visual social media toolsThere’s no doubt social media is here to stay, but it’s an ever-changing landscape that can be hard to navigate if you’re not properly equipped. To make the journey even more arduous, the popularity of apps and platforms is often fleeting (I’m looking at you, MySpace). It’s hard to know what will get your message in front of the most eyeballs and increase your following.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and these growing trends in visual social media drive this point home.

Visual Social Media Sites

Vine: The Vine app allows users to create looping six-second videos, which can then be shared to Twitter and Facebook. Users can also follow and interact with friends and use hashtags to keep up with trending posts. With about 40 million current users, Vine’s popularity began booming through the sharing of fun (and often silly) videos. It’s now a great visual social media tool for creative marketers who understand the power and effectiveness of video content in getting more visibility.

Instagram: In the world of social media marketing, an app with approximately 150 million users must be doing something right. What started as a photo-sharing app with an array of cool filtering options now features video as well. All can be shared via most popular social networks. What separates Instagram video from Vine? Videos can be up to fifteen seconds long; filtering options are also available.

Pinterest: What was essentially an online scrapbooking tool has become one of the more popular visual social media platforms in recent years. Although it is just four years old, Pinterest boasts more than 70 million users (mostly women), offering them a space in which to collect and organize “pins” (internet bookmarks) from all over the web. These collections, or “boards,” are then shared and followed by fellow users.

Snapchat: Millennials, always on the leading edge of social media technology, have found a new darling in this photo/video-sharing app. Users can capture an image or video and share with followers for a preset time window (from one to ten seconds). After the time expires, the files are deleted from the recipient’s device and the Snapchat servers. At just three years old (and 30 million+ users), Snapchat may be the baby of the group, but companies like McDonalds, HBO, and Bloomberg Businessweek see the service’s potential for reaching newer and wider audiences.

It’s clear to see that photo- and video-sharing services are the current kings and queens of the social media mountain, putting “old-timers” like Flickr, Tumblr, and even Facebook on notice. And while all social media is on a two-way street where you can interact with your audience, those with the ability to present the most engaging scenery are likely to attract more companions along the way.