Is EVERYONE a photographer?
Pinterest! It’s the latest shooting star in the social world, and if you don’t know, it’s a place to post and share photos. REALLY GOOD photos. It’s basically Twitter if you throw out 90% of the users and keep only the serious photogs, then instead of a stream of text, display a wall of pics.
There’s only one problem: Have you seen the web recently? There’s a lot of pinterest, e-commerce, e-commerce marketing, online marketing, marketing analytics, pinterest e-commerce, pinterest marketing, social sharing, social marketing, social commerce, social trackingad photography and worse Photoshop, and we’ve accepted it. I admit, my idea of photography is to make sure I carry a phone around so I can take a quick shot of something cool. I always figured a lot of people were like me, ready to post a quick image to Facebook or some other social site without worrying about F-Stop, framing, lighting, and other technical minutiae.
As I browse Facebook and other social platforms, I see pretty much the same type of stuff: Here are the kids at the ballgame. Here’s our company picnic. Here we are at the beach. Few of my friends are serious photogs. I assume most people have a camera that takes decent shots, and they treat it like a serious piece of equipment, but they don’t lug it around all the time.
Not so, Pinterest.
Pinterest looks like a bunch of serious photographers got together and said “Let’s show how seriously we take our craft, and see if we can raise the bar a little.” To open Pinterest is to step into a constantly-updated art gallery, where you can Like, Share (it’s called repinning) and comment on the artwork.
Apparently, it’s working. Pinterest now drives more referral traffic to e-commerce sites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. A quick glance at the page shows that an awful lot of the images are of products, such as handbags, furniture, and clothes, or domestic services like hairstyles and food catering. Inspiration and Travel are also big, and a lot of users share stuff that looks like it comes right out of travel sites.
But it’s not all pretty pictures, is it?
Where does Pinterest come from? By now everyone knows it was founded by Ben Silbermann, a designer and entrepreneur with Google development chops, founder of ColdBrew Labs Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp, formerly a product designer at Facebook.
There’s a lot more going on that is driven by the raw, non-visual world of e-commerce. For instance: Skimlinks is a web tracking solution used by e-commerce affiliates that splits revenues with Pinterest for every purchase derived from a Pinterest link. Further, the company’s primary investors are a who’s-who of leaders of e-commerce platforms like Milo, a local online shopping network, Behance, a platform for creative professionals, Yelp, a localized review platform, and EventBrite, an event sharing network.
So Pinterest looks like a cool scrapbooking project appealing mainly to people (mainly women so far) who share their interests and desires, but it’s really a very powerful advertising and online shopping link driver. They know what they’re doing.
So how can your business use it?
If you’re an e-commerce retailer, media publisher, or small business owner, and know how to take a good photo, Pinterest is perfect for driving your business. Your account can host several different Pinboards, and if you post some great pics several times per day, other users will see them, repin them, and link through them to your site. There’s hardly a better call to action than a gorgeous photo of a cake, travel destination or shirt that screams “Click me!”.
Then you can increase your audience, add them to your email campaigns, and use email to drive people to your Pinterest pinboards. A well-designed email is a great way to appeal to your audience visually. It’s very easy to imagine a much better-looking social web and email inbox simply because Pinterest will drive people to use higher quality images.
Then people like me, who like to take a quick iPhone snap, will be out of luck!
Tom Bishop is an experienced Marketing Professional focused on brand strategy, campaign management, market segmentation, research and data analysis, and business development. He has a great deal of experience in start up companies that are positioned for rapid growth. Tom uses his strong analytical skills, organizational skills and leadership abilities… View full profile
Small Business owners can use cool new visual technology tools to showcase their business.
My first camera was an AGFA 35 which at that time was a leading edge “film camera”. As a kid I remember the thrill of going to a camera store to buy the camera with my dad and my brother. How times have changed!
Little did I know that my phone would now be my camera of choice. I have a Samsung Galaxy S 2 and it takes 8MP pictures and uploads them in real-time to various social networks.
We are so lucky that the process of taking a visual picture of the business from “click to share” has become a very easy process. Your customers are doing it. See all the pictures on Flickr for the search term Whole Foods .
Also look at the results for a Google Image search for Whole Foods Now think about all the times you had a great happy moment in your business -an arrival of a new product, a happy customer, a colorful holiday display, anything that conjures up a image in your mind.
Folks like to see pictures. I visited Dubai last summer and watched a lot of videos and saw a lot of pictures as we were planning our visit. We chose the hotel after seeing the pictures and also the activities we wanted to do while we were there.
Everyday billions of videos are uploaded and watched on YouTube. The same with photos – Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, twitpic are some of the popular sites for photo social networking. A newcomer Pinterest is getting a lot of buzz and traction. You should check it out.
Advantages of sharing photos from your business
- Ability to increase the “findability” of your business in search results. Along with text results, search engines show image andvideo results as well
- Showcase your products through images
- Humanize your business by showing pictures of the personalities behind the business
- If there is a special occasion make sure you have pictures to show future customers
Things to do with your pictures
- Group them and tag your visual content. A tag is an important piece of information you are giving a photo or a video to enable people searching to find your picture easily
- Add a link to your website for people to get more information about your business
- If you would like other people to use the pictures and link back to your website , licence your pictures as Creative Commons. This is a good strategy to get nbound links and to spread your content further (not a good strategy if you are in the professional photography business)
Work flow to upload pictures
- If you are uploading pictures from your phone you can use several apps to share them with your friends. A word of caution here is that you should make sure the pictures are appropirate and have been tagged properly.
- Share your pictures or videos in networks where you have more followers.
- Use tools like Google’s Picasa to import from your camera and organize them.
If you are taking pictures of people within your business it may be a good idea to get their consent. Docstoc has some sample Photography release forms. I am not a lawyer so I would recommend that you to get some advice on this.
Another use of uploading pictures/videos to social networks is that you can use these picures or videos on your website by embedding them into your website and save space.
Have fun showing the world the visual side of your business. Let us know how you use visual tools to create awareness of your business.
Shashi Bellamkonda currently oversee all social media and public relations activities at Network Solutions, a firm that helps small businesses start and market their businesses on the Web. In this role, he has compiled an impressive record of achievements that includes transforming the company’s Web presence,… View full profile
This article originally appeared on Wood Street News & Blog and has been republished with permission.