Most marketers are aware that Pinterest can take a website from unknown to super successful with a single pin. However, up until now, finding the secret formula for content that will take off and go viral has been largely based on experiment. Marketers have been scrambling to find a way to reach the largest market possible using Pinterest as the medium.
Pinterest is a social online pinboard known for its eye-catching images, but over the past year, it’s become a search engine of sorts as well. After it received two sizable investments in 2013, the site rolled out a variety of features that have made it even more user-friendly. It’s no longer just a site to save images for travel and home decor inspiration or to create wishlists.
I’m not a big fan of redundancy, especially on social media. Under normal circumstances, if you have good plugins and widgets properly placed on your blog, there’s no reason to have others. If you want to annoy me with a blog post, put an inline plugin, a floating plugin, and another one at the bottom. Oh, and throw in a “Share It” widget just in case three ways to share weren’t enough.
After years of fighting, I’m actually going to make an exception to the one-place-to-share-them-all rule. I have two Pinterest plugins on my blogs now and they’re both useful. I have, of course, the standard inline plugin. Some like the floating plugin and that makes sense, but it slows the page down a bit too much for my liking and it often isn’t visible on all devices even if your blog is responsive. I follow the unspoken rule of 5, 5, or 5 sharing options (no more, no less) and I prefer the big-5 for my particular blog (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn) but there are variations to this rule that replace LinkedIn with Tumblr if there’s no business-reason to share your site. Reddit is an obscure option of you have truly viral content of general interest or if you’re the mast of a popular niche.
I recently added the jQuery Pin It Button For Images. I have held off for a long time because I’m not crazy about it graying out the images upon hover and I don’t like that it’s an overlay, but I relented and haven’t looked back since. It works. People are pinning more. More importantly, they’re pinning the right link rather than pulling it from an archive or pinning the individual image itself. It’s light on the load and does have a nice little protection of not allowing your images to be right-clicked and saved.
One might ask why I wouldn’t eliminate Pinterest from the standard sharing section. The image button does not have a count and is only visible if people hover. Some people like doing all of their sharing from the same basic area, so they both stay up. Most importantly, it doesn’t work on all mobile devices.
The best part of the button on the image is that it acts as a good reminder to visitors. On a desktop, it whites out the image and displays the Pin It button when they hover over any image with their mouse. This is a prompt, a call to action, and it actually works very nicely.
Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the most important social networks when it comes to search. Some would say that the inclusion in Bing image results was the last surge of importance necessary to put it over Twitter on the effectiveness scale. Regardless of where you place it exactly on the social signal list, it’s definitely in the top 4. It helps with search engine optimization, period.
The traffic that can come from it can be pretty useless if you’re not selling items to a wide audience, but it’s still a good bulk play. Depending on the topic, it can be the second best traffic-driving social network showing up on analytics.
Nobody knows exactly where Pinterest will go and how long it will stay so important in the whole scheme of things for both search and social, but for now, you might as well take advantage of it while the ride is still hot. This plugin is an easy win.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably failing at social media image marketing. That’s not me being cynical. By examining dozens of business social media presences every week, I get to see what so many are doing and the unfortunate fact is that 9 out of 10 are doing it wrong or not doing it at all. I’m being conservative with that estimate.
The “unfortunate” fact really isn’t that unfortunate, especially for those who are reading this. You see, you can actually do it right, which means that you’re going to have a leg-up on the competition. When things are too easy or too well known, they have a tendency to become universally good. When they’re universally good, that means that everyone is average.
Image marketing on social media is not about taking advertisements and posting them as images. It’s not about talking about your big sale next week in the form of a banner that you post to Twitter or Instagram (though there’s a way to do that which I’ll demonstrate below). It’s not even about taking pictures of happy customers in front of their latest purchase jumping in the air with the caption, “Oh what a feeling!”
Proper image marketing should accomplish some of the following goals listed in no particular order:
- Improve branding
- Promote an upcoming event
- Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product
- Connect with the community
- Make a statement
- Drive traffic to a landing page
It doesn’t have to do all of these. It can do one of them really well, a couple of them very well, or knock out three or four of them with a single post. To highlight this, I’ll use examples that I found in my Twitter feed just in the last couple of hours. This does not only apply to Twitter; Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook can all work nicely here.
It should be noted that size and aspect ratio are extremely important and arguably the biggest miss by most. Twitter has an aspect ratio of 2:1 while Instagram is 1:1. Small images don’t do as well. on any of the platforms. Pinterest is the only platform that does vertical images well. Appearance on mobile is more important than appearance on desktop. These and other technical aspects of image marketing will be covered in a future post. For now, let’s just look at the content…
Bad Examples of Social Media Image Marketing
These ones are bad. Don’t do these. I blocked out the business that posted one but I kept the one posted by Ram only because as a manufacturer, they should know better by now…
The image quality is poor. The car is cut off. There’s no visible branding for the dealership in the image. Overall, it’s extremely boring. This is not going to get anyone’s attention and nobody who sees it in their feed will care.
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It’s a nice image of a mountain. Wait. Is that a truck at the bottom peeking up over the edge? It’s good that they are getting their fans involved, but the picture should have been edited to appear properly on Twitter before posting it. This is the lazy way out and accomplishes none of the goals.
