-mouth you receive, you may gain more potential customers than ever before.

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For an example of shocking visual marketing that exploded the internet, check out Squatty Potty’s video of a unicorn creating, uh, soft serve:

2. Create a charismatic mascot or spokesperson

For proof that mascots are brilliant for visual marketing, just look at the masters at Kellogg’s, General Mills and Post. It’s mind-boggling to think how many boxes of Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles have been sold because of their insanely memorable mascots.

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Mascots and spokespeople don’t just sell cereal — they can sell everything else under the sun. Old Spice’s campaign featuring The Man Your Man Could Smell Like supercharged sales, and The Most Interesting Man in the World catapulted Dos Equis to one of the most recognizable beer brands on the planet.

A mascot gives your audience someone to relate to and build rapport with. Ideally, you want your mascot to make a huge splash — this will give you a reliable marketing angle for a long time to come.

3. Bake virality into your campaign

Have you seen the Share a Coke campaign? (Maybe a friend was nice enough to buy you a Coke.) Or do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Each of those marketing campaigns spread like wildfire.

Their secret was their built-in virality. When you see a Coke with your friend’s name on it, it’s hard to resist buying that Coke for your friend. And when you get called out for the Ice Bucket Challenge… well, you’ve got to step up, right?

When you create your visual marketing campaign, try to find the hidden force that makes your marketing inherently viral. This means making your content fun to share, hyper-social and highly memorable. Whenever we see someone getting drenched with ice water, we think about ALS awareness; what will your brand be known for?

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4. Share a world-changing message

Maybe you know in your gut that your brand has something important to say. In that case, it’s time to dig deep and spread your message to the world. Dove, for example, launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004, celebrating female beauty in every body type. Not only did the campaign kick off a worldwide discussion about what beauty really was, but it also helped Dove grow sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion in 10 years.

You can win the hearts and minds of customers everywhere while building awareness about your brand — just find a message that you believe in and that complements your products. With any luck, you’ll change the world for the better and sell more while you’re at it!

There are a lot more visual marketing strategies out there. If you’re looking for fresh marketing ideas, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our guide The New Customer Journey: Building Brand Advocacy Across the Visual Web. Read the guide today and learn almost two dozen tactics you can use to get your brand noticed!