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In the past two months, Instagram and Pinterest have stepped up and earned themselves the reputation as the new marketing tool for businesses in the world of social media. With over 15 million daily users worldwide, these two networks go against traditional social media sitesand have paved the way for 2012 to mark itself as the year of social photography.
Photography captures moments that are special to us as a still-life and when shared with people, it gives them a pictorial glimpse of our life at a particular place and time. Almost since their inception, Facebook and Twitter have been used as a platform to share photographs with close friends and family. These photographs reflect the personal nature of these sites. But the growth of photography in public social domains and online communities is the most interesting for businesses and allows for growth.
Businesses can integrate Instagram & Pinterest into their marketing strategies in 3 ways:
Widen Creativity: Many companies use photographs to show their customers a different, more interesting view of their products. General Electric, for example; uses Instagram to give their customers a behind the scenes look at the GE research labs, archives and even manufacturing plants. Other companies like Red Bull, engage their customers by sharing and clicking pictures of events, sports and hobbies that cater to their target audience. The key to using Instagram and Pinterest is to upload different pictures and not repeat the old ones. For your business, you may want to start by taking pictures of the office, the teams, things that inspire the workplace or even a sneak peek view of a new product or service to be released. Remember: the amount of information-per-instance that is shared in an image cannot be expressed in a 140 word tweet.
Involve Your Audience: Your customers are also clicking pictures of your product at the same time. Instead of letting all these pictures go unappreciated, involve them and ask them to create a hashtag and then upload them to Pinterest boards that you can track. Not only will they come in handy for events but they will also help marketing campaigns. For example, Starbucks asked their customers to click product related pictures using the hastag #starbucks. This made it easier for them to study the needs of their customers, get feedback about their products, improve on their advertising schemes and create a photography album fed straight by their fan base. It’s always best to create a healthy balance between your customers. Getting too promotional about your product might cost you a few followers.
Create Awareness With Traditional Social Media Networks: Integrating with blogs, Facebook and Twitter; help create awareness and divert traffic to Instagram and Pinterest. Recently Instagram allowed for a deeper connection with Facebook, by enabling photo share via the company’s Facebook page. By adding a location to your photos, you allow your customers to include that location with their photos. This way you increase traffic on both networks. Pinterest lets us create boards to organize images in specific categories. When a new picture is “pinned”, your followers can view, favourite and repin it, thus, feeding it into their stream of followers. Facebook aids in creating virality for Pinterest Pins and Instagram pictures.
Instagram and Pinterest were designed specifically to help people share the photos, thoughts, and ideas that they love. But now they have risen as a great marketing platform for businesses by offering a quick and easy way to share visual content to their fans. In the end social photography is simple – click the best thought provoking pictures to attract the most attention and followers.