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.



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 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 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.

#MarketingTitbits – Glass, Pinterest, networking

Glass-Pinnterest-networking-smaller1. Google Glass is coming to the UK
Until recently, Google Glass has been available only to those living in the USA. However, the company released a statement earlier this week stating that they will begin offering Glass to individuals in Great Britain.

Along with the statement, Google provided potential customers with a video showing Glass being used in London; to give them an idea of how they might use the device locally. The video includes features such as language translation, a sat-nav system, and video recording.

To read more, click here. 


2. The most pinned places on earth

Not so long ago, the only way to see and save images from far corners of the earth was to tear them out of travel magazines and stick them into scrapbooks or on the wall. However, times have changed and the traditional methods of ‘scrap-booking’ have been replaced with the internet, and in particular Pinterest.

If you possess that certain wanderlust you may already have a Pinterest ‘Travel’ board set up, but just in case you haven’t, we’ve got the perfect article for you. Mashable have brought us a list of the 30 most pinned locations all around the world. 


3. 7 networking secrets everyone should learn in their 20s

Networking is a very important skill for all business professionals. It enables individuals to make strong connections with other business professionals and some might argue that good networking is the key to success in business.

This week, we saw a great article from Business Insider with seven networking secrets everyone should learn. To have a look at the list, click here.

#MarketingTitbits – consumer high streets, Pinterest pages, Snapchat stories

highstreets-pinterest-snapchat-smaller1. Big brands left out of consumers’ ideal high streetAccording to new research by insight and innovation consultancy FreshMinds, almost half of consumers believe that big brands are ruining the high street and a further 63% believe that high streets have lost their appeal.

In the survey of 2,000 consumers, most envisioned a high street with big brands being replaced by pop-up shops, independent restaurants and 24-hour social spaces. Director of FreshMinds, Natasha Wallace, stated that retail stores need to create an in-store experience than cannot be replicated online. But what does the high street of 2025 look like?

Click here to read more on the latest report.

2. Five small businesses with brilliant Pinterest pages

Since its launch back in 2010, Pinterest has grown to become one of the biggest social media platforms for both consumers and businesses. And now,Econsultancy has gathered a list of some of the best pages from smaller ecommerce brands to give you or your business a little inspiration.

The brands that are succeeding on Pinterest are those that have fun and create the most attractive boards. From local produce delivery firm, Farmdrop; or seller of weird and wonderful things, Firebox, this is simple. Their boards are filled with a range of interesting pins from both their own content and external sources.

Take a look at the boards yourself by clicking here.

3. Currys PC World: Snapchat allows us to do more than just add noise to a newsfeed

Currys PC World has recently partnered with Microsoft to launch its first Snapchat campaign, in a bid to target and inspire millennials. The #BestofBoth campaign tells the story of Microsoft’s laptop and tablet hybrid product and how it can enhance the daily lives of students.

Their introduction of Snapchat follows Wimbledon and the other brands that are joining in with the app’s new geofilter ads. Currys PC World’s social media manager believes that the platform allows them to connect with students through story-based marketing, rather than “adding to the noise in their newsfeeds”.

To read more on their newest campaign, click here.



Recently we mentioned Pinterest in our March marketing top tips and we thought it would be a good idea to share a little more about the latest social media trend and how your business can get involved.
Pinterest recently hit our social media world with an almighty bang, receiving more than 103 million visits in February. If you have not yet joined the millions of other social media enthusiasts on Pinterest, it may be hard to understand the fascination. At first glance, the Pinterest home page may appear to be a wall of fashion trends, cupcakes and food thumbnails. However, once you start searching your own interests, you may find yourself quickly addicted to the new world of pinning.

How Pinterest works:

Pinterest invites visitors to set up their own  virtual “pinboards”, incorporating interesting images, designs and styles into different categories that the user invents.  From kitchen designs to jewellery collections, there is an array of ‘interests’ to suit everyone’s needs. So how is Pinterest a social networking site? Well, Pinterest allows members to comment on each other’s images and follow their pinboards. If a photo strikes a user’s fancy, then they can simply repin it.

Who’s involved? 

 Google Ad Planner recently showed that nearly 1.5 million unique users are visiting Pinterest daily, and spending an impressive 14+ minutes on the site. Pinterest is very much tailored towards the US market at present but it is rapidly growing in the UK. According to Andrew Lipsman, ComScore’s Vice President of Industry Analysis, females account for 68% of the site’s visitors worldwide and a whopping 85% of the activity. However, in the UK, the demographic is different, with a mostly male audience, interested in more than just re-pinning and showcasing photographs. Instead, they are focusing on the web statistics and analysis associated with this new social networking phenomenon.

How can my business get involved?

