How to use image-based social media channels for your business

top-imageAs the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, perhaps this is why so many companies today have adopted platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat to promote their brand.

If you are using social media channels on a regular basis, it is important to bear in mind that Facebook images receive 50% more interaction than text-based posts and Twitter images are the most shared and clicked content.

As an SME, it can be a challenge to adopt creative social media campaigns when larger companies are famously interacting online. However, there are multiple benefits to a number of sectors when adopting image-based social media platforms.

 

Instagram

Since the launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown to over 150 million monthly active users. What makes this tool unique is that it centres on the use of photographs and captions only, providing fun, alternative ways to grow your brand presence and promote your company offering. Here are a few tips for using Instagram in your business.

  • Show a more personal side to your brand. Introduce a clearly defined personality and voice.
  • Offer an exclusive view into the lifestyle that your brand makes possible.
  • Inspire movement around your brand. Encourage people to capture photos and create campaigns with a #hashtag.
  • Know your audience. Take time to learn what people love about your brand and fill their newsfeeds with photos that capture this.
  • Offer followers exclusive benefits. Introduce them to a new product or service before it goes live for the public.

Last year, Kellogg’s came up with an idea to convert Instagram photos into their own currency. The Special K store in Stockholm was turned into an Instashop that encouraged customers to upload a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #nyaspecialk (nya – meaning new) to receive a box of their new Special K cereal. The campaign follows Kellogg’s first pop up shop in London where customers could pay for a packet of Special K Cracker Crisps by tweeting a message about the new snack

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is now the fastest growing image-sharing social media channel. In 2013, Pinterest drove 41% of social media traffic to ecommerce sites. The social media site is described as the world’s biggest collection of everybody’s favourite things.

There are multiple opportunities for businesses that explore this creative platform. To set you in the right direction, here are a few top tips.

  • Create specific boards, include products, case studies and company life.
  • Relevance is key. Keep up with the times and pinning regularly is essential.
  • If your company has information buried away in dated PowerPoint presentations, create useful infographics to share with your target audience.

Petplan, the pet insurance company, created an engaging destination for pet loving parents. Their aim was to produce relevant and easy-to-digest pet health information available in a visually compelling format. After researching the trending pet topics on Pinterest, Petplan began creating boards with images from their popular pet health magazine, fetch. Over time, the company created specific educational boards like “Health Tips” and “Breed All About It”. After developing their presence on Pinterest,  Petplan saw an 87% increase in new site traffic, a 35% increase in page views and a 12.5% increase in insurance quote requests.

 

Snapchat

Snapchat allows users to take photos and record videos, which can then be sent to a controlled list of recipients. It has been reported that Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for over $3 billion, which highlights how important the app has quickly become. If you are worried that Snapchat might not be appropriate for your business, here are a few tips to help you use this platform effectively.

  • Make your snaps straight to the point. Your audience will be able to see them for a maximum of 10 seconds.
  • Keep it light-hearted, one of the main reasons for Snapchat is to make people smile, so be funny!
  • Personalise responses when possible, which reinforces the human aspect.
  • Quick competitions are a great way to engage with your audience via Snapchat.

The Co-operative is the first major UK retailer to use Snapchat for marketing. The ‘Snaptop’ campaign offers students £30 off all laptops online when they add Co-operative Electrical as a friend on Snapchat.  The Co-operative’s campaign is about targeting a specific audience using a platform they love, with something they need, at the time of year they need it.

The expectations of brands on social media are getting higher, which is leading to businesses having to turn away from traditional mediums and create more engaging and interactive experiences for followers. As images continue to generate higher engagement rates than text-based content, businesses will need to re-evaluate their marketing in 2014 to ensure that campaigns reflect the ever changing social media environment.

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