Written by Jessica Sanders
When a customer scans through your blog or website, are they able to click through to their favourite photo-sharing network and see what you’re sharing? These social networks have become another smart way for businesses in nearly any industry to add value to the relationship with their customers.
A recent Simply Measured study found that 59 per cent of companies are on Instagram, up from nine per cent the year before. But, what makes them so popular? Whether you’re on Pinterest, Instagram, or Vine, there are two important benefits:
- Improved customer engagement
- Extension of your branding efforts
So, once you’ve decided to incorporate photo-sharing with your current online marketing efforts, you’ll need to consider your plan, resources and how you can optimise your branding efforts for both marketing purposes and the customer.
Have A Plan
Before jumping in with your eyes closed, you want to have a plan. As with any online marketing efforts, you have to know how you’ll optimise, track and get the most from each and every space you’re participating in.
- What is your strategy? Where will your brand do best? On Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr? Each one has a specific audience, and it’s imperative to know which one best suits yours.
- What will you share? Will you be sharing behind the scenes photos or product related images? While you don’t need to just pick one or the other, it’s important that you know what will bring value to your brand as a whole, and where each one will be best received. Perhaps behind the scenes will be best fit for Instagram, where product tutorials are good for Vine. Check out Business.com’s 4 Ways Your Small Business Should be Using Vine for tips and tricks.
- How you will get the photos? There are a number of ways you can share and procure your photos. A strategic way to incorporate your brand is to allow customers to utilise a specific hashtag on Instagram; for example, when posting product photos. This way you are creating brand advocates with little to no effort.
- How will you optimise your search? While photos are a brilliant way to diversify the content you share, it’s also important to remember the broader picture – how you’re getting found and what Google thinks. Be sure that each photo shared is using keyword descriptions, alt tags if possible, title, and appropriate hashtags.
- How will you track your efforts? Pinterest recently released analytics for business, and there are a variety of tools out there that will help you track your progress. Consider utilising UTM parametres to track clicks which will help you see what is working where.
Keeping it Consistent
The point of branding is just that – to brand yourself in a way that makes you recognisable based on your name, your logo, etc. Thus, when participating in social, and specifically photo sharing sites, you want to maintain your image consistently. There are a few factors to remember:
- Profile photos: For each network, you’ll want to have a profile page with a photo and some key messaging. Be sure that this is your logo, or some very similar version of it. You want customers to recognise you.
- Style: The style of your photos should reflect your company and the people you want to attract. If you are targeting an older audience, the “antique” style of Instagram may not be as effective as it would be for Gen Y customers.
- Amount of shares: Don’t share one photo one day and then flood someone’s feed with 10 photos the next. Try to keep this consistent, otherwise this will be a deterrent to your followers and a poor representation of your brand.
Photo sharing is a smart way for nearly any business to extend their branding efforts. Not only is it another avenue to engage with your customers, but gives you the opportunity to truly create brand advocates; whether you’re sharing product photos, user photos, or behind the scenes, it gives your customers one more way to engage with you in their everyday life.
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