By: Kurtis Wiles

When you scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook, what catches your eye? Naturally, the big, colorful squares that contain an image are picked up by our eyes as being important and worth looking at. Pictures are the most easily recognized and engaging type of content in a news feed.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Haven’t we all heard that phrase too many times? As much as it might pain us to admit it, there is truth in the idea.

Pictures offer us a unique insight into moments that are frozen in time, different colors and shapes that we are attracted to, and an idea that must be seen to be heard. Pictures tell us stories.

Every company has a story to tell. Brand history, customer feedback and internal innovation are all a part of the ever-growing story. So the question becomes,”How do we use pictures to tell our story?”

This question burns into the minds of marketing professionals worldwide who understand the power a single image obtains in generating engagement on Facebook. The best part about “visual storytelling” is that you don’t have to be a marketing pro to learn how to do it; all you need is a story and some imagination.

Here are four ways you can master the art of visual storytelling on Facebook:

Stand-alone visual campaigns

A UK-based insurance comparison site, Compare The Market, created a campaign around the idea that market sounds a little bit like meerkat. They introduced Aleksandr Orlov, a meerkat with a Russian accent and aristocratic heritage. Though Compare The Market doesn’t have its own Facebook page, Aleksandr’s page has more than 800,000 likes.

Aleksandr Orlov – Founder of Compare the Meerkat

Aleksandr’s story (and family) was created through images and clever interactions with followers on Facebook. Who would have thought a meerkat could tell the story of an insurance company?

Develop Community

Many businesses make a point of giving back to their community, but TOMS shoes takes it a step further. The company was founded on the principle that for every pair of shoes sold, they would donate a pair to children in poverty around the world.

Photo: Spread the love. </p><br /><br /><p>Happy Valentine's Day!

TOMS shares pictures of all of the kids they have the fortune of helping. Not only are they impacting people in a positive way, but they are sharing the story of their company’s founding principles and how those principles impact their business.

Photo Collections

A picture doesn’t always need to be created to tell your story; sometimes your story is already in a picture ready to be taken. Photos of your entire team as they work on, and eventually finish, a 3-year project can tell a complete story with short updates here and there to tie it all together.

Bringing together a group of real-life photos can tell a powerful story with little to no work on “creating” the images. The secret is to take a step back and see the story as it is happening before your eyes.

The Walt Disney Animation Studios facebook page is a great example. The picture below posted on the Disney Animation page features all their team members who attended the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s.

Photo: Learn more about the members (and familiar faces) of the CalArts class that have helped make our studios what they are today. Read more in Vanity Fair:

Fan-Generated Content

Starbucks celebrates the most important people to their company through visual stories: their customers. The Starbucks Facebook page is full of fan photos that offer a customer’s-eye view of their company. In essence, Starbucks allows their customers to tell their story.

Starbucks Fan

What better strategy to generate fresh, relevant stories about your company than to enlist the free advocacy of your fans?

Photo posts account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. On average, photos receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more link-clicks than text-based posts.

Visual stories are powerful tools in the world of social sharing and fast-moving content. How will you tell your story?