So, can a business benefit from yet another social networking site?

SMEs who currently promote their brand on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ should start thinking about adding Pinterest to their mix. Pinterest HQ suggests that businesses first spotlight “aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first,” such as charitable activity and coporate social responsibility schemes. They also suggest incorporating other aspects of social media, creating a communication hub to new and potential consumers.

Currently, Pinterest works best for brands that can display their service or product in thought provoking, attractive and sometimes funny images. Photographs are a great way of engaging users and encouraging them to follow and interact with your brand. Businesses can also make sure that a Pinterest user who clicks on their photos will be taken directly back to their website, where the product or service is displayed. According to top marketing researchers, last month, Pinterest delivered more referral traffic then Twitter.

However, like any social networking site, Pinterest comes with a warning. There have been recent headlines claiming there are copy right issues regarding Pinterest. Our advice would be, as always, be careful what you upload online, if you ‘re pin’ an image, check that the link goes back to the original website, thereby providing referral links & traffic to the copyright owner. Inform your employees of your social media best practice and finally use this as an excuse to upload original and creative content that reflects your brand and engages your consumer.

See below for a couple of brands using Pinterest, one you may expect and the second one you may not.























For more advice on safe social media for your business, click here.

Are your Lead Generation campaigns LinkedIn?

You may be aware that we regularly discuss the importance of social media for a business, providing you with insights into the latest social media trends and top tips about how to engage effectively with your consumers within the variety of social media platforms available.
From our experience of working with SMEs, the same questions pop up time and time again, ‘How can social media fit with my industry’? ‘How is social media going to generate sales for my business?’

Not all social media sites are relevant for every business, for example, product based B2C businesses are more likely to engage with consumers on platforms, such as Facebook and Pinterest, where a business can take advantage of the visual functions available. If you want to communicate to a B2B audience and business professionals, then LinkedIn with its 150 million members is a good place to start.

LinkedIn enables members and businesses to create profiles, connect with like-minded individuals, share blogs and news items. However, more and more businesses are now discovering the hidden powers of LinkedIn, not only as a social networking site, but also as a platform that can be the foundation for marketing campaigns and a vital component in a company’s lead generation efforts.

So how can your business use LinkedIn for lead generation? Think of LinkedIn as a treasure trove with over 150 million contacts that can be used to support your business activities. LinkedIn is rich with information you can use to help qualify prospects, target businesses and research competitors.

Below are some examples of how your business can use LinkedIn effectively:

  • Do you have a list of potential companies that you wish to target? Are there contact names missing or is the list simply out of date? If so, LinkedIn is a great tool for identifying key decision-makers working in the organisations you are keen to engage with.  This helps eliminate the dreaded entry phrase ‘I can’t put you through; we work on a no name basis’.
  • Is your business launching a new product or service and you are keen to research your target audience? We use LinkedIn as a valuable market research tool. It gives you access to a range of groups and contacts, many of which are keen to share their opinion. Post a question on a relevant group and engage with your target audience to get their thoughts and ideas, there’s nothing better than a service or product that really addresses the challenges and problems customers face.
  • Join groups and develop yourself as an expert in your field. LinkedIn enables you to join and set up industry and career specific groups. Groups of like-minded professionals are excellent for gaining knowledge, sharing news and conveying your expertise. LinkedIn groups allow you to see the issues that your target audience are facing, providing you with an opportunity to share your knowledge and build relationships with potential customers.

A great example of a business getting to grips with the power of LinkedIn is Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific Airways is an international airline based in Hong Kong, offering scheduled cargo and passenger services to over 140 destinations around the world. Cathay Pacific faced the same challenges that most businesses face, how to crawl through the jungle that is an overcrowded marketplace and reach their target audience with a message that is compelling. In order to achieve this, Cathay Pacific turned to LinkedIn to help target people who would fly business class between the United States and Asia. The aim was to identify members who belong to LinkedIn groups related to business travel in Asia, such as Global Workers, China Networking Group and Hong Kong Connection, in order to engage with time-strapped business travellers in an environment where they were already comfortable, engaged and spending time.

Cathay Pacific established a company page in LinkedIn and started to engage with the groups and individual members, providing regular status updates. As well as increasing the brand awareness, Cathay Pacific’s LinkedIn activity generated a total of 1,324 responses from business travellers, produced 97 LinkedIn page recommendations and increased the clickthrough rate on to their main website.

With the ever increasing array of social networking sites available to businesses, large and small, and the constantly evolving digital world, a business must establish the platforms that offer their business most value. Social media is free but your time is not. You need to use it wisely. We believe that increasingly, if you operate in the B2B sphere, LinkedIn represents an effective investment of your time. It is now so much more than just an online CV; it unlocks the doors to millions of opportunities for your business.