Decent Examples of Social Media Image Marketing
These aren’t bad. They aren’t good, either. They’re good enough to get listed here just to show the differences between them and the ones further below so you’ll know what mistakes to avoid.
The attempt by Nissan is pretty strong. They’re trying to do well on Twitter and they’re doing an above-average job at it. This particular piece is missing something: impact. The message in the image means nothing other than stating a minor incentive. It gives no reason for people to actually click through to the landing page other than the boring message itself. With image marketing, you need to make a statement in order to get clicks. They should have put more creativity into the messaging rather than state the offer plainly.
More importantly, the offer itself is designed specifically for those who already plan on buying a Rogue, so the incentive is in the reservation itself. At first (and second, and third) glance, this appears to be another rebate offer because it looks like another rebate offer. There are brighter minds than mine that could have fashioned a better message, but it should have been less statement of the facts and a bit more mystery and uniqueness to draw people to click.
- This Rogue wants to be reserved (and it will pay you to reserve it)
- What do reservations and $250 have in common? The 2014 Nissan Rogue.
- Early Bird gets the cash on their Rogue
- No Reservations Necessary (unless you want an extra $250)
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This isn’t bad because it does accomplish one goal – making a statement. The only thing keeping this at decent rather than good is that the message is a personal one and should have been delivered in a personal manner. While the picture is cool and the message in the text is strong, it would have been better to have a member or former member of the military (there’s probably some working at the dealership right now) by a car or the dealership’s sign with an American flag in hand. This is a bit generic but a good attempt – still better than 9 out of 10.
Good Examples of Social Media Image Marketing
Here are some good ones. These are nearly great but are missing a couple of minor components. If you did your marketing like this, you’d be ahead of 99/100 others.
Great aspect ratio. Hot car. Good message and most importantly there’s a link to the inventory search for the vehicle itself!
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This one is much like the previous except a different variation for two reasons. First, it uses a stock image, which is only good if the image is as good as this one. The thing that brings it up from “decent” is that the link takes you to a vehicle specific landing page which is more appropriate on Twitter than a straight vehicle search. Remember, if they want to search, they will. Putting them on a page with information about the vehicle is better for higher-funnel customers that you’ll get through social media.
Great Examples of Social Media Image Marketing
These are the best that I’ve seen so far… after searching four hours back in my Twitter feed. There are better ones. There are plenty of worse ones. They aren’t perfect but they’re pretty darn close.
This one hits goals 1, 5, and 6 nicely but it really nails home #3: Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product. It doesn’t need to show the whole car. It doesn’t need a beautiful background. It has a simple, elegant four word message that can reach the target audience where it hurts.
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Remember, it doesn’t have to nail several goals to be effective. This time, it does a wonderful job of branding but keeps it touching the community with the localized weather factor. This is exceptional and if the following is engaged, it’ll resonate.
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Simple and powerful. This is what Nissan missed when they promoted their message. Well done, Mr Potratz and Mr Ziegler.
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You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a creative genius to get it right with social media image marketing. You just need to have a good strategy, solid execution, and a willingness to know the “rules” well enough to break them ever so slightly.
In an ideal world, you’re the social media and content manager for your company. You spend eight hours a day harnessing the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ while developing content for your blog and YouTube channels. It’s tough, but you’re making it happen.
In the real world, you’re probably responsible for a ton of different things and social media was tossed onto your pile of work. How can you cope? Is it possible to have a strong social media presence without devoting a ton of time to it? Yes and no. Yes, you can have a pretty decent one, but 30-minutes as detailed below is the bare minimum to be considered truly active. I’ve seen people do it in about 2 hours a day and have a super strong presence.
For those of you who are having to hold it together until help (or more time) arrives, here’s a great infographic that can work as a daily checklist of activities that you need to accomplish to maintain the minimum level of social media power, courtesy of Pardot.
Everyone seems to love Pinterest. By everyone, I’m not talking about every person. It’s the brands, the marketing companies, and the entertainment people that find Pinterest so appealing. As far as people, women still dominate the site but men are finding their place on the picture-sharing social network as well.
In this infographic from ShareThis, we look at the various components of Pinterest that are continuously growing. Just when you thought that it might be hitting a plateau, it busts out with more amazing numbers. Click to enlarge.
You’ve finally got your Pinterest strategy up and running. And you can tell it’s working because your photos and videos are getting more likes than you ever thought possible. But like any marketing strategy, it could be just a little bit better. Fortunately, Pinterest has a wide range of tools that can help.
The Internet has become the world’s kiosk. For almost 15 years, active listeners have turned to the Internet to find new music. So when a person recommends one of your songs to a friend, he or she can go to a handful of sites with the expectation of being able to instantly find it online.
There are those who think that Facebook and Twitter are the only relevant social networks when it comes to business. There are those who go so far as saying that Facebook is all that you need. In truth, both may be right, but that’s strictly from a social perspective. Once you throw search into the equation, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr start having a bit more relevance than before.
Most people now acknowledge that any marketing strategy should include a social media component. The problem is that working with social media requires a goodly amount of human effort and there are so many social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, FourSquare, Instagram, and on and on, to choose from.