Marketing Titbits – Pinterest analytics, hashtags for Facebook and Dropbox

Pinterest Analytics:
If you have a very visual website, with lots of imagery that visitors might like to share with their friends, family, colleagues or business network, have you started exploring how the latest social media phenomenon, Pinterest, could be utilised to increase web traffic and awareness amongst your target audience? If not, you can find out a bit more here about how it works.

The nature of Pinterest is such that you might already be benefiting from your visitors sharing your website imagery, without you even realising it. Such is the rapid growth of Pinterest, over 12 million unique users per month, that it is quickly gaining entry to the top table of the social media kingdom, alongside the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn. To highlight its growing influence, Pinterest has recently launched its own analytics software, which will show website owners just Pinterest users are interacting with their website. It will include information like:

  • How many people have pinned from your site
  • How many people have seen these pins
  • How many people visited your site from Pinterest
  • Most repinned, most clicked, and most recent pins

For more information on Pinterest Analytics click here.

#Hashtags coming to Facebook?:

Once synonymous with Twitter, there are now rumours that Facebook might be building in hashtagging capabilities into its social network architecture. The new facility would enable Facebookers to tune in and participate in the public discussion of topics across the social networking site, in much the same way users of Twitter can do currently.

The facility is already incorporated into Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, so it is likely we will see this development in the not too distant future.

If your wondering what all this hashtagging is about, here’s a brief overview from theGuardian’s Technology Blog.


There are very few ‘must haves’ in our opinion, but Dropbox is something we can’t live without and we think if you try it, you’ll agree.

Dropbox is a free service that, put simply, lets you access all your documents, images, videos and files anywhere. When you save any file in your Dropbox, it will automatically sync to all your computers, phones, tablets and the Dropbox website. It is a great way to back up important files.

However, we find the real value is in the ability it gives us to share files (particularly large ones) with our clients and team. Need a client to go through a brochure file too big to email? No problem, share it with them securely through Dropbox. Need to share a large document with a co-worker working from home and you’ve not got a server? Again, no problem, use Dropbox.

Its integration across all our technology, including PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets has made our lives so much easier. We hope you benefit in the same way. Learn more here.

#MarketingTitbits – how top retailers are using Pinterest, before they were famous & subliminal messaging in logos

1. A year on, how do the top 10 UK retailers use Pinterest?
Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has become the third largest social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter with 11million visits a week. The majority of its users are female and the most popular topics on Pinterest are interior design and cookery.

Despite this, it is not only housewives that use Pinterest; it is becoming increasingly popular amongst brands as well. Companies can promote new products and increase brand awareness by pinning photos that inspire them and are likely to inspire others as well.

We think Pinterest can be as beneficial to you as it can be to the likes of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, but if you have no idea where to start then have a look at how the top 10 UK retailers use Pinterest.

Click here

2. Ads made by film directors before they were famous

Some film directors start out on the production side of films, as lighting technicians and production assistants. However, sometimes they get in to the film industry by taking director roles for things such as television adverts and music videos – they don’t just jump into the best jobs without doing the less glamorous ones first.

This week, we saw a great article which rounds up 6 great adverts directors made before they were famous. To have a look at them, click here.

3. Subliminal messages in 15 popular logos

Subliminal messages affect the unconscious mind. They come in the form of images being flashed quickly across our field of vision so that we don’t consciously take note of them, audio messages that are masked by other sounds and images hidden inside another image or logo.

From Coca-Cola to Amazon, logos that we see every day contain subliminal messages! Have a look at this article which highlights 15 of them.

What your SME can learn from social media

Last month, we introduced the first instalment of our three part blog, ‘What SMEs can learn from big businesses’. Part 1 highlighted ‘Guerrilla marketing’ and how larger organisations are adopting innovative campaigns in order to raise brand awareness and create that vital social buzz.  This month, part 2 focuses on social media and how more and more companies are including the likes of Facebook and Twitter into their marketing mix to help grow their business and attract potential customers.

Out of the total 7 billion people living on the planet, 1.5 billion use social media. From Twitter and Facebook to Google+ and Pinterest, social media has now become ingrained into our contemporary lifestyles, making it easier to engage and share content with individuals online, no matter what the social and geographical boundaries. But social media is no longer just influencing our personal lives; one in three businesses now use social media, with 58% of consumers ‘liking’ at least one brand on Facebook.

Companies are now harnessing the power of social media to build their brands within the landscape of status updates, pins and tweets. To create successful social media campaigns, an investment of time is essential. However, this alone is not enough. A note of caution – it is easy to rush into tweeting and posting pictures, without really understanding why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve. Like any marketing activity, researching, planning and implementing strategies are critical to turning a great idea into great results.

Here are some good and bad examples how some well known companies have used social media to engage with their audience.

1. In October 2012, Cisco, the multinational networking equipment giant, wanted to make sure that they were listening to their customers and responding to questions and queries in ways that were relevant and accurate. With this in mind, Cisco launched their Social Media Listening Centre. On a daily basis, the centre monitors around 5,000 social mentions across 70 company-related platforms, from Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and YouTube, to company blogs and forums. According to a recent independent evaluation of these listening activities, Cisco achieved a 281% return on their investment over a 5-month period, amounting to an annual cost benefit of over just over £991 million. This was calculated by comparing what Cisco spent on implementing and training staff to use social marketing tool with the benefits received, the avoidance of marketing and customer service costs to achieve the same results, along with indirect benefits, such as increased staff productivity. The results indicated that the new centre helped Cisco employees deal with more enquiries at a faster rate.

2. To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Oreo posted 100 adverts on their Facebook page over 100 days. During the campaign, Oreo’s Facebook friends went up from 26million to 27million and its Facebook interactions increased by 195%. The posts included relevant topics, quotes about Oreos, humorous cartoons and even Oreo themed recipes. The time invested in developing their Facebook campaign paid off as Oreo won the top Studio Award prize from Facebook.








3. However, interacting closely with consumers online can backfire if you have not planned your campaign successfully.  Earlier this year, Tesco posted on their Facebook page “Click LIKE if you love getting your groceries delivered.” Alongside people liking the post, there were numerous comments from customers explaining their bad experiences with Tesco’s home delivery service. Tesco did not ignore or delete the comments, instead they responded to every single user, asking for details so they could look into each case and try and solve the problem.

4. Unfortunately, Waitrose’s attempt at #hashtags wasn’t exactly what they had planned either. In 2012, Waitrose invited customers to complete the sentence ‘I shop at Waitrose because… #WaitroseReasons’.  What Waitrose thought was a great way to showcase the affordability of the brand backfired, with Twitter users mocking the brands position within the market and their target audience. For example, ‘I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being around poor people #WaitroseReasons. ‘I shop at Waitrose because I was once in the Holloway Rd branch and heard a dad say ‘Put the papaya down, Orlando!’

For a company embarking on using social media as part of their marketing, the seemingly endless choice and possibilities can see daunting. However, adopting the right platforms to represent your brand is important.  Twitter and Facebook are good for creating conversations with customers and responding to queries, complaints or praise. For the brands that are more visual, sites like Pinterest and Instagram provide an array of creative opportunities. The key to successful social media isn’t just about how many fans, followers or mentions you have, instead the secret to building your brand is the interaction between your business and your online community. For your campaigns to run smoothly, creating a social media strategy is essential. It will help your brand stay in the right direction, generate a return on investment, as well as increase your visibility online.

#MarketingTitbits – Facebook, Pinterest & Halloween

facebook-pinterest-halloween-final-s1. Facebook brand reputation suffers over beheading videos
In May earlier this year, Facebook released a statement saying that they will ban all graphic content uploaded to the social networking site, until it has been reviewed by them. Despite this, last week Facebook made the decision not to ban a very graphic video of a woman being beheaded. Subsequently, Facebook users  and various groups across society expressed dismay at Facebook’s new stance  – especially given children as young as 13 can have a Facebook page and therefore, access to content on Facebook. Even the Prime Minister, David Cameron, tweeted “It’s irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents.” In response to the public outcry, Facebook backtracked and altered their policy. Take a look at the full article, click here.

2. Pinterest is now worth $3.8billion

Pinterest is a photo-sharing site first launched in March 2010. Since its inception, it has gone on to become one of social media’s success stories. In December 2011, the site became one of the top 10 largest social media sites according to Hitwise data. In October 2013, Pinterest now has 70 million users and 2.5 billion monthly page views. It is the fastest growing social networking site and has about 500,000 business accounts. Pinterest is now valued at a whopping $3.8 billion. If you’re not already a ‘pinner’, it is well worth taking a look to see if it could help your business. To find out more, here’s a great article from Mashable, click here.

3. Halloween marketing

Halloween is seen by businesses large and small as an opportunity to tap into the population’s increasing fascination with the ghoulish festival . Restaurants, bars and cafes ‘halloween-ify’ their menus with “Scary Sausage and Mash” or “Creepy Coffee”, whilst online retailers offer ‘Spooky’ deals and discounts. Despite the plethora of cynically tenuous attempts to jump on the Halloween bandwagon, the likes of Carling, and Lyles have been a bit cleverer. They have gone the extra mile with their Halloween marketing this year. To take a look at the good, the bad and the ghastly of Halloween marketing 2013, click here.